Inclusive Learning (Lancs) Ltd – Eleanor Hick
I knew Eleanor during my employment at Lancashire County Council. Her main role as School SEN Adviser was supported by other admin staff, but she was often linked with Literacy and Numeracy projects handled in my admin team. Eleanor established her own independent teaching and learning consultancy at a similar time to me setting up AdminAnywhere.
I began to support Eleanor in the summer of 2013, as her business was starting to gather momentum and she planned further development to extend her training courses beyond the initial boundaries of Lancashire. So she needed someone to manage all the course administration. With my extensive background and knowledge of working with schools and experience in organising training courses, AdminAnywhere was the perfect solution for Eleanor's business.
Initially I set up a booking system, and created a contacts list for all the primary schools across Lancashire and Cumbria. Then I set about to design and create templates for the business documentation that she would need.
Eleanor didn't have a website at that stage, so I created one for her (I'm far from being a website designer and would not generally include that in the services I offer). What started as a small site to introduce her business has developed into a one-stop resource for the Special Educational Needs teachers she supports. Having full administrative rights and management of the site is a key to its success, keeping it accessible to maintain and update with all the regular new information that Eleanor wishes to share.
I continue to support Eleanor, creating all the documentation for each course, I despatch the fliers to advertise them and all the associated documentation and communication to see the courses from inception to delivery, and the invoicing that follows. I handle all the bookings and enquiries as they arrive each day, along with other admin support as required; often without input from Eleanor as I know the schedules and I know what needs doing. Eleanor trusts me to handle the work. It must appear like there is full time office support for her business, but Eleanor is only charged for the time I have spent on her work each month, which on average actually equates to approximately around 4-5 hours a week.
I also produce her newsletters and continue to develop and maintain her website, so Eleanor's time is freed from admin pressures so she can focus on the training, course development, one-to-one support she provides to some schools; and her writing too.
"The support and service I have had from AdminAnywhere has been fantastic an enables me to focus on my core business, knowing the admin side is being taken care of. Julia offers a professional, efficient, reliable and cost effective service that I would recommend to anyone."
A teacher left this testimonial on a recent course evaluation: "Excellent admin service: reply straight away to queries" (AB, Sacred Heart Primary)
In August 2016 I was approached by a local journalist with an enquiry as to whether I typed up manuscripts. It's a strange fact that copy typing is one of those jobs that doesn't come along very often, despite it being the key thing that most people think a VA only does.
Typing up a hand-written book?
Yes, I was most definitely interested; but just how big was the task and for who?
I was introduced to the author. A local, retired gentleman, a fitness industry pioneer with a long business background in my home town; who had already written a few books. I 'Googled' him like I do before meeting all my prospective clients. This looked like a very interesting assignment indeed. We arranged to meet for a chat in a local coffee shop. At this stage Ken had written a couple of chapters of his latest book on the theme of keeping fit into old age. Ken handwrites his manuscripts and his wife had been the typist for previous books, but it was now time to get some younger hands to handle the task.
So off we set to produce the latest book. Ken continued to write and drip fed his work chapter by chapter over the following 8 months. It was more than just copy typing: I punctuated, I spell checked the names of the numerous people and places that he introduced and of the memories he relayed, I advised. But moreso it wasn't just typing; it was an interesting read. He assigned a proof-reader to check and edit, we needed a skilled professional to get it ready for publication; but it was me who assembled the final submission along with photos of many characters who feature in the book.
Over 80,000 words across 325 pages. It went off for self publication at the end of May 2017.
The book: "We're Going to Live Forever: The Secrets to Eternal Youth" is released on Tuesday 5th September, with a book launch event scheduled at Bolton Central Library. To say that I'm looking forward to this is an understatement. I'm exceptionally proud to have helped. I can't wait to see the printed copy, which even has my name in the acknowledgments, and to meet the people who's stories I've read as I've typed. All fit, healthy people enjoying their golden years. Maybe Ken and his friends have discovered the Secret.
Watch this space. Maybe Ken has another book up his sleeve. He's definitely not slowing down.
"Writing a book is a slog! It takes time, exhausting effort and also demands an enormous amount of concentration. It is also immensely important that you have someone who looks for the other perspectives. Julia Page fulfilled all of these; she typed, proofed and helped steer my book to its 325 page conclusion. It was not an easy thing to do considering she did not know my subject. Just like writing the book Julia demonstrated a skill of her own. Julia is not just an administrator, she understands the fundamentals of support and I would have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone who needs more than administration."
