Day in the life: Jane Condliffe, VA at the PA Pod
What are the main aspects of your role?
As a Virtual Persona Assistant, I support small businesses and professionals with their business and personal administration. My role is completely different from my previous role supporting a CEO as an Executive Assistant on a 1 to 1 basis. My work now involves anything from developing client relationships to inputting CRM systems, from PA mentoring and advice to creating newsletter templates, this I do for numerous clients, some on a regular basis and others one-off or occasional projects.
What is your morning routine before you get into the office?
As I work from home, I don’t go to the office, we have a study at home. There isn’t as much as a rush for me anymore, however, I do try to get up early to do yoga or go to a HITT class if my little boy isn’t awake early. I find it sets me up for the day, if I don’t exercise in a morning, I find my day doesn’t go as well. My son and I have breakfast together before I drop in at pre-school, that’s the beauty of home working that I didn’t have when I was commuting. It then takes me 10 minutes to get home and I’m logged on by 08:30/09:00
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
We leave the house around 8 and I’m back to my home office by 08:30. I finish at 5 pm to collect my son.
What does an average day look like?
Firstly, I usually check my feedly app to see if there are any interesting articles I can tweet to my twitter page. I check my emails and prioritise my day between my clients. I block my day according to how many hours I am working for them and then I adapt if there are urgent requests, changes to diaries or I receive calls.
As I work on an hourly rate, I often forget to break as I am conscious of my clients time, this is a bad habit of mine and I am now trying to take a 10-minute break and some time for lunch. I do get very focused working from home and often get caught up in what I am doing.
What do you do for lunch?
I eat at home, so I’m free to make whatever I like, I try to keep it healthy.
What is the hardest part of your day?
The hardest part of my day is that it can get lonely and I miss the company of my work colleagues, however as I work part-time my days are usually busy supporting my clients. I try to split my week by attending a networking event or training course, being part of Facebook business groups also helps in sharing ideas with home workers.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It has most definitely has to be the flexibility, my aim was when I left the city life in London, was to be there for my son when he finishes school, I didn’t want to be a mum rushing to and from the school gates. He starts school next September and so far, it’s going to plan. The role is also more varied than my PA/EA roles in the past, I am learning daily, if I think back to last year, I would have never have thought I’d have my own client base.
What has been your career highlight?
Most definitely having the courage to leave the security of employment to set up my own business and work for myself.
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
During busy times, my evenings can be taken up with work, aside from working you will find me exercising, catching up with friends and spending time with my family.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
As a PA the best advice I can give is to be flexible to your boss’s needs, in that I mean, stay ahead of what is happening in the business, be proactive and not reactive. Work as a team with the other PA’s in your area and help each other work to achieve the company’s goals. Make time for your own personal development and keep learning.
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
Most definitely something within the health industry, I would love to be a dietitian.
What is the one piece of technology, app or website you could not do your job without?
Office365 and Dropbox.
Can you recommend any events, books, publications, websites, training programmes for other assistants?
Anyone wanting to start out as a VA, I would recommend Warren Knights, digital marketing online 6 weeks course, gave me some great tips starting out with social media for business. VACT run by Amanda Johnson as well as Jo Munro, The VA Handbook are both excellent mentors and offer great VA training and support.
‘Work smart’, not ‘Work hard.’
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