Administrative Assistant's Update

May 2018

Focuses on the training and development needs of admin professionals and features topics such as hard skills (software competencies, writing, communication, filing) and soft skills (teamwork, time management, leadership).

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By George Pearson AAU Editor Starting a virtual assis- tant business is an ex- citing, and at the same time scary, prospect. Melissa Haddad started her VA business a little more than three years ago, after a corporate downsizing left her jobless for a sec- ond time. She had been working for corporations for 20 years. Administrative Assistant's Update, in October 2015, wrote about Had- dad's entry into the VA world after a fruitless search for a new employer. She had secured her first client the previous March, had subsequently brought on nearly a dozen more clients and was already thinking of ways she might expand her offerings. Today, more than three years into having her own VA business, Haddad reflects on what she has experienced and learned in that time. "When I first started, I didn't know what I didn't know," she says, "so when I marketed on social media or went to networking events, I was un - sure of myself and truly came across as a newbie." Whereas in the begin- ning she marketed the tasks she could perform, she now markets something closer to what she perceives clients want and need: "the value I provide and the value they will see and feel when I help them change their business." Although she still has clients (some of them since the beginning) for whom she handles phone an- swering, calendar management and customer inquiries, Haddad now offers services that analyze the cli- ent's operations, "ensuring they have systems in place for automation and efficiency." At the top of the list often is automating the client's marketing component, as well as the process for bringing sales in. For example, for a client who has two businesses to oversee, Haddad is developing a marketing content calendar in Excel, then utilizing Hoot- suite (a social media scheduler/dash- board), along with Active Campaign or Mail Chimp for an email opt-in campaign. The process through which all this takes place is critical to define and de- scribe – for herself and the client, Had- dad emphasizes. "What are the steps MAY 2018 P R O F E S S I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T F O R C A N A D A ' S O F F I C E S U P P O R T S T A F F Administrative Assistant's UPDATE UPDATE PM #40065782 INSIDE Our habits make us � � � � � � � � 2 Some tips to cultivate the best within ourselves Moving to manager � � � � � � � � 3 Rhonda Scharf shares insights into adjusting to the role MS Word Quick Parts � � � � � � � 6 Storing and inserting content you use frequently in docs Thinking about a mentor? � � � 7 They can help create options and provide introductions The evolving VA When Melissa Haddad started her virtual assistant business (see Business Growth …, page 1) she saw it as an extension of what she had done for 20 years as an admin- istrative professional. She named her new business MH Virtual As- sistant Services. Three years later she has renamed it Efficient Business Solu- tions and she now refers to herself as an "operational consultant." "Many people are a bit confused by that term," Haddad says, "so I will say I started off as a virtual assistant and now I specialize in an entrepreneur's overall business – end to end, systems and process." Continued on page 4 Melissa Haddad Update on a VA start-up Profitable direction for VAs: Streamlining client systems Credit: smartdesign91 (Shutterstock)

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