Systemized Success

Seven years ago, she was making $12 an hour as a VA. Today, her full-service package – which she knocks out in a day – goes for $1,500.

Temima Gass moved to Eretz Yisrael as an idealistic newlywed ten years ago. She spoke no Hebrew, but had a solid job at a US-based medical billing company and was working remotely.

Then, right after the birth of her first, her company moved her job in-house. “I freaked out,” she shares. “I wasn’t yet a citizen because I wasn’t sure I was staying, so I couldn’t apply for most jobs. But I also didn’t want to move back.”

She scrambled to find jobs she could do remotely. She tried her hand at writing, then did a stint of editing. When she discovered virtual assistance, the role felt like a good fit.

“I called my business Front Desk VA and my slogan was, ‘We’ll do virtually everything, except make you a coffee.’ And it really was everything. I’d do customer service, social media posts, data entry in Excel.

“I worked for a therapist, a real estate agent, a web developer, a bunch of non-profits, an IT company. My schedule was always full, but because I was charging just $12 an hour, we still weren’t making ends meet.”

Temima had always been skilled with computers. If asked to do something new, she’d study the program and get up to speed in no time.

“I eventually learned that this is my super-skill: I’m great at Googling and can teach myself new programs and skills quickly.”

One day Temima saw an ad for a Temech networking group opening for English-speaking business owners run by Leora Gruen. Intrigued, she joined.

“I initially went for the social aspect; I wanted to get out of the house and meet people. I discovered I knew several women in the group, which was enjoyable.”

But within a short time, the content became her focus.

“Temech completely shifted my thinking. Suddenly, instead of seeing myself as a freelancer doing a bunch of random things, I realized: I’m a business owner.

Positive changes followed quickly after that. “I gained the confidence to raise my rates. And I also made my first serious investment in myself. I took a professional course on how to start, grow, and scale your VA job. That course solidified my business foundations and was crucial to my growth.”

One of Temech’s guest speakers, Braha Bender, was a business coach. Temima worked with her privately for a year. “Braha was pivotal in changing my identity. She pointed out that I was far more than a VA. A typical VA takes orders. I was able to take initiative and suggest multiple ways my clients could improve their business.”

Temima realized that she hated data entry and loved working with systems. She niched down and focused on helping businesses set up systems for success.

“Many businesses start by accident; the owners often have a great idea but no clear strategy. Take a therapist. They’ll say, ‘I have my degree, I’m good at what I do, let me hang out my shingle.’

“They don’t realize all the elements involved in running a successful business. They need a digital booking system, an invoice system, and a way to keep track of income and expenses. Even if they have some systems in place, they may not realize all the ways they can use them.

“A therapist I worked with counseled kids, but the parents would constantly text him, taking up vast amounts of his time. I sent up a separate Google voice number for the parents, and the text would be sent to both him and me.

“He told parents he’d only respond during specific hours and that his VA had access to his texts. This helped filter the requests and ensured that if a text was followed by a long conversation, the time was billed for.  

“He was using a messy spreadsheet for billing, which often caused him to undercharge. We cleaned that up and set up a system for automated billing.”

After the first Temech group ended, Temima joined another round. Aside from the business-building content, she made strong connections in the group and built up a strong network of referral partners and business friends.

Then Corona hit. Tamar Ansh, an existing client who had been referred to her by another Temech participant, asked her to help take the annual JWWS (Jerusalem Women’s Writers Seminar) online.

“I’d never done an online live event before. I had to set up the entire platform from scratch, all in a few weeks. The challenge made me feel alive. It helped me realize that even more than setting up isolated systems, I loved working with tech platforms, learning new things, and integrating all the elements of a business into one beautiful system.”

“People come to with no online presence, and when I’m done, they have a professional email, an online booking system, and automated billing systems. I get a thrill from seeing that transformation from totally manual to fully automated.

“If someone is selling a course, I create email sequences, set up a landing page, and integrate everything with their website and other online platforms.”

It goes far beyond the technical. Temima’s business is called Uncommon Strategy because she advises clients on what platforms and resources would serve them best.

“I thrive on novelty, so this setup is perfect for me. I work on a project basis, and each one is a fresh challenge. I’ll usually do an entire project in a day. Clients love it because it’s quick, and I love it because it gets my adrenaline pumping, and I maximize my productivity.

“Every major business milestone I’ve reached in the last five years, I can trace back to Temech. I have an enormous network in the US and Israel that grew out of my Temech network, and so many of my clients are still coming to me through Temech connections.

“Not only is Temech a supportive place to share our wins and struggles, cheer each other on, and create lasting friendships, it’s a supportive place to grow our businesses.”

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