Click here to download a free short story Free short story

“It’s about making a difference”

I interviewed Amanda Johnson about being a parent and a business owner

Amanda Johnson is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer and Mentor and Managing Director of VACT Limited, a company dedicated to helping both aspiring, new and experienced Virtual Assistants to launch, create and grow their own successful VA business. Offering a hybrid of coaching, training and mentoring tailored to the needs of the individual, (both free and paid) Amanda is passionate about inspiring, supporting and challenging the PAs, EAs and VAs she works with to have authentic and awesome businesses, that integrates with their lives. VACT Limited were voted as the “The Best UK VA Training Provider – 2016 and 2017”.

Tell me about what you do.

I’m a Business Coach, Mentor and Trainer specialising in Virtual Assistants.

What advice would you give to parents thinking of starting their own business?

Be the CEO of your Business every day and part of that is working with a Business Coach / Mentor from as early as you can. The support you will receive might initially feel expensive but it will save you from making potential costly mistakes or allow you to achieve your goals much quicker.

If you had a time machine and could go back to meet yourself when you were first starting out, what present would you give your younger self?

The confidence to use the lessons I had learnt in the military in the civilian world, instead of thinking that I needed to learn the civilian world first.

Did you end up with more or less time with your kids as a result of setting up your own business? And do you work with them around?

I work as many hours as I did when I was in the military but I am in control of when I work. So I currently work around my children, so when they are at school / in bed etc I work – but I have total control, so if I want to take time off to watch my children play Wednesday afternoon sport I can. During school holidays etc, I can be mum by day and work in the evenings if I choose.

Do you feel that you’re passing on any particular values or skills to your kids by working for yourself?

Both my husband and I run our own businesses, and my children can see us both work hard – they totally understand that if we want nice home, nice holidays, nice cars, toys, treats etc that we need to work to fund that particular lifestyle and they respect that we are very lucky compared to others.

What are the advantages / disadvantages when turning a ‘passion’ into a business?

Your business can be like an additional child, and so it is important to set but more importantly keep to the business boundaries you set. (Remembering there is no right or wrong answer here – they are your boundaries to set.)

Thinking about how NOT to set up your own business, what are the biggest mistakes a parent business owner could make?

Comparing their business to someone else in the same industry. On paper both businesses can appear the same but actually what makes your business unique is you – and so your business will be influenced by your core values, beliefs, ethics etc and so never compare! Social media can be dangerous for making you feel inferior, remember most people only share the stuff they want people to see – never the full picture!

What are the most important skills a parent needs when setting up their own business?

Structure, systems and routine would be some of the most important skills / attributes I think a parent needs when setting up their own business. Also remembering that Rome was not built in a day and so play the long game and not the short game – but allow yourself to enjoy the process!

What about infrastructure, when you first started out? What space / equipment / help did you need?

A Virtual Assistant needs very little to start out in business, a computer, internet, telephone, then things like insurance, data protection, contracts website etc will come pretty swiftly. But the thing that had the biggest impact on my early days was my Business Mentor – he was a safe person to brainstorm my ideas with, to discuss business related issues with, to give that experienced business owner chat!

What do you love most about your business?

Quite simply, I love to make a difference, be that to the businesses I supported when I was VA’ing or the clients that I now either train or coach/mentor. It’s about giving someone the support they need to have the business they want. It’s about making a difference!

If you would like to find out more about Amanda’s work, take a look at her website.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.