I really like telling you guys how to set up and become Virtual Assistants but I realised recently that it might be nice if you knew a bit more about me. So after racking my brain for an inordinate amount of time and deleting some rather incriminating and over-shary details, this is what I’ve come up with. Don’t judge me…
1) I’m a massive Trekker
Alright, so you probably already know this about me, but I bet you didn’t know I love Star Trek enough to have attended two conventions.
Oh yes, this nerd not only knows the difference between a Vulcan and a Romulan, she sometimes surrounds herself with people wearing Federation uniforms enviously wishing she had (a blue) one of her own.
2) I didn’t learn to drive until I was 40
Pathetic really but I just never got around to it. I moved to Brighton when I was 23 and you don’t need a car there; plus you can’t afford to park even if you did.
I spent around 90 hours over five weeks and passed first time, but I have to admit that I found it really, really hard.
Three words: Effing. Clutch. Control.
Even now, passing my driving test is still my proudest achievement.
3) I’m a high-functioning introvert
People often think I’m an extrovert because I find it easy to talk to strangers, but it’s a myth that introverts are shy. An extrovert is someone who feels energised by being around other people, whilst introverts feel recharged when they spend time alone.
I love my own company and feel drained if I spend time with large groups of people or don’t get enough time to myself. I can get quite narky if I don’t have space and I much prefer spending time one-to-one or in small groups.
4) I’m terrified of spiders
I’m not just a little bit scared of spiders, I’m completely petrified of them. I know it’s totally irrational, but it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. I’ve had numerous truly horrific experiences and even the thought of them makes me feel anxious.
I certainly can’t get near enough to kill or trap one by hand so (top tip but this may horrify you) I kill them with Cillit Bang… one spray and BANG! the spider’s gone.
5) I detest cooking
I love food, I just have zero interest in preparing it. Cooking is mind-numbingly dull and something I actively dislike doing.
Other people seem to find it relaxing, but it bores me to tears and I feel frustrated that dinner takes such a massive effort to prepare but only 10 minutes to eat.
Cooking is such a huge waste of time and I would stop doing it if I knew I wouldn’t starve or get scurvy.
6) I don’t pronounce my th’s correctly
I’ve never been able to properly pronounce words with a ‘th’ sound in them and I say fings, fanks, vis and vat instead. A friend of mine always laughs when I ask “do they?” because it sounds like I’m saying duvet.
Apparently, this is called Th-Fronting and it’s an actual thing – although discovering this only makes me feel slightly better! Although I sometimes feel a little self-conscious, it’s just the way things (fings) are.
I am well aware that I probably sound like an imbecile though.
7) I hate New Year’s Eve
I’ve never been fussed about New Year – or ‘forced fun night’ as I call it.
If I recall you have to dress up, spend loads of money, queue for ages for a price-hiked drink in a sweaty, rammed pub, feel a bit awkward at midnight, risk hypothermia trying to get home on foot or pay £250 for a taxi (if you can find one), pick your way through pools of vomit, then wake up the next day feeling rough as a badger’s behind.
I haven’t missed anything, have I?
8) I’m infatuated with Italy
I’ve been to a lot of places around the world but my favourite country by far is Italy. I go there wherever I can and even my Italian friends say I’ve seen more of the country than they have.
I’ve been to Rome seven times (so far) and the first time I saw the Amalfi coast I felt my heart fly out of my chest and into the Bay of Naples where it lives to this day.
Italy is my soul country.
9) I’m always inappropriately dressed for the weather
I’m a grown woman yet it’s a well-known fact amongst my friends that I am ALWAYS inappropriately dressed for the weather.
If it’s really hot then I’ll be the one in the black ninja-like outfit (probably wearing a polo neck), and if it’s freezing I’ll have no socks on or be wearing a really flimsy coat.
I’m actually an exceptionally organised person, just not sartorially for some reason.
10) I collect Funkos and Lego Minifigures
Although I don’t have tons of them, I have a fair amount of Funkopops, Bobbleheads and Lego Minifigs. I have one large printer’s tray full of assorted Lego peeps and two smaller ones dedicated to zombie and Game of Thrones dudes.
I mean, what self-respecting VA doesn’t categorise their Lego?
I sometimes walk around and admire them when I brush my teeth. Which isn’t at all weird… right?
11) I’m well prepared for the zombie apocalypse
Obviously, I intend to be one of the people not turned into the shambling undead so I’ve spent more time than is probably healthy thinking of the best way to survive the apocalypse including escape routes, weaponry and what I’d pack in my bug-out bag*.
