Today we met Gill, who has recently started a new business as a Virtual Assistant under the name Jam Jar Gill. Gill offers services from managing social media accounts, to sourcing suppliers, to organising business travel arrangements, essentially freeing up your time to spend on your business.
What was your motivation for starting?
I was ready to be my own boss and be able to work around having a young family without any guilt.
Was this your first venture or do you have previous experience?
I have been building my blogging/influencer brand for over 10 years now but I decided to launch as a VA (Virtual Assistant) at the beginning of this year in order to use the skills which I have learnt to help other start-ups.
What is the best piece of advice you would offer to someone starting a business?
Start by building a community, Instagram is great for this, and find your niche so that you can home in on the right people who you want to target and connect, collaborate and work with.
Do you have any top tips for starting a business in your industry?
Get as much experience as you can, build up your rate to the market rate, say yes to opportunities.
What was most difficult about starting your business?
Juggling it between family and office work prior to going fully freelance.
What advice could you offer about managing business and personal commitments?
I have been quite cautious to date about what I have been able to take on. Initially I just stuck to 1-3 hours a week, I have been very honest with my clients about my other commitments and very upfront about expectations, and have always kept lines of communication open, and given them all regular updates on what I am working on.
If you could go back in time, to when you started, what advice would you give yourself?
I can answer this more for my blog than my VA business, which is relatively new. I would make sure I saved back-ups of any content and photos in folders labelled by the blog post and under month and year. This was something which I learnt the hard way and I would commit to a specific and realistic regularity of content.
How does working for yourself compare to working for someone else?
As I say I have only dabbled so far – but I absolutely love it “FREE-lance” – I feel free to express my creativity and work for amazing and inspiring people and businesses, whilst learning my trade and growing my network hand in hand, I 100% think this is the best way forward for me and I am excited about the future.
How does your business use social media? – If so which platforms.
Every platform possible, though I probably currently spend the most time on Instagram, I am also on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Spotify and Twitter.
Have you found any particular technology that’s been really useful?
Canva – online design tool is probably my favourite tool
But, I also love Asana, Toggl and Later.
What do you find is the most successful form of marketing?
Networking and building community and connecting with likeminded people through Instagram
How did you build your customer base?
Through the blogging/influencer brand network which I already have – to date it has grown organically and I hope that it continues to do so.
What is unique about your business?
I strive to work with people who care about the environment and are searching for a more natural way of both living and doing business.
What three things would you go back and change.
I probably would have studied Graphic Design in college.
But other than that nothing really. I believe that in order to be who you are today you need to experience what you have experienced and you really do live and learn and come away wiser on the other side.
Discover more about Jam Jar Gill’s business, including the origins of her nickname, on her website www.jamjargill.com