What made you decide you wanted to become a VA and when?

My whole world changed in May 2010 when my son was born. No one was more surprised than me by how it affected everything around me! Nothing else seemed as important as my family and I decided that I wasn’t going to return to working 7-7 in my highly stressful job as a Finance Director (I’m a qualified accountant) so I decided to launch my own accountancy business working with charities as that was my passion. This was and still is successful, but I wanted to be able to offer more. I was meeting women in business that needed assistance with all their day to day tasks and wanted someone to listen to them, understand their business and advise them on how they could drive their business forward with support. So in November 2013 I started investigating setting myself as a VA and Online Business Manager.

Were you concerned that there were already many VAs already out there and this would be competition?

No. I believe that you attract clients based not only on the services that you offer, but your personality. Not everyone is suited, but you will find those that are a good fit for you.

What gave you the confidence to give yourself that push to go ahead and do it?

Having talked it through with close family, it became the natural choice to proceed with all systems go!

When you decided to get started what made you decide to go for some VA training?

I knew I had the financial and business skills to run my own business (as I was already doing so) but I wanted clarity around what makes an effective VA. I’m a firm believer in gaining as much knowledge as you can and developing yourself personally, so not to do some form of training didn’t even enter my head!

Why did you decide on The VA Coaching and Training Company and what was your experience of the training?

Carmen MacDougall was recommended to me as being the person to go to for all things VA related, so I booked a call with her. Before speaking with her my intention was to book on her two day training course, but I changed my mind during the call and invested in the VIP 1-2-1 training and I am so glad I did! Being trained by a true expert has massively helped me to start my VA business from day one on the right path.

What have been the highlights of your business so far?

All the preparation leading up to launching my business is September 2014 was very exciting. Interviewing several dynamic entrepreneurial women for my rejuvenate project was inspiring and we had a lot of fun making the interviews too! Obviously securing my first client was a huge feel good factor and I have to admit to doing a happy dance around my office!?

What have been some challenges you have experienced and if you were to do things differently next time what would you do?

Some things have not quite gone to plan and I have had to invest more time and resources into achieving my desired result, so I have learnt to trust my gut more. If something doesn’t feel right at the beginning, stop, re evaluate and walk away if necessary.

What type of clients do you work with and do you specialise in a particular service?

I support female entrepreneurs and as their VA, I assist them with their business administration, their finances, and launching and maintaining their podcast shows. As their business manager, I am that crucial person that listens to their ideas, helps them when they’re feeling overwhelmed, keeps them on track with their goals, and motivates them to kick start their business and step up to the next level – an approachable sounding board!

What advice would you give to anyone just starting out especially in relation to training?

Invest in your own personal development and definitely talk to Carmen – absolute no brainer!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

I’m just starting out and have lots of ideas to take my business forward in the coming months/years with new ways of supporting my clients, so in five years I hope my business is as successful and as valuable to my clients as I really want it to be.

Who in business would you love to meet and why?

I would love to meet Oprah Winfrey as I admire her greatly. She has conquered so many things in her life. Her struggles and the way she talks about them, gives me the inspiration to better myself.

Which book has influenced you the most in your business?

Difficult question as there are several – if I had to pick, probably ‘Feel the Fear’ series by Susan Jefferies

What is your favourite quote and why?

I have many as I share quotes on social media daily but this one captures something that we would all be wise to remember

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel – Maya Angelou

What do you love to do when you’re not working

Anything that means spending time with my partner and son!

And lastly – what one thing can you tell us about you that not many people know?

Not many people know that I used to play the accordion in a band!

You can visit Sandra’s website at