"We all have a choice - we just have to be brave enough to step outside of the box and to follow through on it."
~ Michelle Dale, Owner of Virtual Miss Friday
Can you tell us more about Virtual Miss Friday?
Sure! Virtual Miss Friday is an online business consultancy with built in virtual assistant services. Purely via the internet we support business owners, entrepreneurs and corporations online from the ground up with a complete range of administrative, marketing and creative services.
Tell me more about your career before starting your business?
It was varied! I had left school and home when I was 16 so drifted in the first couple of years from job to job, city to city. In my late teens I began working for a bank as a mortgage underwriter and as part of my job I had access to the list of houses the bank had repossessed and were selling on for a bargain. I seized the opportunity to purchase a house I saw for a mortgage I could afford and renovate it, turning it for a profit. From there I became addicted and renovated 5 properties before starting my VA business when I was 24.
What inspired you to start Virtual Miss Friday?
Most definitely living life on my own terms. I’d had a taste of what it was like to earn money outside of my job, so I knew it was possible. But in all honesty renovating houses was hard work, and didn’t really give me the freedom I wanted. I decided one day to take a chance, quit my job and leave the UK to begin travelling. I quickly realised after I left, about 3 months later that I wanted to make travelling my lifestyle, and that’s when I started researching ideas of how to make money online. Essentially, virtual assistant was on the list and eventually I narrowed it down as my best option to pursue. And so Virtual Miss Friday was born!
How did you manage building it alongside your full time career?
I didn’t – I had already quit my job and left the country with nothing but a hell of a lot of hope and faith that I could make it work! I knew if I had tried to do something alongside my ‘normal’ life I probably wouldn’t have been as fully committed to making it work. I’m definitely an all or nothing kind of woman, and devoted myself full time to the pursuit of getting my business off the ground. I did this from a small apartment a few meters from the river Nile in Luxor, Egypt.
What’s been the biggest highlight?
The thrill of taking control over my life – there’s nothing more liberating than doing what you love and succeeding at it. Yes it’s been a struggle and I could have given up at the first, second or even third hurdle, but I didn’t, and that’s because of the passion I have for living life on my terms and making a business from something I love doing. We all have a choice – we just have to be brave enough to step outside of the box and to follow through on it.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Building the business from scratch while traveling. Moving location to location requires a certain degree of additional effort. I had to not only work entirely online and find all my clients online (and this was well before the days of social media), but I also was learning it all through internet research. Before I started my business the extent of my internet knowledge was literally just having an email account and buying things on eBay!
I met my husband along the way and we have 2 beautiful children (with number 3 due in July 2014!) and each year of our children’s lives we’ve been living in a different country, which also brought a new set of challenges. But I’m delighted to have had these experiences as this helps me to help other people who want to take a chance in life and have it all – the freedom, the career and the family, but don’t know how or where to start.
You’ve had some great PR and been featured in the likes of Fabulous Magazine and International Living. What’s your secret?
Ahh, I have often wondered this myself! I’ve been lucky in the way that journalists have seen my story somewhere or been exposed to me one way or another online and contacted me directly to ask if I would be willing to be featured. I do put myself out there a lot too – many of people find me through my weekly blog or YouTube videos and I am very active on social media. I’m also generally very open to sharing my experiences via articles and interviews if I think it will help or benefit others.
Press features are something that came naturally with time, although I do sometimes respond to pitches on HARO (help a reporter out) if it’s relevant to my business. This would certainly be a great place for anyone to start getting more exposure.
What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business?
My advice would be to stop dreaming and start doing so it actually becomes a reality. The only limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves and the only thing that stops us from doing anything is fear, and fear is merely a state of mind. You are far more capable than you might think. You have absolute control over your life through the decisions you make and the actions you take.
Against most other people’s advice, I abandoned planning for the future in favour of living in the present moment. I would take each day as it came, with the single intention of taking any action I could in that day to keep moving forward towards my end goal and my vision.
I always keep in mind that the Great Wall of China started with a single brick, and then another… A business grows from a single action, and then another…
What’s next for you?
Often I never really know the answer to this question until it’s happened. I’ve been on a journey to get where I am now for almost 10 years. I went from nothing, to having a great business, meeting my husband, having a family and enjoying one of life’s biggest pleasures for me, which is being able to freely travel. I am currently on the Greek island of Crete in the Mediterranean, and spend every day feeling gratitude for that single day in 2005 that I made the decision (and the action!) to quit my job, sell my house and book a one way ticket out of the UK and for everything that I’ve been blessed with since.
I do plan this year to work a lot more with others who’d like to build a Virtual Assistant business. I’m focusing on my programmes and courses and have just launched a new retreat programme, which I’m super excited about! I am very optimistic about the future of Virtual Miss Friday and the further growth of my work helping colleagues.
What’s your favourite quote?
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. What we think we become.” – Buddha
You can find out more about Michelle Dale’s Global Virtual Assistant Business by clicking here
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