With PA Life Training Day just around the corner on 14 November, we had a chat with Amanda Johnson from The Virtual Assistant Coaching and Training Company to get her insight on the industry.
What led you to be a PA/EA?
Prior to becoming a VA, I was a logistics officer in the Royal Navy – having joined at age 17 in the administration specialisation. As a rating and then as an officer, you have a variety of jobs and a number of them can be categorised as either a personal assistant or EA role. I served 23 years before retiring from service on voluntary redundancy.
Tell us about yourself and your background.
My background is as a professional administrator, and I have fulfilled a variety of roles, travelled the world and had great fun. Nowadays, I am a VA coach who is passionate about inspiring, challenging and supporting PAs/EAs and admin professionals to create authentic and awesome VA businesses. I’m a wife to Andrew (who also runs his own business) and mum to two gorgeous little boys.
Can you give us a glimpse of what you’ll cover in your talk?
During my session, I will give an insight into the things to consider when wanting to become a VA, as well as the essential skills and traits needed to become a VA – what your business could look like and the services you might want to offer; how to make the transition and get started; finally, we will talk about how PAs can use VAs in their current workplace to add value to the business.
In your opinion, what are the current three most important challenges as a PA/EA?
- Potential burn out due to technology making people contactable 24/7, 365 days a year
- Lack of resources in the work place
- Asking PAs and EAs to support multiple executives/bosses.
Where do you see the job going in the short term? Longer term?
I foresee a continual cut to resources while the level of output continues to remain the same or increases. Organisations will continue to be reliant on the goodwill and professionalism of their PAs and EAs to get stuff done without reward. And a continual increase in organisations encouraging their teams to work remotely.
Why is an event like PA Life Training Day so important?
Training events like PA Life Training Day provide great opportunities to network with fellow PAs and forge new relationships that are not only good for the individual but also potentially the companies they work for; couple this with the knowledge imparted and ideas shared, all of which add value to the individuals’ continuous professional development.
What advice would you give to PAs/EAs?
Build relationships with everyone you meet – be they the most senior person in the company or the most junior – they all add value.
Which associations and professional bodies are you a member of?
CPD Standards, International Virtual Assistants Association, and a variety of UK VA associations.
What are you most known for?
I am recognised as one of the main trainers for those wanting to become a VA in the UK, and commended for not only my understanding of the industry but for the unequivocal support I provide to those I mentor. My training courses are recommended by the FSB and Cobweb.
PA Life Training Day takes place on 14 November at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel. A full day of sessions costs £295 + VAT, or you can book a half day for just £175 + VAT. PA Life Club members are entitled to a 50% discount on a full day of training. Places are limited, so book soon to avoid disappointment. To find out more or to book your place, visit palife.co.uk/training-day