Meet Jules Taylor
I started full time as a VA in April 2019 following 12 years in London as a PA. Most of which was spent at M&S HQ as a PA in HR.
My transition to a PA came following a career in the Travel Industry. 11 years as a Travel Agent and 4 years in Business Development. The admin and organisational skills I learned as a Travel Agent definitely helped me transition to be a successful PA.
I love organisation. I love the traditional PA support tasks. A colour coded diary makes my heart sing! And working with clients to put in systems and processes that improve their productivity is so satisfying!
And after so many years in HR working with Business Consultants that specialise in HR, Organisational Design & Change Management is what I love best. Especially for growing companies. Not just helping with the PA Support but putting in HR admin processes that help them as they grow.
But of course, the real difference is I am also a qualified travel agent. I work on a freelance basis as a Homeworker for a High Street Travel Agent. So, I can send my clients on holiday and be there to look after their business whilst they are away, as well as support with business flights and hotels.
What or who inspired you to become a Virtual Assistant? A Chance meeting with Claire Grace of The Assistant Quarters at The PA Show in 2018. Made me realise it was possible and I could do it.
How did you go about establishing your business? Lots of research! I am a planner! I brought my domain literally the day after meeting Claire and started planning the branding with the help of my friend that is a graphic designer. Then GDPR was just coming in, so I spent time looking into that. I set up all my Social Media Profiles and started building relationships with people whilst I built my first website in the background. I finally went “live” 9 months after I brought my domain. Timings and Fate meant it made sense to quit my job a few months later, with just one signed client and a newly signed Associate Contract agreed sat in my bosses office!
Did you have any savings or financial support in order to start your business? Erm, no! I had a well-paid Corporate PA job at the time, which helped me pay for all the training and bits I brought early on. Then I saved money on buying a cheaper new car than planned and saved around a months full time salary as a slush fund before I quit my employed role.
Was there ever a point when you thought it wouldn’t work out? Maybe a few…! I wasn’t fully booked in the first 3 months like I kept listening to others talk about. Which sometimes made me question myself. Then when it was really quiet over Christmas 2019 I panicked. I didn’t realise small business often took the whole of the Christmas period off and it unsettled me. And honestly thought it was time to get a job. Even part time.
What support did you have around you to set up your VA business (family and friends, Coach or Mentor)? My friends were amazing. One, an Accountant, helped me with financial and practical advice on setting up and another, the Graphic Designer, helped me decide on my branding and designed my Logo. I relied heavily on the various VA Support Groups. I was still working FT when I was setting up so couldn’t use my day to day network for support. Although I actually now work with a couple of people from my M&S Network.
If you could go back and change one thing that you did when starting out, what would that be? Have a Power Hour with Amanda earlier!
What is your best advice for someone who is just starting out or someone who is considering becoming a Virtual Assistant? Don’t think you know how to be a successful VA and run a VA business, just because you’ve been a great PA. Get all the support from a Coach or Mentor you can.
How would you describe the good, the bad and ugly of being a Virtual Assistant? The Good – being in control of my future! The Bad – not having a guaranteed income and paid holiday. The Ugly – Selling yourself to get the next client!
Behind the Scenes
What is the best business book you’ve read and how did it impact you and your business? Initially The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. I was still setting up and reading his book and how he was successful and giving the use of VA’s as part of the credit for that, gave me confidence in the type of people that used the service of a VA.
How do you stay on top of your own professional development? I am passionate about professional development, and it was one of the key reasons for me to move away from Corporate and into Freelance. I am currently working towards my Fellow Practitioner status as a Personal Assistant and for that I have to commit to so much personal training each year.
What do you love to do when you’re not working? Two things! I love to travel, I’ve been a travel agent for over 30-years, it’s now ingrained in me! And I aim to see one new place every year. And then Ponies. I have ridden since I was really little. Badly these days! But I just love being around ponies!
Tell us one thing you can tell us about you that not many people know? Sport has played a bit part in my career. I studied Leisure Management at College but didn’t really see it as my future. There was meant to be an equestrian element to the course and it was cancelled! But, I actually spent a year working full time in football between Travel and the PA sides of my career, and have worked for a current Premier League Football Team for the past 13 years. And I also regularly volunteer in Equestrian Sports, including at the London Olympics and Paralympics which was an absolute career highlight!
What does the future hold for your business? As the world and travel begins to open up, I would like to grow this side of my Business a bit more and balance it with my PA work and sell a few more holidays, to both my own clients and grow my external database of clients.
Find Jules On the Web
Website: Taylor Made PA