As the “Uberization” of business spreads, many traditionally secure jobs are being made redundant or outsourced to freelance specialists; as a result, more and more administrative professionals are going into business for themselves as Virtual Assistants (VA). According to VirTalent.com, “It is predicted that by 2018, online working across the globe will be worth $5 billion as the demand for outsourcing continues to grow.”
Forward-looking administrative professionals do well, therefore, to at least familiarize themselves with this trend. Mentors and Masterminds is happy to feature our member and established VA John Hardy as an example of an admin who blazed his own trail as an entrepreneur.
What was your first experience in an administrative support role, and why did you choose to take that opportunity?
My first assistant role was as a VA (Virtual Assistant) for a company that outsources to the real estate industry. I was not employed at the time, and the position allowed me to enter a new industry and develop new skills.
When did you first decide you wanted more out of your administrative career, and what did you decide to do about it? How did this lead you to where you are today?
After working for the real estate VA services company for several years, I found that I was not getting the type of work I wanted, so I decided to launch my own business as a VA. I got my first client almost 5 years ago, and since then I have signed on with several others.
In pursuing this new endeavor, what was your greatest setback, faceplant or challenge, and how did you overcome it?
At first, the biggest challenge was simply getting clients. I continued to cultivate my network, and this has led to my current status . I am a project manager for a large excel project for one of my clients and I am interviewing with another VA to join her team as a subcontractor. I am also going to be resuming work for another one of my clients in the fall as well as a second subcontracting opportunity
What mentors have you had, and how have they helped you to get where you are?
My most important mentor has been Howard Crampton. He had a failed project launch and I have learned to overcome adversity. Howard had a team of 4 people to help him with various aspects needed to launch his ebook. I was responsible for the social media portion of the launch. His initial goal was to publish an ebook about love and marriage. After 6 months, he decided that he wanted to focus on his speaking business so he scrapped plans for the book. He became my mentor in that he met with me individually (as well as the other team members) and gave me tips to help grow my business. I still look to him today for advice and for professional recommendations if needed.
What’s the funniest story you experienced on your path to success?
The funniest thing is that when I tell people, “I’m a Virtual Assistant”, at least half of them respond with an incredulous, “You’re a what?!!” Apparently they are confusing my VA services with apps like Siri and Cortana…
What advice would you give to other admins considering following this path for career advancement?
Be persistent, be prepared to fail and cultivate your network.
ABOUT JOHN HARDY
John Hardy is a virtual assistant with specialties in Microsoft Office and social media. Beginning in Fall 2017, John plans to offer mentoring services for new and aspiring VA entrepreneurs.
Morency, Marie-Noëlle “Ted Graham and the Uberization of Everything” https://www.randstad.ca/workforce360-trends/archives/ted-graham-and-the-uberization-of-everything_403/
“The Virtual Assistant Industry”, https://www.virtalent.com/the-virtual-assistant-industry/
About this Series
“Admin Trailblazers” is a series about serious administrative professionals who have excelled in their role and gone on to the top of the profession, management roles or entrepreneurial endeavors.
Admin Trailblazers is published on the fourth Wednesday of every month at www.mentorsandmasterminds.com.