This weeks interview is with Tara Nelson, Virtual Assistant and certified social media and internet marketing specialist. Let’s find out how a newer virtual assistant is dealing with the challenges of starting and running her new business.
Hello Tara, welcome to Home Office Warrior.
HOW: How long have you been a virtual assistant?
Tara: I had been successfully telecommuting as a recruiting, editing, and scheduling independent business contractor since 2006, but started thinking about becoming a VA in the spring of 2008.
HOW: So you already had plenty of experience in working remotely. And what first drew you to become a VA?
Tara: Behind my fierce work ethic, motivation, and years of professional experience has always lied a deep entrepreneurial spirit. I am also very concerned about the environment, and working remotely makes a huge impact (or makes less of an impact, depending on how you look at it)… no daily commute, and most of the work is done over the Internet making the process almost paperless! I try and do whatever I can to incorporate earth-friendly practices into my business.
HOW : What did you find to be the biggest challenge when starting your virtual assistant business?
Tara: When you are self-employed and work from home - you are always at work. I have made strides in becoming less of a workaholic over the years, but my biggest challenge continues to be separating the two. But I’m not complaining - I love my work!
HOW : How long did it take you to sign your first client?
Tara: I continued to research the virtual assistant industry over the summer of 2008 and partnered up with my first client that fall.
HOW : What did you find was the most effective way to market your virtual assistant business?
Tara: I am a Certified Social Media and Internet Marketing Specialist, and I am sold on the amazing power of Twitter! It is often misunderstood. If you aren’t already using it as a business tool, (coupled with it’s equally impressive applications) try and make it a priority. Leveraging social media is a must..
HOW : I agree, Twitter is an amazing networking tool! And what do you feel is your biggest challenge in marketing your business?
Tara: My biggest challenge in marketing my business is that it often seems like there is not enough hours in the day! Normally, I keep busy marketing and servicing my clients!
HOW : What do you find to be your biggest client related challenge?
Tara: I have been fortunate to work with amazing partners. But respect and communication are certainly keys to any rewarding relationship. Make sure you are on the same page and that expectations are clear for both sides.
The other change I have made is by taking a course to be a certified Social Media Marketing Specialist. I wanted to have as much information as possible to be able to assist my clients who are requesting these services..
HOW : What type of changes, if any, have you made to your business since start-up?
Tara: Many! This industry, coupled with my niche of social media and Internet marketing, is ever-changing. I consider myself a lifelong learner and I always want to be ahead of the curve. I feed my brain anything I can get my hands on! There are so many great resources out there!
HOW : Now that you’ve had time to learn so much more, what is the one thing you wish you knew before you started your business?
Tara: Have I mentioned I love Twitter? I wish I would have been more versed with the potential of Twitter earlier.
HOW : It’s nice to see someone as sold on Twitter as I am. So,what do you envision your business being like in 5 years?
Tara: I always think of clients as partners that I would like to grow with. I plan on continuing to form meaningful and valuable long term partnerships. The sky is the limit for this type of industry!
I want to thank Tara for taking part in this interview series. If you’d like to learn more about Tara, you can find out more at http://taramnelson.com and of course follow her on Twitter, where she is @Tara_Nelson.
Next week, in the final installment of this interview series, I’ll be answering the interview questions myself!