The Virtual Support Hub offers small business owners and entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their business while saving money by offering online administrative support.
Covid-19 restrictions have changed our working lives forever, creating a world of virtual offices, meetings, interviews and even socialising – now meet your virtual assistant. Created by Dublin self-starter Fallon Dunne, the Virtual Support Hub service offers a full range of activities normally performed by an office administrator or personal assistant, but without the cost and overheads of a part-time or full-time employee; you only pay for the service you need.
The Virtual Support Hub offers a fully bespoke range of service, including email, calendar and file management, business process implementation, content creation for social media platforms, invoicing and payment tracking, travel arrangements and team administration support.
“I am on a mission to help business owners by taking over responsibilities that free up their valuable time, allowing them to focus on what really matters in their business and their lives”
“Recognising that full-time administrative support is not always the best option, I want to provide an alternative support service for business leaders on an ‘as needs’ basis,” said Dunne.
Time is precious
“Time is the most important and valuable business resource,” said Dunne.
“For small business owners and entrepreneurs, they spend far too much of their time on small business tasks like replying to customer/client emails, setting up meetings/zoom calls, responding to customer queries, invoicing, chasing payments, trying to develop social media content etc.
“A lot of those business owners also don’t work 9-5 instead, they go home and work for another couple of hours, taking time away from family, friends and their own personal pursuits. That’s where I come in. I take time-consuming administrative and support tasks off their hands, allowing them to focus on what really matters to them whether that’s revenue-generating activities in their business or precious time with their loved ones.”
How the Virtual Support Hub works
Virtual Support Hub’s core service is administrative business support. “I offer three support packages depending on how much time my clients want to ‘buy back’ for themselves per month. Nano offers 10 hours, Micro offers 20 hours and Mega is 40 hours. Packages aren’t defined by tasks so I could be providing administrative support, working on social media or virtual events. It’s completely client-led.
“Once the client and I have discussed their pain points and we have identified what they need assistance with, I suggest a package based on those discussions. For example, if we decide that they need one hour a day then I would suggest Micro as that works out as just that, one hour per day.
“Once contracts are signed, I then start an onboarding procedure with my clients to ensure a smooth transition of information, securely sharing passwords and setting up a shared online working space etc. I use a project management tool called Asana where my clients and I work together sharing projects and tasks to be completed. From this application they can see tasks I’m performing on a daily and weekly basis and how much time I spend on them. It keeps them fully informed in real-time.
“I can be in contact with clients daily, weekly or monthly depending on how much contact they want with me. Usually, once I’m working away and they see the results, we’ll formally connect once a month to check-in and make sure everything is going as it should.”
Dunne has more than 15 years’ experience providing top-level support for leading executives across a broad range of industries.
“My expertise covers all areas of executive support – from executive assistant, to office manager, to admin assistant, to sales administrator, to event planner, to project manager- you name it, I’ve done it.
“I was motivated to set up The Virtual Support Hub after experiencing first-hand the time management challenges faced by senior business leaders. Recognising that full-time administrative support is not always the best option, I want to provide an alternative support service for business leaders on an “as needs” basis.
“I am on a mission to help business owners by taking over responsibilities that free up their valuable time, allowing them to focus on what really matters in their business.”
Beyond the horizon
Dunne is looking beyond the lockdown to get a real perspective on what the start-up ecosystem in Ireland offers.
“Having started my business from my kitchen table and by myself, I haven’t really experienced the start-up environment normally shared by those going into business together. I am looking forward to networking events post-Covid, so I can get out and meet fellow entrepreneurs with shared experiences.
“There are numerous online resources which I have used including ThinkBusiness.ie to answer the millions of questions everyone who starts a business has and I’ve found those really valuable. In general, I think Ireland has produced so many fantastic businesses big and small and it’s so encouraging to see others succeed.”
So far, she has learned that you make your own luck in business. “I’ve learned that nothing just happens. Sometimes there is luck involved and things can go your way but starting a business from scratch with prior experience in doing so is tough.
“You have to work at it every day and really push outside your comfort zone especially when it comes to social media. So much business happens in the online space and you have to forget about what people you know might think about your post on Facebook or Instagram. You just have to put your fears aside and realise that your business succeeding is more important than someone else’s opinion.”
Her advice to fellow founders is to connect with as many other business owners as you can and pick their brains. “Take their learnings, adapt them and then apply to your own business. There are so many other small business owners out there who are more than happy to have a chat with you, don’t be scared to approach them. I’d also say it’s important to find balance. Don’t forget that your business will be all-consuming and it’s okay to take a break for a few hours or a few days and focus on yourself. You’ll come back more energised and focused.”
In terms of tools to keep the business ticking over, much of Dunne’s work with Virtual Support Hub is done via the cloud.
“I primarily work from Google and Zoom for client calls. I use a client and workflow management system called Dubsado which automates so much of my business. It literally saves me hours every day. I also use Asana with my clients which is a project management tool. It’s great for working on shared projects and tasks with them and saves all the back and forward on email. Of course, I also use Instagram and Facebook for social media.”
Written by John Kennedy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published: 11 August, 2020