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kworthington

I need help!

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**I first posted this in the INTRO section, but have decided to re-post it here, since it seems to fit better.**

 

My name is Kathy Worthington and my business is Virtual Answers. I've already have a few clients I work with regularly, but that was by pure luck! I really don't market myself and need to start. I'm still learning what I need to do and how to do it more effectively.

 

Let me give you a quick personal background of myself. I'm a degreed and licensed science teacher. I taught for 6 years, then was able to stay home with my 3 boys. By now, the oldest 2 are in school and the youngest has about another 3 before he's in full-time. Prior to that, I worked as an office temp in various places, as well as a short time as an office assitant and receptionist for an accounting firm. I'm also our church secretary/VA.

 

However, I'm one of those "gal Friday" types. I'm trying to figure out my niche, now that I realize I need one. (Though not necessary, it would help my marketing, I know!)

I sat down last night and came up with a list of things I'm great at, things I'm good at, things I'm not-so-great at, and things I like!

 

Here's my results (and I'd love your opinion on my conclusions!):

Great At:

word processing, spreadsheet, desktop publishing, data entry, presentations, recordkeeping, etc.

basic web design

problem solving

instruction/instructional design

 

Good At:

Graphic Design

database (I'm working on getting Access training)

 

Not-So-Good At:

marketing

blogging

copywriting

ghostwriting, etc.

 

I LOVE:

web design

desktop publishing

instruction

consulting

problem solving

 

Okay, now that I've bored you to death...I'm trying to figure out who I should be targeting. I don't know how I can work my educational experience and training into my love for office work. My web design experience is all self-taught, so I'm very hesitant to list it as a strong point. I'm not great on the technical work and my sites (I've done several) are not terribly fancy.

(Check mine out and let me have it!) www.VirtualAnswers.net

I'd LOVE to have your feedback and help at figuring out where I can fit in.

Plus, I'll try not to overwhelm the boards with my lengthy posts. Promise!

 

Thanks!!

Kathy

 

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OK, just a shot in the dark but what about starting a starting "fun" science related kids workshop series.

 

* you could travel or set up a shop.

* Offer kids science project assistance.

* tutoring

* birthday party science themes (you design the theme, bring all the gear and run the party)

 

OR

 

You could design and moderate online courses (in areas you know well) with free tools such as Moodle.

 

The sky is the limit!

 

 

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When you say "consulting" and "problem solving", so you mean you are an active expert who can provide consulting or that you enjoy being part of a brainstorm team?

 

Since you seem to be up in the air about what to offer, I'm thinking you do like to be on a focus/brainstorm/mastermind project where you may not know all about what is going on, but you are good at sorting out what is being considered. Mastermind moderator?

 

What is your instruction/instructor experience? That is a good field; if you can share what you know so that someone goes away KNOWING something, you have a real skill. You will find some archives here and also will be able to get into some webinars to see how that is run. I always appreciate someone who can teach me something with a webinar because I am a reading/doing learner. Video/webinar recordings lose me unless they are good.

 

Try to offer services in the things you really like to do. Enjoying what you do is a great part of the compensation of the work. Graphic design can be subcontracted for web design. You don't have to be a ghostwriter, but you could avail yourself of the services of one. Maybe you can find a writer who wants some help with web design and trade blog writing.

 

There are a gazillian ways to go. Just keep going.

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Not-So-Good At:

marketing

blogging

copywriting

ghostwriting, etc.

 

 

marketing - you can learn. Marketing is just getting your message out there in front of your target market. Once you figure out who that is, marketing will come naturally.

 

blogging, copywriting, ghostwriting - you can hire someone to do all these things for you. No one is good at everything. Do what you do best, and outsource the rest.

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Guest TerryGreen

Hi Kathy,

 

While finding and settling into your niche is very beneficial to your business, it isn't always something that happens right away after starting your business. Sometimes, it just takes time to find out what you really do best and who you really want to work with. One of the things I've seen happen with some VAs just starting out is they get so hung up on trying to figure out what their niche is that they never really get any farther.

 

Looking at your list, it seems as if you have some great general admin skills, along with some specialty skills that may or may not need a little fine tuning. I would suggest starting out offering the services you know you're good at and enjoy doing and see where it goes from there. Offer only those services you are good at and/or enjoy, and market only to those business you think you would enjoy working with. You don't have to narrow it down right away ... just stay away from the things you don't enjoy and the type of client you don't want. If you don't like numbers and statistics, stay away from accountants and clients in the financial industry. If you enjoy organizing and problem solving, you might be good working with startup companies. Sometimes you just don't know what you want to do until you start working with a couple of clients. Start out with the basics, and then as you gain more experience, you'll learn more skills and before you know it, you'll know where your passion lies and what you do best.

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JudyAnn - I'm good at getting things organized and like the idea of webinars. I'll look into that more. Thanks for the start!

 

Crystal - Thanks for the advice about subbing out my "not-so-favorite" things!

 

Terry - Thanks for the support to just take my time to figure out what seems to be a good fit.

I really appreciate all your advice!

 

Kathy

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Hi Kathy,

Are you familiar with grant writing? That could be very beneficial to school districts that don't have the funds available or expertise to submit successful grants.

 

Also, I know there are companies that provide highly qualified consultants (retired administrators) to go into low performing school districts and assess their needs. I think my school district used JBL Consultants.

 

You may want to start a fact finding search by talking to administrators at the schools or Central Office too. Good luck.

 

 

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Judy,

I am familiar with educational grant writing and don't know that an "outsider" is the best person for that type of job. I'm afraid I'm not qualified enough to assess school needs, but I really appreciate your input, especially considering my background! Thanks a ton!

 

kathy

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Hi Kathy,

I was just thinking about your science background and wondered if you might try contacting some of the online charter schools. I know that they offer material to students and may have a need for credentialed teachers. Its worth a try isn't it?

 

Have a great weekend.

Renee

(who is still just gettings started)

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