* A crowbar, a wind-up radio, my glasses (plus a spare pair), a penknife, a Maglite, a lighter, penicillin, water, water purifying tablets and warm layers just in case you were wondering.
12) I’m obsessed with my dog
I adopted my little dog Monty in Montenegro in December 2021 and I am totally obsessed with him.
I’d always wanted a dog but thought it was impossible because I travel so much. However, I found travelling by myself quite lonely at times so I decided to slow down and make room in my life for a pup.
Monty is the love of my life.
From his little chicken drummer legs to his adorable rubbable-tummy, I absolutely adore my furry-faced darling and my life wouldn’t be the same without him.
13) I’m uneducated
I only got five GCSEs and one A-level. I didn’t go to university but I’m resourceful, resilient, adaptable, constantly learning and I’ve always been determined to achieve whatever I set my mind to.
I am definitely proof that you don’t need to be traditionally educated to engineer a happy life on your own terms.
14) I detest bracket faces and LOLs
I don’t mind a proper little emoticon but I can’t bear smiley faces made with brackets or when people write LOL or ROFL or some other equally annoying acronym.
Some people think you can’t tell how a message is intended if there isn’t some stupid face in it – whereas I think that if you can’t express yourself clearly without using brackets then you don’t have a good enough grasp of the English language and should rewrite your message.
Many of my friends disagree but they’re clearly wrong.
15) I’m a huge history nerd
Nothing excites me more than a medieval castle and a good amphitheatre. I’m really into the history of the English monarchy (especially the Tudors) and I rarely read fiction. Instead, I can usually be found reading books on The Romans, Pompeii, or forensic archaeology before I go to sleep.
16) I’m mental about films
I would definitely class myself as a film nerd. The cinema is my second home and I often take myself to afternoon matinees.
I particularly like disaster and zombie films (watching people run and panic en masse delights me) and I love the Coen Brothers, Woody Allen and Wes Anderson films. I’ll often go to see a film more than once and I can literally talk about films all night.
17) I crochet
Many years ago I decided to learn a hobby that would take me away from my computer screen, so I taught myself to crochet with a book and YouTube (the irony of learning from YouTube is not lost on me). I particularly like making blankets and I’ve taught many other people how to crochet.
18) I have a Scanner personality
Man years ago a career coach friend diagnosed me as having a Scanner personality and my life suddenly made sense.
Scanners are people who like variety. The problem is they sometimes have so many ideas that they’re paralysed with indecision, or they start lots of things and never finish them.
After hearing about Scanners I read a brilliant life-changing book called ‘Refuse to Choose: A Revolutionary Program for Doing Everything That You Love’ by Barbara Sher. I discovered I was a ‘cyclical plate-spinning Scanner’ and I learned a number of practical ways I could get everything done without going mental.
It was a life-changing revelation, actually.
19) I changed my surname by deed poll
I’m not going to tell you what my original surname was but I never felt like it suited me and the only person with the same name is my biological father (who is an absolute bell-end) so I changed it.
I incorporated the spelling of my step-father’s surname (Munn) and reinvented myself with my own self-chosen surname of Munro when I was in my early 30’s.
I also removed my middle name of Tracey (can you tell I was born in the 70’s?) and replaced it with the initial T. So my legal name is now Joanne T Munro instead of Joanne Tracey surnameihated.
20) I collect photos of signs
This is kind of a weird one but I’m fascinated by bonkers safety signs. I have a whole folder full of surreptitiously taken photos from around the world of images showing what happens if you do something stoopid.
They greatly amuse me and made me inordinately happy.
Of course, there are loads more such as my book obsession, my love of foreign graveyards, my coffee snobbery and how I ruined my Girl’s World by drawing a beard on her, but I really should stop now before you decide I’m actually a mentalist and call Social Services.
Now it’s your turn. Do you share any of my foibles and can you relate to any of my experiences?
Dear reader, let’s talk about you…
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Hi Jo, we have a few things in common, I’m also infatuated with Italy and although I passed my test first time at 18, I’m not a confident driver and haven’t driven in a really long time – we don’t even own a family car. I also think I may have a scanner personality, need to look into that!
Eclectic collection which makes you such an interesting person Jo – never a dull moment. No wonder I love following you … the relief of finding someone else who’s not a fan of New Year’s eve and a bit of a prepper as well! I’ve been meaning to buy Barbara Sher’s books for ages; wasn’t her TED talk great? I’m an introvert and a scanner too just haven’t learned the lesson of actually completing the shiny thing before flitting off to that next thing. Your description of being uneducated? I love it so much; it’s changed the way I want to describe myself completely by reading No 13 today,.so thank you. We should be proud of being capable, resilient, adaptable, resourceful because that’s what gets us through a zombie apocalypse not a piece of paper right?
