My experience comes from what I have done in the past
Member blog feature : Samantha Stapelberg
If I look back at my work experience I think I could’ve covered every aspect of becoming an experienced Virtual Assistant however I can’t say I have a certain amount of years experience as a VA, or can I ?
In my career I don’t think I have done the same job twice as each job has been a new experience and learning the hard way. Each job I have had I have taken valuable lessons on how to do something else so perhaps I can say I am a Jack of all trades.
Leaving school I didn’t know which way to go so I did a bookkeeping diploma and with this started working for a small export company who sent trucks to Zambia each week filled with whatever you could possibly imagine, from tiles to pool tables for the local shop. The owner did his books in the old big brown book and because computers weren’t trusted I would have to do both manual and then enter everything into pastel to make sure everything adds up. Also learnt how to complete all documents needed for export.
Then moved to an engineering company where I was reception / bookkeeper / administrator and once again learnt how the engineering companies worked and being a small company do everything needed as I was the only admin person employed.
After this I went to a company who sold retail tutorials for Microsoft office and Britannica on CD as google wasn’t really around all those years ago. I then became the receptionist / bookkeeper / administrator and did all weekly orders for the retail chains which has deadlines and you miss them and the company has to pay penalties. Accuracy was key !
I was then headhunted to join IT distribution and I was Tech support which involved me managing technicians to log calls and go on site and not miss flights if travel was involved. The other part was back up stock where I was on standby 24/7 and if I switch or router failed I would need to get the stock to the customer within 4 hours which was critical without saying. IT Distribution became my home and I moved into internal sales and then account manager and then finally into management. Sink or swim has been a daily occurance and being a manager was on another level of learning how to do budgets, what EBIDA was all about and then dealing with problems every day and most important growing your team to excel in their careers so you can look back to see what they become. I also had to assist opening branches across Africa and managing staff in those branches which isn’t easy I can assure you.
When I needed a new challenge, I joined a smaller distributor growing the market in SADC as I had all the right connections and my network was fairly big. I worked from home as the offices were not based in JHB and my travels continued. I was always managing my admin, emails, meetings, travel and even event planning for training and launch events. I have definitely done it all.
I then worked for a vendor and everything I learnt was put one side as this was a whole new world but exciting to say the least. Once my contract ended I found myself thinking what my next step would be, go back to distribution or take a leap of faith and do what I do best which is managing admin and assisting others in their business.
So with my history I ask once again when someone says how much experience do you have as a VA, then what can I say as I have no experience in my start up business but years of knowledge that gives me a little more know how than being a VA for so many years
For further information on Samantha and her Virtual Assistant business please visit our members page.