Top 10 Tips for Becoming a Virtual Assistant

SVA put together 10 baby-steps to becoming a Virtual Assistant – a must-read for any aspiring assistant! Continue reading

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Blogging bloopers for newbie virtual assistants and how to avoid them

A virtual assistant excitedly posted her website creation to one of the VA Facebook groups I manage the other day. She was clearly proud and excited about what she’d done and spent a lot of time on it… but I groaned out loud.


Well unfortunately she’d made a few mistakes which are all too common with newbie VAs. And unless I told her, she would remain blissfully ignorant of why her hard work was not paying off. I grasped that thorny nettle and gave her some tips:

Hosting your blog on

Really common mistake, but one that will cost you the most in terms of your search engine ranking. All those juicy keywords, regular content and interested followers are NOT actually visiting your site when they click on your blog linkThey are visiting WordPress/Blogger/Tumblr. Your website domain isn’t getting any traffic or keywords or content whatsoever, so from an SEO perspective, your work is entirely pointless.

As tempting as it is to go for the quick and easy option to set a blog up via one of these providers, take a little bit of extra time to host it via your own website. We use 1and1 for our hosting, but most webhosts will have a blog hosting option and a guide to setting up and installing WordPress on your own domain. If you truly have to set it up on a freebie blog, choose one that you can download the content from and import into a WordPress blog at a later date.

Promoting it to other VAs

Getting the opinion of other virtual assistants is pricelessApart from anything else, they can spot a typo at 15 paces and will also email you to tell you about it (clients won’t, they just won’t use you!!!).

But long term, you will want to monitor the site to see what blog posts are popular with your clients, what sort of words they search for and what subjects interest them. And your results will be seriously squiffy if you have a ton of VAs clicking on each post. Unless VAs are your target client market, don’t promote your blog to them.


A while back I remember being in a virtual conference where the speaker challenged us to all post a blog about buying a loaf of bread. The idea was to demonstrate Twitter trending, but it had absolutely nothing to do with being a VA or engaging with my audience.

Looking through the content of some VA blogs, you would be hard pushed to see what this person does. There’s a load of tech tips, some woolly posts clearly lifted from elsewhere without any original content, perhaps some local events and maybe 2-3 from affiliate beauty products they sell. It’s all a bit random!

Content is king – for both SEO and enticing back repeat visitors, plus converting clients. No, not every post has to be a sales pitch. But each post should embody what you encompass as a Virtual Assistant. Some of that is building relationships by opening yourself and your life up to your potential clients. Some of it is proving your knowledge. But each post should stand on its own as being a positive reflection of you and your business.

For more blogging ideas grab hold of our Blogspiration subscription for £25. 

Inspiration for bloggers and virtual assistants

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Why do YOU love being a Virtual Assistant?

We are looking for VAs to tell us why they started and what they love about being a virtual assistant. We’re upgrading the content on SVA for 2016 and we NEED YOU!!!!  We’ll feature your business and make you a star for the day!

Get in touch and tell us about you and your business… Pick 5 questions off the list and email us your answers on

  • Your name & Business name:
  • Where you are based:
  • When did you first hear about VAs and what made you want to become one?
  •  What do you love about being a VA?  What’s the very best bit?
  • Any unexpected perks to being a VA?  (Wearing PJs, being able to sneak off to yoga, saying YES to things you wouldn’t have been able to as an employee…)
  • How do you explain to people what you do?
  • Most exotic client/strangest job you’ve been asked to do?
  • Your best gadget? Why do you love it?
  • What does your favourite coffee mug say?
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Telesales Dos & Don’ts

Newsflash: Following up your marketing letters or postcards with a phone call can double their effectiveness.

So you wrote a fantastic and compelling letter, researched your target market to find likely targets, mailed it out – now what?  I always compare not following up to being akin to climbing halfway up Mount Everest and turning back because you can’t see the top – you’ve already done the hard work!

You’ve accepted the reality that you just don’t have the cash to outsource this task to a professional.  Professionals are expensive because there are rare beasts who actually enjoy phoning up complete strangers and converting them into zealot fans of your service – it’s magical, very rare, and therefore has a high entry cost.

But the good news is:

  • That YOU know your company better than anyone
  • You get to reduce your marketing costs not only by doing this essential task yourself
  • But also by reducing the number of prospects you need to mail/call by filtering out those who won’t use the service

So how to make it more successful: Continue reading

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Virtual Assistant Bloggers Wanted!

Love being a virtual assistant

Love Being a Virtual Assistant? We need YOU!

We need you! For 2016 Society of Virtual Assistants is looking to recruit 6 bloggers to help us keep the site content fresh and interesting.

We’re looking for VAs who can write about their experiences, write reviews or do a series of blog posts.  Each post needs to be: between 400-1,000 words, on a subject which will interest UK based VAs and in order to set you up as one of our guest bloggers (with accompanying biog and all important link back to your site) we will need a photo of you, your website link and a little bit about you for our readers.  We’re asking that all guest bloggers are able to submit at least 4 posts in 2016 – which can either be delivered all at once or throughout the year, depending on what suits you.

You might be:

  • A Virtual Assistant with a specialist niche (techie, writing, working with a particular set of clients, or specialising in a certain skill)
  • A newbie VA willing to share your experiences of setting up
  • Expanding your business by hiring your own VA or launching a new service – we’d love to follow your process as you do it!
  • Passionate about a particular bugbear – we do love a good rant, and these often get the best responses from our readers and change the whole shape of the industry.  (SVA, admittedly, was set up after I’d had several issues with the existing industry bodies!!)

