About Vee Smith

Who am I?

In brief:

  • I am a wiz at tech
  • I am open, honest and hands on
  • I am born and bred in London and live on the outskirts of West London in Egham, Surrey with my two practically-grown-up daughters and my partner, Andy
  • I love simplifying the seemingly complicated
  • I’m half Danish and half Goan, which means I have an all-year tan, speak a bit of Danish and love eating pork and Anton Berg marzipan
  • I believe streamlined processes and procedures are the key to a successful business
  • Occasionally I tread the boards for my local theatre society
  • I love tech and figuring out how best it can help me and my clients
  • I’m an Authorised Local Expert for Constant Contact
  • I’m also trained in Facebook Ads

Who am I?

In brief:

  • I am a wiz at tech
  • I am open, honest and hands on
  • I am born and bred in London and live on the outskirts of West London in Egham, Surrey with my two practically-grown-up daughters and my partner, Andy
  • I love simplifying the seemingly complicated
  • I’m half Danish and half Goan, which means I have an all-year tan, speak a bit of Danish and love eating pork and Anton Berg marzipan
  • I believe streamlined processes and procedures are the key to a successful business
  • Occasionally I tread the boards for my local theatre society
  • I love tech and figuring out how best it can help me and my clients
  • I’m an Authorised Local Expert for Constant Contact
  • I’m also trained in Facebook Ads

My Journey (the long version)

If there is such a thing as an entrepreneurial gene, then I’ve probably got it.

My great grandfather (dad’s side) set up a business mining and supplying manganese ore to steel manufacturers after he retired from serving as a military doctor in the British Indian Army.

My grandfather (on my mum’s side) came from long line of laundry men and with my grandmother set up their commercial laundry soon after they got married.

Today, my uncle owns/runs it and it’s the only independent commercial laundry in mainland Denmark.

My dad is a prolific inventor/design engineer (the skid undercarriage of the Westland Lynx helicopter is his invention, among many others).

He discovered by accident he could make more money running an emergency plumbing business, and that funded his inventing pursuits.

I was doing his book-keeping from the age of 14, so was exposed to business and entrepreneurship quite early on in my life.

My Journey (the long version)

If there is such a thing as an entrepreneurial gene, then I’ve probably got it.

My great grandfather (dad’s side) set up a business mining and supplying manganese ore to steel manufacturers after he retired from serving as a military doctor in the British Indian Army.

My grandfather (on my mum’s side) came from long line of laundry men and with my grandmother set up their commercial laundry soon after they got married.

Today, my uncle owns/runs it and it’s the only independent commercial laundry in mainland Denmark.

My dad is a prolific inventor/design engineer (the skid undercarriage of the Westland Lynx helicopter is his invention, among many others).

He discovered by accident he could make more money running an emergency plumbing business, and that funded his inventing pursuits.

I was doing his book-keeping from the age of 14, so was exposed to business and entrepreneurship quite early on in my life.

Art School Wannabe

I have always been creative and as a child made dolls clothes and furniture from recycled scraps. As a teen I progressed to making my own clothes out of dyed sheets and upcycling old clothes. When finishing high school I wanted to go to art school. However, places were very competitive and I didn’t get a place. So I learned to type and started working for my dad’s business, learning everything about small businesses.

 

My First Business

My parents danced as a hobby and used to compete in ballroom and latin dance competitions all over the UK.

The glitzy dresses were really expensive as they were custom hand-made to order, so to start with, mum bought them second hand from a professional dancer who was about her size.

One day, mum asked me if I could make her one, so I did.

It turned out ok. The next one I made was even better. Before I knew it, I was making glitzy ballroom dance dresses for other dancers as well as my mum and hence my first business was born.

Soon, I expanded my offering and designed and made bespoke wedding dresses. Of course, I made my own wedding dress and bridesmade dresses.

At the same time, dad’s business was taking off, he was finally making some progress selling engine technology to US jet engine maker, Pratt & Witney.

They were promising times and so it seemed like a good time to quit my dress design business and work full-time for my dad where the rewards were very promising.

First Computers

In the late 1980’s computers were starting to come into the office place as standard and the first word processor programme we had was Microsoft Word.

