Robyn is a well known public speaker in Australia and her topic is Networking. For 2 or 3 years I was privileged to be her virtual assistant as she frequently travelled to my state and needed assistance whilst here. Over time we got to know each other well and I even supported her office when she was away overseas, handling some calls or emails on her behalf. How did our relationship begin?
Her book ‘Networking for Success’ was the first business book I bought back in 1993 as I was preparing to begin my brand new business. It had excellent tips in it and I bought it at a seminar after hearing her speak in Melbourne, Australia. I wrote to her and told her how much I enjoyed her book. I got a surprise, she wrote back! She would let me know when she was going to be back in Melbourne for engagements and I would go along to some of them, introduce myself and just generally let her know I was there. I bought more of her books, which I really enjoyed.
The internet opened its doors to business here in Australia a couple of years later and about a year or so after that I found that Robyn had an email address at the back of one of her new books. I emailed her and she responded. We developed a writing (almost like a penpal) relationship.
And then one day I got an email from her asking if I would be her virtual assistant? The assistant she’d had was no longer working for her and she needed help. So I began looking after her database, doing emails and phone calls for her, internet research for one of her books (updating lists she had in the book for republishing) and so on. Whenever she was in town I also picked her up from her hotel and drove her to her various speaking engagements, looking after the booksales for her at the back of the room and just generally being there for her. It was a great working relationship and we spent many wonderful hours learning from one another.
Towards the end of our time together I mentioned how it would be great if there was some kind of website that told people about different networking events in town as I always find people who wished they’d known about something I had attended. Robyn said to me ‘why don’t you do something about it?’ I thought about that and by the end of the day had purchased a new domain name and set up a new website. That site is called ‘What’s on in Town?‘ and now covers the capital cities of Australia and has an extensive readership – updates go out weekly to a subscriber list, providing there are new listings for their capital city.
I was the one that ended the working relationship – I loved working with Robyn but I’d been approached by someone here in Melbourne who had great need for my services – much longer hours and it meant there would be time clashes with the occasional support I provided Robyn when she was in town, and the new support I was going to provide, so I referred her to two very capable ladies in my team, who worked a partnership VA business. The new client will be another case study another time. KMT