Lyn Prowse-Bishop, owner of Executive Stress Office Support and founder of the new Australian Virtual Business Network. Established in February 2000, Executive Stress has clients across Australia, in the United Kingdom and the USA.
Lyn’s mission for Executive Stress is “to provide non-executive directors, consultants and small business owners around the world high quality, confidential virtual secretarial services, on budget and on time”. And after more than seven years online, this award winning and fully certified Virtual Assistant has definitely delivered on that promise.
With so many women wanting to work from home these days, Lyn’s story will inspire every mother who has ever desired the convenience and flexible working hours that makes running a business from home such an attractive employment option for so many women.
Executive Stress was born in February 2000 when after the birth of her daughter, Lyn desired more flexible working hours so that she could spend more time with her child. After doing the research, Lyn discovered she could provide secretarial services from home just as easily as she could working in a commercial office space and began taking the necessary steps towards setting up a commerically viable business in her home. I asked Lyn to tell us in her own words how she got started:
“I was working full time and went on maternity leave but like so many other women realised I needed to get back to work quicker than anticipated for financial reasons. The money just ran out. But when I found my then employer to be a little less than enthusiastic about offering me flexible working hours, I made the decision that being available to my daughter was more important than having a full time income. I resigned, discussed with my partner how much money was needed to help make ends meet and was able to then investigate part time employment options. I had run the idea of working virtually past my ex-boss and thought there was no reason why I couldn’t still work that way for others who could see the benefit, so I spent what free time I had investigating the possibility of working virtually, looking after the administrative stuff of setting up a business, looking into websites, advertising and promotion, joining networks and learning the ropes of business ownership at the coalface. And thus the practice was born!”
What services does your business offer to clients?
“Specialising in confidential secretarial services globally:
How does your website contribute to the success of your business?
“As a virtual assistant it’s important for me to have a virtual presence. I have the site listed in a number of business directories and online networks which helps with its promotion. With more people using the internet to find goods and services it’s important to make sure people can find you online and having a good, clean, professional site adds to your business image”.
What is the best piece of advice you could offer to a woman starting a new business?
“There are two pieces of advice equally important: one is don’t give up your day job straight away. Many businesses fail because the operators pour all they have into it and quickly use up their savings. This puts added pressure on the family and their relationships too. If you can get your business off the ground but maintain even a part time or casual job then you will have some extra funds coming in that you can use for your business without dipping into the savings. Work out what it is you need each month to survive – then find a job that pays that amount of money. This is what I did when I started and it meant I only had to work two days a week. The second is, once you do have your business set up, think about niche marketing. You need to set yourself up as an expert in your field – what sets you apart from the others who may be doing the same sort of thing that you are? Then target your marketing to that niche. In this way you’re able to produce more focused marketing efforts and won’t be throwing marketing dollars at every opportunity for very little return.
Also – having a supportive partner (spouse or life partner) is imperative. If they don’t support you either the business or your relationship is going to fail. Open lines of communication – always let them know what you’re doing and why. The first few years of the business are going to necessarily take up a LOT of your time. Their understanding and support will be paramount if you’re to succeed. Ok … So that’s three! :))”
In 2006, Lyn was nominated for the Thomas Leonard International VA of Distinction Award and this year, she won the Quest Business Achiever’s Award in the Professional Services Category. Lyn also sits on the steering committee of the Online International VA Convention and an the international committee looking at setting some core competencies for the virtual assistant industry.
Lyn is a fully certified and well respected Virtual Assistant. She has received certification as a Master Virtual Assistant (the first in Australia), an Accredited Secretary Online and an Ethics Checked Virtual Assistant (one of only two in Australia).
Recently, Lyn founded the Australian Virtual Business Network. The AVBN was created to provide the business community with access to a database of highly qualified Virtual Assistants. Virtual Businesses are pre-screened prior to registration with the network and after being accepted, members are provided with ongoing training and support. You can find more information about the Australian Virtual Business Network at the website.
In addition to running a successful home based business, the AVBN website and her committee work, Lyn is also very involved in her daughter’s life and is a passionate supporter of causes like the environment, animal welfare and human rights. “I come from an abundance mentality and a strong sense of social responsibility – so try to give back to the community that supports me whenever I can”.
Lyn Prowse-Bishop is a real working from home success story and I am certain you would have found her story as inspiring as I have. I would like to thank Lyn for taking time out of her busy schedule to share her story with Australian Women Online.