Table with notebook and cup

I’ve recently written my entry for the UK VA Awards and really found that reflecting on the past twelve months was quite theraputic.

All too often, we berate ourselves for what we haven’t achieved, rather than what we have, so I thought it would be good to write this post and share what’s been going on at Joanne Manville Virtual Assistance in the last year.

Here is a quick look back at my 2018.

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?

I started working with a business coach – someone who specifically supports Virtual Assistants.

I wish I’d gotten a coach sooner! It’s one of those things, you need support but can’t afford it, when in reality can you afford NOT to have the support? I think if I’d started working with a coach earlier, there were frustrating situations that could have been avoided (although it’s good to live and learn!) and I’d have had someone to float ideas past – it’s so good to have someone independent to use as a sounding board, especially someone who has been there and had the same type of business and can share what worked and what didn’t.

2. What was your biggest regret?

Not spending enough time with family and friends.

Many of us start up in business so that we can have the flexibility to spend time with the people we love, but I was pretty rubbish at that. I’ve been really strict in not working evenings and weekends unless absolutely unavoidable and despite this have not spent enough time with the people that matter. My father passed away at the end of last year and sadly it takes something like this to give you a wake up call. I’ll be spending less time worrying about the state of my house and more time playing with my daughter and visiting friends, and making memories.

3. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I won South West VA of the Year for the second time and England VA of the Year. This was a huge achievement for me and recognised the hard work that the team puts in to look after our clients. This year I go forward to UK VA of the Year in February at The PA Show in London – wish me luck!

4. Where did most of your money go?

My focus in 2018 was on growing the business and the team.

We went from myself and two associates to a team of seven! We can now provide more support to clients – we’ve added more social media and marketing support, blog writing, research, creative design and more to the team. 2019 will see website design and bookkeeping services being added too – so we really are your one stop shop for all your business support needs.

This investment means more tech to make sure we are all joined up and communicating well. I invested in TeamWork as not only did I need a more effective system for the team but also wanted to give retainer clients access to the system so they can get a time update at any point in the month – this additional service has been welcomed by our clients.

We also had a wonderful holiday in France this year, a week with family and a week travelling around France staying in some beautiful places.

5. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Business development. It’s so hard to take time out of your own business and take a step back. Our job is to take care of the business admin so that you have the time to spend on your business development, and we need to do this ourselves too. I’m going to spend half a day a month working from a co-working space on business development each month.

I’m also rubbish at taking breaks during the day and need to be better at that too.

6. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Talking to people via social media instead of getting out and meeting up. AND sitting behind my desk. If anyone fancies meeting for a coffee or a walk and a chat, let me know as I want to be getting out and about more this year.

7. What kept you sane?

My very supportive husband and my daughter. There’s nothing more grounding than a 2-year old!

8. Who was the best new person you met?

I don’t think there was one person in particular this year – I have been fortunate to work with some amazing people – clients and others in the business community and am very grateful for this.

9. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018

You don’t need to be everything to your business. I took two week’s holiday and didn’t check my emails once. My wonderful team looked after all our clients brilliantly which allowed me to properly relax and enjoy time with my family.

So many business owners feel that they have to be available all of the time. Last year we had three clients who asked us to check their emails and deal with urgent work so they too could have a holiday and completely switch off – and you can do it too.

10. What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

Sustained growth of the business and helping more clients. The team will be growing and we hope to expand the number of clients that we look after by 50%, so if you know anyone who is serious about growing their business then please ask them to get in touch – as we are ready to help.

Thank you to Megan of GetFitHappyHealthy for this blog post idea.

If you’d like some support, to enable you to step out of your business and focus on growth and business strategy, please contact us via or call 07814 218142.

Joanne Manville
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Joanne Manville

Having worked for ten years as an Executive Personal Assistant, I started Joanne Manville Virtual Assistance in 2015.Drawing on my love of admin and organising, I support growing businesses by giving their managers the space to concentrate on what they do best.I was honoured to to win the award of VA of the Year (South West) in 2018 and 2017, and the VA of the Year (Newcomer) in 2016.
Joanne Manville
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