Self-Starter Stories: From working as an Executive Assistant to becoming a virtual assistant
This week's #selfstarterstory features Raakhee Stratton, a Virtual Assistant based in Ashford, Kent.
'I am a professional Virtual Assistant support based in Ashford, Kent offering a range of administrative and secretarial services to help with the smooth running of your business.
I can help with diary / email management, website management, social media profile maintenance, letter creation, mail merge, filing, newsletter creation and much more.'
#PickYourselfUK caught up with Raakhee to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
What was your last job?: Before I became self-employed, I worked as an Executive Assistant for a publishing house in London.
Looking back, what lead you to be where you are today?: I would say it was determination and self-belief.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: At this stage, it was networking. I have always been a 'behind the scenes' person so putting myself out there was a huge hurdle.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: One thing I've learned since being self-employed is that it's important to take opportunities yourself, I'm not one for waiting..
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: As a Virtual PA, I currently do everything myself, I don't outsource any of my work.
What is your productivity secret?: I use my Google calendar A LOT, I schedule everything so I don't have to worry about forgetting anything.
How do you market your business?: I find that networking works best for me, so much business is done via email/text and I like having a face-to-face conversation. I also carry business cards with me wherever I go.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: My first paying customer was my best friend's sister. She was launching a business and needed some help with her Facebook page
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: I post on my FB page everyday and regularly post links to my blogs. I also participate in guest blogs, which have worked well.
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: I would say research as much as possible. I spent a year researching my business before I launched and it was a year spent well. Also have self-belief. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: It would have to be Lord Sugar, I love his no nonsense approach and says it like it is. I really admire people who started from nothing and built up their businesses with passion and determination.
Raakhee Stratton has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2017. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.