Today’s feature is what I like to consider as being the equivalent of “office fairies”. Kathryn Hall (otherwise known as My Virtual Sidekick) takes all of the painful day to day administration away from your business, dealing with it quickly and efficiently so you are free to do exactly as you please. Sound too good to be true? Read on….
My partner is a photographer and I remember one of his photographer friends complaining about the fact that he hated doing all the admin that goes with being freelance. At the time I was really keen to become self-employed and realised there must be tons of creative people out there running their own businesses and getting bogged down with the necessary but time consuming admin. I’m really organised and had a lot of admin experience so setting up a business to support those people felt like the perfect next step.
For those readers unfamiliar with my Virtual Sidekick, what would you say are the core foundations of your brand?
I help self employed individuals free themselves from their admin shackles to do the stuff they love. It’s all about finding time and freedom to focus on what you do best – working with your clients, building your business and actually making money. The administrative tasks that go with running a business are incredibly important but generally not the best use of time for the owners – it’s far more effective to outsource those tasks.
How has my Virtual Sidekick grown since you first started the business?
I started My Virtual Sidekick while I was employed full time having never been self-employed before. I used to come home and go straight to my computer to learn all about marketing, website management and building a client base. My first client was a friend who needed a bit of help while she was on holiday – I only did about 5 hours work for her so it was pocket money really. However it did give me a taster of what it was like to work from home. 3 years later I now work on my business full time and have never looked back.
What have been your biggest struggles since launching my Virtual Sidekick?
Running a business can be all consuming and one of the biggest struggles I’ve faced is simply learning how to switch off. I love my work and care about my business but there are times when I’ve wanted to just let it all go for a few days (which is very hard to do when you’re running things on your own!) I’ve learnt that it’s really important to take proper breaks and set boundaries. Life can’t be about work all the time – where’s the fun in that?!
And on the flip side, what have been your most memorable achievements since launching my Virtual Sidekick?
Do you know what? I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved over the last few years that it’s really hard to pinpoint one or two achievements. I knew absolutely nothing about running a business when I started down this route and now here I am working full time from home (something I always dreamed of!) It’s been a real education and I’m proud of every new client I take on.
What makes my Virtual Sidekick so different from any similar services on the market?
I sometimes describe myself as the Virtual Assistant minus the grey suit. So many other people out there providing remote admin support have gone for the traditional, secretarial look with their branding and to me that’s just dull. I specialise in working with creative people and as a result have worked with journalists, marketeers, bloggers, consultants, coaches and designers who need a helping hand. It’s a real niche that I’ve developed for myself.
What are the benefits of using my Virtual Sidekick?
My clients have more time and freedom to focus on the core building blocks of their business. I help them escape the overwhelm, gain control of their time, find a better work/life balance and generally ensure their business is ticking over beautifully without them having to do it all. The service is flexible and I work on a freelance contract which means my clients can dip in and out of the service as much as they like without worrying about the legal faff that goes with hiring somebody as an employee.
How does it work?
If someone is interested in working with me the first step is to set up a consultation. This is a chance to get to know the person and their business and to establish what their support needs are. Following that consultation I then create a work agreement which we will both need to agree on and sign.
The support I offer varies depending on each client but typical tasks include invoicing, transcribing, email management, online research, blogging support and proofreading. I work remotely from my own office so all the tasks I take on need to be those that can be done electronically. Thankfully these days there are a wealth of tools that can be used to stay connected and get things done. As a result it doesn’t really matter where in the world my clients are based!
Where can readers enquire about using my Virtual Sidekick?
You can find out more about me and My Virtual Sidekick over on my website here: http://myvirtualsidekick.co.uk
What are your goals for my Virtual Sidekick over the next few years?
My plan for the next few years is to continue building the brand and potentially turn My Virtual Sidekick into a small team of people rather than just being about me. There is certainly scope to bring on other individuals with specific skill-sets that I don’t possess.
If you had one message you could personally pass on to Jessica KG readers what would it be?
If you have an idea for a business then give it a go! There’s absolutely no harm in trialling business or career ideas to see if they suit you (it doesn’t have to be about throwing yourself head first into dip water). Just dip your toe in and see what happens!
…because sometimes we all need an Office Fairy!
I just want to take this opportunity to firstly thank Kathryn but also to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has read, contributed to and supported my #WomenInBusiness series so far. I have been overwhelmed with its success and feel truly honoured to have so many inspiring women sharing my blog space! For as long as you guys keep reading I will continue to source the women who make this series worthwhile.
Are there any particular business women you would like to see featured? Maybe a particular career or business? Or maybe you haver someone you think would be great to be featured? Get in touch….
Other posts in the #WomenInBusiness Series include….