Remote office assistance
There’s a saying that “necessity is the mother of invention”. For Rhasheda Skeete this is certainly true.
Back in 2014 she lost her job and for six months tried unsuccessfully to find one because she needed money to run her household. Then the idea hit her – she would become a virtual assistant but it was not until January this year that she moved to register the business and offer her administrative services.
As a virtual assistant, she offers clients social media management, does invoicing, types reports and speeches, creates power point presentations, proof reads documents, meets with customers, arranges meetings for clients, responds to emails, does event planning and management all from home and via the Internet.
“The business came out of necessity and I had done some research about what was trending overseas with stay at home mums.
That is something that a lot of people do as a means of income overseas. There is no one here doing it at that level so I decided to take the plunge and create it as a business,” Skeete said.
“It has its ups and downs, it’s new so people are still intrigued but are holding on to more archaic processes of having a person in the office, while my business tries to pull away from that. So, it’s a matter of people now trying to understand what the business is, feel it out. I have four clients full time but it’s a steady process.”
Her aim is to make her clients’ lives as “simple and as easy as possible”, which allows “the entrepreneur do what they love to do and we do everything else”.
“I’ve worked in a lot of fields. I’ve worked as an event coordinator but my work is predominately admin based, and because of the jobs I’ve had I’ve acquired a wealth of knowledge along the way. This is where I decided to take the plunge because I’m strong at it and I decided to do something that I was good at as well as something that I loved,” she explained.
“In trying to get the word out, I have a Facebook page and an Instagram page, and I go to as many networking sessions as I can. I am blessed. I have a lot of friends who are entrepreneurs and they spread the word as well – they would refer people to me. You find a lot of entrepreneurs don’t like dealing with admin and a lot of them don’t believe admin is important, but it really is.”
Skeete added: “You need to know where your revenue is coming in, what profits you’re making, customer service is important and you need to check emails, do invoices and follow up on cash and a lot of entrepreneurs fall behind in that. Once they see the value in having my services they pass on the word for sure. A lot of enquires are coming in and people are asking questions.”
Skeete said that ideally she could manage ten clients comfortably. She knows they would not all need the same amount of time or services so she would be able to manage her time effectively.
While she is the only person undertaking the tasks presently, her aim is to encourage others with the skills to work with her.
“That is the target for mid-2017 and to acquire some more clients. I say ten clients now but realistically that can double and once it does, it would be almost like a pyramid where I would be able to train people under me and we’d be able to handle much more clients once we have [virtual assistants],” she said.
“The aim is to have an actual VA network under the Virtual Assistant where people will work with me and have their own clients locally and internationally. We offer the service internationally as well.”
Mindful that some people do not have computers or printers, she also offers her services to parents or students who have projects and other assignments that are required to be typed. While she does not do the research for any projects, she would design, proof read, make suggestions as necessary.
Although she works from the dining table of her St Michael home, Skeete manages her time “very, very rigidly”. She has a schedule to accomplish her tasks and she said she does not meet with clients after five in the evening, she works half day on Saturdays and Sundays she does not work at all. (GBM)