Emma Conway-Hyde wanted more from her life. She had become disillusioned with working in an office environment, was finding the commute hard, office politics harder and had become very unhappy. Emma couldn’t bear the thought of being in the same situation in 30 years’ time so she decided to set up her own Virtual Assistant business instead.
Hi, my name is Emma Conway-Hyde, I am a Virtual PA and my new company is called The Umbrella Tree. I am 41 years old and I live in Dorset in the UK with my husband, 11-year-old daughter, four cats and five fish. Still trying to convince my husband to let us have a dog!
Why did you decide to buy Jo’s DIY VA course?
I had become very disillusioned with working in an office environment. I was finding the commute hard, office politics harder and generally had become very unhappy.
I was sure that there was more I could do with my life and I couldn’t bear the thought of being in the same situation in 30 years’ time. I didn’t want to waste another minute.
I had a bit of an epiphany moment at Christmas whilst speaking to a friend and it went from there. I Googled ‘virtual admin’ and all the information was in front of me.
From that moment on I knew I wanted to become a VA.
I was excited at a new prospect in my working life for the first time ever and I just knew I could do it.
If other people could why couldn’t I? I had over 20 years’ experience as an administrator and then PA so the knowledge was there, it was just a different delivery method.
Whilst researching to become a VA, Jo’s was one of the first websites that came up. I looked about but kept gravitating back to The VA Handbook. I liked the way it was written; straight up, straight talking and right up my street. All the information that I would need seemed to be provided.
There was already vast amounts of free information on the website to access straight away and it could only be more beneficial if I invested in the DIY VA Course. I have never regretted it as Jo and her vast knowledge have been invaluable.
Did you feel confident the course would make you a VA?
I had complete faith in Jo and her course. There was no reason that I could see that it would not be effective in helping me achieve becoming a VA. You got out of it what you put in and Jo was there every step of the way.
The way the course was set out was very clear and concise and stressed the need to complete each module before moving onto the next. It contained great templates which I use in my business and saved so much time as I didn’t have to research certain things as they were provided to me.
There was constant advice and great ideas and I would not have been able to set up my business as quickly if I had not invested in this course.
I did the course alongside my part-time role so I worked four days a week and used my fifth day and weekends to work on the course. It was hard at times to find the time but I wanted to get on with it so you make the time to complete the modules.
I took me three months to complete the course as I had other commitments which inevitably got in the way of me completing it quicker but it also gave me the time to think about where I was going and how I wanted to get there.
You can spend as much time or as little as you want on each section, it depends what you want to achieve at the end, but to complete them thoroughly takes time so you have to put the effort in.
The thought of being able to be a freelancer was my motivation.
What is the course like and how did you find it?
The course is well laid out, takes you through each section, gives you all the information you need and the templates are brilliant. It’s very straight forward so makes motivating yourself to crack on and do it much easier.
I like the fact that you concentrate on each section and work through that before moving on to the next – it keeps you focused.
In terms of value for money, it is well worth it as the amount of information and knowledge supplied is great and I know it will stand me in good stead in the long run.
The support received throughout the course and afterwards is brilliant. You can join the private trainee-only Facebook group and there are many VAs there who have tons of advice to offer – it’s a positive goldmine of information! Jo also provides constant support in the Facebook group and in the form of monthly Q&A sessions.
The support after completion of the course is a huge bonus in itself.
The best thing about the course though is that it was easy to work through, set out in a no-nonsense language that I really liked and it really was down to me how fast I completed it.
The aim is to complete it in three months and this is very achievable as it gives you the time to ponder your next move whilst motivating you to get to the end.
How are you getting on after finishing it?
Since completing the course, I have not looked back.
I carried on working for a while and got my first two clients through a Facebook post. I am now working full time as a VA and I love it.
The flexibility that comes from working for yourself is great and for the first time, I have been able to spend a lot of time with my daughter during the school holidays.
I’ve done lots of networking and have four clients as a result of that, so it was well worth the effort to put myself out there and join some groups. Plus there is a social aspect to it which is really helpful when working on your own.
In total, I have six regular clients with hopefully two new clients coming on with me in the next couple of months and have also had a few ad hoc jobs along the way.
I have found that I love a bit of inbox management! And this has been a popular service, so I do this along with scheduling appointments, audio transcription, posting on social media, data entry, formatting of power points, newsletters etc.
One day is never the same as the next so it keeps life interesting and I cannot wait to keep building my business for the future.
Is your life very different now to how it was before?
My daughter made a comment to me the other day and I quote: “You seem so much happier now Mummy”. And I think that says it all!
If you’re considering doing the DIY VA course then I say go for it and don’t be scared of the fact that it is such a big change in life because change keeps us on our toes.
You won’t regret taking this course. It is such a help when starting out and the amount of knowledge that you get from Jo and the other VAs in the Facebook group is worth its weight in gold.
The course is awesome and Jo is a truly inspirational lady who is very invested in all her trainees and their subsequent success – because there is no doubt that you will be successful if you complete this course.
So just do it, you won’t regret it.