I had an awesome opportunity to speak with Latifa Mkwawa who is a Virtual Business Manager & Consultant working with clients in her home country of Tanzania.
Tifa and I met through Marie Mason’s Mastermind Group. I have found Tifa very knowledgable and down to earth. She is quiet, humble as well as resourceful and highly productive.
So I was truly excited to learn more about how other Freelancers, especially from developing countries like Africa, operate.
Here’s our conversation!
Tell me about your business? Like business name and what you do?
I’m the founder of Tifa’s Virtual Vision. My business aims to support small businesses and professionals in the health care, real estate and consulting fields with their day-to-day tasks.
This is so that their business process is leveled up, allowing them to have spare time on their busy schedules. With skills from the corporate world, my role is to ensure clients focus on doing what they love and on their bigger picture while I take care of the nitty gritty details.
Yes, having those processes in place is very important in terms of productivity and delegation. Do you provide services to those only in Tanzania or overseas etc?
I provide services to clients both within Tanzania and overseas.
What are your takes then on servicing an international market outside of Africa. And what differences do you see?
The idea is to address and take care of their daily business pain points regardless of their location. These are the perks and beauty of being virtual.
I take pride in being limitless when it comes to how much of a support system I can be in leveling up other people’s growth, breathing life into their vision and making a positive impact on them in the process. I enjoy learning from and collaborating with various stakeholders.
My long-term goal is to strive to be a pioneer who can bridge the existing unemployment and digital inclusion gap and make a sustainable impact in people’s life.
That’s a very worth cause! I know from our friend, Heidi Schutter, that South Africa is also got a bit of work to do. Sounds like Tanzania is in a similar boat.
And speaking of Tanzania, do you call yourself a Virtual Assistant? Is the term as common in Tanzania as it is in Canada, the United States and Australia?
No, I wouldn’t call it common exactly. The most common term is ‘freelancer’ and so it’s taken a bit of time to differentiate myself from the rest and I am doing so every day. I am more than a virtual assistant since half of my service offering is customized depending on what clients need and what their pain points are. I am a boundary dweller and best of an online business manager and a virtual assistant.
So then, what are some of the types of services you provide?
My basic services range from virtual task management to proofreading to inbox management. However, I have experience with being challenged to go beyond the basics.
Having a discovery call with a client helps us find out if we’re a good fit. However, it helps clients voice out pain points in their business they’d like to not worry about and allows me to customize packages which will solve their problems even if it means just being a sounding board and coach.
It’s how relationships are built, and impactful connections are made. It’s how we all learn and grow.
Yes I think relationships are everything. This is why I see you, myself, Heidi and Marie having formed into a common circle based on how we want to be treated. Not as some number in a sales pitch.
But let’s now turn our attention to the topic you will be speaking about at our Virtual Conference, The Freelancer Process & Workflows Symposium.
I know your topic is on documenting processes. And when I say that I am truly excited about this topic, I do not say that lightly.
Knowing that you will be showing people how to create process maps for workflows and standard opeating procedures, let’s start at the top.
Why do you feel having standard operating procedures are important to business?
The simple answer to this (if I can quote Jeff Goins) is that any person’s business output depends on having a system (in this case documented process and procedure for this system) in place that makes productivity not probable but inevitable. Two of the main benefits of having SOPs is time management & saving and consistently producing quality work.
Right! Can you provide some specific examples of SOPs ie Building a Website or Creating a Graphic?
Depending on what a business is about or what one wants to do (or does repeatedly), you can have an SOP for managing emails or projects. In the upcoming summit, I’ll be taking you through three types. Quick tips on creating a graphic (just from experience), have a clear message on what your graphic is about, a theme, keep your target audience in mind and constantly think outside the box.
So then, how do you handle a large process and a small task when creating an SOP? Is there a different approach or a max/min number of steps etc when creating your SOP.
All SOPS have standard structures which a writer can tweak accordingly, and the complexity of the SOP depends on the procedure at hand. If it’s an SOP for an entire team for example, it’ll be more detailed than one for a small task. This isn’t simply because there are a lot of moving parts to compiling one. Grouping the large process into smaller tasks indicated in an SOP would ease the headache of handling all of it in its entirety.
Good point! How have these SOPs made a difference in your business?
The funny thing is, documenting processes have always been in my head due to my love for order, but it helps when everything is on pen and paper so that anyone who joins my team knows where to start. SOPs have eased the headache of ‘how do I start this day or task’ and saved me a lot of time wasted on procrastination.
That is truly amazing! I think we can all learn a lot about the importance of writing things down. It all starts in your head after all. But if you are like me and many others, it is easy to forget to transfer it from head to paper.
Thank you for this oppotunity to discuss this. And, finally, where can people go to learn more about you? And what can they do specifically, ie sign up to your newsletter, to follow you etc.
Let’s thank Tifa for taking the time to give us such great insights into working as a Virtual Assistant in Tanzania and how opeorating procedures have given much credit to her efficiency.
If you are wondering how you can take your documentation or organisational skills to the next level, I would encourage you to check out our Virtual Summit live on November 15th. Tifa is scheduled to talk at 2pm on the Monday of that week (East Coast time corrected for daylight saving changes).