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Hi Erin, and welcome, and hi to the others as well.

The Virtual Assistance industry has been around since the mid 1990s and was first established in the US and here in Australia. I run a network of Virtual Assistants from my base in Melbourne and we were the second network in the world. Today there are around 30 worldwide. I have members in 18 countries and we services clients in probably several more countries.

The Asian countries jumped on the bandwagon a few years ago and many of them are ‘agencies’ with virtual employees targeting the same clients as VAs but there is often quite a difference between the way they operate. Important that people understand VAs are self-employed business owners and as such, have a vested interest in their clients’ businesses. Whilst you can get ‘cheap’ VA support the truth is that often you do get what you pay for.

The VA industry is working hard towards developing the industry via educational programs, conferences, certification and so on to ensure that our industry runs at a high level of professionalism.

There is a good market for the VA industry here in Australia and overseas and I’ve been personally supporting clients fulltime for over 13 years and have been in business for over 15 years. My main client base consists of business coaches, professional speakers and authors but I used to look after not-for-profit groups for around 10 years. My specialities are databases, newsletters, websites, blogs, social networking tools, etc. In the past I’ve done bookkeeping (but dropped that once the BAS system came in), transcriptions, Powerpoint presentations, etc.

A number of my VA team are members here at the forum and I’m sure you’ll get to meet some of them over time.