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Help! Desperately Seeking Mentor


13 replies to this topic

#1 Tresa T.

Tresa T.

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 04:00 PM

Help! I've been trying for MONTHS to get my VA business up and running. I've tried reading a couple of books, but am more of a hands-on learner and am therefore having some difficulties with the whole business plan thing along with the idea of creating my own web-site scares me stiff. I'd be willing to trade work for some help. People here have suggested I figure what I'll offer my clients, but am at a loss as to what they mean. I love doing bookkeeping. Working with numbers and ledgers is fun for me. But I also love doing all the other office/clerical stuff. So here I am...struggling and wondering if anyone would be willing to help a terribly green newbie.

I'd greatly appreciate ANY help!

NOTE: I live in Yakima, WA if that's any help in making your decision on mentoring me or ideas you may have for resources you could direct me to.

#2 Cindy Greenway

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 04:06 PM

Hi Tresa ...
I couldn't help but want to respond to your post. I can understand ... having someone who can help you hands-on is the way I learn best too!

I personally mentor and train Virtual Assistants of all levels. I'd love to learn more about you and see if there may be a potential fit for you and I to work together. If you like, please sign up for one of my free Kick Butt mentoring sessions at www.KickButtSessionWithCindy.com and we can schedule a time to connect via phone.

Please note the form has not been updated to reflect the new year ... that's in the works! However, it's a great way for me to learn a little bit more about you before we officially connect.

I hope this helps.
Thanks
Cindy

Cindy Greenway
Author of Virtually Successful: 8 Simple Ways for Virtual Assistants to Find (and Keep) Clients
Virtual Assistant Mentor & Trainer
www.VirtuallySuccessful.com
www.HotSkillsVATraining.com




Help! I've been trying for MONTHS to get my VA business up and running. I've tried reading a couple of books, but am more of a hands-on learner and am therefore having some difficulties with the whole business plan thing along with the idea of creating my own web-site scares me stiff. I'd be willing to trade work for some help. People here have suggested I figure what I'll offer my clients, but am at a loss as to what they mean. I love doing bookkeeping. Working with numbers and ledgers is fun for me. But I also love doing all the other office/clerical stuff. So here I am...struggling and wondering if anyone would be willing to help a terribly green newbie.

I'd greatly appreciate ANY help!

NOTE: I live in Yakima, WA if that's any help in making your decision on mentoring me or ideas you may have for resources you could direct me to.



#3 jerri g

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:20 PM

Hi Tresa,

I would recommend the VBSS (Virtual Business Start Up System) this will help you get started and there are certificates one of which is a website certificate that will help you get started with your website, Tawnya Sutherland will help you with your questions. You will see the VA Start Up system on the tool bar. Also, I would definently look into getting a Coach or Mentor to help you with your struggles. We have all been there starting up our VA businesses. Become a member of VA Networking if you are not already. These gals know their stuff. We help each other out and it's a very friendly network. You say you like bookkeeping, great that could be your Niche, and the clerical stuff could follow.

I will tell you that it doesn't happen overnight, it could take months maybe even a year or two. Hang in there and stay focused.

I just got my first client and I have had my business for a year and a half. Though I took my time in creating my business and it is always a work in progress, especially when it comes to your website.

Hope this helps, and the best of luck to you.

#4 PauletteVA

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:14 AM

I think you should look at your prior work history and make a list of your different experience, what you're good at and what you love to do. Bookkeeping is a great service to offer. I wish I had bookkeeping experience to be able to offer it but I don't. From that list pick your list of services that you will offer clients. For example, I offer legal secretarial support, social media marketing and wordpress web design.

Regarding the website, I would look into Wordpress.org but I know that can be scary. There are other all in one type of website that you may consider that are offered by Yahoo, Vistaprint, Intuit, etc. That may be the best idea for you but I would strongly recommend using Wordpress, which is must more customizable.

#5 candy beauchamp

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 09:36 AM

There's all kinds of mentoring programs out there.
Cindy Greenway is awesome.
VBSS is great if you need something ready to just go with.
IVAA has a mentoring program.
VALeague has one as well - that is a weekly meeting that goes 6-8 weeks. Lanel heads that up and does an amazing job.

Good luck, you'll find the right one for you!

#6 judy l

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 05:48 AM

"Start in one corner and work your way around." Norman Vincent Peale. Work on your business plan so you can tell the people you know what you are doing. If you love bookkeeping, there is a very good chance that your first client is nearby and would connect with you in face to face networking such as the Chamber of Commerce. The business plan will help you 'know who you are' when you go out to tell people about your new business.

When you have that business plan worked out, you will be much more knowledgeable about a website. Until then, it is a sort of ADD distraction.

#7 Tresa T.

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:14 AM

But part of my problem is I have NO CLUE as to how to even begin a business plan. *sigh* Are there any books out there that you could suggest to help? I truly appreciate your input, but the instructions, "Work on your business plan" tell me nada so far as how to do it. I've never even so much as seen one. I'm not trying to be snarky...just asking questions and trying to get ideas. I figure if I tell you where I'm at in the whole being lost thing, you'll be able to help me better...*hopeful smile*.