To start, email us your picture, a few ideas about what you’d like to write about and a little bit about yourself to

Posted in Competitions, Marketing, Social Media, Start Up VAs, SVA Newsletters, VA Stars, Virtual Assistant Industry, Websites | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Things only those who work from home know

  • CW kidsThe mess generated from simply being in the house is astronomical… Coffee cups, plates, junk spread all over the dining table…
  • The office you imagined working from isn’t where you actually work – either because the Pinterest inspired clean, organised workspace never materialised or because you work from the sofa/bed…
  • You have to repeatedly explain that you actually WORK during work hours so you aren’t available for coffee or to sign for everyone else’s Amazon packages.
  • It’s possible to spend several days without leaving the house or speaking to another human being (except maybe the Amazon delivery man)
  • Wearing proper shoes becomes terribly exciting
  • Escaping to a coffee shop for a couple of hours seriously regenerates your brain
  • You feel incredibly smug when people complain about the unbearable commute or the horrible weather, as you sit in your home office (most probably whilst wearing PJs and switching a heater on).
  • You do quite often send emails before getting dressed
  • And before going to bed – bonus points if you remember to set your Outlook to delay sending these till the next morning, over achievers set this to 8:30am, the rest of us make it 9am.
  • Your neighbours will think you have some immoral way of earning a living or are unemployed… because you never leave the house and dress like a student
  • Christmas parties, whilst you hated them as an employee, are actually really fun!
  • You miss the office banter – talk radio is a poor replacement
  • You consider duct taping the cat’s mouth shut when on conference calls

Did I miss some???!

Posted in Equipment, How To, Start Up VAs, Time Management, Virtual Assistant Industry | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The low down on paid directories…

As a new virtual assistant, how do you get your name out there to bring clients to knocking down your door as fast as possible?  Directories may seem like a great way of connecting with clients already looking for your services… But they can be expensive.

How do you know which one to advertise in?  What’s the difference between one charging £25/year and one charging £100/year?  How much business do people realistically get from these directories?

We don’t charge for the SVA Approved scheme – the reasoning behind this was to create a list that was as genuine as possible for clients to use.  We wanted them to get a response when they contacted the VA, to be assured of a certain standard of service and to be free to remove a VA if we either got complaints about them or they weren’t abiding by the rules, without having to consider our fee income when deciding whether or not to remove them.  (NB: Please do not apply if you don’t have a proper website, professional email address and landline phone number.  You must also have offsite data backup and be able to respond within 24 hours to any enquiries.  Plus be an ACTIVE SVA member – those who give most, get most!)

First let me start off by saying that most people who run directories tend not to be big businesses – in most cases they are simply VAs who have learned how to optimise their own site for getting VA work, and are happy to list other VAs who specialise in different areas to them for a fee.  The fees will vary wildly as a result, as they tend to be based on gut instinct about what people will pay rather than actual traffic or results.

Whilst there are lots of free directories out there, such as SVA and, there’s a wealth of others which you may want to register with.  So here’s a very simple guide to checking where to invest your money. Continue reading

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Santa arrives early for UK Virtual Assistants!

As virtual assistants, we don’t get Christmas parties.  Or secret santas.  Or even holidays sometimes!!!!

Anyway – last year myself and my team of administrative elves made lots of wishes come true – and this year will be spreading magical sparkle once again throughout November and December… with your help of course.  The idea behind this is to give in order to get – we’ll be matching what you are able to give with someone else’s Christmas wish.

Our learnings from last year is that we need to get this sorted BEFORE December, hence why asking you quite so early!  Deadline for your Christmas Letter to Santa is 1st December and your deadline for delivering these is December 25!!! 

A few ground rules:

  • You must be UK based and an SVA member in order to take part.
  • Try to give something which would be useful to another VA – perhaps you have a netbook you no longer use, or maybe you’d be happy to donate a business book, or perhaps you would like to send a VA a lovely box of chocolates (that’s on my list!!!).  Whatever you give, you have to be able to post it by the end of December, and I reserve the right to ban you from next year’s Secret Santa if you don’t!
  • Your wish list: List as many items as you’d like, the more the merrier – it gives us more chances to match you up with something someone is donating… We’ll only be granting one wish each though.

That’s it – make some wishes come true!

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Social Media Strategy revisited…

typewriterI was looking back through some old posts and stumbled across some instructing VAs how to use Facebook and Twitter… Just for a laugh I thought I’d see if the overall advice had changed in the past few years.

This Facebook How To Guide from 5 years ago outlines the change from “Fans” to “Likes”… But essentially Emma’s advice about building your following and connecting all your social media platforms is still very much valid!

This one on LinkedIn from 3 years ago still rings true as well… Although with more people switching off group notifications, they are slightly less used than they were.  I’d still recommend it as a first step for new VAs to reconnect with old work colleagues. Continue reading

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Map of UK’s Virtual Assistants

We’ve mapped the UK Virtual Assistant community on Google maps… Ironing out a couple of glitches, so bear with us if you don’t appear!

Posted in Hiring A VA (For Clients), Start Up VAs, SVA Newsletters, Virtual Assistant Industry | 5 Comments