VIRTUAL assistant Lynn Conley spends her working life helping hectic humans become time-rich and stress-free – so when Go Digital Newcastle offered her a free helping hand, she jumped at the chance.
Lynn runs Ready2Assist, providing online support including marketing, admin and business management to companies across the UK from her Newcastle base.
“I also offer office admin and personal/life assistance services to busy businesses and hectic humans in Newcastle and North Tyneside,” she said.
Lynn’s always keen to stay up to date, and when she heard about Go Digital Newcastle’s current programme of free business support, she was keen to get involved.
“I initially attended the all-day Superfast Business Success event at the Tyneside Cinema, and sat in on four taster sessions on developing your website, SEO, LinkedIn and video marketing,” she said.
“Those four hours alone were very useful. I then met with a business adviser, who booked me onto the SEO and website masterclasses; two days of training which not only helped me in my business, but was also useful for my clients who rely on me for website and SEO support.”
Businesses in Newcastle can apply for the business support programme, funded by ERDF, which offers eligible businesses like Ready2Assist workshops, masterclasses and one-to-one sessions with business advisers. It’s estimated that the free support is worth up to £1,000.
Go Digital Newcastle, run by Newcastle City Council, offers small and medium businesses, charities and social enterprises in the city, North Tyneside and Gateshead the chance to apply for government-funded connection vouchers worth up to £3,000 to get connected to superfast broadband.
Lynn set up Ready2Assist – www.ready2assist.co.uk - in 2012 after taking voluntary redundancy.
She said: “The masterclasses were fantastic. My knowledge and understanding has been fine-tuned and I now have a much clearer picture of what's essential for good website design and SEO.
“I've recently begun to implement some of what I've learned. So far I've refreshed my website by adding a testimonials page, updated my about page and contact details, and added more information to help potential clients understand how I can support them in their business.
“My LinkedIn profile has had a revamp, and overall, I'm more aware of the need to build trust in both myself and in my business.
“Hiring a Virtual Assistant can be a big step for a business owner, so explaining the benefits and putting their minds at ease is integral to my website content and future social media campaigns, as it should be for any business.”
And she would recommend other businesses in the city to sign up for the free programme.
“All small businesses based in Newcastle can benefit, no matter what stage they're at in their journey,” she said.
“I've been in business for just over two years, but I met people on the courses who had been trading for many years as well as some recent start ups.
“The support is free and the business advisors and course facilitators are extremely knowledgeable - and beyond helpful.”
Cllr Michael Johnson, Newcastle City Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Skills, Business and Enterprise, said the business support sessions were going down extremely well in the city.
“Companies can really turbo-charge their businesses with the help of superfast broadband – it makes it easier to promote their products and services, and contact customers,” he said.
“Lynn is using the business support programme to stay up to date, but it’s also ideal if you are beginner in areas such as social media and online marketing.”