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Beth Beutler is a business owner with nearly 30 years of experience in office administration, administrative management, and communications as well as an author, speaker, and professional development trainer/mentor. She has been featured in a national women’s magazine and holds a BA in English. Her company, HOPE Unlimited, offers collaborative virtual assistance, operations support resourcing, and professional development mentoring/education.
1) How did you get started working from home?
I stopped working full time in 2005 and launched my business as an umbrella under which I did writing, some virtual assisting, and some training/teaching. I supplemented that with part-time work outside the home. I re-focused my business to focus on VA and business soft skill training work in 2015, and by 2016, was able to discontinue supplemental work and focus solely on my business.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
Most of my career has been made up of positions in the field of office management and administrative assistance with speaking/training opportunities sprinkled in. It was a natural fit to enter the world of virtual assistance with supplemental offerings in business soft skill education.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I won a ticket to a high-level conference geared to entrepreneurs like me, and those who would need virtual assistance. I look to that as a marker of a shift in focus to offering VA services.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
I picked up a couple of initial clients at the conference, and in a corresponding online membership made some connections. From there, referrals have helped build my business. Current clients/colleagues are willing to recommend me to others.
5) How do you market your business?
I blog very consistently, and have a very active presence on social media. I also try to help reporters who need information that I can provide.
6) What does your usual day look like?
A usual day for me consists of some focused morning quiet time, following by administrative/project work for my business. Then around 9:00 (if I’m disciplined) I begin pay work for clients. I mix administrative work throughout the day, and take breaks for brief exercise or a quick lunch. I aim to finish up by 5:00 though it varies. Some afternoons I pursue other interests, and I work for clients primarily Monday-Thursday, reserving Friday mornings for wrap up tasks and business administration. I start my weekend by noon on Fridays.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
If I had to go back, I think I would be a little more firm on some policies with clients. The majority of my experiences with clients have been great. Initially though, I was too willing to extend retainer expiration deadlines, for example. I’m a bit more graciously assertive about that now, although in extenuating circumstances I am still flexible.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
I recommend they give thought to how to deal with loneliness. I have learned to enjoy my introverted side much more, but it is also strange not to go somewhere and interact with a number of people each day. Video conversations help, as does being part of various virtual teams. But there is a distinct lack of “real life” social interaction that can become a challenge if you are not careful to fill in those gaps intentionally.
Find Beth Online:
Website: Beth Beutler
Facebook: Hope Unlimited For You
Linked In: Beth Beutler
Amazon Author Page: Beth Beutler