This week it is my pleasure to introduce you our Wednesday Wisdom – Michelle Molyneux of MJM Virtual Solutions. Michelle proves that your VA business is flexible enough to fit around your personal goals – one size really does not fit all but that even when you do this alongside a day job the business fundamentals are just as important.
I am Michelle, owner of MJM Virtual Solutions. I support clients with the admin that they can’t or don’t want to do, so they can focus on what they do best. I started my business in 2017, whilst working full-time, being a single mum, dog walker and carer to my mum. My aim was to have something with the flexibility to support my family. My background is primarily in education (Primary and Adult Education), and health and social care. But I have also worked in export management. My clients are primarily in the education or health sector.
What or who inspired you to become a Virtual Assistant?
In 2016, a colleague at work suggested I should do proofreading as a side-hustle. It was something I was good at.
How did you go about establishing your business?
I did a lot of research. I have an analytical mind, so everything had to add up. I searched everything and everywhere and found Amanda’s “Start Your Own VA Business”, which I did twice. I initially dipped my toe in my doing a couple of projects on PeoplePerHour. I was lucky to find a project wanting Schemes of Work (school long term plans) reformatting and proofreading. This was a dream project for an ex-teacher. From there, I signed up to the VA Mastery Course.
Did you have any savings or financial support in order to start your business?
I was and still am working full-time. The initial client work on PPH funded the start of the business.
Was there ever a point when you thought it wouldn’t work out?
A few times. I had a dry spell in my first year of no work, no prospective clients, nada. It also coincided with a lot going on at home too. So, I focused on what I needed to, and let the business take a back seat.
What support did you have around you to set up your VA business (family and friends, Coach or Mentor)?
Familywise, my mum and son have supported me. My son contributes to the vision and goals of the business. Amanda has been around from the beginning. VACT Facebook groups have always been supportive.
If you could go back and change one thing that you did when starting out, what would that be?
Breathe and have confidence in what I can do. Instead of taking 2 years to decide, I should JDI.
What is your best advice for someone who is just starting out or someone who is considering becoming a Virtual Assistant?
Write down what you can do, what you love, like and dislike doing. Then do some research and speak to others who do it.
How would you describe the good, the bad and ugly of being a Virtual Assistant?
Working it around my employed job can be good, bad and ugly. I have to be organised and know what I have to do and when for. Some things in the business slip at times (e.g. social media).
Good: An advantage is I am still employed and have the security of an income. I have clients who understand that I am employed and that there is flexibility.
Bad: For some, being still employed full-time means working evenings and weekends. Although, I have been doing it so long, that I feel lost if I don’t do anything to do.
Ugly: The prospective client that you know isn’t the right fit. These are the ones that send the spider-sense off. This can be their values don’t match yours, they don’t understand what a VA is and think of you as an employee. Clients also think that the cost of a VA should be that of an employee.
What is the best business book you’ve read and how did it impact you and your business?
“Not Just an Admin” by Peggy Vasquez. I read this during the first year. It helped me refocus the role administration and how as a VA it would work better. I also love “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown. It enabled me to realise that when you do something brave, you will also be vulnerable. Face the fear, and just suck it.
How do you stay on top of your own professional development?
I put one night a week aside every week to do something. I look at courses that I would like to do, that would improve my skills. I love to read, so I a booklist that I am working through. I also Google stuff all the time and do bitesize taster courses. Last year I attended the North West VA conference.
What do you love to do when you’re not working?
Situation permitting, I enjoy days out with my son. We love going to Chester Zoo or National Trust locations. I also love reading and going for walks. I have just started with Audible books and Podcasts so I can combine the two.
Tell us one thing you can tell us about you that not many people know?
I have a GCSE in Portuguese. I taught in the Azores and Lisbon, Portugal for 18 months. When I came back, I started studying it properly.
What does the future hold for your business?
I am doing a certified proofreading and copyediting course. My goal is to build the business and have a team of associates that work with my clients.
Learn more and connect with Michelle:
Website URL: MJMVirtualSolutions.com
Facebook URL: facebook.com/mjmsolutions1
Twitter ID: @mjmsolutions1
LinkedIn URL: linkedin.com/in/mjmsolutions1/