Archive for April 28th, 2010

Dear Danielle: Do I Have Enough Experience to Be an Administrative Consultant?

Dear Danielle: Do I Have Enough Experience to Be an Administrative Consultant?

Dear Danielle:

I only have 2 years experience as an executive assistant and 6 years as a receptionist/data entry clerk. Could I still be an Administrative Consultant? Any suggestions are helpful. –BT

Well, it’s not really for me to say. It’s what the marketplace has to say.

What I mean is, yes, as an industry, those of us in it definitely have thoughts, opinions and expectations about what the qualifications should be for those who want to enter our ranks. Generally, we want to protect the reputation and credibility of the profession to protect interests of ourselves and clients alike.

Ultimately, however, this is an unregulated industry so no one can tell you that you may or may not open an administrative support business if that’s what you want to do.

That said, clients have very demanding expectations. So the better question might be, do you have enough experience that you will be professionally qualified enough to meet those demands?

Business savvy also plays a critical role here because if you don’t know how to run and manage business well, that also will directly impact your service to clients and their satisfaction.

If you don’t have a sufficient level of these things, are you prepared to deal with the extra difficulty and rejection you might face? Do you have the stamina, perseverance and tenacity to keep working on whatever you need to work on to get to a level that is marketable?

The less skill and experience you have, the much more difficult a path you face. It will be much harder for you to command the kind of fees that will earn you a real living and it may take you much longer to get established.

You can be the most likable person on the planet and have no problem developing rapport with prospective clients, but when it comes right down to it, the proof is always in the pudding. Clients get frustrated (and do not work long) with those who don’t have a business level of skill, competence and business management sense and ability.

What I might personally suggest is that it might be a good idea to stay in the workforce a few more years. Grab every opportunity to grow in your administrative support skills and at the same time become a student of business (and I don’t mean enrolling in an MBA program; simply start reading business books).

Use this time now to start thinking about a target market and studying what kind of administrative needs and challenges that market has and how you can support those needs and solve those challenges.

Lay the foundation of your business now so that when the time is right and you’ve got enough business knowledge and marketable expertise under your belt, you will be more prepared for success.

Then again, maybe you feel you’ve already got what it takes. If so, go for it. ;)