Hi, I’m Elspeth, founder of EH Virtual Administration Support. I provide virtual assistance and copywriting to a wide variety of clients. I set up in June 2021 after debating it for far too long! I love writing for clients, supporting events and social media management.
Prior to setting up as a VA, I worked as an events manager for many years (in both the corporate and charity sectors) and loved the variety that events management provided. You always need a back up plan to a back up plan for events, so I learnt how important it is to adapt quickly in working situations. I also worked for some years in education, as a teaching assistant, support for children with additional needs and within a school office environment.
Since setting up as a VA, I have found that a lot of the clients I attract are business or life coaches and counsellors which is an area I am really passionate about supporting.
I live with my son (and crazy cat) in South Manchester.
Who or what inspired you to become a VA?
This is a great question as I don’t think there was any one person who inspired me to set up my business. As a single Mum I was finding it increasingly hard to juggle working out of home and being available for my son and I knew something needed to change. I wanted a job that would enable me to be available for school appointments and reduce my need to pay out for wrap around care. My son is now in high school and although he might not need me to do school runs anymore, it is more important than ever that I am available for him when he needs me.
Have you had any support starting up as a VA (mentor/family/network/financial)?
Yes! I have been so, so lucky. Since setting up as a VA I have built a network of highly supportive VA’s who I can bounce ideas off. I also signed up for a local council-run mentoring programme for business owners which helped massively with areas I was not confident in.
What has been your highlight since starting your business?
There have been a few, but the first I will always remember is securing my first client within the first 3 weeks of publicly launching my business. It was such an amazing feeling to know that what I was offering clients was wanted. Since then, I have developed my business so much and I love hearing from my clients how what I have done for them has positively impacted their business.
What was your biggest challenge?
When I set up as a VA, I was still working in a local school so focused on building my business up during evenings, weekends and school holidays for the first year. Deciding to make the jump from employment to full time VA work was a scary prospect. Would I have enough clients? Would I be Ok working predominantly on my own? So many questions and thoughts but making that jump has absolutely been the best thing I have ever done.
What advice would you offer other new or aspiring VAs?
Prior to officially launching my business, I spent a good few months researching. Researching what I wanted to provide, what systems VAs used to complete tasks and learning some that I wasn’t overly familiar with. I joined multiple VA Facebook groups and read posts from existing VAs, which gave me further insight into some of the challenges I might face as a VA. I researched VA websites and started working on the text I wanted to include in my website. So, my advice would be don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know! Research, research, research!
What tools/apps/software can’t you live without?
There are some that are always open on my desktop!
Toggl for time management.
Calendar- as you get busier having your calendar easily accessible is a life saver!
LastPass for password management. Clients may provide you with log ons for their databases or emails and trying to remember them all will become impossible. LastPass is one of the secure places to save and share passwords.
Canva- rarely a day goes by without me using this amazing tool! Whether that is to create designs for my own social media or for clients, I love how easy this tool is to use.
What is next for you and your business?
My business is always developing, and I am delighted to share that I have just taken on my first brilliant associate who is a bookkeeping extraordinaire! Finance admin is not my skill set, so it is great that I can now offer this. I am also exploring a few exciting business opportunities that I am not able to share just yet 🤫
What is the ultimate goal for your business?
I would love to continue building on my client list and build up a little team of amazing associates.
Were there any times you wanted to give up? What kept you going?
Since setting up there has honestly only been 1 time where I seriously considered if I was able to continue. A few of my regular clients reduced their hours and other projects came to a natural end. I realised I had taken my eye off the game and found myself with more available time than I had anticipated. I gave myself some breathing time, reminded myself why I set up my business in the first place and gave myself a stern talking to. I used my ‘free’ time to explore where I wanted to take my business and building up connections.
What three words would you use to describe yourself, and why?
Friendly, approachable and loyal. 🙂 I recognise a key part of hiring a VA for some of my clients is the fact they need a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on. I love seeing my clients grow and develop in their business and know that being friendly, approachable and loyal is a key part of this.
What is the biggest misconception you had about being a VA before you became one?
Although I knew it really, there was a still a part of me that hoped clients would just fall on my lap 😅
Is there anything you would change about your VA journey?
Nothing. I have genuinely valued everything I have learnt along the way.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I LOVE swimming, walking and Pilates and another key factor in setting up my business was me recognising I need a job that enabled me to fit these activities in as they are so important to my physical and mental health. I love reading and binge watching tv shows. Most of time outside of work is focused on being a Mum 🙂
What business book / podcast have you read / listened to most recently? Would you recommend it?
I have been a big fan of a guy called Jon Acuff for years. He started out writing satirical blogs and has developed into an international speaker and author. His podcast is ‘All it takes is a goal’ and listening to it on a walk, or when cooking in the kitchen helps me explore aspects of my business goals. I would highly recommend this! [https://acuff.me/]
I would love to connect with you!
My website is www.ehvas.co.uk