Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

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Barbara Gabogrecan
President

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Kathie Thomas » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:29 pm

Hello Marsha and everyone. I've been watching this thread with interest.

For those who don't know me, I am a Virtual Assistant and have been very active in growing the industry here in Australia since the mid 90s. However, it's really only in the past 5 years or so that "Virtual Assistant" or "VA" has become an every day term used in business here in Australia. But don't get me wrong, I've had clients since 1994 (when I first began my business) and some of those clients have been with me for 10 years and more. They've written about and spoken of having a VA for quite a long time.

I run my business from home and began as a home-based secretary after having had 20+ years in the corporate world. I left the corporate world so I could be home full time for my growing family of 5 daughters late 1993. My business has definitely been full time during that time and still is. But I do set aside more hours for myself these days than I did in those days. I would work 7 days a week to meet the client's needs and to ensure that I delivered the work on time. So this would mean sometimes I was working evenings or on weekends. These days I have set hours for my clients and prefer to work Mondays - Thursdays doing client work and then Fridays I do my own admin and other things. I get to enjoy my weekends mostly but still spend time participating in forums, writing blog posts and doing research - just not client time.

During those years as my business was growing and developing I did feel the need to have support in my own office. Even a VA needs support! When my daughters were in their teens, three of them decided they wanted to work for me (not all at the same time) and I paid them a good hourly rate in those days. $15 an hour. And I did fill out the relevant tax forms for them (they were aged 15 and higher) and paid tax accordingly. They did things for me such as data entry (my own database, not my clients'), filing, shredding, research on the web for me, reading through things and checking for errors and so on. They were really useful. Once they left school and got jobs of their own, I engaged other teenagers in the area, usually through work experience programs in their schools. The school would send out a teacher (usually the careers teacher) to check on my office and set up, to ensure their students would be safe and I was very happy to put several students through work experience over a number of years. Some of those I continued to engage part-time after the work experience had finished. I also engaged two women (at separate times) who wanted to return to the workforce and needed to build up their skills. One of them I put through the traineeship program the govt had at the time so received funding towards their education to return them to the workforce.

Apart from servicing clients of my own, I also run a Virtual Assistant network that has members all over Australia and in several other countries too. The network has been in operation since April 1996. I also provide VA training for those who want to become a VA, as well as speak at conferences and events about women working at home.

While some of my team are mothers with young children as outlined by Marsha above, the majority of my team are mainly women (we have some men too) who have decided for various reasons to work from home, not because of family needs but because they wanted to leave the general workforce. Some of these women are single, some are mature aged with no children at home, some are caring for elderly parents, there are many reasons why they have chosen to work from home. So they aren't just working during school hours or evenings but are actually working through normal working hours. All are well educated but not all have English as their native language, however all are professional in their approach in what they do. While some will come onsite to a client's premises to do filing or data entry, or take minutes of meetings for a group, the majority choose to stay in their own offices to work. And Peter, bookkeeping is easily done by many who are qualified to do this without having to have your original paperwork. Some might pick up the paperwork from their clients but if their clients are distant, this isn't possible. They work with scans of documentation and usually they will have a copy of the same software that the client is using. In some cases the client isn't computer savvy so the VA manages their program for them. Dropbox is a wonderful tool that we use to share and update files and receive paperwork that is private between the VA and client. And many of the VAs do work with confidentiality agreements.

So, I hope the above shows you how I've worked with recruiting in today's environment and also how VAs can be beneficial to all small businesses out there. As mentioned, you're only paying $$ per hour for the work carried out, you don't have to have office furniture, hardware, software or other equipment to pay out for, nor sick leave, holiday leave or taxes. It really does make sense to outsource work that you're not qualified/equipped to do, so that you can get on with managing your business and earning an income you deserve.
Kathie Thomas
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 2:20 pm
Location: Selby, Victoria

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Kathie Thomas » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:41 pm

Peter O'Connor wrote:I'm all in favour of VA's, but there is a limit to what they can do. For instance, if I want a VA to do my bookkeeping, it means that I have to send my original documents through the mail, which is risky. Also, does the VA have to purchase the accounting software I use? That is a big ask in anyone's language.

Barbara has hit on a good point about having people work in your home. There has to be a great deal of trust. How do you check up on people before you allow them in your home? It is a risk that all home based businesses must take unless there is a better way out there that we don't know about.

Looking forward to your comments.

Peter


Peter, just adding to this. Those VAs here in Australia who provide bookkeeping need to be registered as qualified bookkeepers. So this means they would already own the software for the services they're providing. They wouldn't have to buy it specifically to do the work for you. They would also have confidentiality agreements available. I recommend you only engage those who are registered to provide that service. Through my network all members have to meet criteria to join. And then there's the Australian Association of Bookkeepers http://www.aapb.org.au.

Because of the need to understand GST and what's required, plus payroll if you have that need, it's important that you get someone who has that knowledge. Once upon a time anyone could do data entry for bookkeeping here but I wouldn't recommend it now. I used to do it quite sometime ago but the needs for GST and BAS got complicated and I wasn't prepared to go do the course to get qualified so happily dropped that from my own service offerings.

