Lynette Crowley

Mackenzie Secretarial Services

Hello, my name is Lynette (Lyn) Crowley, and I have owned and operated Mackenzie Secretarial Services for nearly 17 years. I started my business as a virtual assistant (VA) providing copy typing and transcription services.

My background is working in the mining industry for a CEO. Previous to that, I worked for managing directors and general managers in the same industry and in publishing.

In the third or fourth year of my business, I had the privilege of working closely with a technical writer and editor while transcribing documents for a longstanding mutual client. This experience gave me a start in editing—I even started to edit documents from other clients knowing my accomplished colleague, who was now my mentor, was there to answer my questions and provide guidance.

I had always loved creating reader-friendly material—whether it was designing a Word document or PowerPoint Presentation, and I realised that I needed to change the direction of my business because I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing day-after-day.

Since then, I have honed my talents so that I can offer specialised help to clients (using Microsoft Word and PowerPoint). I qualified as a copy editor and proofreader (Applied Copy-Editing and Proofreading Accreditation, Australian College, Sydney)—achieving a distinction and high distinctions.

I am Brisbane-based, but it doesn't matter whether you’re in Brisbane or in any other state of Australia because I am able to provide virtual (remote) assistance.

The way I run my business is to place myself in my client’s shoes, and this keeps me on track to provide quality outcomes. I am strict with myself regarding integrity and working to provide the best possible product and experience for the client.

my core skills

Copy editing

Proofreading

Document formatting

Document style guides

Microsoft Word

Q & A

Whats the best thing to happen to you in your career to date?

There’s been a lot of highs in my business career, but I think my last [ongoing] contract is one of the best because I'm working with people that I knew before I started out on my own.

What does a typical work week look like for you?:

Each week can vary which makes working for myself a thrill—you never know what opportunities can present themselves. But I do have regular projects (secretarial and editing) that I work on each week.

I'm not a 9 to 5 person and don't mind working evenings and weekends when necessary.

Describe your working environment in a few sentences..

I work from home in a quiet neighbourhood, and I have two small, much-loved dogs who keep me company.

What sets you apart from other freelancers in your industry?

There are so many skilled and experienced copy editors to choose from, but I think the thing that sets me apart from many other copy editors is that my strength is in working on business projects such as policy documents, government submissions, reports and presentations.

What are the tools of your trade?

I have Microsoft Office 2016, a laptop, a large screen (I often work with two versions of a document on screen), dictionaries and style and reference guides.

Do you collaborate with others? If yes, how does that works?

I haven’t had the opportunity to collaborate with other freelancers, though I’d be happy to be part of a team.

Whats been the biggest freelancing lesson to date?

It can be a hard business to make a living from especially if, like me, you're not a marketing guru. You need to prove your worth and just keep putting yourself out there when times are tough. There’s a lot of competition from other skilled individuals, so you can’t be shy about connecting with (not selling to) potential clients. You can be the best in your field, but that gets you no where if you're the best kept secret in your industry.

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