The VACT Blog

10 Top tips to surviving the summer holidays

Many work from home parents dread the summer holidays. Not only is it the worry about how to effectively juggle your workload and your kids, there’s also the stress around coming up with ideas to keep them occupied. If you read last week’s article, you’ll know that...

Work-life integration: how to achieve it

Speak to any work from home parent and they’ll tell you, balancing work and life is a constant struggle. The lines are constantly blurred, with many feeling guilty for working on their mobile phones whilst spending time with family. As a result, work from home parents...

10 Places to find clients for your VA business

No matter how established your VA business is, you’ll always need new clients. If you’re a new VA business, you’re looking to find clients for your VA business to get those first clients on your books. Established VA businesses also need new clients too, to keep their...

How VAs can benefit from hiring a ghost writer

Ghost writing isn’t just reserved for those people who want to get their book written. In fact, savvy business owners, including VAs, are reaping the rewards of having a ghost writer in their stable of outsourcing buddies. Here’s why it can be incredibly beneficial to...

It’s OK to make a mistake

One thing a lot of us have a fear about, is making a mistake. But it’s OK to make a mistake! We’re only human. At some stage we are going to slip up, neglect something or do something incorrectly or wrong. And you know want? At the time, it’s probably going to feel...

‘If it’s too good to be true – then it probably is’

Guest Blog from David Woodfine of Cyber Security Associates I was lucky enough to meet David and some of the team from Cyber Security Associates at the Business Showcase South West in Bristol back in May 2018.  It was only a few days after the Army v Navy Rugby Match,...

What you can do to boost your motivation

Motivation can take a nosedive, no matter whether you’re a seasoned VA or a new one. We’ve all been in a situation where we want to move our business forward, but for whatever reason, our motivation is lacking. As you progress your VA business, you’re going to need to...

Do you need VA Training?

Do you need VA training? How can you identify what training you need either if you are starting up, already in the first couple of years or very established - and who should you train with? I suppose I am taking a little risk in the title but the purpose of this blog...

How to work out hashtags for your VA business social media posts

Hashtags are a great way to get your VA business blog and social media posts in front of the right audience. They also help you boost your profile and enable you to grow your social media followers, as they extend the reach of your content to people outside of your...

Stuck in a rut: What to do when you lose your motivation

What do you do when you lose your motivation? It’s inevitable that, at some stage on our entrepreneurial journey, we will lose motivation. After all, the journey can be a long and windy trip, with many different routes to choose from. Whether we feel lost or tired of...