Fitness Industry Pioneer, Writer, Businessman. 82 Years Old
Ania Pankiewicz Photography
This summer (2017) I launched a new service called: Holiday Email Minding. I noticed how many people go away on holiday and either take the business with them or return to a hefty inbox. We all know that with smart phones and tablets there's no 9-5 but if you're having a holiday, then have a holiday!
And what is it about 'Out of Office' autoresponders? Don't you just hate them? Do they really inspire you to re-contact after the return date or would you automatically go somewhere else?
Anyway, I digress....
Ania is a very talented photographer (she took my current profile photos), she had planned a long summer family vacation so asked me to look after her emails and enquiries while she was away. I was given access to her emails via her webmail, so I checked the inbox 2-3 times each day and responded to enquiries, sending out her price lists and information sheets, and informed the people who did need to know that she was away on holiday appropriately according to their email. I also liased with the enquirers and booked several appointments into the diary for her return. Some enquiries needed a little input from Ania, and a quick text message was all that was needed, and caused very little interuption on Ania's holiday.
I also deleted a huge amount of spam: there was a huge onslaught of malware type spam which would have overloaded her inbox, as well as all those offers for SEO and design services that we all get. She was able to have a perfect family holiday without the worry about the business or losing potential customers. And also had a less daunting first day back at work.
See you next holiday time Ania :)
"Julia has been looking after my emails and other administrative needs of my busy photography studio during the holidays time. I am so pleased with all her help and would highly recommend her to anyone in the need of office support. Having Julia gave me the extra peace of mind knowing that all enquiries were dealt with in an efficient and professional manner. I could also rest assured and that I was contacted immediately in case of an important assignment or an emergency without the hassle of having to check on everything daily while being away. Finally it meant that I came back to bookings made by her during my absence. Julia is worth her weight in gold and I will be surely using her services in the future! Thank you!"
For anyone seeking new profile and business photos, family photos, wedding photography, actor portfolios etc in the Bolton and Greater Manchester area, please contact Ania:
I was approached by Cath, the owner of an independent beauty spa attached to a local hotel; a popular business providing hair and beauty treatments and spa day experiences. Being a very busy business, the salon's CRM system had run out of control as everyone had had a hand in entering client data, when no-one really had the time to look after the job properly. Cath was getting frustrated that marketing emails were bouncing back and address labels for printed literature were untidy which reflected badly on the image of the salon.
I was brought in to tidy it up and declutter it from all the duplications. There were over 2000 records in the system so the job was going to take time to work on. The filing of the paper records had also got out of hand and they needed to be stored for several years for insurance purposes.
My initial task was to alphabetise the paper records and re-file them. They needed to be checked against the digital record in the CRM system, so much better to be in alphabetical order to start with. That was a lot of paper to put into order!
The salon CRM system is a live system that is used to book clients in for appointments, and it was not suitable for me to work on the system during salon opening times, and it was not suitable for me to handle the work on-site in the salon for a number of reasons (space and image in particular). Fortunately the owner/manager already had remote access set up for the CRM so she can access the system off site, so access was added for me to get in to the system from the AdminAnywhere office. So, I handled the work on the CRM over a number of weeks, on Monday's when the salon is closed.
A few weeks later I presented a much tidier CRM with complete addresses including postcodes, and potentially better functioning email addresses (sometimes you just can't decipher handwriting when it comes to email addresses, but you can often see straight away if something is wrong in the structure; for example with gmails they're always @gmail.com and not .co.uk).
I can't recall how many duplicated records were merged or deleted, there were too many; and most of the query records were reconciled.
I handed back 6 lever arch folders, neatly labelled, with the paper records pristinely filed with everyone from Able to Zac; and a database that the manager was eager to utilise for a new marketing newsletter. A CRM that she was certain she wasn't going to allow to get into such a state again.
It's now a simple task of adding the new customer records and keeping my eye out for new duplications. So I continue to visit the salon each month to collect the new paper records, input them back at AdminAnywhere base, and return them the month after, to file and repeat the process again. It can just be a couple of hours each month, but that fits in perfectly around other support handled by AdminAnywhere. I'm also on call to support Cath with other bits of admin work and occasional proofreading for Carriages.
My database is essential to Carriages and the key to our business growth. I can now use it to keep in contact with my customers, and send out newsletters and details of special offers. Emails don't bounce back as much now and we can find customers when they return for new appointments. And, I don't even have to worry about the filing as Julia even files the paper records when she comes to see us each month. Everyone needs a Julia!
Cath Harrop, Carriages Hair & Beauty
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