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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Butcher


A question I get asked a lot at the moment is how to become a Virtual Assistant. People are interested to know whether it is difficult to set up as a VA.

I can understand why. To some, the chance to work from home; choosing the hours to work every day and the people to work for, could seem like a dream come true.

That is certainly one of the main reasons I wanted to start my own VA business. To be able to do something I loved, on my own terms, had always been something I wanted to achieve. I had over 20 years’ experience working as a PA/EA/Office Manager in many different industries. I loved my job, but I did not always love the people, or the environment, or the hours, OR the commute that went with it!

When I started a family, I thought I had to choose between being around for my children or sticking with my career. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and what I now know is, NO, you do not necessarily have to decide between the two.

Thankfully, in today's world, working remotely is becoming more and more accepted: more so than ever at the moment, with the majority of our workforce having no choice but to work from home during the Covid-19 lockdown. From what I can tell, people have adapted remarkably quickly, which goes to show what fantastic technology we now have available to us, together with some amazing apps to help manage our time, hold virtual meetings and conferences, and manage teams and projects.

It took me a while to mull over the idea of starting my own business. A friend of mine had set up her own VA business and was doing well. She had asked me if I wanted to help her out as an associate, but I said no. The truth was I doubted my own skills.

The more I thought about it though, the more I realised I wanted to start up my own VA business. I still wanted to be there for my young family, but I also wanted to show them that if you want something to happen in your life, only you can make it happen. Do not give up just because it is going to be difficult, or scary, or push you out of your comfort zone.

In fact, I believe that is when the magic happens; when you are out of your comfort zone, facing your fears. You must believe in yourself or no one else is going to believe in you either.

I would recommend to anyone who is thinking of becoming a Virtual Assistant to do some research. Look at what equipment you will need, which type of insurance you should get. Decide what services you will offer. There are quite a few books and blogs on the subject. You will probably find you are drawn to someone's particular style of writing and you may find that they also run courses or membership groups specifically to support people running their own VA businesses.

That is definitely what happened to me. I read a book by Catherine Gladwyn called ‘How to be a Virtual Assistant’ and I immediately related to her and her wonderful knack of helping you realise your true worth.

It takes a lot of organisation, as well as a leap of faith and a brave push to set up on your own. I had the knowledge, I had the skill-set and yet I still lacked the belief in myself to start my own business. Then I read Catherine’s book and it gave me the confidence and the information I had been missing to realise I could do it!

Who knew what would happen and where we would all find ourselves now (April 2020) but in the months before the coronavirus kicked off, I started my business, set up my website and got my first two clients. I am happy to say things have not slowed down for me since.

Was it difficult to start my own business? No. In the end, starting my business was the easy part. The difficult bit is riding the day to day roller-coaster that you will experience running your own business. Good days, bad days, lockdowns, etc, never a dull moment!

Would I change a thing?! No, it was one of the best decisions I have made (apart from wishing I had started my Virtual Assistant business sooner!) I love being in control of my working day. I love working with new clients from different industries and the variety of work that each client brings. What I love most of all is making a difference in their business.

So, if you are pro-active, are able to think two steps ahead of your clients, love to be a problem solver and keep everyone organised, then becoming a Virtual Assistant is definitely something to look into.

I suggest a great place to start is to read the book I mentioned by Catherine Gladwyn, "How to be a Virtual Assistant

You can also check out these websites for more information and guidance:-

Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best of luck!


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