One of the things I have learnt is that no matter what happens it is really easy to get so caught up in your own story and let it consume you that you fail to see all of the opportunities around you.
Two Years ago I was involved in a failing business with a partner who was to say the least unapproachable and irrational. We dissolved our business partnership and she in the process ended up bankrupting me. The lesson I learnt from that was never again to go into business with “friends”. Now I could have gone to that place where I felt sorry for myself and just stayed there, wallowing in my own self pity, especially since the past few years have been anything but easy, however I took a few weeks out, went through the anger, grief, slight depression and pulled myself out of it by deciding I was better than that and also knowing if I gave up it would be letting that voice in my head win.
We all know the one, that little voice that constantly tells you, you are no good, you are a failure, this was bound to happen, you are not worthy. Lucky for me I am a little stubborn and don’t like being told what I am not good at, and the competitive side of me decided to take this challenge head on, put my big girl panties on and make the best of this situation.
Sitting in my garden one lovely summer morning having a cup of coffee a few weeks later, in kind of a desperate place and at a loss with what to do with my now abundantly free time, wracking my brain…… thinking over and over again, what do I want to do, what am I good at, what am I passionate about. (Passion was the key although I hadn’t realized it yet.) I saw an advert on a local website looking for people who had ambition, drive, good with people and no more job description detail. I gave them a call set up an interview and waited.
The day of the interview approached, I went and was offered the job within the first 10 minutes. I thought to myself this is going to be the solution, I was ever so wrong. The job was in a call centre, ok not something I had done before but I decided to take that challenge head on. The first week was a training week….
Day 1 and 2 went well, pretty uneventful mostly the history of the company and product information, I am good at the detail and I could see myself doing this, but when day 3 arrived I hit my first hurdle it was the day we were taught “the script” , how could I be expected to phone people offering them a product and when they said no thank you, I needed to convince them that they really needed it, even if their objection was I cannot afford it. I am not a pushy person by nature and didn’t agree with this at all. We all know those calls where tele-sales people call, and call and try to sell you something you neither want nor need. The trainers had no sympathy or compassion to what the “potential costumers “ on the other end were actually saying to them, they just wanted to make a sale regardless. That was the day that I knew I could cross tele-sales off my list of potential careers. I was stuck once again with the voice in my head telling me I was a quitter, and I took that criticism hard.
Over the last few days I had been sitting outside talking to all the new trainees, finding out what they were doing before this, where they were from etc, a few ideas came to me. Most of them had a common thread, they were from customer service backgrounds, and had either lost there jobs or been retrenched and had been looking for months for other work, but were getting nowhere with the recruitment agents, who didn’t even call back once they had met with them.
We were a group of “undesirables” and for the most part had no drive to succeed, were negative about pretty much everything, 50% didn’t even come back to work on day 3. I was not a quitter and I felt that since owing my own business before I didn’t know if I could work for someone else again. I decided then and there, that I was great at Administration, attention to detail, helping others succeed, listening and problem solving.
I went home gave my coach a call and discussed the idea I had, with her. Starting a support business to assist other small to medium sized business take care of the parts of their businesses that they weren’t passionate about. Start-ups especially sole proprietors have amazing ideas, as an example here lets call it Flowers. They are passionate about flowers, they love the texture, colours, scents, they love arranging flowers, and so they open a flower shop. What they don’t take into account with that beautiful dream of a flower shop, is that is comprises of more aspects than just flowers. The day to day running, logistics, administration, advertising, and on and on. So eventually their business sadly fails even though it was their passion.
Coming from a customer service, administration background previously of supporting the “ideas” people from Managing Directors in Big Corporates to CEO’s and everyone else in between, where the flow of communication between everyone worked because there was a little lubricant, Me would be a great service to offer. What if I offered a service where I helped people focus on their passion and took away all the other little details that they had overlooked or had no passion to do. The administrative side of things. I knew I was very capable of doing the work, I was confident that I could get this type of business off the ground.
That evening adrenalin was pumping through my body, I registered a domain name, I decided on a business name, I did a lot of research, I designed a logo and I created a marketing email to send out to my entire friends list and sent that off to my Coach.
Bright and Early the next day I got the feedback I needed, which just fuelled my Drive to make this succeed, I knew I was onto a winning formula. I felt motivated and inspired.
I emailed everyone I knew to introduce my new venture called Cyber PA. Day one I got my first client and a lot of positive responses from people curious, interested and supportive.
Cyber PA has been running successfully for a year now, and been growing from strength to strength. What started as me and an idea has developed into a small, hard-working team of Virtual assistants, who specialize in getting you organized. Whether it be general administrative work you require, Social Media Management, CRM systems, website maintenance, Event co-ordination or help with your to-do list. We offer clients the full package, no task is too big or small and if I don’t have the expertise to handle whatever it is that you need, I will find someone who can. I have worked with a variety of businesses varying from Solopreneurs' to Corporate Clients. Although our clients have ranged in size, our niche market is helping small and medium sized clients deal with everyday administration tasks, that they just don't have the time and passion for. And the best part for me was that clients could be anywhere in the world.
The biggest lesson I have learnt from this adventure from the start, is that there will always be situations where you are set up to fail, but it is how you deal with those situations and soldier through, and try to keep your head held high and of course your attitude. Every single one of us has our good days and bad days, It makes a difference how we let each of those days affect our lives that counts and how we chose to view those situations. Even when things seem at there worst belief in yourself, never giving up and a positive outlook will help every time. There is always a lesson to be learnt from the negative experiences we go through we just need to keep looking for the gift it will bring, albeit eventually.