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Testimonials

Testimonial - Nicki Watson completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Nicki Watson
I’ve recently graduated from the VA Mastery course after I decided to set up my own VA business, and can highly recommend working with Amanda. I came across her 3 years ago when I was in the early stages of launching my business, and she has held my hand and guided me through setting up, forming, and running Cotswold Colleague. Amanda is very personable, professional, generous with her knowledge and gives a huge amount of support when things are tough and a no-nonsense kick when you need to get moving. I’m looking forward to her on-going mentoring and guidance, she’s awesome!
Amanda Michaelin
Amanda M attended a Goal Setting Webinar with me and this is how she described me after the call  "She actually seems up my street likes fluffy Woo Woo but with balls!"
Melanie Howell
I recently completed Amanda's Social Media Bootcamp and it was fab! Full of useful information and tips and it has really helped boost my profile on SM, especially LinkedIn. I definitely recommend the course for new VAs and established VAs who might need a refresher.
Testimonial - Amanda Cree completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Amanda Cree
I've been fortunate enough to benefit from Amandas support, help and guidance in several ways. Not only did I finish the fantastic VACT Mastery Course under Amanda, with some great and constructive feedback from her along the way, but also through the Facebook groups she runs which are inclusive, friendly and incredibly helpful. Amanda has been kind enough to give me her time and the benefit of her experience and knowledge outside of both of those arenas as well, when I've had a worry or panic about something quoting or client related. And very significantly, as the first person I contacted when I was made redundant and was about to plough myself into my new business, she kept me grounded and gave crucial advice that stopped me running off on a path that wouldn't have been right. Amanda gives of herself selflessly and has helped open up the world of the VA industry to me in many ways, for which I'm incredibly grateful.
Testimonial - Athena Mae completed VA courses with VACT
Athena Mae
Amanda is amazing. I've been a VA for 15 years and she has been so supportive, since I met her almost 4 years ago. I wish I had met her when I started out, because I wouldn't have made the mistakes we all make when first starting out.  Her coaching style is gentle but with bite, she will hold me accountable and is an expert at getting the absolute best out of you and for you.  She has done the job, knows it inside out, and is brilliant. I cannot recommend her enough.
Testimonial - Sarah White completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Sarah White
Amanda has been an amazing support in my business journey. Not only have I had the pleasure of knowing Amanda as one of my 'super-customers', she's also been a mentor to me as well. Her level of VA expertise is astounding and it's been an absolute pleasure training with both Amanda and the VACT generally. She is there to guide and support you throughout the VA journey, and Amanda is as invested in your business success as you are! I'm honoured to have this amazing woman in my corner - deciding to train under her guidance, was one of THE best business decisions I've ever made and I have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone who is thinking of becoming a VA - and if you're currently a struggling VA, who need some extra support to get your business to the level of success that suits you and your family - I'd definitely recommend contacting Amanda too!
Testimonial - Emma Conway Hyde trained with another VA training provider but came to Amanda for one to one mentoring
Emma Conway Hyde
I have been mentored by Amanda for the last year and I can honestly say I do not what I would have done without her. She offers straight forward pragmatic advice, has been there and done it and appreciates how hard you have to work to build a successful VA business. She is always on hand to help and the support that is offered is second to none. You can always rely on her to be honest and forthright with a no nonsense approach. She is fantastic accountability partner. Thanks Amanda.
Testimonial - Sandra Storoni completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Sandra Storoni
Signing up for the VACT Mastery Course with Amanda Johnson, was such a great decision for both me and my business. Not only has it given me a full understanding of all the steps required to set up and run a successful VA business, training with Amanda has given me the confidence, the assurance and most importantly the self-belief that I was lacking in myself that I can actually make this work. Amanda Johnson is just born to coach and mentor. She has the perfect balance of experience, knowledge, skills and ideas all delivered with energy in an innovative, relaxed and supportive way. She is however not afraid to give you a push or even a gentle but firm kick when required. If you are considering becoming a VA or are established but need some help to take your business to the next level, then I highly recommend that you check out the courses that Amanda offers at VACT. You won`t regret it. She really is quite Awesome!
