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Virtual assistant

(18 Posts)
LaCiccolina Wed 03-Oct-12 21:57:24

Does anyone do this? I'm researching it as a possibility for a future career. I'm pregnant with no2 and wondering what else I could do. I'm a London career PA for last 15yrs. All big brands, particularly American banks, multi tasking, lots of travel etc.

I see various societies to join and boards to look at but is anyone ahead of me and sorted wheat and chaff?

Private messaging fine, I understand it could be sensitive.

Thanks in advance, happy to post more if this not enough.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 03-Oct-12 23:00:48

There are some on here. Hopefully they'll respond.

I was at the Mumpreneur Conf at the weekend. And I met a couple of ladies who have recently become franchisees from and it sounded like it was going ok.

There was also a thread on here about Smart PA

Not that you have to go down the franchise route.

I use a VA myself. Her trick seems to be being good and networking. She goes to the scary BNI networking meetings where you have to develop leads for those in your group. She is also on Twitter.

Not sure if that is any help. Good luck.

wineandcakeplease Thu 04-Oct-12 11:39:14

Hi LaCiccolina,

I am in the same position as you; I have just decided to set up as a VA after years of supporting senior management in various companies. I now need a new challenge.

I am aware of the franchises, but I am tempted to go it alone - just hoping that my networking will bring in sufficient clients to make it work for me!

Also pregnant with no.2!

Good Luck!

flower2009 Fri 05-Oct-12 11:40:33

I am a VA, I stared up when my DD was 17 months old. I had been in business for 18 months before it really took off, now I am having to turn new customers away as I have enough to fill 30 hours a week. Ideally I would only work 20 hours a week. My DD is nearly 3 now and it is very hard work to juggle anything (unless you have childcare - which is not worth it for me as it would eat into my hourly rate and make the business not worthwhile - I am waiting for the 15 hours free funding from January). It is not for the faint hearted. I am usually online until midnight every night and up at between 6 and 7 am in the morning with my DD. I also have to do some work while my daughter is awake so she has to occupy herself. It makes me feel very guilty. If you think it is for you though the clients are out there, you just have to market yourself, it took 18 months for my efforts to really pay off, I used to spend about 3 hours a day 7 days a week promoting my business, mostly marketing emails. But it has paid off as I now earn more than I would if I worked for somebody else. I hope it works out for you whatever you decide. x

flower2009 Fri 05-Oct-12 11:46:15

Forgot to say most of my clients are local as they like me to be able to pop in the office sometimes or to collect things to then do virtually. I am upfront that I have a DD and she loves popping in offices to 'collect things'. x

LaCiccolina Fri 05-Oct-12 14:51:40

Thanks all, this is helpful. Firstly to hear that people actually do do this and its not just a gimmicky idea. I was thinking of going alone as well. Thanks for the responses Flower. Very helpful. DD would love popping to offices too. Good mix of tough and pleasure in your words. Ill do some thinking.......

Thanks again

MelArt Mon 08-Oct-12 12:47:14

I now work quite successfully as a virtual assistant.

My background was working as a virtual PA for 5 years. I also had some secretarial experience.

I recommend joing the Society of Virtual Assistants message boards. Doesn't matter if you're an experience VA or you're just starting out. Everyone is very friendly. Their main site also has lots of info for VA's.

You're right, networking is crucial for a virtual assistant to be successful. If you've got some good contacts already and are good at networking then this should give you a head start in gaining your first few clients!

cremedelacreme Mon 08-Oct-12 14:24:20

Hi, following a full time, office-based career in marketing/pr I decided to go freelance after having children. I managed to secure a few projects and worked from home, but clients always end up asking me to work 'a day or two' from the office and it really isn't what I want to do.

So, I'm thinking of going down the route of offering admin services because I feel I wouldn't have to get so 'involved' (although I could be wrong!). I can type (RSA qualifed, but a long time ago!) can use MS office packages, advise on social media (but not qualified) ... but get the sense my services wouldn't be in demand because I don't have a background as a PA/secretary/exec assistant.

Can I ask what services you all offer? What you charge per hour? And what hours do you work, and when? DD1 is in preschool Mon-Weds, so I could offer to do 3 days/pw (as long as I can secure childcare for DD2). But I would rather try and work while DD2 naps/in the evening at first, so I don't have to pay out for childcare before I'm earning anything half decent! So, how does it work?? Would I need to go on a 'admin' training course first?

Thanks so much in advance for any advice smile

cremedelacreme Mon 08-Oct-12 22:19:57


flower2009 Tue 09-Oct-12 14:49:32

I normally work 8pm - midnight Monday to Friday after DD has gone to bed. At the moment I am also working 2 hours a day Monday to Friday as have customer service work in that is phone based and needs to be done in office hours. I have no childcare so DD entertains herself with playdoh and cbeebies. It takes me roughly 3 hours to do the 2 hours work in the day time as I use a stop watch and stop it every time DD interrupts me as it is not fair for the client to pay for time when I am being interrupted. I take on anything and everything (I have quite a wide experience as a PA before I had DD, if I get asked to do something I have not done before I still take it on but let the client know it is new to me - which they have been fine with as long as I do great job, and it is a great way to learn new skills). The only thing I am worrying about is that I would like another baby at some point but could not do this without child care as I do not think I could manage it with 2 children around. It would be too hectic to get my work done. I could be wrong though!

ivyrose67 Thu 20-Aug-15 16:51:33

Dear Flower2009,

I am looking to become a VA and came upon this thread whilst researching. I was hoping if I could ask how you initially got the word out there and how you got your first clients? I know this is a somewhat dated post and that things may have changed but if your days are still rather long, I wondered if I could be of assistance in helping you out, whilst finding my feet?

Kind Regards,


IanShaw Sat 12-Sep-15 12:19:04

Hello everyone. I retired last month (67) and I'm already bored. I want to be useful but even local care homes won't let me volunteer as a helper.
I wonder if anyone would consider me as a VA.

I don't have many practical skills because I've always worked in office environments, but I'm computer literate, organised and I've frequently been told I have a good telephone voice.

Would you use someone a bit past their sell-by date? I know that we're all equal under the law, but 67 might seem a bit crusty for a start-up business.

jemmahughes2015 Tue 15-Sep-15 09:07:35

Hi Ian,
I don't think you're too old to be a VA, FWIW. My dad's only 4 years younger than you and he's still working as a painter/decorator.
Skills have value and besides, if you're 'virtual', there's no need to bring age into it.
As long as the capabilities are there it doesn't matter how old or what gender you are. As you said, we're all equal under the law.
Good luck

Piratespoo Tue 15-Sep-15 09:21:48

Those that are self employed, why don't you use Paymo? You can easily log how much work you have done for each client or project, for billing and time recording purposes. You can log on and off for various projects and clients and you can invoice and set reports etc. it's very good for logging time worked and you can log on and off very quickly with a click of the mouse.

I use it and would recommend it.

AnnDe Wed 16-Sep-15 13:46:54

LaCiccolina, I found this. I don't know whether it would interest you but I'm going to talk to DH about it tonight.

CGowing1 Wed 23-Dec-15 10:29:33

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glennpark Thu 04-Feb-16 13:53:14

You can try a free consultation on They are nice to give you some good advice there.

Techvanc Sat 21-May-16 12:31:46

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