Back when I worked full time in the ‘real world’ I was on an extremely good income, in a great job with an awesome boss and worked with a fabulous team of people, some of which are still very good friends to this day.
My next reaction to the question was, ‘why wouldn’t I love what I do? I get to work from home!’
Yes, of course, working from home is probably everyone’s dream. And yes, of course, being your own boss is great. On the other hand, the days can be pretty lonely when it’s just you by yourself and on those days when you don’t have a client meeting or aren’t out doing a spot of networking, you might even find that your standard of dress – aka ‘house clothes’ – has begun to slip somewhat!
Working for yourself might sound like the best thing since sliced bread. Working for yourself means don’t have a boss to answer to. It also means you will probably work harder and massively longer hours than you’ve ever done in your life. It will probably mean you will never ‘switch off’ during non-business hours, as you’ll always be thinking about strategies, growth, clients, the next project, taxes, computer issues and so on! It can also be difficult not to take things personally if a potential client rejects a product or service that you’re offering. And you will probably earn way less than you ever did when you worked in the ‘real world’ and most of the money you do make will most likely go straight back into the business.
By this time, I was seriously contemplating the original question. Why do I love doing what I do, so much?
When it comes down to it, for me, the answer is actually very simple.
When I first launched My Virtual Assistant, my budget was a mere shoestring. I knew I had to get my name out there so potential clients would know I exist. Social media was around, but not hugely popular yet, magazine and newspaper advertising was expensive, a listing in the Yellow Pages was in slow decline and fast becoming a thing of the past, and attending networking meetings was very new for me and very nerve wracking.
I knew that the first thing I needed to do was get an online presence because, no matter who you are in business, small and new or large and successful, if you don’t have a website then how are people going to find you and find out about you.
As I’ve mentioned, my budget was next to nothing and prices on offer by website designers were an arm and a leg, which I didn’t have spare.
So, there was only one thing left to do. My creative abilities have always been pretty good and I’ve always loved working on computers (extending right back to my travel industry days and working with DOS!) and after some much appreciated support and guidance from a guy in the IT department at my last job, I set about building my first-ever website.
It was tough going. Even though I eventually managed to get all the content on the site, nothing lined up and it really didn’t turn out how I envisaged, but I never gave up.
After a few months of working hard and figuring things out, I finally got my brand-new website looking more acceptable and reflecting me and my business in such a way that I actually wasn’t embarrassed to tell people to ‘check out my website.’
So why do I love doing what I do, or to put it another way, why do I enjoy creating websites which are far more affordable than the ‘average’ website designer prices? After all, if my prices were on par with other website designers, then I’d surely make more money!
Well, after having first-hand experience in setting up my own business, something I’d never done before, without any guidance or mentoring whatsoever, (but with a decent amount of branding and marketing knowledge – thanks to the jobs I’d held), I honestly understand what it’s like when you are ‘new’ in business… it’s scary!
For this very reason, I really don’t believe that it’s necessary for business owners to pay crazy money for a user friendly, easy to navigate, good looking, professional, modern website.
And let’s face it, it’s rare for most start-up businesses to have the funds to spend on websites that cost thousands of dollars.
Over the years I’ve built a large number of websites for a wide variety of businesses, some of those clients have chosen to move on and get a fully customised website built. It’s not that the website I built for them wasn’t any good, quite the opposite. They came to me when they were starting out in business and needed help getting their name out there. The website I built served them for a good number of years (at least five years or more) and during that time their business became established and grew to a point where it became necessary for them to spend a few thousand dollars to get a fully customised, purpose-built website. I have absolutely no problem with this. In fact, I am proud to know that I was there at the start of their business journey, and available to help them get established, find their target audience and refine their products or services, while enabling them to gain enough business momentum to get into a position where they had money to spend on growing and expanding their business.
I love doing what I do because I know what it’s like to start out in business, I know what it’s like to try and get your name out there when you’re on a shoestring budget, and you have barely any clients because you’ve only just started out.
I do what I do because I choose to make it easy for you, as a new business owner or as a business owner that doesn’t have access to a team of in-house. I work hard to create a website that showcases your business in the best way possible, making sure it focuses on your customers wants and needs.
I strongly believe that you, as a new business owner, can have all of this without having to break into the piggybank to try and find money you possible don’t have.
And that’s why I love doing what I do, so much.
Marion Jackson is an accomplished Executive Assistant who has identified a gap in the local New Zealand market for providing affordable websites and business support.