Each year we approach some of the VA industry’s leading entrepreneurs to get the lowdown on how they operate… This week it’s Michelle Poole of VACT Yorkshire!
Name: Michelle Poole
Business Name: VACT Yorkshire and Virtual Hand
Located in: Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Explain a little bit about your business and how you came to run it?
I started my VA business when my current contract came to an end and I was struggling to find a new job as I had been looking into being a VA for about 9 months and the benefits were never matched by being an employee again. I found a part-time job so started my VA business and went full time 6 months later. As a trainer and coach when the opportunity arose to join VACT I jumped at it and now love training new VAs. It also gave me a funnel for my associate team as well as bringing more VAs into the area for other businesses to tap into.
What was your very first job?
Wallace Arnold Tours at the age of 16 – booking people on holidays in UK and abroad. Counter Clerk!
Bacardi and Coke (although just found Prosecco, but only on special occasions!)
What made you want to get involved in the VA industry?
Spent a career as PA and EA and love the connection with ‘boss’ and now to work with business owners and help them to realise their dreams and make mine too – it’s exhilarating.
One gadget you could not live without?
iPhone – my life is on there!
Do you use VAs yourself, if so, where did you find them?
Yes, I work with a team of VAs to support both my clients and my own business – I trained them!
What’s your top tip for someone starting out as a VA?
Be realistic on your strengths and get help with the other bits. Don’t be afraid to ask and always, invest in yourself.
What’s your top tip for a VA wanting to expand their business or make more money?
Work with others and work together – don’t see other VAs as competition.
What’s the best thing about working in the VA industry?
The helpfulness and encouragement from everyone involved.
What’s the worst thing about being in the VA industry?
Educating businesses that we are a value-added service and not a luxury!
What do you see as the future of the industry? Any threats? What are we going to see more of and what will disappear?
I see teams of VAs will be getting together to support businesses so admin support will be outsourced – or even their admin support are finding they are working as a VA and will go self-employed so they get the benefits too.
The virtual world is growing but it may be that collaborators get together and work as a package for businesses – as they will prefer the package rather than outsourcing to many different people. VAs, HR, H&S, IT Support altogether – maybe?