Julia Roberts of Your Virtual Office PA shares with us her open and honest account of how she fell in love with social media in her guest blog.

Becoming a VA has totally changed my life. It has been a wonderful mix of positivity, personal challenge and liberation. Personal challenge is a great thing, and my challenge late last year was to find a way to get myself up to speed with Social Media. I literally felt terrified at the thought! Twitter didn’t feature in my repertoire, I simply didn’t get it! I thought LinkedIn was purely for established and successful business people! And I only used Facebook to post the odd shot of my kids, or something of vague interest to my friends and family! I had a huge mental barrier, and I felt daunted by this huge social media beast out there. I can’t help but wonder how many other ladies relatively new in business may be feeling this way too. Here is my story about how I came to fall in love with Social Media. I am a strong believer in fate and that if you open yourself up to possibilities and opportunities to change and learn, then amazing things do present themselves to you. Sure enough, by chance, I heard about a scheme called SurreyWISE (Surrey Women in the Super-Fast Economy). Funded by the Government Equalities Office and project led by the amazing and inspiring Penny Power OBE, the aim of the initiative was to help women increase their confidence in the use of digital technology to then allow them to either return back to work or to start or to leverage their existing business. I applied, and was subsequently delighted to hear that I had been chosen as 1 of the 100 women in Surrey to participate in a 6 week fully funded Digital Media Course. I did the course early this year, in a group with 11 ladies all from very different business backgrounds, and headed up by our amazing digital coach Fiona Stewart. During the 6 week course, the help and support we gave each other was immense, with Fiona practically guiding us through how to maximise our use of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for business. So, the fear started to subside, and I literally took the plunge into social media, and ran with it. I felt delighted by what I was actually capable of, and above all how much more confident I started to feel. Twitter is my favourite, as by nature I am a social person, and this is the perfect platform for me to connect with people and be social. In March I was awarded the group prize for the lady who had come on the most and gained the most confidence in the use of Social Media. I am also thrilled that as a result of the course, I already have some potential work lined up. Using Social Media has not only given me so much more confidence in my own abilities as a business women, but it has also opened up huge opportunities for me to now offer social media management as one of my services to Clients. My advice to any VA, potential VA or indeed any small business female entrepreneur who may be feeling overwhelmed by Social Media right now, please take the plunge and give it a go. Read about it, learn about it, immerse yourself and invest your time in learning and watching what others do. Then take the plunge, and look for any opportunity you can to get involved. And, if you feel you need a little help getting started, then look at finding a mentor, coach or support network who can help you. Trust me, because I know, falling in love with Social Media is very easy, and once you start you will wonder why you never did it earlier. Julia
Julia is a Surrey based VA and owner of Your Virtual office PA. She is passionate about keeping busy professionals organised and on-track. She loves nothing more than to remove some of the stress they feel at having to do their own admin, when they simply don’t have the time, resource or inclination. You can connect with Julia on Facebook or Twitter.