My life of doing all things admin began a bit later in my career. After a stint as a Nursery Nurse, I joined the Royal Navy at the grand age of 24. It was very out of character for me but it clearly worked as I ended up serving for 17 years.
I started out as a Communicator and joined BRNC Dartmouth to be a Logistics Officer just 3 years later. It was then that I was introduced to all things admin. A Logistics Officer can carry out all sort of roles ranging from being an EA/PA in an outer office of a shore establishment to running the Logistics Department on a ship which includes being the Captains’ Secretary (or Captains’ Sec – we shorten everything in the military!)
As an officer in the Royal Navy, you are appointed to a new job or role about every 2 years. I loved the variety that this brought. It meant that you did something new with each new role. And yes it also meant you were often thrown in at the deep end and had a steep learning curve each time. How great to learn new skills though – I loved it! As a leader and manager of fairly large teams of personnel you had to quickly get to grips with writing all manner of documents like letters for senior officers, appraisal reports, memorandums, and sometimes even policy writing. I enjoyed putting together briefings and itineraries for visits and trips abroad when I looked after an Admiral, organising mess dinner, balls and cocktail parties when I was an Officers Mess Manager – I really did learn to turn my hand to anything.
After my navy days, I struggled to think of what I wanted to do or could do. I realised it had to fit in with family life and looking after 2 young children. One day I was looking around LinkedIn and started looking at profiles of people I knew from my military days. I came across someone who I knew had left and set up as a Virtual Executive Secretary. What I didn’t know was that she had since bought a company and was now providing training and courses for VA’s. I sat on the internet looking and reading. Finding VA websites and looking them up on LinkedIn. An idea was growing. That I could do this. That I had the right skills. A nudge from my hubby resulted in a phone call. At the end of the phone call I had signed up to do the VACT DIY Mastery Course with the amazing Amanda Johnson. It really was a no-brainer to do the course with Amanda – you see Amanda was also a Logistics Officer in the Navy J
Well, you know what. Since that day I haven’t once looked back. The course is broken down into 6 modules. There are worksheets and exercises to do and the way I often describe it is that it walks you through setting up your VA Business. You find out a lot about yourself. The first module jumps straight in with that. You identify your core values, your why, your ideal client and you learn all about marketing, how to get yourself out there on social media, heaps about onboarding clients. You do all of this at your own pace. I was lucky to not be working at the time of doing the course but I do know plenty of people fit it in around working. One of the best bits about doing the course is having access to a Facebook Group with everyone else doing VACT courses. The support to each other is just brilliant and illustrates what an incredibly collaborative industry you are in.
Amanda will be your rudder and mainstay during what can be fun, exhilarating and just a bit emotional now and again. She constantly goes above and beyond with her trademark calm, consistent, no-nonsense approach. Over the past 15 months, since starting my VA journey I have also realised that Amanda has become THE go to person for all things VA.
Since completing the VACT Mastery Course, I have started taking clients onboard – woohoo! It’s the most fantastic feeling. I get to work the hours I want on the days I want with fabulous clients. No two days are the same, which is something I missed from my navy days. And I LOVE the variety of work. And Amanda is still there in the background as my mentor.
If you or someone you know is considering a new career as a VA, I highly recommend Amanda’s DIY mastery course. Do take a look at the VACT website. There are lots of free resources on there and a ton of advice. Amanda offers free discovery calls which are hugely helpful with identifying if this is for you. And better still, if you decided to go for it – use the following code SarahB to bag yourself a 5% discount and you can Click here to visit the VACT website and learn more about the DIY Mastery course
Definitely one of the best decisions I ever made.