How to become a Virtual Assistant

Being a Virtual Assistant is awesome. It’s incredible in fact. I have a really enjoyable lifestyle and have worked from Vegas, Zurich, Rome, Provence, Oman,  the Canaries, Austin and Verona. But the life of a VA is not all unicorns and fairies – I worked my arse off to become successful, but I also learned a helluva lot in the process. And now I’m going to tell you everything you’ll need to know if you want to become a Virtual Assistant yourself.

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Why LinkedIn is essential for your VA business

LinkedIn is a massive part of all my Virtual Assistant training. In fact it’s so integral to getting work that many of my trainees have found clients solely through their LinkedIn profile even though they haven’t even got a website yet. Every professional knows it’s essential to be on LinkedIn but having a great LinkedIn profile is just half of it – knowing how to actually use it is vital.

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Want to meet me at the Office Show in May?

I just want to let you know that I’m going to be attending the second day of the Office Show in London on the 12th May – so if you want to stop by and meet me then it would be absolutely brilliant to see you. I’ve never been to the show before but I’ve heard really good things about it so I’m going to play hookey from work on the VA day to see what all the fuss is about… and to meet some of you hopefully!

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Overcome any challenge with a SWOT analysis

The other day I was discussing my personal training with my boyfriend and I mentioned that a couple of the trainees had confidence issues. I’d given them every practical step they needed to become a VA but I didn’t have any more knowledge to impart and wasn’t sure what to do to move them forward. He firstly (and rightly) advised that I wasn’t a counsellor and then said that I should ask them to do a SWOT analysis.

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New eye-opening VA video interview series

I think it’s really important to see what it’s actually like to be a VA so I’ve set up some video interviews with new VAs for you. I want to show potential VAs what life is actually like when you work for yourself, to see that ‘regular’ people can do it and to inspire you to make the leap yourselves. I also want to give existing VAs an insight into how other freelancers work, what tasks they do, who their clients are, how they manage them, how they get them and how much they charge them.

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This service will earn you a great income throughout your career

I often meet up with another VA called Rachel Brown. I’ve known her for a few years now and our chats are always really productive. We have coffee and cake and discuss how our businesses are doing, our plans for the future and to generally find out how each other is getting on. Last year I discovered that Rachel makes an absolute killing from taking minutes at local meetings. Obviously I was intrigued and wanted to know more… loads more! 

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3 example VA tasks for you to try

Although the types of tasks you’ll be given will obviously vary depending on what your services are and what your clients do for a living, I thought it might be a good idea to provide three different examples so you can get a basic idea of what to expect. These are not unusual tasks and cover the main areas of research, data entry, collation and attention to detail.

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How to write a great LinkedIn profile

Aside from analysing LinkedIn profiles and groups for my clients and using LinkedIn to identify, research and qualify potential clients for my own VA business, I also used to write loads of LinkedIn profiles as part of my CV writing business – so when it comes to LinkedIn, I’ve seen it all! There are good profiles and truly dreadful profiles – here’s what a good one looks like:

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How to go from PA to VA in 3 months

People often ask me how long it takes to become a Virtual Assistant and my answer is usually “it depends”. But now I have a definitive answer: if you set aside time every day to get on and focus on the things you need to do in the right order then it should take you no more than 3 months tops. And this is exactly how you do it:

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Personal VA training case study: Kirsty Lyons

My name is Kirsty Lyons and I live in London My business is simply called Kirsty Lyons Virtual Assistant and I offer services in three streams: PA and admin services, writing and editing, and events management. These streams play to my strengths and experience gained during years in publishing, events management and Director-level administration. The services I offer enable me to work with a variety of people which means that no two days are ever the same.

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How I survive winter without frostbite, fractures or an extortionate heating bill

Winter can be a hard time for freelancers. If you work from home your heating bills are enormous, you freeze your butt off for three months and you’re constantly scared you’re going to slip on ice, break your wrist and put yourself out of business. Staying warm and in one piece used to be a worry for me and, although a lot of what I’m about to write may sound obvious, if you’re not used to working from home, it might not be that obvious at all.

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VA interview with Nicolle French

This is a Virtual Assistant case study and interview with Nicolle French who is the owner of Nicolle French Communications;  Based in London, Nicolle works full time from home and worked on bespoke ad-hoc client projects for several years  before transitioning full time last year. This is the story of how she became a Virtual Assistant.

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What my workspaces look like

Many people have told me that they thought they needed to get an office or have a ‘proper’ desk set up before they could be a freelancer so I want to show you that this is complete and utter nonsense! Virtual Assistants can work from anywhere they like and you shouldn’t let the lack of an office prevent you from setting up your own business.

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Replay of the interview and Q&A session with my favourite client

On 11th January I held a live Google Hangouts on Air interview and Q&A session with my favourite client Luan Wise. We did the interview so potential VAs could find out how we work together, what tasks she asks me to do, how I manage her  expectations, what she looks for in a VA and then ask us questions about anything they liked.

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Replay of my first live Q&A session

On the 2nd December I held my first public Google Hangouts on Air Q&A session. I do regular private discussions with my DIY VA course trainees, but they’re in the call with me, we can all see each other and it’s very fun and cosy. This was the first time I was doing it as a broadcast – which meant I was just talking to myself!

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Personal VA training case study: Gemma Walton

My name is Gemma Walton and my business is called Portfolio PA. I currently live in Leeds in the UK and offer VA services to HR, wellbeing, change and transformation consultants and individuals with a portfolio of roles. I specialise in copywriting, document production and generally giving my clients more hours in the day!

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Business books that have helped my career

I love a good business book but I’m reeeeally choosy about what I buy. Because I don’t want you to waste a whole load of time, money and effort picking through various reviews and descriptions, I thought I’d give you a list of the ones I like the most. I own every one of these books and know they will help your career and get you where you want to go.

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Should you take out insurance?

People often ask me whether they should take out business insurance and, although I usually direct them to various online articles (because well, that’s why Google exists!) I thought I should cover it on the site. Sole Traders generally don’t need any insurance, but here’s a summary of the different types so you can make the decision for yourself.

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How to work better once you get clients

When my VA trainees are about to be signed off and released into the world of freelancing, we often discuss what it’s like to work for yourself, pitfalls and ways they can better manage their time once they’re working with multiple clients. I’ve learned a few time-management tricks over the years, but I also have some advice on how to make the most of freelance life in general.

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Personal VA training case study: Sheryl Pratt

My name is Sheryl Pratt and I’m a Newbury-based Virtual Assistant. My business is called N-abling-u, and I specialise in providing social media support to small businesses and consultants. I help business owners keep consistent with their social media presence and manage the distribution of content over time, to the right platform in the right format.

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