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What defines a successful virtual assistant business?

Today I had afternoon tea with Nick Cohen of PCRepair.   Nick was (as ever!) immaculately turned out in a very smart suit.  I was wearing a pair of jeans and a tunic top with purple magic mushrooms on it.  Nick wasn’t offended at all, as he is well aware of my corporate mission, from way back when I started the business: I want to wear jeans to the office every day.

But it got me thinking about how we define success in our businesses.  For some businesses they measure profit by:

  • how many people they employ
  • what their turnover is
  • the prestige of their clients

But amongst virtual assistant businesses, success seems to be measured by creating a work:life balance.  I’m pretty sure I don’t fall into that category, being a complete workaholic!  A rather more worrying trend are the numbers of people who are writing books or selling training on the basis of being “a successful virtual assistant” when they haven’t been trading very long and probably don’t have that much experience.

So what do you think makes a “successful virtual assistant” and who is allowed to call themselves one?

(and hopefully the comments are all working thanks to the wonderful Sally Walker, who insists she isn’t a VA at all!! LOL!)

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  1. Alexandra Trapnell on 30 July, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Hmmm, interesting question. I think I’d say that one of the things that stands out for me is return custom. If you’re not delivering a good service, the client doesn’t get on with you, you’re not ‘bringing anything to the table’ i.e. added value, or you didn’t meet their brief, you’re highly unlikely to hear from that client again, indeed any client that receives such services.

    You’ve got it cracked when they’re back on the phone or emailing you with your next task or project.


    • Caroline on 30 July, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Absolutely – return business and a long standing assistant business means that lots of people are happy with the work. It’s hard on newbie VAs to get those first few clients, but wow when you get the first five and they start telling their friends, you’ll have a cracking business in no time. Those first five are the hardest to get though!

  2. Niki Ross on 31 July, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I am a newbie! I have been working as a VA for the past few months and work is slowly but surely picking up.
    I had a couple of one off jobs for urgent work and then I got a client through a free ad on the internet and she has been a regular ever since and has actually become like a friend. She emails or phones me nearly every day and has been referring me to her friends as many of them work for themselves. I have already had another job from one of them and she has said when she’s back from her summer hols she will be back in touch for more work!
    I think once the holiday period is over and kids back at school may be things will pick up even more when everyone is out of holiday mode.
    I am hoping that the continual work classes me as a good VA as they keep coming back for more!

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