Generally the bookkeepers do liaise with the accountants on behalf of the client as well.
Kathie M. Thomas, AFAIOP, MVA, ASO, Author, Speaker, VA Coach
"A Clayton's Secretary"®, Award-winning Virtual Assistant Services and Network, Est. 1994
Web: http://www.vadirectory.net
VA blog : http://www.vadirectory.net/acsblog/
VA Training: http://www.vatrainer.com
Kathie Thomas
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 2:20 pm
Location: Selby, Victoria

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Kathie Thomas » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:53 pm

Marsha Byron wrote:Welcome to Day 4 from 1st Choice Appointments. I do hope you are finding some of the information of use.-If you would like to know more just give me a call.

We have spoken about Virtual Assistants from the Philippines. I expect you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned any from within Australia, because they are, I believe in different categories, therefore I am writing about them separately.

I call them ‘Home and Away’ Virtual Assistant’s.


Marsha, you talk about 'staff'. Staff to me means that you're employing someone, as opposed to engaging the services of a service supplier. I think it's really important that people understand that Virtual Assistants are NOT employees, i.e. not staff. They are service providers. A true Virtual Assistant is a self-employed business owner/operator and unfortunately so many people are being informed otherwise, and this is not true. It makes it confusing for people when 'staff', 'employees' and 'Virtual Assistants' are all mentioned in the same vein.

You also mentioned above about watching the 'VAs' in the Philippines. I can tell you that no VA I know would want a client watching over them and watching every move they make. The idea about engaging a VA is so that clients are free to get on with their business and not worry about their admin needs. So if there's the need to have to watch over someone then you truly aren't free to get on with other things in your business.

Perhaps I'm wrongly misinterpreting what you're saying above, but felt the need to clarify on this matter as I spend a lot of time fixing up misconceptions about our industry. The 'virtual workers' in many of the Asian countries are just that 'virtual workers' and are not 'Virtual Assistants' (which might explain why they need to be watched or supervised). How they operate is very different to the Virtual Assistant industry but unfortunately many people use the same term for them and for us as well. No wonder prospective clients get confused about how it all works.

With my own clients I report on a weekly basis (as well as respond to email enquiries) if they need to check on something. Generally they give me the instructions on what they want and I carry them out. They engage my services because I have the skills and experience to do what they want done.
Kathie M. Thomas, AFAIOP, MVA, ASO, Author, Speaker, VA Coach
"A Clayton's Secretary"®, Award-winning Virtual Assistant Services and Network, Est. 1994
Web: http://www.vadirectory.net
VA blog : http://www.vadirectory.net/acsblog/
VA Training: http://www.vatrainer.com
Kathie Thomas
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 2:20 pm
Location: Selby, Victoria

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Barbara Gabogrecan » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:21 pm

Kathie, what a fantastic addition to the already great information that Marsha is sharing. Anyone interested in this topic are so lucky to gather so much relevant and helpful information from now two experts! Thank you both, I am impressed.
Barb
Barbara Gabogrecan assists HBB's to market their business online
http://www.HomeBasedBusinessAustralia.org

Barbara is an artist specialising in silk painting; her video is on page one of You Tube http://youtu.be/1ZA9HObN_Go
http://www.SilkPaintingByGabogrecan.com/

Having survived a stroke and a brain tumour, Barbara wrote a book titled 'Thank God I Had a Stroke' to motivate and inspire others suffering from similar afflictions.
http://GabogrecanStrokeRecovery.com/
Barbara Gabogrecan
 
Posts: 341
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 12:57 pm

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Marsha Byron » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:48 pm

I hope you are all having a great Sunday or have had a great Sunday.

I missed doing my post yesterday, I apologise to all of you, I was flat out, actually doing website work for my other business and my office phone rang. As it was a Saturday I am not ususally at my desk and never answer calls on that line because the call is usually from you know where and from you know who and about you know what.

Well I did answer and guess what? It was from a new candidate/job hunter, who had been recommended to me by her next door neighbour. I had given him my card absolutely months ago at the RSL Club, he had rather too much to drink and just kept chatting as they do. I told him I was in recruitment and he said I have a neighbour, you would really like her, and she is looking for work. Oh goody I said, here's my card. Well apparantly he gave it to her and she promptly lost it, six months ago.

Well she found it in her garage the other day, so decided she would ring me. She seems a very nice lady, lots of good experience including National HR Manger for an International Company for serveral years and everything that goes with being in that position. Since she was retrenched from that position, she has done several contracts for the government in the HR arena and her last one finished 8 months ago. She said to me she didnt want to stop working, she is in the older age group, but as I was talking about the other day, people like her have got so much to give and offer a business, but they tell her she is over qualified.

I am going to meet her for coffee next week and hopefully I will be able to find her a useful job, she doesnt even care about earning a huge salary, or a top level job, she just wants a job. If anyone has a job for this lady, or knows of anyone, she is in the Moorabbin, Cheltenham, Braeside, Dingley area, please give me a heads up.

