An Interview with Leanne Woff

 

 What is your business (include name) and when did you start?

 I started Virtual Infinity back in 2012 to provide online business management and bookkeeping services to crazy-busy entrepreneurs.

What inspired you to start your business?

I was inspired to start my business for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’m incredibly driven. I love to create and achieve, and I needed something to satisfy my ever-nagging drive. Starting my own business did this. Now, it’s delivering a first-class service to my clients that keeps my drive alive.
  2. Call me crazy but I LOVE admin. When I found a business course specialising in administration, I was doing so many happy dances around the house that my family thought I’d gone nuts. I whooped the course and couldn’t wait to use my skills to help other businesses who lacked the passion for admin that I had.

 

Tell us about the journey you have been on with your businesses?

 I don’t think I’m unique in saying that my business started out slowly. I had 2 clients who I balanced while doing a ton of research on the Virtual Assistant industry and how to be the best VA I could be. I was serious but when I look back, I was more a hobbyist VA.

Along came a couple of batches of babies (2 sets of twins) so I worked as I could while trying to say sane.  Organisation became my thing. So, I pushed forward with greater determination than ever before (people told me I wouldn’t be able to do it with kids – I had to prove them wrong).

I won a business award the following year for my business skills. Pushing myself to upskill some more, I altered to become an Online Business Manager and hired my first business assistant.

How do you handle the naysayers?

It’s a pity you need to ask a question like this, but it’s true – we’re always going to have people who don’t like us – it’s human nature isn’t it? So, I act like Taylor Swift and shake it off, shake it off. I try to weigh up what they’re saying against my beliefs. If I can’t get past it, I run what was said past my trusted colleagues and ask for their perspective. At the end of the day, I believe the naysayers are the minority, and if they don’t want to take the time to get to know me, their comments are not worth my headspace.

How do you balance everything? What are your top tips?

 I’m not sure if I’d say I have balance rather than a tug of war. Whatever screams the loudest for my attention, gets it. Some weeks it’s my little humans, other weeks it’s my business, and some weeks it’s both. I’m not sure if I’m balanced, BUT I’m organised (super organised). Here’s what I do:

  1. Set goals and plan on how I’m going to smash them.
  2. Know my priorities in life so when everything is screaming for my attention, I know exactly what to put first.
  3. Schedule my day, week and year in advance to I know what’s coming up. I try and avoid surprises that leave me unprepared.

 Where do you envision yourself in the next 5 years? How do you plan to do this?

5 years! Wow, all my children will be in school (small fist pump). I plan to work school hours and that’ll include school holidays only if I WANT TO (although my crazy drive may alter this). I aim to have at least one more employee, so I can focus on sales and team management, creating a business culture that’s people focussed, happy and productive. To get there, I’ll continue to take things step by step, investing in training and working with people who appreciate me as much as I do them.

What has been a challenge you’ve had to overcome that has shaped you and your business?

I’ve only had a couple of little challenges (twice) – two sets of twins within a couple of years.

 Why did you choose to start at such a young age?

I’ve been raised in a family run business. A tad cliched but it’s in my blood. But much to my parent’s dismay, there was no way I was going to be a part of their business. You see, they run an automotive repair business and the most I know about cars is that they have a few wheels and get us around. And although my parent’s passion for cars may not have rubbed off on me, their passion for running a business has. For me, running a business is the ‘normal’.

What would you say was a key to your so far success?

 When I started my business and it was just me, my Cavoodle and zero clients, I knew I had to spend money to make money. I invested time and time again in training. I did business courses, certificate training, joined mastermind programs, and honed my skills through in-depth software courses. The perfectionist in me wanted to guarantee the quality of my service and value for clients.

I strongly believe that people come first. This is the foundation for many decisions I make in my life. I truly care about people, and not only for them, but their precious businesses that they choose to share with me. I hope people see this belief shining through. I care about my clients, I’m 100% their business cheerleader, and I want the very best for them.

 What has been the biggest tip you have received off someone that has stuck with you?

‘Put things in place now, as much as within reason, the way you want them to be in the future. Don’t just do the easiest thing at the time’.

I came to learn that the processes and tools you implement into your business will have an effect for the future. It’s much harder to change things when you’re a bigger business, then it is to do a bit of research, and do it right while you’re small. When you think about software, social media marketing, websites, bookkeeping etc., develop the processes NOW that will work great later.

What is a tip that you would give to a young person thinking about starting a business, but not sure how to start?

Make Google your best mate. There’s so many FREE resources available to help you. A great place to start is your local council who often run free, low-cost seminars and workshops, and have readily available downloads on all things starting a business.

Be informed and make a solid plan. Do you have what you need to start your business today? If not, when will be a good time? Work towards that. Put things in place so that it happens and isn’t just a dream somewhere in the far-off future.

 

What are your top 3 biggest lessons you have learnt in your business?

1. Be patient:

Business doesn’t happen overnight – and it doesn’t need to. Take it one step at a time, be persistent and you’ll get there.

2. Don’t hide:

Be yourself – ALWAYS. Never hide your personality or beliefs from the world.

Your people will find you and appreciate you more for those things.

3. Make business buddies:

With so much, ‘Look at how fabulous I am’ out there, you sometimes question if there’s something wrong with you. You’re not like them – business isn’t super easy, clients don’t come flooding in, and you haven’t built a six-figure enterprise in a month – so maybe you should pack it in and work at the supermarket down the road. Developing real business friends mean you can share what you’re going through and realise most people feel the same way. It helps during the times you struggle with cash or confidence, to know you’re far from being the only one and that you CAN do this.

What is a podcast you can recommend?

Play Big, Brand Bold by Suzanne Chadwick and Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur by Kate Toon.

 If you could meet an inspirational leader, who would that be? Why?

Henry Ford so that I could tease my dad that I got to and he didn’t.

 What was one of the first goals you smashed in your business?

Small goal: secure 5 clients, one being a bookkeeping client.

Big goal: Enter business awards (side note: to my utter disbelief, I WON. I had convinced myself that I was too small a fish, probably the happiest I have ever been to be wrong).

 What would you say to your younger self?

Keep your chin up, you can do this, it WILL work and slow down!

 Where can we contact you?

 Email: leanne.woff@virtualinfinity.com.au

Phone: 03 9982 9757

Website: https://virtualinfinity.com.au
Instagram: @virtual.infinity

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/virtualinfinity/

 

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