How to go from PA to VA in 3 months

How to go from a Personal Assistant to a Virtual Assistant in just 3 months

People often ask me how long it takes to become a Virtual Assistant and my (annoying) 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 three months. This is how you do it:

Get your head around the idea

First, you need to realise that it’s perfectly feasible to go from being a PA to a VA and get paid very well to do all the things you’re currently doing every day as part of your job.

Thousands of successful VAs all over the world are living proof this is possible.

The owner of your company is just a regular person (although they may actually have horns under their hair), and because they can’t do everything themselves, they allocate different jobs to different people in different departments.

Depending on the size of their company they may also outsource tasks to contractors such as web designers, marketing agencies, graphic designers and accountancy firms.

Your line manager is just one of these people and, because they also have their own job to get on with, they get you to do the adminy stuff, organise things and generally do all the ‘machine oiling’ bits that need to be done in order for your department and/or your boss’s life to run smoothly.

Well, you may be surprised to hear that owners of smaller businesses will also pay you to do the same things your company does…

Except you get to keep all the money!

More than one of the students on my DIY VA course has said to me:

I’m just so surprised that people will happily pay me to do all the things that I find really easy!

This is because you’re so used to the traditional 9-5 working-for-someone-else model, being told what to do and being able to do your tasks so easily, that you can’t believe anyone else will pay you to do them if you go solo.

But why? The reason your company pays you to do those tasks is because they need doing!

Go From PA to VA in 3 Months

Steps to Becoming a Virtual Assistant

These are the things you need to do in order to set up your own Virtual Assistant business and the time they should take you to complete.

It’s actually not as hard as you would imagine – it’s just that you’ve never done it before.

  • Analyse and identify your skillset by looking at your CV  in order to decide what services to offer, the types of people who might want those services and any niche(s) you may already have but aren’t yet aware of.
    TIME – half a day to a day at the most.
  • Create an online presence (LinkedIn and later a website) to tell potential clients what you can do and provide evidence in the form of testimonials that people have been happy with your work.
    TIME – 1-7 days to set up a good LinkedIn profile and request work recommendations, and 1-6 weeks for a website depending on whether you build and write it yourself – plus 1-2 weeks to sort a logo if you decide you want one.
  • Collate a list of people you know as well as unknown prospects (local businesses or people in any identified target industry) who might hire you.
    TIME – half a day to 2 days.
  • Research 10 people on the ‘unknown prospects’ list so you can contact them.
    TIME – 1-3 days but you’ll be doing this in a rinse and repeat motion forever throughout your career anyway.
  • Write an email template to contact those people.
    TIME – half a day max because I have templates you can tailor.
  • Send those emails.
    TIME – half a day max.
  • Research and do other marketingy things. Because if you think you can get away without letting people know what you do then you’ll never get paid!
    TIME – 1-7 days.

TOTAL – 12 weeks tops

Now I know that life can get in the way and you may not think you have much free time to get these things done in the timeframes I’ve given you.

But you kinda do if you’re honest about it.

If you really, really want something then you simply have to make time for it. You put aside half an hour in the morning or evening, you don’t watch as much TV, you sneak off for an hour at the weekend…

You don’t find the time. You prioritise your future by making the time to do the thing you want.

Download the tools you need (and don’t need) to set up your own Virtual Assistant business.

If you want to go from PA to VA in 3 months:

It will not surprise you to know that I have an online DIY VA training course that covers everything I’ve listed above.

It has a section for every step, videos on how to identify your niche, services and clients, examples of how to write your LinkedIn profile and prospect email, templates and downloads, and a productivity calendar

The course also comes with access to my Ultimate Marketing Course as well as a private trainee-only Facebook group with direct access to me. This group (called the Rock Stars) is almost like a family; they pass work on to each other, buddy up each month, take part in the quarterly business book club, attend a monthly Live Q&A session and hold regular meetups.

I give personal weekly progress feedback and hold one-to-one calls so trainees can talk to me about anything they’re struggling with.

You get lifetime access to both the course content and the group – which means you have support for the duration of your career. 

Going from a bored, unappreciated, underpaid, stressed PA to a happy, in-control, flexible working, confident VA is totally doable and absolutely within your reach.

You just have to decide you want it and then go and do it. Because nothing changes unless you do.

There are thousands of people in my VA Handbookers Facebook group who already work like this so there is absolutely no reason why you can’t too.

They said they chose to work for themselves because they wanted more.

They wanted to use the skills they’d worked hard to acquire, to use their brain and learn new things, to feel appreciated, to spend more time with their children (or pets!), to finally stop the daily commute… to feel like they were living and not just existing.

If that’s something that you want too, then today could be the beginning of something wonderful.



Hey Joanne,
i am a mother to a 1.3yrs girl. currently in a one month contract and wil be ending in a few weeks. i would like to enroll in the VA course. am in Kenya and would love to know more about VA and if its possible to do it here and get genuine clients as well as know how to do the course.
i have been going through some of your advises and i think i landed on the right person. thank you

Joanne Munro

Hi Janet, thank you for leaving a comment. I just Googled ‘Virtual Assistant in Kenya’ and a few came up so there must be a demand for it where you are. Obviously it’s up to you to do your research and find out the viability of your services, but wherever people are needed to do admin in an office, a virtual solution is always an option.

You can find all the information on what the course covers by clicking here. x

Jacquie Steel

Thanks Jo,
Just the kick up the backside I needed!
Almost there….just got to get my head round the marketingy bit you mentioned!
Would you do me a huge favour if you have a minute…..go and have a look at my new website and drop me a line to let me know what you think….would be much appreciated, Ta

Joanne Munro

Good work Jacquie! Unfortunately I don’t have time to review people’s websites (I’d never get any work done!) but I do offer it as a paid service which you’ll find on the Training and Resources Page and the Downloads Page. x


This post came at just the right time – thank you Jo! I love reading all your advice as it always give me a kick up the backside. I’ve started my website (designing it myself) but life got in the way…again! Back on track this week!


Thank you Jo! This post is exactly what I needed to read today after thinking about setting up as a VA for a few months now and making some small steps. I will get a move on!


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