Amanda Johnson is a Virtual Assistant (VA) Coach, Trainer and Mentor.

Amanda Inspirational

She works with new and aspiring VAs and experienced VAs to help them build their businesses. Immediately prior to this, she was an award winning VA having launched that business after 23 years’ military service, where she had been a Logistics Officer. Married to Andrew, who runs his own business and mum to James (age seven) and Jacob (age three).

 Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

My career was planned out in as much in that I retired from the Royal Navy after 23 years of service and decided to set up my own VA business. Being typical military, I did lots of research and then trained with the Virtual Assistant Coaching and Training Company on their VA Mastery Course, within 18 months, implementing those same skills and beliefs enabled me to become Runner Up in the VA of the Year Awards 2014 – Southern Region.

At the end of 2014, I became a VA Coach, Mentor and Trainer and the proud owner of the very same company I trained with, at the start of my VA career. For me this was a natural progression and linking back to my military days.

My time in the military equipped me with the organisational skills, determination and discipline to live life to its fullest potential – and nowadays I believe I inspire the VAs I train to have those same beliefs and standards to

So did I plan it – well yes, but the timings were probably out by about two to three years!

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

Coming from a military background and not a corporate background, there was a huge business learning curve, ex-military are often “in-service” people, you give them a problem to sort and they go out there and sort it, which is great when you are in “do’er” mode in your business but not when you are being the CEO. I have a degree in business management but its nothing like working with a real business. However, I have worked with some amazing clients in my VA business, learning from them as I have gone on – at the same time as investing in my own professional development – working with a Business Mentor / Coach and Mastermind Group where necessary.

Learning social media was also a massive thing for me – in 2012 I was adamant that I wasn’t going to do it – three months into being a Business Owner, I found I loved it and not only that – it was critical to the success of my business. Here I am five years later and would not be without it (although I try to have digital detox times!)

What advice would you give someone who wishes to move in to a leadership position for the first time?

Leadership is always an interesting debate, especially when you approach it like I do with a background of 23 years military service. But for me, its worth remembering “It’s not about you” – it’s all about the people you manage and lead!

How do you manage your own boss?

As a Virtual Assistant, I worked with multiple clients and multiple needs and really it’s a juggling act but that’s why I loved what I did – no two days were ever the same. Now as a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer and Mentor – I work with individuals who are looking to leave working for someone else and set up their own businesses or take their businesses to the next level. Which is very rewarding.

On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?

In addition to running my own company, I am also a wife and mum to two children – so although I am one of those naughty people who checks her emails and social media before I get out of bed in the morning, my morning routine is taken up with getting two children, showered, dressed, fed, watered and at school by 08:20! Once all that is done, then I can walk into the office and be prepared for the day

What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles within their own organisations?

Be you, be natural and be awesome. It’s about getting noticed for the right reasons by the right people.

How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?

I am constantly learning, developing and growing.  I have two business coaches/mentors for different strands of my business and I am also part of a Mastermind group of successful Business Owners. This support has been critical to helping me grow my business – being able to discuss issues and decisions with people who are not part of the day to day running of my business and who hold no emotional attachment to is – has been so powerful.

It is important to know you are trying to achieve with it.

My own business is now built upon offering these core services,

Do you think networking is important and if so, what three tips would you give to a newbee networker.

I don’t think I can do just three top tips – sorry. These would be my top seven tips:

  1. Build relationships – don’t go networking to sell to people, go to make connections and build relationships.
  2. Remember it takes time to get to “know, like and trust you”
  3. Ask questions!
  4. Listen don’t just hear what people are telling you!
  5. Be authentic and be awesome!
  6. Have a strategy, know why you are networking and what you are looking for it to achieve for you. That can be as simple as build relationships, but if you don’t know why you are doing it and don’t have a desired outcome then you are just going for lunch or a drink! It has to be part of your overall plan.
  7. Follow up and connect with people on social media.

With the Virtual Assistants I work with, I recommend they become a networking tart for the first 90 days of their networking experience. There are a lot of serial networkers out there, and you want them to get to “know, like and trust” you and for them to get familiar at seeing you – so that they get comfortable introducing you to other people in their network. Be that person they think of, when someone says “Do you know a…..?”

What does the future hold for you?

Creating exceptional VAs and helping to generally raise standards in the VA industry is a passion of mine and that will be where I continue to focus my efforts.

In March 2017, I was voted Best VA Training Provider 2016 in the UK in the PA_Assist Members Voice Awards which was a huge accolade for me – what has been even better is to see the people I work with go on and win industry and business awards for themselves, which to me demonstrates the value I can add to working with them. So the future, is all about continuing to do what I already do helping more take that brave leap into self employment, or helping others to build their businesses further.

One thing, I am working on and very passionate about is training military veterans and military spouses – military personnel have a fantastic transferable skillset and that’s something that a lot of small business owners are seeking out. People also forget that we often ask our military spouses to give up their careers to support their service partner – what I want to be able to do is give our service spouses the opportunity to have a portable career that allows them to feel valued, financially independent but to have a career that they love.


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