You may be wondering how I came to be doing what I do, so I’m going to share with you my journey to becoming The Biz Tech Wiz.
My first taste of building a website was back in the mid nineties when the internet was in its infancy. To give you some context, we had dial up, as broadband hadn’t been invented then.
The Boss from Hell
I was working as a PA to the Company Secretary for a global listed engineering/manufacturer head office. In the beginning he was the boss from Hell! I soon realised there was a good reason why he was so grumpy with everyone (there was about 30 of us at head office). He looked after all the legalities of the 30 subsidiaries. The company was stock exchange listed company, so compliance came under his remit too. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Before landing this position, I had had a string of temp jobs where I wasn’t given that much to do. I’m not one for sitting around doing nothing. I busied myself with countless tutorials in Word and Excel and got really clever at using all the different tools. So everything I had taught myself I put into practice at my new job. I whizzed through all the documentation that my boss needed.
Transformation to the Nice Cake-Buying Boss
Within a few weeks, everyone in the office began to notice he had become a lot pleasanter. The finance director cornered me one day and asked what I had done to my boss. I thought I done something wrong! He explained that whatever I was doing, I must keep it up. He had become a much nicer person to be around!
That’s when I got it! Tech is there to help you do stuff much quicker. You don’t even have to know the ins and outs of how it works (it’s called programming and I’m so not interested in programming!). You just need to know that it works. My predecessors didn’t know there were time-saving tools, like auto-correct and auto-fill in Word and Excel. That’s all I was doing. Just applying all the time-saving tools I taught myself while I was temping and had nothing much to do.
The Boss from Hell transformed into a nice Cake Buying Boss who every so often would stop off at Patisserie Valerie and bought donuts for everyone on his way to the office. Sometimes, he sent the company chauffeur to fetch them! Across the group of 30 subsidiaries, I got the reputation of being a bit of a tech-head. I became the person that the subsidiary Finance Directors went to with any troubleshooting in Word and Excel!
The First Website
Websites started to be the next big thing that companies had to have. My company bosses wanted to get in on the ‘act’. The big bosses asked me if I would figure out how to create a website for them. I was secretly pleased about this! I wanted to learn how to build websites anyway. And it would be a chance to satisfy my creative cravings (did I mention, that when I left school I wanted to go to art college? I’ll save that one for another time.)
However, there were no courses on web-building at that time. So I did a lot of research. I saw how everyone else was using the web to represent themselves. I observed what looked good (and bad), what worked (and didn’t). I taught myself html and built their website.
The website I created was a hit with the bosses and it was used as a showcase for the 30 subsidiaries (“look guys, you don’t need to spend £10,000 on a website, Vee’s done this for a fraction of the cost”). So the title of ‘webmaster’ got added to my growing list of things I took care of for the company.
A few years later, the company delisted and restructured. Then a few years later they embarked on a divestment programme. That meant they were selling off all the subsidiaries and all of us at head office would be out of a job. After 4 years all the subsidiaries were sold bit by bit and head office staff were let go of as there were fewer subsidiaries to look after. I was one of the last 4 to be made redundant. I took stock and wondered what I could do next.
Whilst I loved the variety of my PA job, but I had a horrendous journey: it took me two hours to drive to work and two hours back again. I had two girls who were quite young then. One was dropped off at the childminder and the other to nursery. As well as costing me a fortune in childcare fees, I had no work/life balance or any quality time with them.
One alternative was to work locally but that meant a huge drop in wages which I couldn’t afford. And why should I take a huge cut in pay when I had more experience and skills than ever!
My Super VA
I came across an article in a PA magazine about virtual assistants and how they worked from home for several ‘clients’ doing much the same for them as I was already doing in the office at my job. The rates quoted in the article were more than what I could get temping so I investigated more. I used my redundancy money and invested in a business coach, who specialised in helping employee PAs turn into successful VAs. I founded My Super VA in January 2006. My first client was my old boss (now a nice cake-buying boss)!
Within my first year I achieved my 5 year financial target. Quite quickly I had a new problem. There wasn’t enough of me to go around with all the new clients I was taking on! That’s when I started recruiting associates and growing a team. I trained them up to do what I did.
And then came WordPress
WordPress came along and I soon got up to speed (did you see that…..? another great tool to speed up website creation and updating – I couldn’t resist). I soon got all the websites I’d created for clients transferred to this new platform.
I was getting clients through referrals and building them websites and doing email marketing for them and setting up online booking systems for their events and webinars.
The Biz Tech Wiz
I make it my mission to stay abreast of tech tools (because I just love how they make stuff simple). Just like in my old role, people came to me to ask about their marketing strategies as well as what tools to use and how best to use them. The Biz Tech Wiz became my ‘fame name’ and ‘My Super VA’ morphed into ‘The Biz Tech Team’.
In 2015, Constant Contact invited me to join their Authorised Local Expert team and they’ve sent me to deliver talks about online marketing at various events. I also benefit from Constant Contact’s digital marketing training and research by taking part in their annual Certification Program to make sure I’m up to speed with the latest best practice in online marketing.
This probably sounds really geeky, but I LOVE figuring out web tech tools. I get an immense sense of satisfaction helping clients with their web tech tools – creating websites, membership sites, online shopping sites, lead magnets and nurturing sequences. New web tech tools and developments excite me. I want to see how they’ve made things easier!
Over to you…
Now that you know about me, I’d love to hear more about you. I’d be really grateful if you would introduce yourself in the comments below (or email me) and tell me what your ideal outcome would be with your online marketing. Don’t feel pressured to write a novel, I just want to get to know you a bit.
Dear Vee I have loved your support as I am tense about technology. I have been a full time therapist/coach for 37 years with a successful private practise in South Yorkshire. I have written a book which I hope will make a big difference to my readers. It’s being edited at the moment and I know I need to be more familiar with what’s out their to make my life more efficient and simple to use. I have also travelled in the Uk and worldwide from 2000-2016 teaching and training others. In these situations there is technical support from the those hosting this. In what I am doing now there is no such support and I still supervise, mentor and see clients in my clinic so I feel stretched a lot of the time as. Thanks for reading this warm wishes Mary
Thanks Mary for sharing. Sounds like you have a lot to share in your forthcoming book.