Creative and energetic Sharon’s story
Sharon Tanya Mbazima was born in Harare Zimbabwe to Zambian parents, she is the last of five children. She is a seasoned Executive Assistant and CEO and founder of Urban Edge; a relatively unknown consultant company that specializes in virtual consultation.
When asked what inspired her to start the business and what challenges she faces she animatedly responds; “I was having dinner with a good friend towards the end of 2015 and I was giving him advice on the many issues he faces; I jokingly said “I should charge you for this…” and he agreed saying I always gave him sound advice, for the next 5 minutes he relayed how much money I could make in the consulting business. That was the seed planted, the next few months I spent asking CEO’s and influential people of their view of virtual consultation. Since I have experience in executive assistance my focus was on that. I joined LinkedIn groups, I researched, I spoke to people, I tried every avenue to get all the information I needed about the virtual assistant (VA) industry. Now you have to appreciate that in Africa this industry is practically non-existent (there are only 2 major companies in Africa) I guess us Africans are so used to “warm bodies” and therein lies my biggest challenge.
Imagine telling a CEO of a big corporation that his PA doesn’t need to be in the office 8 hours a day, that she can work remotely and still deliver on time every time. Being a VA allows that new mom job flexibility, that masters student adequate study time, that jet setting entrepreneur a sense of stability. You won’t have any sick days and all the undesirables that accompany being in the office full time. I mean the rest of the world is doing it surely we can too.” She goes on to explain that this industry has been in existence in Europe and America since the late 90’s; “Big corporations use this platform to recruit personnel. Most of my clients are based in Europe, I had a contract that recently ended with a publishing company in Sweden. Everything was done online. Being in the virtual business requires trust. I tell people yes its doable, its achievable.”
Vision for Urban Edge; “Any entrepreneur will tell you they want to make their business a fortune 500 company, I do too. I see so many graduates with no jobs, I envision Urban Edge being a platform for these youth to use their expertise to service large corporations, its absolutely ridiculous how a graduate is expected to have minimum 3 years experience, I mean where could they possibly get the experience if we have no jobs. I want to see both young and old use this platform to empower themselves while making a decent living. I would love to see big corporations using VA’s to get the job done. Anyone and everyone can do it.”
“I am constantly learning and trying to improve myself and my business. I keep telling people slow progress is still progress. Take baby steps, I’m still trying to find myself in this industry, it has its highs and lows. I believe if people see value in what you are doing they will not compromise on the price! Know your worth! Write your achievements down, document your progress. By doing this you are mapping your way to success and telling yourself you can do better.”
“Thank you Mellany for the fabulous platform. I can’t wait to organise your life to with my services. You are doing a great job for many women. Do not get tired of doing good!!”