The Virtual Assistant or VA sector is blooming in the UK and Scottish entrepreneurs are at the heart of the changing structure of supporting businesses online.
CEO and founder of Blue Ninja Business Support Louisa Stewart, who is based just outside Edinburgh, won the 2017 VA of the Year Scotland award last month in Glasgow and this week she is in London for the national final of the competition.
“I wasn’t expecting to win an award and am thrilled to be a finalist for the UK Outstanding VA awards.”
When Louisa started the business five years ago to the day, the thought of winning a Virtual Assistant (VA) award had not even crossed her mind.
She said: “When I set up Blue Ninja in 2013 I didn’t know about the VA world but I knew I wanted to provide administrative support on my terms.”
Virtual assistants and administrators provide remote business support to other business owners and services can include social media, website management and digital design as well as more traditional bookkeeping, time management and remote executive support.
Louisa specialises in supporting small rural businesses and offers each client a bespoke service based on their business needs.
According to the Society of Virtual Assistants 2017 VA survey, there are around 1600 VAs operating in the UK. More and more PAs and EAs are transitioning from employment positions to business owners.
By 2025 nearly 4 million of the global workforce will work from home, coupled with the growth of the internet and mobile integration into our daily lives, society has moved its work channels from the physical to the digital, erasing the need to have to go to a physical location to support Executives and bosses.
VA Trainer of the Year 2017 Amanda Johnson of Virtual Assistant Coaching and Training (VACT) explains “the role of the Virtual Assistant traditionally saw administration services being provided remotely but as technology continues to advance, we see the breadth of tasking also advancing – proving to be an exciting times for freelance administration professionals”.
Amanda Johnson & Louisa Stewart at VA Conference 2017
As an industry, the VA role has always attracted those who were looking for greater work/life balance or the ability to juggle professional and personal responsibilities but it is exciting to see that more people see the profession as a career choice for the future.
Smallbusiness.co.uk notes that 4 out of every 10 small businesses in the UK will fail within 5 years. “Due to the nature of VA work overheads are low so it’s about giving yourself a chance to succeed” Louisa notes.
VAs should be seen as valued partners to businesses. Look out for VAs at your networking and business events and see how a VA can support your business.