Top 10 Tips for Becoming a VA

SVA put together 10 baby-steps to becoming a VA – a must-read for any aspiring assistants! Continue reading

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Virtual Assistant Nightmares

With Halloween just round the corner, I thought I’d tell some spooky stories about being a virtual assistant.  When I ask VAs to think about the scariest thing they can imagine, the same things pop up – and it’s often these things which stop them from ever starting as a VA.  So I’m going to drag the monsters out from under the bed and let them see the cold light of day… Continue reading

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IYOTSA 2014: The value of relationships in the workplace

As part of the International Year of the Secretary/Assistant 2014, participating organisations are developing themes for their members in order to raise awareness of Secretaries and Assistants throughout the world… This month is:

The value of relationships in the workplace

Success can be measured not only in achievements, but in lessons learned, lives touched and moments shared along the way. – Nishan Panwar Continue reading

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Society of Virtual Assistants: September 2014 Newsletter

Hi there,Virtual PA-233

Firstly, thank you to the overwhelming messages of support I received after last month’s email furore – it truly makes all the work that goes into keeping SVA going worthwhile when I hear how many people have found it helpful!

Our annual survey (which, I’ve been told countless times, is VERY useful to new and old assistants alike!) is now live and ready for your responses.  NB: Please use Firefox/IE as your browser and make sure your internet cache is cleared if you are experiencing problems with it.  TAKE PART HERE

This year there are spot prizes for people filling in: 1-5, 50, 100 and our magic number 142 surveys….I can reveal that we are approaching number 50…

Caroline Continue reading

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Mummy shortcuts

One of the questions I get asked most by aspiring VAs, is one that for years I was completely unqualified to answer: “Will I be able to juggle being a mum and working as a VA?”

Back then as a singleton, I didn’t really know… As a multi-VA I often got tales of woe from VAs submitting work late because their child had been sick or had helpfully removed all the letters from their keyboard.  I’m pretty unsympathetic about that kind of thing, because the deadlines on the work I outsource are short and they shouldn’t wait til the deadline to let me know there is a problem – and invariably they would know before they said yes to the work too.  Those kinds of excuses annoy me.  Now as a mum, I probably have more of an understanding of the problems, but I’m still not very sympathetic.  Mostly because I have a lot of back up systems in place and believe other mums should too. Continue reading

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IYOTSA 2014: Mentoring and coaching as a form of keeping standards of profession

As part of the International Year of the Secretary/Assistant 2014, participating organisations are developing themes for their members in order to raise awareness of Secretaries and Assistants throughout the world… This month is:

Mentoring and coaching as a form of keeping standards of the profession

Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.
― John Wooden Continue reading

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Virtual Assistant Fun: You have £500 to spend on your business…

This is a bit of fun… If I was to give you £500 to spend on your business, how would it get spent?  A lot will depend on what stage you are at with your business, so tell us how long you’ve been going too.

Things to consider: Upgrading your skills via a course, investing it in more networking, going to a VA conference, hiring in help for a few hours each month to free up your time for business planning…

So we might have:

  • Lisa – start up VA, would spend money on designing a cool logo, printing business cards and sorting a website.  Would allow her to launch her business without bootstrapping.
  • Caroline – seasoned VA, would book self into spa for “business planning session” LOL! (I’m joking – please don’t let the tax man be reading this!!)

Okay: So here’s your £500 – what do you do with it???!  The best response gets a little surprise! 

Posted in Marketing, Multi-VA Business, Virtual Assistant Industry | 9 Comments

VA Hero: Michelle Poole of VACT Yorkshire

Me Dec 2013 ColourEach 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!

Favourite tipple?

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?

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Non-sales-y sales

I am hoping to build up a VA business having worked within a PA and secretarial role for the past 14 years. I am excited about building up my business but really not looking forward to the whole marketing and “selling myself” side. I tried setting up a different type of home business a couple of years ago and failed because of this. From Leah – a new VA

Leah is not alone – this is a fairly common email for me to get… There are two issues here, and I’ll get right to the crux of the first one:

What would you do if I offered you a job – you would really get on with your boss, it had unlimited earnings, flexible hours, an office decorated to your own tastes… Sounds good, you’d bite my arm off in order to take it, yes?  BUT…. (and there’s always a BUT!)… It’s commission only. Continue reading

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Society of Virtual Assistants: August 2014 Newsletter

Hi there,Virtual PA-233

I received a troubling email over the weekend – some of you may have received this email from a new VA and therefore I wanted to set the record straight:

SVA is funded via donations which pays for hosting, admin, research, SEO, and web development.  The donation is voluntary and over the years we have added many, many members for free, as well as receiving generous support from many VAs.  We do not (nor have we ever) charged for VA listings on the website.  There are several reasons for this:

  • Firstly because any directory charging for listings would not have the impartiality needed to remove VAs who are not delivering on their promises.
  • Secondly because the listings we have are not as good as I would like them to be – this is something we are working on in the background, and something I would love to be able to fix permanently by investing more money in.  However, I just don’t have the money or technical skill to do it alone.
  • Thirdly because SVA was founded by VAs coming together and helping one another, and that is the ethos I would like to prevail – if you are only joining to get a web listing, there are 100 other sites offering that (who don’t of course have the same SEO authority as SVA has due to its varied content and longstanding status).  Joining just for the listing dilutes the collective power of the VAs and is not something I ever wanted to encourage.

I find the VA industry is one of the most welcoming and open I’ve ever encountered – it makes it a special place to work (even if I don’t get to see you in person very often!).  It would be a shame to lose that ethos, I hope it won’t come to that.

Caroline Continue reading

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IYOTSA 2014: Leadership skills for the Secretary/Admin Assistant

As part of the International Year of the Secretary/Assistant 2014, participating organisations are developing themes for their members in order to raise awareness of Secretaries and Assistants throughout the world… This month is:

Leadership skills for the Secretary/Admin Assistant

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams Continue reading

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