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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Society of Virtual Assistants – October 2014 newsletter

Hi there,Virtual PA-233

Still looking for some more responses for our annual Virtual Assistant Survey – really important to get a statistically valid sample of the industry, so if you haven’t filled it in, please do so now!!!

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

Still not working? If you are still having problems, we do have a paper survey downloadable here which you can scan and return to papersurvey@societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk

Small personal announcement: Baby number 2 due April, so I’ve been a bit under the weather of late – apologies if we haven’t got back to you, please do hassle me if you haven’t heard back on something!  The plan is to take some time off in the spring but SVA will continue as normal with our fabulous team of volunteers.

Caroline Continue reading

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IYOTSA 2014: PA Power

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:

PA Power

If you want people to listen, you have to have a platform to speak from, and that is excellence in what you do.   – William Pollard 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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