So What does a VA do all day?
I’m often surprised when I’m introduced to someone who is unfamiliar with the term ‘VA’. ‘Virtual’ and ‘working from home’ are completely absorbed into our working culture – and yet perhaps this idea of being someone’s’ right arm and not being physically in the same room, is still a concept some can’t quite compute. (s’cuse the pun)
Louise (Lou) Cronk joined MSPA in October 2017 and we are absolutely delighted to welcome her aboard. When I first read Lou’s profile on her CV, I was really drawn to one of the words she used to describe herself ‘Unflappable’. Her new J.T.B client Caroline Flanagan certainly thinks so and they are building the kind of working relationship that defines VA /client success.
”Lou is a star. Easy to work with, always keen to help and shows great initiative. If she can’t get me what I want, she always has an alternative suggestion. Also, love her willingness to give things a go and come up with new ideas.” Caroline Flanagan – Speaker, Coach, Author
Whilst MSPA offers specific services to clients, I like the fact that we all have different productivity methodology for getting the job done.
I asked Lou a few key questions and to reveal her working process as a VA….
Q) What led you to become a VA?
A) Having worked in Media for many years I moved from London to Hampshire. I commuted to London for 2 years and the travel time (1.5hrs each way) just didn’t work for me. I often thought of all the things I could be doing (exercising, walking the dog, weeding)! whilst sitting hostage on SW Trains. As a lifestyle change, I realised there was a good business model in becoming a VA and working from home. I was fortunate enough to have a good network and I picked up a really good client within a few weeks of putting the feelers out. Most people don’t realise that you have full access to client calendars and their emails and they can call you anytime (during business hours)! Excellent sharing tools such as Dropbox / Trello / Highrise / Skype make it so much easier to work in a virtual office.
Q) Please share your approach to a working week?
A) I write out a To Do List at the start of my week for each client. Trello is a great tool for sharing a To Do List. The client is able to create a new board on a Monday and I’m able to move the board across to ‘doing’ or ‘done’ and ‘regular tasks’. It’s a very effective way of both of us keeping an eye on projects.
In addition, I have weekly catch-up calls / Skype sessions on Monday’s with my clients. This sets up priorities for the week and then I can work out from there how their week is going to look.
I can be booking client meetings, typing up board meeting notes or writing a presentation, booking a family ski holiday, sourcing gifts for another client. No two days are the same. I wear multiple VA caps.
Q) What do you love about being a virtual assistant?
A) I love the variety it gives me whilst working from home. I work with great clients and I love being a PA and thinking outside the box when needed. It’s definitely a lifestyle choice; you have to be self-motivated and happy to work on your own, which I do. Exercise is really important to me and I made a promise to myself when I stopped commuting that I would get fit and it’s working…so far! I’m able to fit in exercise around my working week.
Q) What do you find challenging about being a virtual assistant?
A) No IT Helpdesk! I was so used to having someone at the press of a button to help me with any computer issues. Now I end up googling issues I have. I sometimes miss colleague interaction, but most of the time I’m so busy, there’s not much time to interact!
Q) What advice would you offer someone looking to hire a VA?
A) You may not need full-time help but someone to do a few hours a day. You find yourself thinking, “I could do bigger, more important things if only I had the time”. Whilst they aren’t permanent employees, VA’s are an affordable way to get ongoing help running your business without any of the additional expenses of hiring a full-time person.
If you’d like Lou to be your VA – please Get In Touch