Testimonial - Amanda Gaffney, military spouse completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Amanda Gaffney
Theatre and Arts Virtual Assistant
Amanda is an inspiring lady to say the least. She has given me vision, focus and masses of tools and confidence in my future as a virtual assistant business owner. I recently completed the VA Mastery Course with the VACT and although it was a challenge, Amanda always made herself available to me whenever I had any questions, her response time was admirable considering how in demand her attention and time is. I have kept all of Amanda's feedback to the modules I completed as points of reference to running my business in future, they make an excellent read and are filled with both bags of praise, constructive criticism and tips on ideas to consider further. Her support has been extensive and 'above and beyond' at times; I would highly recommend her courses to anyone considering going into the VA industry. Amanda's understanding of her clients' needs are her priority, this shows through in her natural ability to encourage and support people with her charm and warmth as a mentor. She is absolutely...AWESOME! I really, really hope she will be able to help me launch my VA business later this year. Fingers crossed she will have space for me!
Testimonial - Michelle Nicholson, military spouse completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Michelle Nicholson
Virtual Hub, Cornwall
I simply cannot speak highly enough of Amanda and her VA Mastery Course. I was a PA of 18 years seeking to work for myself as a VA though I had no experience of setting up and running my own business. Amanda and her course gave me the confidence to move forward and the tools and knowledge to set up my business. The format of the course is very progressive and each module takes you along the route of setting up your business step by step and covers everything you need to know and consider along the way. Amanda has a fair, no nonsense approach as she genuinely cares and wants to bring out the best in everyone that she helps. I recommend Amanda and any of her courses to anyone who wants to set up their VA business.
Jennifer Corcoran
I recently completed The Social Media Manager Success Plan with Amanda and greatly enjoyed it. I'm also a member of the VA Help Desk and Amanda provides a wealth of information, knowledge and expertise for Virtual Assistants. You feel in very safe hands which is invaluable!
Rachael Cook
Easily one of the best business decisions I have ever made was to book a discovery call with Amanda. By listening and asking the right questions, she helped me to identify where my focus needed to be in order to make my future VA business a success. You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain - don't delay book a discovery call today!
Louisa Stewart
Amanda and I started collaborating at a key time in my business. I needed guidance and support and Amanda was perfect for me, with her experiences and approach suiting me very well. I joined the 1:2:1 mentoring programme and learned so much from Amanda who gave me confidence and direction to build my business. I am very happy to recommend Amanda to other VAs and business owners who are transitioning and are looking for expert guidance. Thanks to Amanda for also introducing me to the 'Go-Giver' approach to business.
Alex Platt
I trained with VACT on the Mastery Course before setting up my business. I left the 2 days feeling inspired and excited to start the journey of building my business. Each module covered a different part of turning your PA skills to VA skills and at the end of the course I was left with my "business bible" that was constantly referred to throughout the first couple of years I was trading - I still check it now and again now! Amanda has continued to be a constant source or support and guidance throughout my journey in business and is to go-to person when I am stuck or need help. Her experience running her VA business means she can speak directly from the heart on all matters of running a successful VA business - from hiring to firing clients! I would recommend anyone at least signs up for Amanda's freebie and joins her Facebook group - VA Help Desk, but if possible start a course - you won't regret it! *Awesome Amanda*
Joanna Marat
I contacted Amanda when I decided to set up a VA business. During our discussions she was very helpful and knowledgeable. It was also apparent that she knew the industry very well.  I find Amanda very approachable, and is always happy to help. With Amanda's advice, I have been able to now set up my business correctly.  Thank you Amanda.
Judith Andrews
I signed up to Amanda's training after discovering I could do possibly do the job I love on a self-employed basis. The training that VACT offer is thorough, detailed and challenging and focuses on running a successful VA business. Amanda herself is an incredibly generous and supportive trainer and mentor. I wouldn't have my own successful business without the training of VACT or Amanda's ongoing support and I would highly recommend her to anyone looking to take the step of setting up their own VA business.
Louise Mackie
