From Lieutenant Commander to Entrepreneur

“I now have reassurance that I’m there for my family when they need me”.

After 22 years in the Navy Amanda Johnson took voluntary redundancy in December last year to launch her own business – a decision motivated by a desire to spend more quality time with her family. Amanda created Your Executive Secretary (YES) after spotting a gap in the market for virtual assistants.

The idea to launch a Virtual Assistant (VA) business came to me after trying to contact some local tradesmen and never being able to get hold of them, due to the fact they were out doing what they did best – installing windows, repairing a client’s washing machine etc – so I identified that what they needed was administration support on a flexible basis.

Motivated by achieving a better work-life balance and no longer wanting to spend excessive periods away from my family I started researching the concept of a VA, the training available and the VA business itself.

In launching your own business, research is key: there is a lot of useful information available to individuals but sometimes you have to read a lot to gather the best bits. Attend as many free business start-up workshops as you can (either military or civilian) as that one snippet of information you gather could save you thousands in the long run.

Target your website at the type of customer who will value the services you’re offering. Also, before you start networking, ensure you have a professional logo, website and business cards prepared so that on launch day a professional site is ready to support your actions.

As a VA, I am often asked to do tasks at short notice or with minimal training – something I was used to in the military. I also recognise that no one business is the same as another and therefore the type of support required varies considerably. Working with small businesses, sole traders and individuals, I provide them with first class VA, business administration, event planning and management and administration consultancy services, with the aim of providing a bespoke service to clients.