Freelance Secretarial Work

Many companies are simply not large enough to require full time secretarial staff. Below are tips on hiring yourself out , either on a regular basis to several companies in your area, or tasks like production of C.V’s, typing student dissertations etc.

Get yourself listed with as many agencies as practical.

Please remember it takes time to build up in terms of clientele, and your own reputation for good, efficient work, as well as ability to meet customers’ deadlines.

Regular advertising leads to a faith in your ability to produce the goods. You are, as yet, a faceless quantity, and one that can vanish as easily as it appeared if your work is unsatisfactory. But someone whose service has been advertised for some time gains a position of trust in the minds of those they are seeking to attract. Gain their trust and you will find yourself the recipient of regular custom. Repeat custom and word of mouth advertising from satisfied customers, could find your business growing to full-time status, perhaps find you needing to sub-contract work out to other efficient sources, or perhaps looking to employ adequate emergency staff yourself.

You will, as your business grows, find yourself serving businesses large and small. Some will want a one-off service, and you might never see that customer again. Others might need a regular service for a very small workload on each occasion. At the other end of the scale you might be offered one enormous job by a business whose secretary has taken extended sickness leave. That same business might be so impressed with your work that its management later decides to sub-contract to you the entire workload of another employee who subsequently leaves the workforce.

Never underestimate the importance of the smallest jobs you are offered. Those small bread and butter pieces might not even seem worth the time and effort involved, but a satisfied customer of whatever standing is an added avenue for your much needed ongoing advertising campaign.

Many businesses would no doubt appreciate a secretarial service that offers to collect work to be undertaken and usually deliver the final product. A same day typing service might gain you the edge on other typing agencies.


Whilst you do not need to be a top class typist, you will find you get more work done, will get less frustrated, and be more likely to meet deadlines if you reach a passable level before you start to look for work. Many software programmes are available to teach yourself – the most well known of these being “Mavis Beacon teaches Typing”, now in its 17th version (or save money by buying an older version eg version 8 ).

Don’t try to work with a manual typewriter. You will need at least a wordprocessor, if not a computer to produce a professional finish, and also to retain back up copies if required for future use. If a company sends basically the same letter to many people, you don’t want to be typing it out time and time again.

Get some professional business cards printed out. Carry them with you at all times, and look out for opportunities where you can leave a stack of cards. A5 handbills are invaluable for popping through the letterboxes of businesses old and new, especially if you mention the availability to provide holiday cover for their own secretarial staff.
Wherever students congregate, whether for educational or social needs, you have a large and ready made market for your skills. Students, not all of whose lessons include typing, require their theses to be presented in a manner that will create a good impression for the assessment body responsible for grading the work concerned.

Free Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant

Lisa Taliga has been a successful Virtual Assistant for several years now and has a wealth of information and tips to share with you. She built her own successful VA business in a very short time frame (whilst working full-time) which makes her ideally suited to pass on her experience. To help you decide whether this could be the career for you she has written “The 7 Things You MUST Know Before Starting Your Own Virtual Assistant Business.” You can now download your copy free of charge from

Free Guide To Selling Your Services Online

Whatever your skills, you need clients to become a successful freelancer. This free 10 part e-mail course shows you step by step how to create and market a website to generate business whether you are looking for clients around the world or around the block. Also available as an instantly downloadable e-book for both Windows and Mac users. Click here for more details.

Recommended Reading

Complete Typing Business Guide : Everything You Need to Know to Start and Successfully Operate a Home Typing Business by Frank Chisenhall

This is a “must read” book for home typing businesses. There are reasons why every person considering a home business should consider establishing a typing or secretarial service and this book provides all the secrets on how to get started, set up your business, promote your business with no or low cost, obtain free advertising, get clients, set rates for your work, and more

Whilst heavily dated, with regards to its references to typewriters, carbon paper etc. the advice on operating a business remains timeless.

Virtual Assistant, The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA by Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker.