Marsha Byron
1st Choice Appointments
Marsha Byron
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:31 am

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Barbara Gabogrecan » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:41 am

It just goes to show the importance of having your business card with you at all times - networking can occur in places that you do not expect. The contact who is 'over qualified' - I hear that so much. As these people have so many skills, do you ever suggest to them to commence their own business rather than try to get a job? Obviously she has been tring for a long time as it was six months ago that she was given your card and no doubt, had been looking for a job before then.

I know it is not always easy to start a business. People are afraid they may not know how and do not fully understand the things that can go wrong, but it is surely better than the heartbreak of trying and tying to get a job and being turned away. At least, if you do not succeed in your own business, you have been doing something constructiuve and there are a lot of positive things to feel good about.

I started offering business support (after I had developed a very successful business myself) when I was mentoring for the Government NEIS program. It did not take me long to realise that those wanting to commence a business needed a lot of practical guidance and so began 17 years of me supporting both start ups and struggling businesses. Home Based Business Australia commenced 4 years after I began work with NEIS and though it has its limitations, I am proud to say that I have helped many people start a successful business when they could not get a job.
Barb
Barbara Gabogrecan assists HBB's to market their business online
http://www.HomeBasedBusinessAustralia.org

Barbara is an artist specialising in silk painting; her video is on page one of You Tube http://youtu.be/1ZA9HObN_Go
http://www.SilkPaintingByGabogrecan.com/

Having survived a stroke and a brain tumour, Barbara wrote a book titled 'Thank God I Had a Stroke' to motivate and inspire others suffering from similar afflictions.
http://GabogrecanStrokeRecovery.com/
Barbara Gabogrecan
 
Posts: 341
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 12:57 pm

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Marsha Byron » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:00 pm

Hi Kathy, As Barb said in her comments you have just about covered all areas of a VA so there isnt really much more for me to say on the subject. However their are a couple of points I will make, Firstly regarding using the wording staff. Yes they are your VA staff whilst they are working on you business and therefore it is important to have regualar skype meetings with them so you are all on the same page and it make them feel they are part of something. Obviously I am talking about a certain type of VA - who might be working on a project. Not a telemarketer or dataentry VA.

Secondly I am not suggesting we spy on our staff from overseas, minute by minute, I didnt set this up my affiliation company did when they started years ago. You must remember people in the Philipinnes work completely differently to us and they dont mind give minute by minute reports or being spied on as you suggested.

Horses for courses, its not for us in the Western world culture but Eastern culture is very different.

You have done well and build up a terrific business and reputation. Well done
Marsha Byron
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:31 am

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Marsha Byron » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:09 pm

Hi Barb, yes always have your business card on you, its amazing what it brings back to you.
Marsha Byron
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:31 am

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Marsha Byron » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:24 pm

This morning I did a skype interview with a candidate I met on linkedin, who has been overlooked for many jobs because he is too old (47) or too qualified (yes he has great qualifications and still doing more courses with AIM and other organisations). He came to me off linked because he said he liked the way I handled myself, he is pretty fed up with agencies in general.

He has been to many companies under a variety of job headings, including, change management, team manager, strategic planner, administation manager, stakehold relations, office manager and yes he can do everyone of these jobs well and effectively.

I did suggest to him that he should work for himself, as he has so much to offer in the way of social media, the new way to do business, that old business needs to embrace. In his words, "how businesses should involve all their staff, including the receptionist if they want their business to move forward from a social media position".

His response re working for himself was that he has spoken to two businesses, where he has seen the need for change and has told them he can help them grow their business and take it to the next level, and the answer is we're alright for now, or we dont want to spend the money at the moment.

I suggested he went the social medial way, the way he would take his clients, via social media, not cold calling, and al least try until he lands his ideal job then he will know which way he wants to go.

So thats been my morning. I hope you have all had a productive one.

Marsha Byron
1st Choice Appointments
Marsha Byron
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:31 am

Re: Welcome Marsha Byron 'Recruitment in Today’s Environment'

Postby Barbara Gabogrecan » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:45 am

You hit on an important point here Marsha. One should not commence a business based on cold calling. One has to clearly set out their business plan (what they want to achieve and how they plan to do it) then establish themselves as experts and be pregared to give something away for free to help build the trust (especially if they are to market themselves online).

The guy you spoke to seems to me to still be searching for a job (rather than build a business) by suggesting to people that he can help them grow their business. I am sure many people could help me grow my business, but I need to trust them and see that they not only have an understanding of my type of business, but that they have the expertise I need at a price I can afford.

Thanks Marsha for sharing your stories with us. It has been a great week.
Cheers
Barb
Barbara Gabogrecan assists HBB's to market their business online
http://www.HomeBasedBusinessAustralia.org

Barbara is an artist specialising in silk painting; her video is on page one of You Tube http://youtu.be/1ZA9HObN_Go
http://www.SilkPaintingByGabogrecan.com/

Having survived a stroke and a brain tumour, Barbara wrote a book titled 'Thank God I Had a Stroke' to motivate and inspire others suffering from similar afflictions.
http://GabogrecanStrokeRecovery.com/
Barbara Gabogrecan
 
Posts: 341
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 12:57 pm

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