Gaynor Paynter lives in Kensington, South Africa. After high school, Gaynor studied graphic design for a year and then decided it wasn’t for her. She later graduated with a secretarial diploma from the then Germiston Technical College in which she obtained a distinction in Information Processing, (a fancy name for typing). Today this South African makes money selling typing services from home.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
I’ve been running my transcription and typing service since April 2005.
But let me go back to the start. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, really. I’ve always been able to think for myself and been quite independent. I have worked for bosses, but I’m not a good employee – I’m far better as an independent thinker.
As far back as 2000, I’d had the idea of being a virtual assistant or mobile secretary. My dream involved having a custom-built trailer going around our cities, dropping off typed, bound, and printed documents. Back in those days, we didn’t have the technology needed to really make a business of this nature fly, and my dream didn’t fly either. But in 2005, the Internet and technology had caught up with my visions of working from home, and I launched Typewrite Transcription and Typing Services CC.
I haven’t looked back. There have been knocks and successes along the way, and I’ve also written an e-book about working as a transcriptionist, which includes my tried and trusted methods. I think the biggest thing is to let your plans and dreams evolve. If you see one area is working for you, then go with that side of things.
What did you do before launching your own business?
I qualified as a secretary in 1994, worked in reception and as a sales secretary and also as a resume writer and other functions in a recruitment company.
How did you fund your business?
The overheads of my kind of business are pretty low. I needed a working computer, an ADSL line, and associated office equipment. I had most of them already. So between my own current salary, my husband, and my dad, I was able to get up and going with minimum fuss and minimum expenditure.
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How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent in your home office?
I would say about 12 – 13 hours a day.
How would you rate your success?
It depends on how you look at it. I am busy every day. And I think in terms of businesses in this day and age, that is a good rate of success. It’s the kind of business that you can choose to grow if you want to. I have at this point decided not to be a multi-VA company, although, I do hire subcontractors occasionally. I am happy and satisfied, and the business is growing.
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
Challenges change as time goes on. Infrastructural things can be difficult – if the internet or electricity is giving you problems, then it’s hard. But the thing to learn is to have backups. I have two Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Even have a backup computer. Back things up. And employ dependable people.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
If you believe in your idea, keep going. Nothing happens overnight. And make marketing a part of your daily schedule. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got enough work now to last you a week. The marketing you do today will probably only pay off in about three months. So even if it’s only 10 minutes a day putting your website out on the Internet – make it a daily thing.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
With difficulty, it is tough to find the balance. But like everything, you’ve got to be disciplined. You’ve got to try not to let work encroach on my personal life and personal life encroach on work. Not always possible.
Thanks to Gaynor Paynter for sharing her story!
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