When I decided to launch PA Polly, I thought I had all the skills I needed to be a Virtual Assistant. I had spent over 2 decades supporting very important people, do very important things. How wrong I was! What I had not anticipated was the stupidly steep learning curve I would have to undertake to simply launch my business. Having always worked for someone else, support was always available. If I had IT issues, I could call the helpdesk. If I needed marketing material, there was a team for that too. There was always someone, somewhere to help.
Being a lone freelancer it is not quite that straightforward. You are answerable to absolutely everything your business says and does. It’s you and you alone who is responsible for the success of your business and that can be quite scary. If you don’t know how to do something, you have to put on your “big girl” pants, figure it out and just bloody well get on with it. As an Executive Assistant, it’s in my nature to ensure everything is done by the book. I can’t afford to be fined for non-compliance to GDPR or be sued for copyright beaches for using someone else’s image on my website. Before PA Polly I had no clue about any of these things.
The Learning Curve
There have been parts of the learning curve that have been very challenging. I’ve had technical issues that have made me want to throw my laptop into River Lea and trawling through contracts is a sure-fire way to send me to sleep. Legal stuff terrifies me and networking is completely out of my comfort zone. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve spent far too much time on things I shouldn’t have done. Does anyone really care if I have the “perfect” shade of coral for my logo?.
Other parts of the process I have loved. I am quite creative, so designing my business cards and deciding on a theme for my website was a lot of fun. I’ve reignited my passion for writing and found writing this blog the perfect way to refocus when things go a bit wonky. The little wins are exhilarating. Watching the click stats go up on my website and improving my SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) so my grinning face appears on Google when you type in “PA Polly”, are moments I’ll never forget.
I have learnt so much setting up my business. Not only has it given me new skills, but it’s also given me a better understanding of my clients. If it’s important to them to have “Monotype Corsiva” font on their newsletter, it’s important to me. I understand now why these things matter. So, all the stress, disappointments and frustrations have been worth it. It’s made me a better Assistant than I was before. I can use everything I have learnt (and am still learning) to improve my services.