Completing the Kick Start Course has been the best investment for my business. When I started I thought I had an idea of the clients I wanted to work with and how I wanted to structure my business and how I would market my business. All of this has now completely changed thanks to everything I have learnt. Amanda has taught me so much that I hadn't and wouldn't have considered on my own. I have grown so much since starting this course and I am certain I can now make a success of my VA business which would have certainly failed if I hadn't have met Amanda. If anyone is considering training with Amanda at VACT - DO IT!
June Whiteman
Working with Amanda on my journey to becoming a Virtual Assistant has provided me with a safe place to learn and grow. She is well informed and has a wonderful network of contacts who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise. Amanda coaches from a place of understanding and is professional to the core.  Thank you for your support Amanda, it has been a privilege working with you and I look forward to maintaining contact through your mentoring programme.
Kimberley Miller
I would recommend any VA to speak with Amanda. I booked into one of Amanda's discovery calls having first met her at the VA show in London a few weeks ago. Amanda is extremely helpful, and shows a real interest in what you do. It is refreshing to bounce off ideas and gain Amanda’s valuable thoughts. Working alone as a freelancer means you need people like Amanda in your life who give you straight talking and effective advice, and speaking to Amanda who has gained a lot of industry experience and knowledge is an added bonus. Talking to Amanda for 30 minutes has re-focused my mind on which direction I'm going to take my VA business and focus on what I do best – recruitment. I truly hope to be in touch with Amanda again as my business grows further so I can benefit from her 1-2-1 mentoring.
Lucy Tipler
I would highly recommend Amanda as the best VA trainer I have come across. Her generosity with her time those she supports, but also even to those VAs unable to attend her courses, is extraordinary and really helps you feel championed along the way when things get tough or when you need experienced guidance to help you make decisions. She shares her knowledge unconditionally and is an excellent example of what many VA's could aspire to be. I would highly recommend working with Amanda.
Elite PA Solutions
Sandy Hearn
Amanda is truly awesome! I have known of Amanda for many years before I made the decision to join her 1:1 mentoring. After a few conversations where she shared her advice so freely, it was a no brainer that Elite PA Solutions would benefit from having her in our corner. Six months in and it's not a decision I have doubted - not once. Amanda is supportive, pushes me to think outside my comfort zone and given me the courage to 'just do it'. This year, I have started building a 'small top notch' team of virtual PAs who are now working successfully with Elite PA Solutions clients. Amanda's held me accountable and reminded me that 'doing' everything singlehanded is not growing my business. She's brilliant, calming and understanding of personal issues that do crop up and push you back at times. Highly recommend.
Rachel Torretti
I recently graduated from Amanda’s Kick Start Your VA Business after I decided to set up my own VA business, and I am so pleased I did! Having 20+ years of experience is one thing, but this well-structured course guided me through areas of setting up as a VA and forming my own business, to social media and how to handle clients. The course made me reflect, challenge and concentrate on areas I might not have considered, or might have overlooked, if I had started my business on my own. The webinars and opportunities to meet and communicate with other VAs inspired me. It is no surprise to those who know Amanda that she is an award winning business woman and VA training provider of the year. Even after graduating from the course Amanda is still in touch with advice and guidance as I transition, which I am so very grateful for. To anyone wanting to travel the VA journey your first step should be to make contact with Amanda. *Awesome*
Penny Redman
The best decision I have made in my Virtual Assistant business to date is engaging with Amanda through her VA Help Desk Programme. The support and training I have received have been 1st class. In the two months I have been a member of the Help Desk I have doubled my business and stopped worrying about every decision I make. Now I feel confident and able to take on new challenges which a few months ago seemed impossible. I'm looking forward to working more closely with Amanda in the future as my business grows. I would thoroughly recommend her services if you want to either get started as a VA or take your VA business to the next level.
Claudia Adams
In life, you're sometimes lucky enough to get to know someone who is going to mean an awful lot to you AND the future of your business. Amanda is that someone, she's my kind of people! Passionate, thought provoker, creative, practical, firestarter, she's always there for you and has amazing tips and advice, personally and professionally. Amanda's approach to VA training and coaching is clear and concise, along with showing you how to structure, market and run your own VA company. Having recently graduated, I couldn't be happier with the journey we took together. Thanks again for everything Amanda, you're a great coach and mentor.
Catherine Blackwood

