Tanya Daye had been a secretary since leaving university in 2000. Her career was a mixture of contract and permanent work with her last role at KPMG in Canary Wharf. She developed a terrible fear of getting on the tube, resulting in a journey which should have taken less than 1 hour taking almost 2 hours! Tanya had to make a change for her own sanity and she also wanted the flexibility that freelance work provided, with similar pay, less travel and doing the work she enjoyed. This led her to Virtual Assistance and the opening of Clear View Administration in 2012. We asked her a little more about what she does.
Did you do any specific training before you opened for business and was it useful?
I did a couple of courses; one with Michelle Dale and another with Carmen MacDougall, now VACT. I also trained as an Early Years Professional as I initially wanted to work with nursery owners. Unfortunately, they didn’t want to pay, although they desperately need administration support.
How did you find your first client and what was the first job?
I attended an exhibition and walked around each stand telling them what I did. I got my first client from there!
Have you developed a niche area and what is it?
I have recently qualified with a Level 3 Technical Award in Residential Letting and Property Management and am awaiting membership of ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents). So now my niche has become working with property professionals such as estate agents, landlords, property investors and surveyors.
I’m a member of BNI and I’m exposed to lots more professions so as long as I am able to assist, business is business!
Do you work alone or with other VAs/employ someone?
I work with various VAs, as and when needed. There are currently 3 VAs I work with on a regular basis and they are so so valuable to me. I wouldn’t be in business without them.
What has been most difficult thing about growing your business?
The most difficult part of growing my business is being the face of my business. As a secretary, I am used to being in the background and not being noticed. But that is not possible being a VA. You have to be outspoken, represent your business and brand, be a sales person and push open your own doors instead of getting a recruitment agency to do it. Although I have been in business a while, I am still growing and developing, as well as enjoying myself and the fantastic clients that I work with.
Tell us something about a typical day and what kind of work you do?
My day generally starts at 7am (although I am aiming for 5am like Michael Hyatt suggests) so after getting ready for work and gobbling breakfast, I pray and spend a few minutes on just me. I then write my to do list, highlighting important have to do stuff that have to be ticked off before the end of the day, I start reading emails and replying, making sure the inbox is practically empty before I move on to work. I then start actual client work, ensuring my timer is on! I work till lunch, then have a break at 12pm or 1pm depending on how engrossed I get with my work. I watch some day time TV with lunch or eat lunch and cook dinner at the same time. Then it’s back to work till 7ish pm, depending on if I have client meetings and evening sales calls to do.
Typical work is transcription, talking to estate agents, talking to tenants, talking to tradesmen, conducting sales calls, market research, social media and writing marketing plans. There is lots of ad hoc work in between. So no day is ever the same.
What are your favourite applications/gadgets that you couldn’t live without?
I love uber, online banking, all social media, trainline.com, bus checker and all parking apps. These apps make life soo much easier especially travelling in London (when I still hate the tube)
What do you enjoy most about being a Virtual Assistant?
I can go on holiday and take my clients with me virtually. My clients have become friends and I have helped them on their personal and business journey.
What do you enjoy least about being a Virtual Assistant?
It can be long hours, but totally worth it!
What’s the best advice you’ve been given / or you would give to others about growing your business?
Remember who you are, there is no harm at looking at other VAs and see what they are doing to get ideas. But do your business in your way and what works for you. Get a mentor, someone that is where you want to be in business, not someone at the same level as you. Have more than 1 mentor, an established VA and a mentor in another field so you get experience from various angles.
What do you think are the most important qualities a VA should have?
Determination and a can-do attitude. If you tried it and don’t like it, don’t do it – outsource it to someone that does.