Virtual Assistant – The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA sets the stage for starting, operating, and growing a successful and PROFITABLE virtual assistant business. The book covers all the business nuts and bolts including business and financial planning, pricing your services, billing, and setting up your business. Plus, it offers information on creating your web site, daily operational procedures and most importantly, how and where to find clients. Discover how to put your existing skills to work for clients around the globe and apply them across many different industries. It even shows you how to ease into your practice while working full-time and continuing to care for your family.

Along with their personal experiences, the authors also include recommendations from virtual assistants, running successful businesses providing you with blueprints on how to do the same with yours.

Cited as a “must have tool” for the VA industry, Virtual Assistant – The Series is currently used as training material for several VA courses.

How to Start a Home-Based Secretarial Services Business by Jan Melnik.

From buying the right computer to getting clients and keeping the books, this surveys the basics of conducting a home-based secretarial business. This edition updates and adds to the details on taxes and accounting, keeping current on the latest secretarial skills in demand which would fit with a home-based business. Author Jan Melnik, owner of a successful home-based secretarial service, shares her experience and down-to-earth advice on every aspect of setting up and running a thriving home-based business.

Resume Service

A resume is nothing more than the biographical details, personal and career-related, of persons wishing to change jobs, seek advancement, and undergo virtually any change in their working lives, which necessitates them giving interviewers, employers, and college heads sufficient details to make a full and accurate assessment of the candidate.

At one time you would have been required to complete a company’s own application form, but these do not always provide the scope to sell your strengths, and may be ambiguous, especially if your career route has been somewhat unconventional. Similarly, if you are not applying for a specific job, but merely wish to be placed on their books for future consideration, application form may not be appropriate.

This is where a resume comes into its own, offering scope to cover any points required but including the core structure to ensure basic facts are included.

The problem is that to an inexperienced job seeker, e.g school leaver, graduate, or mid life career change, the whole process can seem daunting with no idea of what points to include.

This is why many specialist resume services have now sprung up, producing professional resumes for around $25, for what is after all just a few copies of a simple document.

Don’t make the mistake of “jazzing-up” the document too much. This makes it expensive and largely ineffective. All the employer wants to see is a simple document with concise clear information.

As you will need to interview potential clients, in addition to typing their details, you should be able to put them at ease. If they don’t relax you won’t get the key information.

Check out existing agencies, posing as a client to see the current rates for the work, and samples of the work and advertising. Although you can write your own resume on your computer or Word Processor, you will find many software companies provide CV software that you can adapt for your own purposes. If you have Office 95 or later, you will already have a template available.

Start out by placing small ads in local papers, newsagents, college noticeboards but make sure they look as professional as your service – no tatty postcards! Listen to local news. If a company is closing down or taking on new staff, this is the time to make yourself known. It could even be good publicity to tell your local paper you will do free or cut price resumes for staff being made redundant in the local factory.

Recommended products include:


The Resume Handbook : How to Write Outstanding Resumes and Cover Letters for Every Situation

Resume Catalog : 200 Damn Good Examples

Resume Magic : Trade Secrets of a Professional Resume Writer


Resumemaker Professional


Many people simply cannot write official letters but chances are, we all need to write them. For inspiration, get a letter writing package, and advertise your service. Word of mouth and small local ads will be more effective here.

Recommended books include:

How to Write It : A Complete Guide to Everything You’ll Ever Write by Sandra E. Lamb

Everyday Letters for Busy People : Hundreds of Sample Letters You Can Copy or Adapt at a Minute’s Notice by Debra Hart May

Over 300 Successful Business Letters for All Occasions by Alan J. Bond

The 100 Most Difficult Business Letters You’ll Ever Have to Write, Fax, or E-Mail by Bernard Heller

The Complete Handbook of Model Business Letters by Jack Griffin

Or take a look at the following software package – the letters are already typed out for you to adapt:

3,001 Business and Sales Letters – 2,100 award-winning business, sales, and personal letters, plus 901 additional sales letters


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