I find that mine have. Over the years I’ve changed the services I provide, depending on what the client needs appear to be. I began with word-processing and data entry, and very quickly moved into managing databases for clients. I love database work and it was something I was doing in the corporate world so it was a natural progression for me. Although, when I first began my business, I couldn’t see how I would attract clients needing database work done.
Early in my business I began developing my own website, not being able to afford to pay someone else. At that stage (1996-1997) there were very few web designers and it cost the earth. So I paid someone to teach me the basics and I went from there. It was only a matter of time before I got into web hosting too, as the hosts I was with at the time were unreliable. I had to learn for my own site, which has now grown to multiple sites, and, as a result, also provide hosting and web design services for clients.
And then I began to get requests for book keeping, and, as I did my own, I began doing that as well. Having an accountant who would send clients to me helped somewhat. But with the advent of GST and BAS being introduced here in Australia I soon tired of doing book keeping and didn’t really want to go ‘back to school’ to learn about all the new things I needed to be aware of. I passed my book keeping clients on to those VA members in my team who specialised in this area.
The next thing I began doing was transcription work. The church I attended asked if I could transcribe some conference tapes, which I enjoyed doing very much, so began doing that for other clients too. However I also tired of this work. I don’t mind doing it now and then, especially if the topic is something of interest, but generally feel it’s better handing it on to a VA who specialises in this line of work.
Next it was blogs. A client asked me about blogging and then another client as well. I began to research what was involved and to fully understand the process, began writing my own business blog (this one) and also a family personal blog. I still assist people in this area today. Further, blogging was a natural door to social media in general and I also now assist with Facebook Pages, Twitter and LinkedIn Profiles and other things relating to Social Media.
Does this mean I try everything clients ask me to do? No, there needs to be (for me) some kind of interest in that area, or confidence that I believe I can pick up that skill within a reasonably short time frame. There have been some things I’ve been asked to do that I haven’t felt confident about and have referred to my VA team members instead. It is also important to note here, that clients only asked me to do something I hadn’t done before, because they were happy with the service I was already providing to them. They had confidence in my abilities. It would be a rare thing for a brand new client to ask me to do something for them that I’d not done before and for me to agree. In fact, that hasn’t happened yet.
So, as you can see, what I do today, is very different to what I began doing almost 19 years ago. I hope this post gives you hope on how you can progress with your own business and how and what you can start with. Do have confidence in your own skill set and be very aware of what are your shortcomings. There is no shame in saying you can’t do something but will help the client find someone who can. At some time someone will return the favour to you.