Resourcefulness and a really big axe! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It was wonderful to read and really made me laugh. Shiny objects are so distracting but I have learned (it’s taken a long time, tbh) to try and focus and remove as many distractions as I can. The book essentialism changed my life in that way and I reread it every year to make sure I stay on track. The author reminds us that most things in the world aren’t essential, it’s mostly just noise.
Hi Jo, thanks for sharing so much about yourself. It is because of you that I first learned about Scanners and Barbara Sher’s book, Refuse to Choose. I am about halfway through reading it and I see so much of myself in it. It truly explains why I find my current employment so tedious. I am wondering if you could share some insights on how you were able to mesh being a Scanner with being a VA. At first glance, it seems they would combine quite well, but I do have this fear that I will grow bored with the work in the same way I have with my current employment.
Hi Lyneisa (fellow Scanner!). It turns out that just by being a VA kept me from being bored. There is the work itself, all the admin, reading up, accounting, marketing – and so many other things involved with running a business that I had enough to keep my busy mind occupied! It was mainly the variety of different client work and plotting how to creatively market and promote myself that did it. There is so much to do and it’s so enjoyable that you don’t have much time to get bored.
Hi Jo, just come across your fun 20 facts. Surprisingly a share a few with you, not least the deed poll name. Not the Oriel bit but my bank account/doctor’s surgery name.
I also hate cooking, learnt to drive at 40, I knit instead of crochet and I’m nuts about history. In fact I started a 2 week distant learning course on archeology this week on Future Learn.
That whole Scanner business looks curious. X
Well, reading your personality type made me coat my keyboard at work in hot tea as it was like reading an exact description of me! I have always wanted to learn Everything at the same time and commit to it then panic as I don’t know where to start! am much better as I have got older, ahem, but loved reading an insight into ‘what its like being you’.
My husband calls my weirdness ‘abisms’ , I have always said ‘rememberable’, I think the dictionary is in fact wrong! I love tin pin bowling and have an odd skip shuffle thing all before I let go of the ball, my feet just cant work without doing it. Finally, my memory works in a most unhelpful way. I can remember number plates of cars and can remember someone’s name just by a first meeting. However, having to remember important day to day things, collect the kids etc. Nope, my memory fails me!
Oh no; sorry about causing you to soak your keyboard! It definitely sounds like you’re a Scanner so reading Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher will certainly make a difference and let you know you’re not going mad! I think that rememorable is the best word for your talent… x
You cracked me up from when I first spoke to you. Nothing different in the above post!
Hello Jo! Loved your list. I think most of us VAs have something a little kookie about us, it’s why we want to work for ourselves and no-one else. I cry when I think about ever having to work for an organisation again; the thought of doing the same thing, day in, day out…*sob*
Your honesty in a public domain is refreshing and inspirational. I thought my own “slightly cosy” (as has been described) website was a bit different to all the sleek, distant, aloof VA pages available. Feeling braver now…
Love the 20 facts Jo, they made me laugh out loud. The rather bemused look from my husband was a sight to be seen. I am
determined to set up as a VA. I have spent years working hard, putting in extra hours but unable to use my organisational skills
in the job I am currently doing. Now feels the right time to do something about it thanks to you.
I also do not like spiders.
I am 55 and my driving test is only a few weeks away…….eek! Also wish I had persevered years ago with it. But this year it all changed, I applied for my provisional license, passed my theory test first time the day after arriving back from holiday and next week will be my 10th driving lesson.
Food, I too love it and like you do not enjoy the cooking side
I have 5 children from 36 down to 21 who I love more than words can say and a fantastic husband.
We were in Brighton last weekend ( can see why you love it) and live in Bedfordshire.
Thank you for giving me the push I needed to do this!
Hi Ali, thank you so much for leaving a comment on my post. I love it when readers take the time to tell me more about themselves. I’m actually from Buckinghamshire (Newport Pagnell for my sins) but my great, great, great grandmother came up from Devon to Bedfordshire when she married a man from Marston Moretaine. My great aunt lives in Bedfordshire still so I’m really familiar with the area. Good luck on your driving test; I did 90 hours of lessons in 5 weeks so hopefully you won’t need that many – if you can tell me what idiot invented the clutch then I’ll happily come with you to burn his house down! x
Read your random facts with interest. I am going to become a Virtual Secretary instead of being unemployed.