"I'm delighted that I came across VACT and Amanda Johnson, the training and support which Amanda provides is superb, it has been an invaluable resource in helping me set up and grow my VA business. From our initial contact when I enquired about the VACT training courses, to graduating, Amanda has been a great support, always happy to help, warm & friendly in everything that she does. Amanda's knowledge of the VA industry is outstanding, she's well respected, and that's not just limited to the VA community. It's been a pleasure working with Amanda, and if you are thinking of embarking on your own VA business, you should definitely have a conversation with her!"

Denise Clarity
Amanda Johnson is a wealth of knowledge and support. Luckily for the rest of us, she loves to share this knowledge! During our coaching session, I felt that my passions were her passions, too. She helped me to focus my energy to meet my goals much faster than I would have accomplished on my own.
Stella Gooch
Amanda has a No Nonsense Style of mentoring which is firm when needed and relaxed when needed. Being at the helm of your own business is a lonely place and sometimes you lose clarity. Working with Amanda has helped me to go forward and to find clarity.
Steve Clarke
A consummate professional and a pleasure to work with. Right from the word go Amanda took the initiative to understand my business and my requirements - more than that... she took time to understand me and my values. I rely heavily on Amanda to keep track of my events and diary. She manages a never ending task list for me and helps bring things in on time. I'd continue heaping praise on her for her support skills, but can't afford to lose her - to you. Maybe the next best thing would be your own VA from her VA training program."
Testimonial - Lynsey Cowan completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Lynsey Cowan
Amanda has offered invaluable support to me over the past few months, providing me with mentoring advice and, at times, just there to lend an ear on business ideas and also personally. Her honesty and wide range of VA knowledge has been a huge help to me and therefore truly grateful for her support. If you are thinking of setting up a VA business, I would highly recommend getting in touch with Amanda or booking yourself on one of her courses, you honestly won't look back!
Clare Farthing
Wow, what a fabulous 2 days, as part of the VA Mastery Course, I have just had! Top tips, skills, setting of short and long term goals, meeting fabulous ladies all setting up their own Virtual Assistant businesses. The support from the trainer, Amanda Johnson is amazing. This course has been invaluable to realise what is involved in setting up a business and to guide me. For me, the CPD accreditation is a must, for any serious VA business. Thank you and looking forward to following everyone?s journey.
Tina Skilton, Layfield’s Virtual Office Support
Who knew, when I discovered Amanda Johnson and the VACT just a few months ago, what a journey I was about to embark upon. I may have been a very experienced EA but I knew little about managing clients or marketing my own business as a VA. Training with Amanda has been inspirational. She motivates, is incredibly supportive and is tireless in her pursuit of students' success! I am so glad I became part of this unique group. Huge thanks Amanda!
Testimonial - Sarah Clewes completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Sarah Clewes
Thank you! The course has been brilliant to provide a structured approach to life as a VA, target marketing (your perfect client can only be found in a number of places!) and sharing tips and advice along the way. Amanda Johnson is an amazing role model and a great trainer too!
Testimonial - Tina Skilton completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Tina Skilton
Layfield
I'm in the early stages of my VA journey and study with the VACT but I thoroughly recommend joining. Amanda is there for me and all the members every step of the way. She prompts us without being pushy and motivates us when we flag. Amanda is incredibly supportive and she is tireless in her pursuit of our success! I am so glad I joined the VACT and became part of this unique group.
Testimonial - Barbara Moorer completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Barbara Moorer
I can categorically state that without the VA Mastery Course and the encouragement of the VACT, I would have fumbled my way through starting my VA business. The content, training, methodology, the tools and the support provided will give you the boost and confidence you need to get your VA business off the ground.
Testimonial - Barbara Marsh completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Barbara Marsh
VA Taster Session, 2014, Bournemouth: I attended a recent VA taster session which Amanda held at a local hotel. From the very beginning of booking on-line to meeting up Amanda made everything so easy. The session took place over four hours and although we had an agenda the group session was very fluid and we spoke about things that concerned us becoming a VA with Amanda giving us her expert advice. At the end of the session Amanda very briefly spoke about the training courses she runs but there was no sales pitch or pressure to book onto future courses. In fact I have booked onto the further training courses and really feel that I am on my way to becoming a successful VA.
