We’ll be having our own Virtual Assistant Experts Interview in the coming days for us to be more inspired to start working from home and earn money for a living. With our first guest is the CEO of Virtual Miss Friday – Michelle Dale
1. Who is Michelle Dale?
I’m originally from England, born there in 1981, I left the UK in 2005 to begin travelling and haven’t been back to live since. I’m now the CEO of a company called Virtual Miss Friday, providing online services to entrepreneurs, small to medium business and corporate organisations, and also learning and training products to online services providers and colleagues in the industry. I’m a wife, mum of 2, and a travel junkie.
2. How did you start working from home?
When I left the UK I had no plan, no job and little money to live on. I did however have a laptop and a lot of determination, I decided that in order to fund my new travel lifestyle I would need to earn money consistently without ever having to be in one location, I discovered Virtual Assistance at that time, it fitted perfectly with my plans and I decided that was going to be my new calling.
3. What is your turning point on deciding to become a Virtual Assistant?
When I started researching ways to make money online, found many of them rather cheesy, distasteful, or unbelievable, and a majority ‘scammy’ – While I was living in Egypt, I started selling Egyptian rugs on eBay to bring in a bit of income, but I knew that wasn’t going to work for too long so to speak, then I came across something called a “Virtual Assistant” and the rest, as they say is history.
4. What are the advantages for you working as a Virtual Assistant?
There are so many. It fits in perfectly with my life, which is the main draw, I get to live anywhere in the world, I don’t have to find clients in person, I do all my business and marketing online, so I can work with anyone, anywhere in the world. While travelling I met my husband and I now have 2 children, and I have time to spend with them, since I work from home – It’s a dream job, and a dream lifestyle.
5. Do you have any negative thing/s to say about being a Virtual Assistant?
The only negative aspect of working as a Virtual Assistant is that it can get lonely if you’re not comfortable with your own company while working, some people miss the banter and bustle of being amongst co-workers, whilst I’m on Skype all day with my team, it’s not the same. I am very lucky that I now have a husband working beside me in the business, he’s good company 🙂
6. What’s the most difficult situation that you have experienced in working as a Virtual Assistant? How did you handle it?
The most difficult situation was handling a client that wasn’t an ideal fit, and then finding the way to go about breaking it off with them. When I lacked experience in being very selective with who I worked with, I found that I ended up working with a client where we just didn’t gel, and then letting the relationship continue in the hopes something would change, and just getting deeper into further issues. Eventually I had to bite the bullet and write an impartial, to the point letter terminating the relationship, which wasn’t a pleasant experience.
It’s very important that you work with the right kind of personalities that match your work ethic and style, otherwise it can drain your time and energy, and put stress and pressure on you beyond what’s considered acceptable.
7. What’s the best thing that ever happened in your Virtual Assistant career?
The best thing that ever happened was when I put together my first training programme for Virtual Assistant. It was back in 2010 I had the idea, and I began blogging for colleagues in my industry, and then in January 2011, I held the beta testing of my programme The Virtually Anywhere Apprentice, and I’ve never looked back since. It was a high point as an entrepreneur to have come so far and been so successful in it that I could now pass all that knowledge and experience onto other people who wanted to achieve the same success.
8. How do you see yourself 5 or 10 years from now?
I’ll still be running Virtual Miss Friday, and travelling, I’m so happy right now, and don’t see any reason to fix something that doesn’t need it, but I would like to be more involved with working directly with colleagues in less virtual endeavours, and attend more ‘live’ public speaking, seminars and workshop type events. It’s something I’m just warming up to now with my first ever ‘live’ workshop being held in the UK in a couple of months, and then we’ll see where that takes me.
9. Where do you usually get clients?
I’ve been building the business while living in 6 different countries, which means that I can only find business online. When I got started I knew that my only real hope was finding connections through online networking and marketing and over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to develop quite a large audience which has been instrumental in keeping my business growing. Now I’m very lucky that the new clients come to me through simply finding me online somewhere or via referrals from existing clients. But I still actively pursue an online marketing plan now, primarily through email marketing to my list, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
10. What advice can you give for other aspiring VA’s?
The best thing you can do is learn from someone who’s doing the same kind of thing you would like to be doing. Find a mentor (or several) that you can look to for guidance and advice and to learn from. Every VA will have to find their own way, but if you have a guide then you’ll more likely to be able to avoid the bumps along the way and get to your destination much quicker than if you were to go it alone.
Do you have any program you want to promote to our fellow Filipino Virtual Assistants so they can be a highly competitive VA?
I’ve created a great range of products that can help Virtual Assistants become the very best they can be, at any stage of their business. Please visit www.TheVARoadmap.com for the comprehensive guide to each one and how they can help.
The VA Shoestring is my start-up programme which will provide a great foundation for anyone who’s new to the industry, there’s a special link I’d like to give your audience at www.WithNoStringsAttached.com which will hopefully provide them with an affordable solution to allow anyone, no matter what their budget, to get started as a Virtual Assistant.