How to get started


Can anyone advise the best, quickest and possibly easiest way to becoming a VA? I have seen numerous companies that all want you to invest a great deal of money to become a VA. I have a home office already set up, just after advice on how to get started as someone with over 20 years experience in all types of office work and management.


Read and inwardly digest this:

I think everyone knows my views on Franchises… There are good ones out there, but really they aren’t offering anything which you couldn’t do yourself with a bit of research - clients don’t tend to recognise them and seek them out for their reputation (i.e. there is no McDonalds of VAs!). In addition to that we’ve had some real horror stories, and they are so litigious you will not find anything bad when you Google either, and the “franchises” they arrange for you to speak to aren’t necessarily on the same deal you will be on! (A lot are former employees who got given the franchise for free in lieu of severance pay).

Training is a good shortcut - but again, being an unregulated industry, there are a lot of cowboys. We have a list of approved trainers.

How comfortable are you with selling? Because really that’s the biggest stumbling block most PAs face when starting up - it’s not usually in the PA skillset.

Hope that helps!


Hi Hayley, I recommend Catherine Gladwyn’s book How To Be a VA and her VA membership is a very nurturing place for new and established VA’s. She is an approved trainer too so she’s no cowboy :wink: and probably the only one who still works as a VA herself! I agree with Caroline that selling and promoting your services is the hardest bit for the majority of VA’s/ freelancers so be sure to make that a priority. Good luck!


Hi Hayley,

Setting up a VA business is no different to setting up any other business, all the Trainers and Coaches will give you (hopefully) is a faster path to getting to where you want. I have a number of free resources on my site that people have used to go on and set up their own business without doing any of my courses. There are some great threads on this forum and in the blogs here that will also steer you on the right path.

It’s a great industry to be in - good luck



Lots of the VA Trainers, Coaches and Mentors are still running very successful VA / OBM businesses - not just Catherine including those on the approved Trainers List.

Kind Regards


Good to hear Amanda!


I read this book too, very simple and easy to understand. Definitely good for those who consider set up VA business to understand what is VA job/business,


Joining helpful, lovely VA communities such as this forum and Amanda’s group really helped me. There is so much free info on their websites (sometimes too much to take in at once lol!) and also the approved VA schemes mentioned. I have listened to Amanda’s webinar which really inspired me.

Literally go with your gut with everything. If I wanted a trainer/mentor I would go straight to Amanda because I did ‘click’ and liked her mannerism and her style in training. If something sounds a bit naff/too good to be true, it usually is! And believe in yourself! You’ve got all this experience, you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t always feel like it :rofl:
The advice for what to look out for in a VA (from the UK Society of VA’s) is a good starting point for setting standards right from the beginning.
And you can always ask questions in here, we are all happy to help. Good luck!! xxx


Thank you for the lovely words @sararoddisva - you have brightened my morning. Thank you Amanda


Aw they are well deserved. You are a great mentor in my opinion and you have managed to create such a lovely group. There is nothing else like the atmosphere in the VA help desk!! And your webinar was great too! ! x x


@hayleycawkwell sorry this is the list I meant-

The standards for becoming an approved VA just make sense as a whole- do your best to meet the guidelines, and have some contracts you can send to clients. Get your social media up and running (to get your name out there!) and visit business and networking events. Good luck x x


It does seem nuts, but for years there weren’t any standards, anyone could call themselves a VA, and we all got written off as being rubbish because there were so many cowboys! That was back in 2007, we’ve gone on improving what is the standard as the industry has matured.

Sadly we had to do the same with the VA training in 2018, because there are some seriously dodgy ones out there. But it seems to have been generally well received and is working well.


It makes total sense, and I wish I had seen the standards when I first started researching! It’s so helpful! And I totally appreciate you and the guys at the society working hard to improve standards and the profile of VA’s. Without you, VA’s would probably have a bad rep!! (from lack of standards) xxx