I remember being a 14-year-old learning to type – on a manual typewriter! I must have been in one of the last groups in high school that started learning to type on manual type writers. By the time I hit the age of 15, typing classes were on an electronic typewriter … pre-computer! At the time, I never thought that learning to type would be the beginning of me gaining the skills I needed to become a virtual assistant.

My typing skills have come in handy over the years. As a full-time university student, I financially supported myself. I worked up to 30 hours per week doing office work. By the time I was a third-year university student, I had access to a flatmate’s laptop. We were in many of the same classes and I had the better typing speed, so I got to take the laptop to lectures. This allowed me to type lecture notes rather than hand-write them. This resulted in me being the “go to” student when other students missed a lecture or tutorial. Those students would ask me for a copy of the lecture or tutorial notes!

This experience not only increased my typing speed. It provided me with exposure to computers generally. My friend’s laptop was a PC and I also used to go to the computer labs on campus which had Apple computers. So I learnt how to use both systems very well. It also meant I learnt how to use Microsoft products.

My exposure to computers, along with my typing skills, served me well during my legal career. This was particularly early on when I did not have access to a secretary – I was my own secretary! This further developed my computer skills, Microsoft Office skills and internet skills.

My experience working in litigation-based law firms proved invaluable. It provided me skills I’ve transferred into my business. A few of these include:

  • time management
  • multi-tasking
  • research skills
  • critical thinking
  • drafting skills
  • dealing with a wide range of people from varying backgrounds
  • oral and written communication.

I then decided to not exclusively work for law firms. This has allowed me to build on my skills across different industries. I also obtained office management experience in a few industries.

Advances in technology, the rise of the internet and social media and businesses being willing to outsource work has allowed virtual assistants to be a valuable and rewarding career. Virtual assistants are not merely “home-based secretaries”. Many virtual assistants specialise, but all virtual assistants are multi-skilled. This is of benefit to busy individuals, sole traders and all business!

I never thought that learning to type would lead me to having the skill-set I have today. I also didn’t think that it would lead me to start a virtual assistant business. I’m very happy to be an active participant of the virtual assistant community! You can find out more about the services I offer here.

For those interested in becoming a virtual assistant, there’s some Australian available. This include Rosie Shilo’s Stellar VA course and Kathie Thomas’s VA Training. Both Rosie and Kathie are very knowledgeable and they also provide mentoring/coaching.