What made you decide you wanted to become a VA and when?
I think in truth I?ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial streak in me and starting my own business was always something I?d wanted to do! Having my son though was the main reason for starting my business as, like many mums, I wanted to have flexibility around my working hours so that I could be around more to see him grow up and the banking world was just not compatible with that. Becoming a VA gave me that flexibility and also enabled me to use all the skills I?d acquired in my previous roles to help small business owners grow their businesses which I’m really passionate about.
Were you concerned that there were already many VAs already out there and this would be competition?
What gave you the confidence to give yourself that push to go ahead and do it?
I had been thinking of becoming a VA for a while, but I found it hard to find the courage to make the shift from being an employee to a fully fledged business owner. I decided to take the VA Coaching and Training Company’s VA Mastery Course in August 2011 and have never looked back!
When you decided to get started what made you decide to go for some VA training?
I would never have dreamt of setting up my business without educating myself about the industry I was going into and best practice within that industry. The VACT course has been absolutely invaluable to the success of my business. It meant that before I even launched I had a detailed business and marketing plan in place, a blueprint that I could follow and it really helped to fast track my success because I knew I was working according to best practice. I also had a fantastic support network in place following the course (and a brilliant mentor in Carmen!) which is absolutely critical.
Why did you decide on The VA Coaching and Training Company and what was your experience of the training?
I decided on the VA Coaching and Training Company’s VA Mastery Course because I believed it represented great value and covered everything I felt I needed to know to launch a successful VA business. The course was absolutely fantastic; everything I hoped it would be and more. It really focused my mind on what I wanted to achieve and I came away with some fabulous tools and techniques from Carmen who really set me on the path to success from day one.
What have been the highlights of your business so far?
Highlights for me so far have undoubtedly been winning ?Best Newcomer? in the National VA Awards in April this year (and making my first acceptance speech!) Also I have been really honoured to work with some of the countries most pre-eminent business mums.I get a huge buzz from being able to help small business owners really drive their businesses forward by freeing up their time and getting them to focus on what they?re good at!
What have been some challenges you have experienced and if you were to do things differently next time what would you do?
My main challenges to date have been focus ? keeping on track with so many other conflicting demands on my time from family to running a home, lack of time (which I guess is true for all mums!) and adjusting to self employment after 15 years in the corporate world! I actually wouldn’t do anything differently next time as I think all my experiences (both good and bad) have been part of the learning curve and part of the ‘journey’ to becoming a successful business owner.
What was the reason you chose to enter into the VA awards in 2012?
I was actually encouraged to enter the VA Awards by my mentor Carmen MacDougall at VACT who was impressed by the commitment and dedication I had shown throughout the VA Mastery Course and in launching my VA business.
How did you find the whole experience of entering the awards?
I found the whole experience amazing. It was such a great feeling to actually win an award and be recognised nationally for all the hard work and effort I had put into establishing my business and to be recognised in the first 6 months of launch was just incredible.
Have you had positive experiences since winning your award?
I have had so many postive experiences since winning my award. Not only did winning my award give my a huge boost personally it has also boosted my business and profile. Also, I’ve had budding VAs coming to me for help and advice which is just great!
What advice would you give to anyone just starting out especially in relation to training?
The key thing I would say would firstly be to do your research. Read and research everything you can about the VA industry ? there is so much information online now, free downloads, ebooks, webinars, teleseminars. Read and listen to everything you can and make sure it is the right career for you. It does take a lot of hard work and self discipline to establish a successful VA business. Also, ensure that you do take a training course such as the one offered by the VA Coach Training Company which will set you in very good stead for launching your business.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
In 10 years time I hope to be seen as a ?go to? expert in my niche, providing coaching and consulting services to the mumpreneur community in social media, internet marketing and business startup through 1:1s, via Skype, workshops, webinars and teleseminars and would love to have an ebook or two on the market! It believe that the workplace is changing and with the lack of flexibility that still exists for women in the marketplace there are going to be more and more mums starting businesses and needing support to do so.
Julia Burman for the past 15 years has worked in London in a variety of PA, corporate marketing, roadshow and event management roles for some of the world?s leading investment banks. She founded her virtual assistance and online marketing company out of a genuine desire to help the many bright, talented women who, like herself, struggled to return to their previous careers or find flexible work once they?d had children and decided instead to set up their own businesses to enjoy flexible working hours.