Meet The VA - Harriet Mitchell of TillyBoo's Virtual Assistant
I’m Harriet and I own and run TillyBoo’s Virtual Assistant. I’m passionate about work-life balance and working to live rather than living to work. In fact, that’s why I started working as a Virtual Assistant. I’m a mum of two (plus one cat), a wife, and a part-time primary school teacher.
In 2022 I launched my Virtual Assistant Services based in Suffolk, using knowledge and skills that I developed whilst building my own previous small business and those acquired during my years in the education sector. I have worked for 15 years in Education, working at different levels of structure and responsibility, leading teams, and organisations. I still work as a Primary School Teacher 2 days a week, and in May 2020 I started independently growing my own eco product business from the ground-up. Unfortunately, with the changes to the economy, this enterprise was not creating the extra income my family needed, so I pivoted to becoming a VA and haven’t looked back!
My business now gives me space and time to work around my family, doing work I love and supporting others in gaining that work life balance too!
Who or what inspired you to become a VA?
I always identify my children as my biggest inspiration in business, work and life. But in this case it was a combination of a business coach, my children, and the world I was involved in. In 2022 I was working part-time as a teacher, and developing my product business. My business coach helped me see that the product business was not creating the income which I so needed. I felt a bit trapped, I didn’t want to increase my teaching hours, as I wanted to be present for my children aged 11 and 3, but I needed a greater income to support our family. Due to my product business, I was already in the small business space online and saw a lot of Virtual Assistants. I started following people like Kayleigh, looked at the skills needed, saw that they would fit my knowledge and experience, and took a leap!
Have you had any support starting up as a VA?
I have been lucky with starting as a VA, as I had been building a product business for 2 years, I had already explored a lot of the marketing areas, had apps and skills for content creation, had built websites and contacts. I started to follow many other VAs and VA coaches, joined groups and the Society of Virtual Assistants. Using my business network through my coach, I gained clients within the eco niche, became an associate, and onboarded a friend who also has a small business of her own. I have not had financial support or paid for VA courses, but I am a member of some general business memberships, which I find beneficial for keeping my drive high.
What has been your highlight since starting your business?
The financial gains are a highlight for me, in that I have the disposable income to give my children the holidays and Christmas gifts that they desire. Along with being able to fit my work around their events and lives, so that I am still present. Another great highlight was being able to edit a book and seeing my name in the acknowledgments!
What was your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was taking the initial leap that felt really scary, and managing my bookkeeping and content. I don’t love bookkeeping and get outsourced support with it. With content I find mine gets pushed to the back after spending time doing it for others!
What advice would you offer other new or aspiring VAs?
Just go for it! I know that sounds cliched and obvious but stop overthinking it. Get the legal stuff in place and then just jump in. As long as you are clear on your own strengths, offer those services and don’t doubt that people need you. Tell everyone what you do and embrace this wonderful job.
What tools/apps/software can’t you live without?
Trello, I am a huge lover of Trello, but that is in both business and my personal life. I also love ToDoIst as it keeps me in check and helps me prioritise. But if I’m thinking about the thing I would most miss, it would have to be Google, my email, business, meetings, documents, etc. are all through Google Workspace. All my different email addresses feed into the box, so it is literally my life. LastPass has also become a very close second, as no way can I remember all of my passwords!
What is next for you and your business?
Next for me, is to build in some ad-hoc and subscription services for blogs and content strategy/planning. My main aim is for my business to fit around my family, including school holidays so there is a limit to the hours I can take on. By building in packages, I want to increase the revenue without dramatically increasing my fixed work hours.
What is the ultimate goal for your business?
To stay fully booked and keep bringing me my varied work that fits around my family.
What has surprised you about becoming a VA?
The community. There is a wonderful collection of people in the VA community, both those in the mentor space and newer VAs, everyone is always so friendly, supportive and helpful, it’s like having a large collection of amazing colleagues in your phone, at the end of your hand.
Is there anything you would change about your VA journey?
I would have started it sooner and been louder about it from the start.
You can follow Harriet at: