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An interview with a Virtual Assistant: Jenn gives us the inside story

Ever thought of working as a Virtual Assistant? At PA Business Support we provide VAs to businesses who need the admin support but aren’t in a position to hire a full-time employee.

We’ve explored the benefits of hiring a VA before, but for the candidates themselves it can be a rewarding and flexible way to balance lifestyle with career. We treat our VAs and the clients we send them to with equal care and attention – both are our ‘customers’ and their well-being and satisfaction is very important to us. With that in mind, offering someone a position as a VA is not just about filling a role: we believe the right match can lead to greater things – for the candidate, for the business, and for our partnership with them both. Jenn is one of our success stories…
Having been with PABS for almost a year (and a self-employed VA for five years prior), Jenn initially reached out to us through LinkedIn. She’d been following our activity on the well-known social media platform for a while (if you’re not already following us, go to our page here and click follow!). In Jenn’s own words, “When you are self-employed and in charge of your own marketing, it’s always useful to keep an eye on potential networking opportunities and when I chatted to Sabina, I felt an immediately connection with her and with the way in which she and Sophie run PA Business Support.” (Sabina Hinchcliffe and Sabina Burnett are PABS’s two co-founders and directors)
Speaking on the benefits of working as a VA, Jenn highlights the flexibility of hours the role offers, giving her more control over her diary: “For me, with young children, this is a major benefit as I am almost always able to be at the school gates and various events that are so much a part of school life; all things I really don’t want to miss!” Life as a VA offers a lot of variety, and Jenn makes a point of saying that no two clients or roles are the same: “I am always learning, which I love,” she says, “It feels as though my career – and my CV – is always evolving.”
As more and more employees go remote, and the growth of co-working spaces continues to be exponential, smaller businesses are benefitting from the reduced overheads that this way of working brings. However, it’s not for everyone. It does require you to be a self-starter and able to not only manage your own time but also focus diligently when the need arises. Jenn ticks all those boxes but she does say that occasionally she has, “missed being able to bounce ideas off a co-worker or have a conversation by the coffee machine”. Being a dedicated VA also means you need to think holistically about your finances – e.g. to cover holidays and absences – rather than rely on company benefits to cover those. The good news is that this is easily managed if you’re a pro-active, organised person who is serious about their job.
So what about job satisfaction and a sense of achievement? “As a VA, you are often working with businesses who desperately need support but aren’t ready to hire full time staff. As a result you are invaluable to the business so everything you do is highly appreciated,” Jenn goes on to say, “When I can see results of any kind from the assistance I’m providing I feel a great sense of achievement.”
This kind of rewarding experience is not always forthcoming as a self-employed individual. Jenn calls PABS the “extra layer” between the client and her, something which has made her life much easier: “It can be extremely helpful to not have to worry about certain things like discussing fees, terms and conditions or chasing invoices.” And if problems arise? “Sabina and Sophie are extremely supportive and always available if I have a concern or need some advice. It takes some of the loneliness out of working remotely because there is very much a feeling of ‘being part of the team’ which I had missed from being self-employed. It is really a pleasure to be part of the PABS team.”
The business that Jenn has worked in while with PABS have all been quite unique and interesting in their own way, but she says that all of them have been professional, friendly and open to her input. “I’ve never felt like an external supplier – all the clients PABS have placed me with have made me feel like a valued member of their company. And they’re all really nice – I haven’t yet worked with anyone I didn’t like!”
So what advice would Jenn give to other people thinking of working as a VA? “If you are independent, organised, take a flexible approach to your work and would like a career that is challenging and varied then I would definitely recommend being a VA!”

Think you have what it takes to be a VA? Give us a call on 020 3621 8076 or contact us through our website here

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