Hi, and welcome to my SuN homepage! I`m Danielle Taylor, Founder and Owner of Taylor-Made Virtual Assistance.
I LOVE what I do!
I work with my clients in collaborative relationships that focus on helping them reach their goals - whatever they are.
After 24 years in the corporate world as an executive assistant, project manager and supervisor for small/start-up businesses and world-class corporations, I founded my practice in 2006 because I believe that small and solo business owners should have access to the same level of administrative expertise as larger companies. My goal is to provide real virtual solutions to real business needs.
I spent over 15 years living and working in wonderful Washington, DC. After growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, this move was a truly eye-opening experience because I was immersed in a whole new world of business opportunities and realized I was passionate about the administrative work involved in running a company.
I spent time learning as much as I could about large event management while working as an event planner for non-profit associations and prominent hotel chains. My interests led me to working as a legal assistant for a Partner of a national law firm, and then into roles as EA and Help Desk Administrator for an international third party insurance administrator, revenue manager for a start-up Internet communications provider, and finally EA/PM for an international satellite broadcasting company - similar to XM and Sirius.
I returned to my hometown in 2002 where I became the first - and initially only - employee as the EA at a startup medical billing company; and moved to a rewarding position as EA for the Chairman/CEO and President of a small courseware development and technology company.
My educational career is as diverse as my professional career. I hold professional certifications in project management, human resource management, global business functionality and organizational change management, among others. I`m a single Mom to a teenage son and our chocolate lab; and we make our home in beautiful West-central Pennsylvania.
I was a gatekeeper for too many years to count before starting my Virtual Assistance practice... and would like to offer the some suggestions that worked with me:
Treat the person as a person. As CraigL and Kindra both said... it is the job of the EA to protect their boss, help them manage their time and weed out the time-busters. Bribing them, smoozing them and otherwise patronizing them is the fastest way to be shut down.
Short story: I was talking with a very pushy, but disarming, salesperson who wanted access to my boss, the CEO. After the second call, I received a dozen roses and a large box of chocolate with some hokey note about how grateful he was to "Dave`s girl" for passing on the information and how he hoped I would get him a meeting. The most offensive part of this was his lack of respect for me as a professional EA. My boss was going to take the meeting based on the information I collected and presented, but the attempt at bribing me to do so was so "good ole boy" that even the CEO told him how offended he was.
So, talk to the gatekeeper as you would the exec your trying to get to. Even if you`re eventually turned away, they will have the information to pass on to the person who you really need to see, and you will have more success because senior execs do rely on their EAs to use their own judgment for most everything. And, Kindra is right when she says the EA is the most knowledgeable person in the company.
In response to your original questions, I want to take a minute to toot the horn - again - for Virtual Assistance (VA). A VA is an administrative partner whose sole priority is working with clients so they become and stay organized by taking away the administrative burdens that running a business can create. For example, you mention completing all of your paperwork before accepting clients... a VA can do these things for you so you are free to focus on your clients and are able to have more time to dedicate to doing the things you love to do. Of course, a VA can do so many other things - depending upon her/his special skill sets; and I would recommend you check out this option.
I would also encourage you, and anyone who is interested in collaborating with a professional VA to do your research, talk to at least three potential partners, and take your time to be sure you are a good fit for each other. The idea here is that you develop a long-term, mutually beneficial and collaborative relationship with your VA. Most all professional VAs do not design their practices to offer immediate support or emergency management... it`s a committed relationship that helps you grow your business over the long-term with a `right hand` who is as committed to your success as you are.
Warm wishes for you in getting your practice up and running. Let me know if I can do anything to help!
Maybe I`m still missing something, and it sounds like you`ve done most of the research already. What is stopping you from securing Foreign Patent Protection? Is it money? Is it access? Is it both?
Either way, here`s another suggestion, the US Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR). Here`s a link to the legislation that outlines the program. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c107:S.1323.is:
You may already know about this. If not, it`s worth a shot. I think you`ll have an easier time securing larger investors once you have the foreign patent protection that shows how serious you are.
You haven`t mentioned (or I missed it) what is required to secure the international protection. Have you contacted the World Trade Organization or the World Bank? I would think either of these organizations can provide some type of assistance or point you in the right direction.
You seem very passionate about this idea and the only supportive advice I can give you is to NOT GIVE UP! I`d be happy to help you if I can.
I guess these sites work well for piece work. But, if one is looking for a highly qualified "vendor" (for lack of a better word), they may want to use the tried-and-true method of referrals.
Degrees is also right in that being invited to bid results in better partnerships. The rock-and-hard-place is that without a rating from buyers, one is typically not invited to bid; and one cannot be rated until their proposal(s) has been accepted. I have responded to a handfull of open bids and included the information Degrees suggests, but only received responses that my rates were too high. Since I haven`t had much success with the open bids, I`m not really willing to pay for membership that may - or may not - result in being invited. Perhaps there`s another way?