Assisting Small Businesses, Virtually
by Judi Evans
I set up my Virtual Assistance business, Indigo Bureau, to offer office admin support mainly, but not exclusively, to busy creatives. Having come from a design background myself I appreciate how admin can get in the way of creative energy.
As the name suggests, I work virtually from my own home office which means that clients don’t need to provide me with desk space or a computer. They don’t pay my National Insurance or my holiday and sick pay, instead they hire me on an hourly basis as and when needed.
Who might need a VA?
My clients are all small business owners, working in a variety of different industries. Many work from their own home office, but some employ a couple of staff and operate from small studios. The one thing they have in common though is, as their business starts to grow and become more successful, they may find themselves drowning in admin and paperwork. They usually contact me when they’re finding they’re working late into the evening and on weekends to clear the paperwork backlog. This was never their intention when they initially set up their business, so they look to outsource help with this admin, and that’s where I come in.
How does it work?
If a prospective client lives within reasonable travel distance we’ll initially meet face-to-face, if they’re further away we can Skype. Then, if we both agree we’re a good fit to work together, most communication is done by email or by phone. Documents can be posted, sent by email or shared in Dropbox or similar cloud storage. This means I could potentially work with clients from all over the UK, and even the world.
What can I help you with?
* I have a full Office 365 suite so can create and format all sorts of forms and presentations in Word, Excel and Power Point.
* Subscribing to Adobe Pro, I can create fillable-field PDFs. These are particularly useful if you need to send out forms or questionnaires for your clients to complete and sign.
* All small businesses need to keep track of their expenses and submit to their accountant either on a quarterly or an annual basis. If expenses fill you with fear, I can take that stack of receipts and invoices and make sense of them for your accountant. I’m registered with HMRC.
* If you have a lengthy document you don’t want to type out you can record it, send me the audio-file and I will transcribe it, proofreading along the way.
“I feel nervous handing over personal info to a stranger”
This is very understandable. Handing over certain tasks, especially ones that involve personal paperwork, can be daunting but it doesn’t mean you don’t stay in control. I’m registered with ICO so I take my role seriously, and keeping clients’ data secure is a priority for me.
Together we will establish processes for regular updates on the progress of the project. I will also update you on the time being spent on your work as I go along – no one wants to be surprised by the final invoice!
My role as a Virtual Assistant allows me to incorporate all the expertise I’ve gathered over the years, but concentrate on the ones I enjoy most and excel at. By offering the services that I love doing (possibly the ones that small business owners don’t like doing or don’t have time to do) I can take away some of the pain of the tasks that are a necessity to all businesses, but not necessarily the most productive use of their time.
Helping you use your time more efficiently