Launching myself into the wonderful world of the Virtual PA
I’ve met so many people over the years that are running their own business and I’m always fascinated by what motivates them to make that leap into the unknown. Over the next three pieces I thought I’d share my story of getting started, getting established and looking towards the future.
How it all started
My journey to becoming a Virtual PA started in early 2010. I had returned to work after my second period of maternity leave and, I must stress, that my employers were extremely understanding and bent over backwards to accommodate me and, I continued to work in a much smaller role with them for a number of years. However, at this point in time, there had been reorganisations in my absence and I returned to a slightly different position that I didn’t find as rewarding. On a personal level, I also found juggling the demands of a young family while working and commuting a challenge.
I have always enjoyed working and I knew I wanted to continue after having my children. I had put a lot of hard work, money and my own free time into building up my skills and experience and I didn’t want this to go to waste so I started thinking. I wanted something that would use my expertise but, after looking at some other part-time positions that were available I didn’t see how this would change my situation. I need something that would work around having a family, allow me a degree of flexibility in my working life but also offer me a challenge.
Virtual PA’s were a relatively new phenomenon when I started looking into it but the more research I did the more it seemed to make sense. I spent a lot of time looking at the different services that a virtual PA could offer and which companies might be interested in this kind of support. To me, Aberdeen, with its entrepreneurial spirit, seemed the ideal location for this kind of business so I decided to get started.
I got the basics, a computer, telephone, desk and chair. I chose my branding, got business cards printed, set up a website and decided to go for it! I spread the word through friends, family and colleagues and attended some networking events.
I was nervous of taking the step to being self-employed. What if I’d got it all wrong and nobody needed a service like this? What if I wasn’t up to it and what if it didn’t work around my family commitments? And biggest of all, what if I didn’t make any money from it?
I didn’t know it at the time but, I needn’t have worried too much. Shortly after setting up, a colleague recommended me to my first client who required an accurate minute of one of their meetings. Very quickly afterwards, a chance conversation with an acquaintance saw me secure another client who was looking for business support on an ongoing basis and an enquiry via my website resulted in my working with another long-term client, both of who I still work with today.
With a few jobs completed for satisfied clients and, some ongoing work secured, my business had gotten off to a great start and I was excited to see what the future held!