Hi there & thanks for stopping by.
I’m Nancy Benn, a freelance Virtual Assistant, Digital Nomad & Blogger, currently travelling Europe with hubby Rob, our African Grey Parrot & two dogs.
I’ve been an Executive Virtual Assistant since 2010, supporting clients to work smarter, not harder, increase productivity, improve their work-life balanace & achieve their goals. Initially I quite happily worked remotely from my UK home office on the North Notts/North East Derbyshire border.
Until I realised that I could actually operate my business from anywhere!
So, in September 2017, Rob & I packed everything we treasured into our car & with a one-way ticket, set sail to Spain for a new life of adventures & experiences. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed documenting our story in my personal blog & hope you find the posts useful.
Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to hear about!
So how did it all begin?
For my Virtual Assistant journey, scroll a little further down.
For my nomadic lifestyle story, read on…
Imagine Spring 2017 after a typically cold, dull, damp English Winter. This is when Rob & I first thought seriously about leaving the UK for warmer climes & adventures…
I’d always wanted to travel & loved our holidays away whilst Rob had been keen to leave the UK for a number of years & before you ask, no, Brexit had absolutely nothing to do with our decision. It was the right time for us & our circumstances could easily acommodate changes to our lifestyle.
- We were in our 50s
- Our kids were grown & had left home, but we had no grandchildren
- If I could access the internet, my business could be operated from anywhere
- I was the main breadwinner & had an established business
- Rob worked part-time for a charity on a zero hours contract
- Our home was rented so we didn’t have a mortgage
- We are not possession oriented
- Experiences have always been more important than ‘things’
- We wanted to create new memories
So by September 2017, after six months of activity & planning, we had disposed of most of our belongings – everything was sold, donated or dumped. We gave up our rented home, moved into holiday acommodation for the final three days to completely clean & clear out the house.
A few precious items & necessary essentials were retained, but everything we own now fits into the boot & roof-box of our estate car.
Choose the ‘Personal Story’ blog category for details of our preparation & ongoing journey round Europe & why we spent so much time in Spain!
My Virtual Assistant Business – Direct PA Services
As mentioned, Rob had been keen to leave the UK for a while so I’d explored the virtual assistance concept as a means of earning a living & followed the industry since about the year 2000 when most VAs were in the USA. But with school age kids & although we actually purchased a rustic property in Central Portugal, this particular dream didn’t work out – a story for another time.
During this decade I was made redundant four times & had to search for other posts & inevitably not all were good choices & being aware of Virtual Assistants throughout this time, I could have (& really should have) started out as a VA much sooner. However, through lack of courage & afraid that I didn’t have the necessary knowledge or skills, I didn’t do so & this actually delayed me being able to live a much improved & more satisfying life on my terms. I knew I was capable of so much more, but more than anything, I wanted to be responsible for my own destiny.
The last redundancy in January 2010, from a job I loved with a great social enterprise, was the push I needed to begin as a VA & then, quite honestly, my life really began.
Moving abroad wasn’t on the agenda at this time so I initially accepted a part-time role as PA to the CEO of a charity & built my business (Direct PA Services) alongside. Three years later in 2013, I accepted redundancy (another one!) from this PA job & beacame a full-time Virtual Assistant.
Since working as a VA, my knowledge, skills, confidence, self-development & enjoyment in work & life have improved massively.
- I set my own hours, work where (in the world) I want, when I want & with the people I want to.
- I’m respected & valued by my clients, earn more than being employed & have a fantastic work/life balance.
- I’m passionate about the work I do & cannot wait to begin each day
- I don’t have to commute to a stressful job, almost in tears at the thought of the day ahead
- Nor do I have to wrestle with office politics, uncooperative colleagues, or an unappreciative boss.
My mornings are relaxed & stress free as there’s no rushing against the clock to set off for work on time & it’s just so great to wake & move into my home office a few steps away. I can break off when I want to, have a swim, sit in the sun, potter in the garden, do the laundry, nip shopping, to the hairdressers or other appointments as my time is 100% my own. I choose which tasks I want to do & work with trusted associates for anything I’m unable, or unwilling to undertake as I have the power to make those choices & no-one tells me what to do.
The VA Centre – training for aspiring VAs, freelancers & digital nomads
In addition to supporting clients as a VA, after a year of travelling, I’ve developed a love of blogging & am also fulfilling another passion by writing a course to teach people how to setup as a virtual assistant. Executive assistants, office managers & administrators etc are incredibly skilled, but as I’ve learned, it’s very different to be self-employed instead of employed & it can be a scary transition. As I’ve discovered so much on my freelancer journey, I want to share my knowledge & experience with others, in particular those looking to travel.
I’ve been scared, pushed beyond my comfort zone, lacked confidence & direction, been unsure about decisions & made many mistakes along the way, but it’s most definitely been well worth it. I fully understand how fear & uncertainty can paralyse anyone contemplating setting-up as a VA so want to help others & guide them through the uncertain early days.
I’m in control of my future, my Direct PA Services business is thriving & I’ll be launching my course in a few weeks.
The VA Centre course will guide & support new & potential virtual assistants each step of the way to identify their skills, determine their services, agree rates, find clients, adhere to the legalities, create templates, decide equipment, choose a business name, get active online & confidently launch their business.
Participants will be able to:
- make fully informed decisions
- avoid unnecessary expense & costly mistakes
- identify their business & personal goals
- be fully aware of the benefits & consequences
- plan how to achieve the life & business that they want & that is right for their individual circumstances.
Sign-up here if you’d like to obtain pre-launch details & receive my free 5-step e-course as a bonus.
I’d love to hear from you:
Call: 0333 0065 003 Email: nancy @ nancybenn.com