There was no such thing as computer training back then, so I was left to figure out how best to use it.

And that’s when I fell in love with what computers could do!

In my spare time I would learn how to use Word and Excel and apply it the work I was doing. Eventually, I transferred all our invoicing and accounts to the new computer and became really fast and proficient at Word and Excel.

The Recession of the 90’s

The recession in the 90’s hit my dad’s business badly.

The cold war with Russia ended and the US Army no longer needed faster aircraft.

A reshuffle at the company meant that the contact my dad was dealing with was given a golden handshake and the deal for developing dad’s engine fell through.

Because of the deal my dad had neglected the emergency plumbing business, so he could focus on his dream vocation – developing engines. With the added impact of the recession, and no ads in Yellow Pages, business dried up.

By now, I had a mortgage, a husband whose building business was also feeling the impact of the recession and a young baby to look after.

Temping

So, I temped as a secretary.

That’s when I realised that compared to others in the offices I was sent to, I was pretty fast and organised. I was used to turning work round really quickly. So that’s what I did, which meant that I finished what they considered a day’s work in a couple of hours. Which was brilliant because that meant I could busy myself with more tutorials and get really proficient with all the latest features in Word and Excel.

The Boss from Hell

One of my temp jobs was for the Boss from Hell.

He was always stressed, rushing about, curt and cutting with his remarks. Everyone was terrified of him and avoided eye contact.

He was in charge of everything legal for 30 worldwide subsidiaries so he had a huge workload. I set about getting through the work quickly and methodically, using all the systems and shortcuts I had worked out while working for my dad and the various temp jobs.

Within a few weeks of me working for him I was offered a permanent position. The Boss from Hell was gradually transforming. He no longer snapped out commands or responses. Instead of scowling, he would greet you with a smile and ‘good morning’.

To Cake-Buying Boss

The finance director cornered me one day and asked me what I had done to my boss.  I thought I had done something wrong. But he continued, whatever I was doing, to keep it up as he was now a much pleasanter person to work with and be around!

This was when I realised that his personality-change from grumpy to pleasant was down to me putting into place practical systems and processes that supported his busy workload.

In fact, he became a cake-buying boss and would send the chauffeur out to Patiserie Valerie to buy croissants or bring in M&S mini rolls and flapjacks!

First Website

While I was at that company, I had built up a reputation for being the go to person for anything tech related, so one day, the IT manager asked me if I would work out how to build a website for them.

This was at a time when the internet was in its infancy.  To give you context, broadband hadn’t been invented – we were on dial up!  There were no web building courses, so I researched, taught myself what made a good website, learnt coding and built their flagship website.

The bosses loved it and used as a benchmark for the other 30 subsidiaries.

End of an Era

During the 10 years I worked there, the company delisted, had a management buyout and then carried out a planned divestment strategy, sold off all the companies it owned which effectively made our head office redundant.

By now, I now had 2 primary-school-aged children and I was spending 2 hours each way in traffic getting them to nursery or childminder then on to my place of work in Park Royal, London.

With redundancy money behind me, I could now consider carefully my next step. I didn’t want to spend 4 hours a day commuting or miss out on seeing my girls grow. Working locally meant a huge drop in salary and I couldn’t afford to take a drop in salary and in anycase, it wasn’t fair that I should be worth less money when I had more experience than ever!

Virtual Admin Business

I first read about virtual assistants in a PA magazine and that seemed to tick all the boxes.  In my research, I found a business coach who specialised in helping PAs become VAs.

The company I worked for finished its Exit Plan and I was one of the last 4 officially made redudant, including my boss in July 2005. My Cake-Buying Boss was my first client.

With the help of my coach, I was ready to launch my VA business in January 2006. Within my first year I achieved my 5 year financial target.  My first major regular client was a networking organisation who were in the process of franchising their business.

I had a garden studio for my office built at the bottom of my garden and my commute to work transformed from a tiring 2 hour journey by car to a few seconds to the end of my garden.

I streamlined all the processes and created a procedures manual for the franchisee. I looked after the admin of running the networking groups as well as developed their website.

