Richard Walton became an entrepreneur more than two decades ago—before things such as Shark Tank, Etsy and Uber existed. He founded Global Vision International, a volunteer-abroad company, as well as several other businesses.
His biggest ongoing struggle was feeling alone on his journey. In 2014 he had planned to take a year off to spend time with his four children. But during the transition, he was inundated with tying up loose ends, booking flights and making appointments. He needed help, but not enough to hire a full-time assistant. He began looking for a virtual one, and it sparked his next business idea: AVirtual, a virtual personal assistant service.
Headquartered in Exeter, England, AVirtual stands out from other similar concepts because it offers differing levels of support (10 to 80 hours per week) at 50 percent less than competitors. All virtual assistants are based in Cape Town, South Africa, so language barriers and time zones aren’t an issue for clients in England, which reduces costs.
A member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) in Cape Town since 2014, Walton says who you know is just as important as what you know. He offers these tips to aspiring entrepreneurs:
1. Get a mentor and listen to him or her.
2. Join a business group such as EO.
3. Become comfortable with networking—it’s amazing how much business comes from it.
4. Write down your weaknesses and hire people who can manage those things.
5. Be a salesman. You need to sell your vision to your team, investors, customers and the media.
6. Promote yourself, as people today want to know who’s behind a company.
This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.