How Catherine Gladwyn did my VA DIY course and became her own boss

How Catherine Gladwyn set up her VA business after literally becoming sick of her job

Because my DIY VA course gets such great results, I wanted to share some of the inspiring success stories from people who have taken the course and set up their own freelance business. When Catherine became sick with stress last year she decided to set up her own business and call the shots instead. Here’s the story of why Catherine took the course and how her life has changed since. 

My name is Catherine Gladwyn and my new Virtual Assistant business is called Delegate VA. I’m 39, live in Wiltshire (yeah, near Stonehenge) in the UK with a long term boyfriend and a daughter who’s just started University. I own my own home, but I have no pension and some small savings in case I ever get long term sick.

Why did you decide to buy Jo’s DIY VA course?

I started looking in to becoming a VA in November 2015.  At the time I was working for a government organisation as a PA in the marketing, communications and media team alongside another PA who was bloody useless and rude. I spent most of my days covering her poor work or getting frustrated at her inability to hold a grown up conversation.

I became stressed at home and was constantly poorly with a nagging cold which wasn’t helped by a large infestation of mould and no air conditioning for weeks and weeks on end and windows that didn’t open. The final straw for me was when I had a headache, which wouldn’t ease, I phoned the doctors and he said it sounded like a haemorrhage.

That was it. In May 2016. I didn’t return to work.

For a while I did wonder whether I’d stumbled across one of those ‘get rich quick’ websites, like the notes you find on your car at supermarkets, so I didn’t think about the course for a few months after first coming across it.

I thought ‘I can do this on my own’, but, every time I looked for an answer to a question around becoming a VA, Google came back with something from the VA Handbook and it always made sense.

There was so much I couldn’t quite work out how to do on my own, like understanding what LinkedIn actually was and how people use it, contacting prospects, getting the wording right, how to engage, what to post, when to post, what to charge etc.

All of those unanswered questions fell in to place when I worked my way through the course.

Did you feel confident the course would make you a VA?

I was so so excited when I received the password to log on. It was like opening the chocolates on Christmas Day.

The course is so natural, so real, so easy to relate to that you just know you can do it (like with anything, if you really want something you’re half way there), it gives you that insider knowledge and that extra lift to elevate you into becoming a confident VA.

I worked through the course in the evenings as that’s when I am able to concentrate on things just for me. That’s the beauty; you can do it when you want, where you want and spend as little or as much time on it as your lifestyle allows.

Catherine Gladwyn VA

What is the course like and how did you find it?

I don’t take in new knowledge just by reading, so was a little worried how long it might take me. But, there’s a perfect mix of breaks, videos, tasks and stuff to read that it suits all learning styles.

It’s like watching a great new television drama where you can’t wait for the next show.

I don’t think I contacted Jo at all during the course as it all made sense, plus I like to research for myself before asking anyone else. Post course, the trainee-only Facebook group has been invaluable for getting a mixture of thoughts, tips, guidance, tricks and to learn from other VAs.

I’ve also made five new VA ‘friends’ via the trainee-only Facebook group who I communicate with regularly on a WhatsApp group chat to share thoughts for the day, our individual experiences and to discuss which of our children / partners need to be popped in to a timeout room that day.

The best thing about the course though was the insider knowledge; it saved me so many mistakes and so much time.

How are you getting on after finishing it?

I now have a host of varied clients and I enjoy every task I do. I undertake research, social media content writing and scheduling, blog writing, inbox management, website uploads, document formatting and collation, newsletters, training via Skype as well as CRM set-up and management.

Before the course I made a couple of mistakes with pricing and doing tasks I didn’t want to, but I won’t again.

Is your life very different now to how it was before?

I am more relaxed and I haven’t been poorly since I left my full time job.

I’m also nicer to be around, I have time to enjoy my family, my life and actually look at the world positively. I also have time to cook, bake and learn again too.

One of the best moments was going off on holiday and not having to get ‘permission’, it almost sounds absurd that I used to ask someone if I could have a break!

Sometimes in life we have to make changes to make our lives better.

If your life could do with a better work life balance, more time for the family, more time for you, for friends, for doing anything you enjoy, then don’t hesitate – this is your escape route from the stressful lives that make life hard bloody work.

No one ever said work has to be a horrible experience, and as a freelancer it’s not.

Say hi to Catherine on Twitter

You can find more info on my DIY VA course here on this page. You can also watch Catherine’s VA Video Testimonial and read loads more testimonials from happy trainees by clicking here.

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