"Start in one corner and work your way around." Norman Vincent Peale. Work on your business plan so you can tell the people you know what you are doing. If you love bookkeeping, there is a very good chance that your first client is nearby and would connect with you in face to face networking such as the Chamber of Commerce. The business plan will help you 'know who you are' when you go out to tell people about your new business.

When you have that business plan worked out, you will be much more knowledgeable about a website. Until then, it is a sort of ADD distraction.



#8 Tresa T.

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:18 AM

Does the VBSS cost anything? I'm severely broke right now is why I'm asking. Also, where would I find it? Thank you for your suggestions. I truly appreciate your input.

Hi Tresa,

I would recommend the VBSS (Virtual Business Start Up System) this will help you get started and there are certificates one of which is a website certificate that will help you get started with your website, Tawnya Sutherland will help you with your questions. You will see the VA Start Up system on the tool bar. Also, I would definently look into getting a Coach or Mentor to help you with your struggles. We have all been there starting up our VA businesses. Become a member of VA Networking if you are not already. These gals know their stuff. We help each other out and it's a very friendly network. You say you like bookkeeping, great that could be your Niche, and the clerical stuff could follow.

I will tell you that it doesn't happen overnight, it could take months maybe even a year or two. Hang in there and stay focused.

I just got my first client and I have had my business for a year and a half. Though I took my time in creating my business and it is always a work in progress, especially when it comes to your website.

Hope this helps, and the best of luck to you.



#9 judy l

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 03:58 PM

If you use Open Office (free office software to download) there is at least one business plan template http://templates.ser...rg/en/node/5105

If you're using MS Office, (Microsoft Office software) there is at least one business plan template http://office.micros...C001017520.aspx

These say Start-up Business according to internet research.

A basic business plan outlines your business description, your assets ( office equipment, experience, skills), your projected expenses and projected income. There are some other items that are good to track. Your projections should go out about three years with descriptions of how that income is earned (describe your niche) and justifying the expenses. This is very over-simplified, but if you can look at some of these items and track them, you have your intent and your budget. You may be surprised at how much you must earn to maintain the business before you begin to pay household costs out of it. If you are not surprised, it is good to have this out there on paper in front of you.

Some people use business plans to be able to get loans. For virtual assistants, it is more of a place to know where you are and what your business is about, where it is going and where it has been. It will help you determine the services you can offer for example.

You can do what you have to do.

#10 cathy drappier

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 01:26 PM

I wish I could remember the website (or find the thread on here about it) but I think it was Vicky who sent me a link to a gov't website where you could fill in the blanks and it would develop your business plan for you as you go along. (If this rings a bell with anyone, feel free to jump in with the link!!) It takes a bit of time but it was a good website. If I come across it, I'll post it here. I built mine with help from the Venture Inception Project from the government here in Canada (EI program) and it was a loooong 6 weeks! Blood, sweat and tears went into it! But, in the end it's worth every drop of blood! LOL
Cathy

Edited to add: A quick Google search brought me to this site: http://sbinformation...siness-Plan.htm
You should be able to follow the headings and build your own simple plan. It doesn't need to be extremely detailed unless you are going to be applying for loans or grants (from what I understand anyways). You can always update it and review it from time to time. I think you'll find that most here review their business plan once/year. Hopefully this helps!

#11 lindah

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 04:51 PM

Hi Tresa

There are a lot of free resources to help you write your business plan. The first being your local library, especially if your local library also has an area for small business owners. Then if you look at the Small Business Administration (SBA) website, as well as SCORE's website you will also find a lot of free resources and business plan templates. SCORE also has free counselors to talk with. Please note that you will probably not find a SCORE counselor that has experience with a VA business. When I started my business, I had a SCORE counselor who was willing to let me bounce ideas and thoughts off her head. She was excited about my business and wanted to help me succeed.

Remember, you are not writing a business plan to submit to another party. You are writing the business plan to determine if you can successfully start a business. Yes, anyone can start a business, but you have to know what your weaknesses are and how you will overcome the obstacles that are out there.

This forum is a great group as well. Take advantage of the free webinars that are offered by Tawnya. If your budget allows, I would suggest joining VA Insiders as well. The VBSS is awesome (I have heard nothing but great reviews from it.).

I hope this helps.

#12 MAK'S VA Services

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 11:57 PM

I have used a mentor and SCORE and both were very helpful. The people at SCORE are very polite , kind, and always answer all your questions.Another way you can receive help is to network on forums. Try to offer what you know as services and you will find your niche.
I wish you all the best.

Cindy has some tutorials on youtube , I have watched them , they're GREAT !!!!

#13 virtualgalfriday

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:03 AM

There is such great advice in the VANetworking forum alone - it just takes time and patience to filter through it all. As for the Business Plan, don't let it scare you! I know it's already been mentioned, but the SBA website is a great place to start. They have great Business Plan template feature that assists you in writing your business plan. Check it out here: http://web.sba.gov/b...izPlanStart.cfm

They also offer a free training course! http://web.sba.gov/s...cfm?courseid=27


Hope this helps!

Nancy

#14 jodie burdette

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:11 PM

I just sent you an email. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Jodie "Donít get your knickers in a knot. Nothing is solved and it just makes you walk funny" Burdette





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