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Firm Helps Out Day or Night

Firm Helps Out Day or Night

(Reprinted with permission from The Owings Mills Times)
A woman showed up at Sharon Williams’ door with a 10-cent Xerox copying job for her to do.

“I smiled, said ‘Hi, how ya doing?’ ” recalls Williams, who owns and operates The 24 Hour Secretary, a business geared toward meeting the needs of clients day and night. “You have to stand by what you advertise.”

Most people, unless they were in a hurry, would have waited until morning.

“There are those who take advantage of you, and those who are considerate,: says the Lochern resident who recently opened a Pikesville branch of her business. “But I have to be grateful — my phone could not be ringing.”

Most people, unless they were in a hurry, would have waited until morning.

“There are those who take advantage of you, and those who are considerate,: says the Lochern resident who recently opened a Pikesville branch of her business. “But I have to be grateful — my phone could not be ringing.”

Williams, 42, opened The 24 Hour Secretary three years ago on Liberty Road, after being laid off from a government job. “I said ‘never again will somebody else determine whether I get a paycheck.’ ”

She worked six months delivering pizza, saving her tips toward her goal. With support from her husband Hollis and daughter Chantal Randall, she was able to fall back on her old secretarial skills and open The 24 Hour Secretary.

Armed with a computer and dot matrix printer, she began an aggressive networking campaign to spread her name around.

She worked alone for the first year, building a client base of about 20 regular customers and dozens of occasional ones. Today, she employs two part-time workers, Chantal and Linda Rubio. When her workload becomes too heavy, she has a couple of associates whom she can count on.

New Location Increases Business

On Jan. 18, at the invitation of a client who had some extra space, she opened a second office at 1004 Reisterstown Road. Before making the expansion move, she did a survey to see if there was a need in the area.

There was.

“People have been very receptive,” says Williams as she gazes down onto the bustling Reisterstown Road from her second-story picture window.

Williams focuses on small business entrepreneurs who perhaps don’t need a full-time secretary, but have occasional jobs that need to be done. Mostly self-taught, she is proficient in 10 types of computer software including WordPerfect, Microsoft Windows and Pagemaker. Her versatility allows her to do correspondence, billing, transcriptions, legal documents, binding, list management, mailings, faxing and desktop publishing.

“I haven’t had a whole day off since I started,” she boasts, noting that she can go for months on three or four hours of sleep a night. “I don’t know how to spell ‘a-whole-day-off.”

She admits she couldn’t keep up with the pace if she had children at home, or if her husband was not supportive. “Hollis understands, but he says I don’t cook enough.”

If the proof is in customer satisfaction, then two-year-client Joi Eveens says it all.

“I’d be lost” without Williams’ help, declares Eveens, who owns and operates A Salon Clinique on Reisterstown Road. “I tried renting a typewriter from the library, but it just didn’t work out.”

Filed Under: Press Release, Virtual Assistance

 


Meet the author:

Sharon is an Online Marketing & Social Media Consultant and the President of The 24 Hour Secretary. She helps clients develop and implement online marketing strategies that showcase their brand and grow the business. Subscribe to Smart Business = Success for tips and strategies for building your business.

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