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At Joss Search our company mission is to champion the hidden heroes. We believe in shining a light on these individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes. This time, the spotlight goes to Jules.

Jules became a PA in 2007, she spent over 9 years' with M&S before discovering the world of Virtual Assistants.

I asked Jules to answer a couple of questions around what it's like to be VA. Luckily for us, Jules was more than happy to share her insight and wisdom into the role of a VA. Take it away Jules!

How did you get into VA work?
I had heard about it years ago but always discounted the financial risk of being self-employed, but then I was at the PA Show in 2018 and I met a VA who inspired me to take a chance. I had my domain and social media pages set within 48 hours. I knew I didn’t want to commute forever and thought it best to do it now in my 40s than leave it another 10 years.

What are the key differences between a VA and a PA?
There are many types of VA and not all will have come from a PA background and won’t offer a traditional PA service. But, for me the main difference is not always having a set routine as you are dealing with different clients and working patterns. Adapting to a new way of working and different systems all the time.

How do you manage each clients' time as efficiently as possible?
Personally, I try and time block. I can block out the time needed for each client based on the task and delivery date. There will always be an element of flexibility needed if an urgent task arises, but it is also a case of managing expectations at the beginning of a working relationship.

Do you miss the interaction of an office environment?
I don’t! I think it’s because I work in partnership with other VA’s on an Associate basis so I am talking to them a lot. Plus there is a lot of networking to grow your business, so I am always 'meeting' new people.

The VA community is very collaborative, and I am a member of a couple of great VA groups and we have weekly online meetings and webinars. Its great!

How did you find adjusting to remote working?
I had been lucky at my last couple of roles and had the opportunity to work remotely on occasion – it's so easy with Office 365! I was already set up for it and found I was more productive working from home, mainly because there are less distractions!

What advice would you give others who want to become a VA?
1.Do your research and get as much of your business set and running before you make the decision to quit your role. But do be mindful of your employed contact obligations too – don’t find yourself out of a role before you are ready to be!

2.Take advice and learn from the various VA Facebook Communities.

3.Read the book “Virtually Painless” by Kathy Soulsby – An honest and open, warts and all description of working as a VA!