Virtual assistant with real winning ways
When the judges of the annual Virtual Assistant of the Year competition came to assess the skill set, client list and CV of Value Add Business Solutions’ Michelle Smith, they knew they were onto a winner.
Michelle’s business might be virtual but what she offers is solid gold. Not only did this Summerston small business superstar scoop Scottish VA of the year in 2014, but she went on to beat off the competition to be crowned UK Virtual Assistant of the year too.
Michelle applies her winning ways to enterprise too. With Value Add Business Solutions, Michelle supports other ambitious entrepreneurs with administration services as and when they need them. By providing tailored packages and one-off project work she helps save them precious time, and money too.
With a menu of services which includes book-keeping, payroll, social media, research, training, general administration and email marketing, Michelle and her specialist associates simply take the plate-spinning away and the strain off. In doing so, she gives her clients room to get on with the all-important business of income generation and growth.
Being garlanded with gongs for her superb virtual assistance was the icing on the business cake for Michelle, but with no family history in enterprise, getting going with Value Add Business Solutions was a slow burn for this self-confessed risk-averse would-be entrepreneur.
Going straight onto college from school, then on to work, marriage and children left little time for thoughts of self-employment. But after her kids were born, Michelle realised that job opportunities were limited unless she extended her education from HND to degree, so with the support of her husband, she combined work and part-time evening study at university.
It was during these studies that Michelle discovered an affinity for business modules, and she quickly thought “I could do that!’. Coming across a magazine article about virtual assistants, followed by a weekend long VA training course, set Michelle’s own start-up in motion.
Her business name sprang to mind during that training weekend, and made her plans real, but there was no jumping in at the deep end for methodical Michelle. For her, it was all about taking time to find the right route, carefully plot progress, and calculate risks. But a trip to Australia cemented her aims, and in 2011 she started Value Add Business Solutions as a part-time sole trader.
To begin with, Michelle stayed at work in the mornings and ran business in the afternoons. Some financial support from a local regeneration agency provided her with the tools of her trade – a laptop, a phone and a pile of business cards – and the clients soon came calling. In less than a year, Michelle was at the helm of VABS full-time.
Success certainly hasn’t gone to Michelle’s award-winning head, but business is thriving. She loves the freedom of being her own boss, and gets great satisfaction from working in the collaborative, non-competitive virtual assistant community. VABS now operates as a limited company, with a roster of specialist associates who work with Michelle to deliver specific support when and where clients need it. Consolidation of success is what matters for Michelle – scooping the double award has brought many new clients, and the future looks bright for this natural born winner.
Follow Michelle @valueaddbiz or visit http://valueaddvirtual.co.uk/