What made you decide you wanted to become a VA and when?
I moved to Barnsley South Yorks from London 4 years ago because I wanted a change but remained working in television. 2 years on I still wasn’t seeing my home/family/friends because of work so decided on a career change and looking at what was out there and what I wanted to do a career, as a VA was the most natural choice.
Were you concerned that there were already many VA’s already out there and this would be competition?
Whatever job you do in life there will always be competition. I was already working in a competitive market, as a freelance production manager so wasn’t too fazed by this. We may all do the same job but we have different skills and experience and attract the clients who want to work with us. I’ve had clients who’ve been to a couple of VAs and they choose me because of personality, they like the way I approach the situation and my past experience. Other clients go with other VA’s because they like how they work.
What gave you the confidence to give yourself that push to go ahead and do it?
I was basically unemployable! Due to my background 6 years + as a professional temp PA and 20 years in television production I have gained the skills and experience to run a small company. This on your CV no matter how much you water it down can make potential employees/job agencies who want a PA/Secretary etc. run for the hills because they think you’d be bored – I’m so over being told that! So that and no plan B!
When you decided to get started what made you decide to go for some VA training?
I talked to Michelle Poole about the training and researched the course; although I’d got all the admin/secretarial skills there were some I’d not got. For instance I’d never set up a website from scratch and I needed contracts and guidance into this VA world. Therefore taking part in the training was a no brainer it gives me accreditation and support from other VA’s which when you’re flying solo you need from time to time.
Why did you decide on The VA Coaching and Training Company and what was your experience of the training?
VACT was the best; it offered a choice of payment methods and training options, which fitted in around my job at the time. I could tailor it to how I worked and Michelle gave me excellent feedback and continues to be a fabulous colleague, mentor and friend – what more could I ask for!
What have been the highlights of your business so far?
- Receiving the book with my name in the thanks for doing the research for an author on her novel.
- Winning a client that I met networking and telling them I would love to work with them and then having them call a few days later.
- Seeing a client going from wanting to sell their company to working with me and now we’re growing it.
What have been some challenges you have experienced and if you were to do things differently next time what would you do?
Setting up my VA business then two weeks later having a bunion operation, which instead of taking me out for two weeks took me out for 3-4 months! Tip don’t schedule an operation at the same time as starting a new project!!
What type of clients do you work with and do you specialise in a particular service?
I tend to work with clients who are from or in the creative sector or who don’t work 9-5 in offices. Sometimes my busy times are weekends, evenings or early mornings because that’s when my clients need me. I don’t mind this as I have a flexible approach and understand the market my clients work in. I wouldn’t say I specialize in a particular service however my forte is project management; I love seeing something created from a thought on a piece of paper.
What advice would you give to anyone just starting out especially in relation to training?
Do the training and don’t expect people to sit there and give you all their experience for nothing! We work hard to get to where we are and we have had to spend money on training it helps focus on what you need to work on your strengths and weaknesses and gives you confidence. I’ve had new VAs ask me for a coffee and ask me questions about starting out how I get clients etc. and I refer them to the course. You don’t get something for nothing!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Enjoying the fruits of my labour on a beach somewhere sunny! Running a successful business.
Who in business would you love to meet and why?
Victoria Beckham – she’s a VERY savvy business lady and has an excellent sense of humor by all accounts!
Which book has influenced you the most in your business?
The A to Z of Virtual Assistant Tools by Helen Stothard – godsend at the beginning!? Great explanations and well thought out.
What is your favourite quote and why?
‘I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it’ – Voltaire. Free speech and the power to be able to use it, it’s a right that we should all be able to have.
What do you love to do when you’re not working.
Dog walking – recently have become a dog owner and love country walks. Playing cards – can spend days doing this love it! Cooking – which is probably why I’m also at weight watchers.
And lastly – what one thing can you tell us about you that not many people know?
When I was younger I wanted to be a long distance lorry driver or a rally driver!