Am a good reader, and a quick learner.
Thank you Joanne, it was great to get some insight into your life. You have such a strong identity of yourself and communicate in such a witty manner. This article really cheered me up on a Saturday morning.
Well here goes…..
My number one passion is yoga. I love going upside down and standing on my head. It is amazing how going upside down and letting the blood run to your head can help calm you down and bring clarity to any situation. If I need to think something through I will often turn myself upside down before making a decision.
I am a real book worm and love Science Fiction/Fantasy/Romance. Give me a combination of all 3, in a trilogy format and I am in my element. I love reading books where people have to stretch themselves to the max to achieve the unthinkable. Bit like me really!
I also love reading books that help my personal development. I most recently read “The success Principles” by Jack Canfield (Thank you, based upon your recommendation) and I am now reading “The 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen R. Covey. This book has been on my bookshelf for 12 years and I can’t believe I have only just picked it up to read.
Are the biggest joy in my life and have taught me so much about myself. They continuously test my character and help me understand people. They are also the biggest stress in my life. Being a control freak of sorts, their behaviour and wants are quite often outside of my control and I have to constantly navigate and negotiate around them.
I am a control freak
I am getting better at this but I love to have a plan for everything. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but my husband draws a limit at the numerous lists scattered around organising various bits of our lives.
Planning and organising are in my DNA
I did think about training to be Yoga teacher for a while but I just couldn’t help getting involved in assisting friends set up their businesses and volunteering to run as Secretary for the school PTA. For the last two years I have also organised the school Christmas Craft Market which involved organising 80 craft stalls, an ice rink, family side show stalls and 50 volunteers. I loved it, everyone else thought I was crazy but I loved it! I probably am a bit as I do this all for free.
I love any opportunity to learn.
I also hate New Years Eve and Valentines. I hate feeling forced to celebrate something.
I was once caught up in a drive by shooting in Thailand and I have also been on an aeroplane that caught fire. So only my bravest of friends risk travelling with me!
It is great getting to know you.
Crikey – remind me never to travel with you either! I loved your list and how organised you are, I’m also dreadfully organised (colour-coding and bullet points make me really happy) which I guess is the reason this line of work really suits us. I’d organise the world if I could!
Glad you found the book useful (The Wealthy Freelancer is also another good one for seeing ways to add value/revenue to your business) and thank you for the compliment. You just brightened up my Saturday too! x
I am just beginning to plan for my new life as a VA and have been reading your blogs all the way from Australia! Thank you so much, they are helpful, motivating and funny! I too love cats and have 5 who are all rescued, busy house! Please keep your updates coming.
Thank you Carmen – that means a lot to me. x
Wow, Jo! I never knew we had so much in common…3, 6 (99% agree), 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 17 & 18. My cat’s name is Hurayrah, or just Ray for short. Instead of “th”, I have a problem with “ur” and “ul” words. Turtle, for example, sounds like “turturl”. Mule sounds like “murl”. I try to avoid these kinds of words. The only 1% of 6 has to with some people I communicate with only understand “lol” and such, and I kind of have to communicate on their level sometimes. It can get annoying really quickly. Anyway, I knew we were kindred spirits. Thanks for letting us know more about you. This was a very fun read.
I knew I couldn’t be the only weirdo VA around! Thanks for sharing your weirdness too. x
Jo, that was a very amusing insight into the world of Jo Munro!
A high functioning introvert – I love it, it is me to a T. Always the quiet, shy one but put me in a room of strangers and I will not shut up. It is draining and I love my own company but getting out now and again is a good thing. Plus it leads to business! One thing though, I am quite deaf which causes great hilarity at times, I am very good at answering questions that people didn’t ask – I completely mis-hear – it’s their blank look that gives it away!
Spiders I understand. I’m not too bad and my cat is very good at dealing with them but my sister! Oh, good god, she screams, sweats, shakes, it’s awful.
I too changed my name in my 20’s and then later married so changed it again. 3 surnames and not one of them ‘normal’ like Smith or Thomas etc.
I love cooking, it is escapism for me as is floor mopping, so relaxing, but present me with a pile of ironing – cue vile mood.
I have a beautiful, gorgeous and a bit batty, Siamese cat who loves to be with me, sitting on me, next to me or just following me. And I have a dolls house, 1:12 scale.
Thanks for that Jo, it was a great read.
Thanks for sharing some facts about yourself too Tracey, I LOVE the sound of that dolls house! x