By February 11, 2013 Read More →

Working from home and how I found my niche

How a new mum found her feet working from home

Work from Home Wisdom - working from home finding your niche - Catherine PooleYou’ve no doubt heard that in order to run a successful small business you need to ‘go niche’. Catherine Poole describes how she started working from home and found her way to her specialism:

I launched my business, Catherine Poole Virtual Assistant, at the end of 2010. I’m typical of many mums in that I found going back to work after having my first child a real struggle. Then when I had my second child, I realised I no longer wanted to go ‘out’ to work, but would rather do something for myself working from home.

I hadn’t been terribly aware of the term ‘virtual assistant’ or ‘virtual PA’ before doing my research, but I knew it was something that could be done from home, utilising the power of online communication to work with clients who, in theory, could be anywhere in the world. Thus armed with a two page action plan, a newly acquired laptop and a corner of the dining room table, my business was born!

I had heard a lot about the elusive ‘niche’ in business, but I was a bit clueless about this to start off with. I remember panicking as I looked at other virtual assistants’ sites, marvelling at the long list of services they offered, and worrying about how I could possibly compete.

I didn’t appreciate then that the beauty of this industry means that you do not necessarily need to provide something for everyone. So to start with I had a list of services I thought I might like to offer, but no clear idea of what I really wanted to focus on and who I wanted to target.

During the first year of working from home, I was very, very part time and attempting to work around the routine of a two year old who would nap during the day if I was very lucky. Evening working became the norm, and still is!

At that time I acquired a useful contact through networking and began to undertake a large number of outsourced transcription jobs, finding I had an aptitude for this kind of work. It requires excellent attention to detail and a good understanding of varied regional accents and I became well practised with the latter!

I started to think that this could be a service I could provide successfully off my own back in the long term. The nature of modern digital transcription means that it can all be done working from home without ever even having to meet your client, files being shared via Dropbox, for example.

More recently and almost by accident, I have been fortunate enough to be able to indulge my passion for well-written words by helping two happy clients with proofreading and editing work. I don’t think I realised until I started these jobs how much I relished spotting errors and re-arranging sentence structure.

I realised therefore that ultimately, the combination of providing transcription and proofreading/editing services would enable me to create my USP as a virtual assistant helping those who work with words.

Catherine Poole specialises in transcription and typing services along with a side order of proofreading and editing. She loves to bring order to a pile of untidy receipts and enjoys making sense of her scribbled notes to produce accurate minutes for meetings.

4 Comments on "Working from home and how I found my niche"

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  1. Julia Harris says:

    You are so right about the importance of finding your niche, it makes a huge difference! Most work from home mums that I know found this one of the most difficult things to decide on but have all said that working out their niche was definitely time well spent.

  2. Charlotte Mannion says:

    What an inspiring story as well as a great service. I so appreciate anyone helping to improve the way we communicate from proofreading to copywriting

  3. Catherine Poole says:

    Thanks for your comment too Charlotte!