The Virtual Assistant programme currently run by East Belfast Enterprise and funded by DEL (Department of Employment & Learning) evolved from the Virtual Secretary Programme funded by Proteus in 2006 to 2008.
The Virtual Secretary was very much a pilot project. It was an innovative approach to promoting self employment to women who where unemployed or out of work and trying to find employment/self employment. A very motivated group of participants joined this programme and some of them proceeded to self employment.
Jane Warren, now trading as Jane Warren Book Keeping, was one of those very motivated and disciplined women, who joined the programme with a low level of confidence and lack of self value. Jane is a single parent, with a special needs son. Due to her circumstances it is challenging to find employment to suit her personal requirements. After trying for a while to juggle employment and her son’s needs she left her work and needed to find a new source of income.
The Virtual Secretary Programme provided the solution to this situation as it included modules on self motivation and personal development, how to research and set up your own business and how to earn a living from being your own boss!!
All of the boxes where ticked for Jane and she completed the training course. She stayed on board with a small group of six women who formed 121 Office Solutions in June 2008. She became self employed in her own right and started promoting her services wherever the opportunities arose.
With her strong book keeping experience of almost 20 years and her willingness to take on work for a number of clients, she soon discovered there was a demand for her and her skills. This amounted to a fulltime job very quickly which is built around her child. This allows her to have the time required with him and to focus on her business when he is at school or in respite care.
Jane had a positive and life changing experience through the Virtual Secretary Programme. She learned how to operate her own business, how to sell her self and how to have the confidence to charge people for the work she done. She has a contact network of other Virtual Secretaries who she keeps in touch with.
This is an example of just one of our many programmes relating to setting up a business and becoming self employed. Please contact us if you are interested in exploring self employment or a business opportunity.