Virtual Assistant Training
Sofia Freijeiro-Armitage
Having just graduated from the VA Mastery Course with VACT, I wanted to say a big thank you to Amanda Johnson for her patience and understanding. Amanda offers group webinars which are a really valuable resource, along with support throughout each of the 12 modules. She clearly has passion and expertise to help others who have the desire to become outstanding VA's. For anyone thinking of becoming a VA then I'd recommend you start with Amanda at VACT
Testimonial - Angela Clarke completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Angela Clark
I decided to enrol on the Mastery Course and this was definitely the best thing I could have done. I have been given tools to set up and manage my business that I don't think I would have found anywhere else. With the support offered, you always have somewhere to turn when you are unsure or need clarification.
Testimonial - Ella Pickard completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Ella Pickard
Hey! THANK YOU! I took a random punt to go to Olympia and could not be more delighted that I met you at VACT stand. Your advice and direction is exceptional. I have thoroughly enjoyed the contact and support that I have had from you.
Julia Roberts
I cannot thank Amanda and VACT enough for all the help, guidance, support and much more that I have received throughout my training. I honestly don't think I could have launched my business without it. This training is absolutely exceptional, and when I am talking to potential new Clients they are always extremely interested and impressed when I tell them about the support we receive. I would urge anyone who is interested in becoming a VA to talk to Amanda, and to sign up now, you won't regret it I promise.
Testimonial - Tanya Daye completed VA Mastery Course with VACT
Tanya Daye
I chose Amanda to be my mentor. She has a vast amount of experience and knowledge about the Virtual Assistant world. She delivers her advice in a caring, yet no nonsense attitude. I always felt she is with me 100% in helping me to reach my goals. She was available on the phone, via email, via Linkedin or via Facebook. Every communication channel was open! I wouldn't hesitate for a second in recommending her services to aspiring Virtual Assistants or those that have been in business for years. Mentoring from Amanda enables you to drive your Virtual Assistant business forward, avoid unnecessary mistakes and realise your full potential. Thank you Amanda
Sarah McLellan
In 2 hours sitting with Amanda, I learnt more about LinkedIn than I have in the previous 2 years of struggling to come to grips with it. Amanda was well prepared, she was very knowledgeable and the information she shared was relevant and easy to understand. Thank you Amanda for all your help. 
Sara Field
Amanda has provided an extremely comprehensive and enjoyable Social Media for Business training package for me. With deep specialist knowledge and patience, Amanda tailored and delivered the course paying particular attention to the areas I was most interested in gaining a thorough understanding of. Thank you so much.
Testimonial - Lynne Hilston - VA Discovery Call with Amanda Johnson of VACT
Lynn Hillston
I've just finished a great taster session with Amanda on Starting a VA business. It was well structured, informative and I came away feeling energised and full of excitement for my new career path! Amanda is a positive trainer, tuned in to her audience, and is approachable and engaged. Any questions I had were welcomed and answered with knowledge and examples. She is good at teasing out your strengths and areas in which you might specialise in order to differentiate yourself. I was given some good guidelines for moving ahead and the opportunity for more targeted training should I wish to extend my training. I would heartily recommend anyone thinking of starting down the VA path to invest a few hours with Amanda - well worth the time!
Penny Kift
Great Kingshill, Buckinghamshire
I'd like to thank Amanda for her invaluable advice and guidance on the world of a VA. Whilst it was not something that I decided to pursue at that time, if my circumstances changed again I would certainly consider a role as a VA. Amanda offers a number of training courses to guide you through and I would certainly consider taking one to get me started. Thanks again Amanda.
Susanne Earl
You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain from a discovery call with Amanda. She helps you put everything into prospective so you can decide what's right for you. I wouldn't hesitate recommending having a discovery call.
Trish McFarlane
Aberdeen
I would like to thank Amanda for her generous advice and guidance which is so freely given. Amanda's passion for training and supporting virtual assistants comes through in her webinars, giving so generously of her time, experience and wisdom. I would highly recommend Amanda if you are thinking of becoming a virtual assistant.

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