In 2012, I was finalist for Outstanding VA of the Year Award.

My Team

Franchisees came on board. Whilst they were brilliant at networking, they were rubbish at admin and tech, so rather than train another VA in a system they weren’t familiar with, they wanted to get the person who had created the manual (me!) to do it for them!

Quite quickly I had a new problem. There wasn’t enough of me to go around!

That’s when I started recruiting associates and growing a team. I trained them up to do what I did.

Times of Change

All was good until the two founders decided to go separate ways.

I was left in the awkward position that each wanted me to work with them but not for the other.

The exiting director became my next client and that heralded a new direction. I set up her website, email marketing systems and membership programme for her new business consultancy practice.

This turned into a joint venture and resulted in new clients, setting up new websites and online marketing systems that the coach was advising them to build.

WordPress came along which was much simpler to use and update and although there was no training at that time, I soon got up to speed and transferred all the client websites I’d created to this new platform.

Email marketing was also starting to become more widely used and tools like Constant Contact, Aweber and Mailchimp came on the market, so I quickly learnt how to use them.

My Team

Franchisees came on board. Whilst they were brilliant at networking, they were rubbish at admin and tech, so rather than train another VA in a system they weren’t familiar with, they wanted to get the person who had created the manual (me!) to do it for them!

Quite quickly I had a new problem. There wasn’t enough of me to go around!

That’s when I started recruiting associates and growing a team. I trained them up to do what I did.

Times of Change

All was good until the two founders decided to go separate ways.

I was left in the awkward position that each wanted me to work with them but not for the other.

The exiting director became my next client and that heralded a new direction. I set up her website, email marketing systems and membership programme for her new business consultancy practice.

This turned into a joint venture and resulted in new clients, setting up new websites and online marketing systems that the coach was advising them to build.

WordPress came along which was much simpler to use and update and although there was no training at that time, I soon got up to speed and transferred all the client websites I’d created to this new platform.

Email marketing was also starting to become more widely used and tools like Constant Contact, Aweber and Mailchimp came on the market, so I quickly learnt how to use them.

The Biz Tech Wiz

I was attracting coaches, consultants and trainers who wanted to grow their businesses with online membership programmes and Facebook ads, but they hated tech (why?!).

People starting picking my brains about how to use the tech and online marketing strategies as well as what tools to use (and which are a waste of time) and that’s how I got the name The Biz Tech Wiz.

Authorised Local Expert

At the beginning of 2015, I was invited to join Constant Contact’s Authorised Local Expert team and represented them delivering talks at various events about online marketing. I continually invest in keeping my knowledge up to date with the latest web strategies and techniques.

Nowadays, I work intensively with just a handful of small number of clients on improving and optimising their entire digital landscape.

Testimonials
What clients have said

thumb_01_60_60Adam May

Group Dynamics

“I am much more efficient, my profile has raised considerably, and I actually have more free time to do the things I want to do. As to value for money, I genuinely couldn’t put a price on how this service has freed me up to do the really important things.”

thumb_03_60_60Carole Ann Rice

Real Coaching Co

“I can trust Vee to take over tasks in a highly efficient way. I feel that my business runs smoothly and professionally in a way that I would be unable to do without her support. She takes away my headaches and everything I can’t do, so my time is freed up. I feel looked after and professionally supported.”

Ready to Transform Your Business?

If transforming your digital landscape, so you can increase your fees and grow your business, is something you want, then I’d love to have a chat to see if I can help you make that happen.

Next Step

Well, firstly thank you for visiting my website and congratulations for reading through to the bottom of this page!

Before you move on to my services page, why not sign up to receive my monthly Wiz Biz Tech Tips? Useful techie tips and online marketing strategies that are simple to implement.

Ready to Transform Your Business?

If transforming your digital landscape, so you can increase your fees and grow your business, is something you want, then I’d love to have a chat to see if I can help you make that happen.

Next Step

Well, firstly thank you for visiting my website and congratulations for reading through to the bottom of this page!

Before you move on to my services page, why not sign up to receive my monthly Wiz Biz Tech Tips? Useful techie tips and online marketing strategies that are simple to implement.