Query from a wannabe VA newbie

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We received this query today:

Hi there

The term VA  is new to me! I never knew anything like it existed, but at the same time, it makes so much sense!

I read about it for the first time in a magazine this weekend.

It makes me feel like there is hope after all!

I am in a complete “limbo” situation at the moment.
·         45 Years old,
·          female,
·          never been married,
·          no children,
·          retrenched from a reasonably-paying management position just over a year ago (interior industry),
·         now in a much more “scaled- down position” (…. with a “scaled-down” salary to go with it),
·         never invested in property….
·         Not likely to inherit much
·         … and EXTREMELY concerned about my future …(I have literally 20 years to get myself together before I retire)

Also, although I am in a 2 year long, reasonably stable relationship,  I believe that a woman should be self-sufficient in order to have a balanced healthy relationship.

So in theory, I should now be more driven that ever in order to catch up and get back on the ladder. But that is exactly my problem! I don’t have the drive to do so.

My partner is semi-retired at 50 years of age,  always financially able and free to travel when and where he wants on a regular basis. In fact, he is currently,  at this very moment,  on a beautiful brand new catamaran on his way to Mauritius!

He will be doing several more trips like this on a continuous basis.  And yes, I was invited.

But I simply cannot,  at this stage of my life,  pack up and go without jeopardizing my future security even more.


There is only one solution.

I have to find something where I determine my working hours, can get away for sporadic breaks  with my partner,  but at the same time earn an income without having to consider resigning each time an opportunity such as this arises.

I am hoping  you will be able to tell me, looking at a brief description of my career experience below,  whether there is a place for me in the world of VA?

Studied full time: Textile design National diploma 3 year course and Interior design National diploma 3 year course

Studied part time: certificate and diploma wine courses
Textile designer in clothing industry
Interior Décor – own business  – from design to installation including project managing
Six star Cruise ship (hospitality industry- abroad) housekeeping to reception (guest services)
Lived and worked in Austria in “pension” and bakery coffee shop for almost 1 year
Hospitality industry (Cape Town) – reservations manager and groups & events co-ordinator
Interior Décor – own business for 2 years
Showroom Manager of upmarket converter of home ware textiles in the Interior industry for 4 years (retrenched after company restructure)
Currently sales consultant for another upmarket converter of home ware textiles in the Interior industry
Due to my hospitality background, I have excellent organisational and co-ordinating skills which is something that is crucial, and can be applied, in any industry.
I obviously have a creative side, due to my design background.
Due to my sporadic change of industry, I have learnt to adapt quickly to different personalities, computer systems and company requirements, and as a result I see myself as a flexible and versatile professional  person.
I also believe that my few years’ experience with the specific six star cruise ship company which I was employed by, helped shape my work ethics , attention to detail, awareness of service standards and efficiency.
What do you think? Is there a gap for me and my experience, however diverse it might be?
Your opinion and advise would be greatly appreciated.
Kind Regards

My Answer: 


Okay first I’m a transcriptionist more than a VA , but I do believe the VA field could work for you given your background. I would suggest that you read and research as much as you can about the VA world, yes we will also be able to answer questions. Probably the most basic questions are can you type and do you have access to a quality internet? If you are going to set up as a VA, you need to market yourself. It’s the single biggest thing besides quality of work obviously that decides whether you will succeed or fail. Market yourself in any way you can imagine. Directories, websites, facebook, social media, linked in.. everything.   Alison has written an ebook about becoming a VA and I have written one about becoming a transcriptionist. They retail for R120 each and are good investments in your situation.

I hope you don’t mind – I’m going to publish your question on my blog and on the TAVASA blog – www.typewritetranscription.blogspot.com and www.tavasa.blogspot.com – without your name but with my answer and with any that Alison provides, so that others can benefit from your question.

PS: This concerns me: So in theory, I should now be more driven that ever in order to catch up and get back on the ladder. But that is exactly my problem! I don’t have the drive to do so.

You have to be very driven in our field.

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