Melissa Nicholson - The Virtual Assistant Coach

How I Ditched the 9-5 to become a Successful Virtual Assistant

MY LIFE AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT Waking up at 8 am, calmly going into the kitchen to prepare a nice breakfast. Jumping back into bed to have my morning coffee and journaling session. 9 am, jumping into the shower and getting ready for the day. 10 am create my to-do list for the week and catching up on client emails and tasks. 12pm yoga session. 13h00 client work. 15h00 hit the grocery store before everyone starts heading home in crazy hour traffic to attempt cramming in their shopping before the doors close. 18h00 finish off client work and shut-down for the day.


This was a day in my life as a Virtual Assistant…BUT before I get into how I got here, let me take you riiiiiiigghhhtt back to the beginning of my journey :).


I matriculated in 2002, not having one clue at all about what I was supposed to be doing with my life. While my fellow classmates all knew PRECISELY what they would be doing and studying when they left school… truthfully, I was just grateful I made it through school at all! While everyone was off to Varsity to study what they thought was their “calling” in life, I on the other hand was not in the fortunate financial position to be sent off to study. As soon as my Matric holiday ended, I started a job that very first week of January 2003. The job entailed taking orders from people over the phone, for books that they wanted to order via the postal system. I remember already at that tender young age, knowing that I did not actually have a clue how to do the job. All I knew was that I needed to make money and make it fast, no matter what it took to do that. So I persevered…

Even though it was a terrible job, I quickly moved up to administrator/receptionist in that organisation and proceeded to apply for Executive Personal Assistant roles within other organisations. In each role no matter how bad the environment, the boss, the money or the work, I always gave 1000% of myself. I managed to work myself up to work for some EXTREMELY high-level people and was very privileged to learn a ton of important things from them. There was only one HUGE problem…! I would sit at my desk, watching the clock, thinking of all the different ideas I had for my life, the change I so badly wanted to bring to others’ lives and the money I wanted to make. Don’t get me wrong, I earned a fantastic salary in these roles, but KNEW I could earn more! None of these ideas lined up with me sitting at my desk day in and day out, doing work that was boring me to sleep, answering for my every move and being told when I was and was not permitted to take lunch…… the big question was:



On one particular bland day at work, I realised that I had been doing something (almost automatically) and did not even realise how serious this was once I realised I was doing it. I would arrive at work and write out the hours in a day of work. I would then cross out each 30-minute increment that had passed by (I know this sounds extreme, but this is how I dealt with getting through my day at work). I realised right then and there a bunch of scary facts:

  • As a person who believes that every minute of your life counts and that you should not be wasting a moment of it, I was literally counting time down and wishing precious time away because I was so unhappy.
  • I was SO tired of being an employee.
  • I constantly felt chained to my desk, with someone monitoring every little move I made and giving me permission to go to lunch, to the toilet or feeling guilty for needing to step out of the office to run an urgent personal errand.
  • I was tired of being told when it suited my boss for me to take leave (I had to take holiday to work around my bosses holidays).
  • While I was grateful for my salary (which I desperately needed), I knew I could earn much more! Besides needing to wait for the long-awaited minor annual salary increase.
  • While I had some fantastic bosses, I have also had the extreme opposites. I was so tired of feeling desperately unhappy working for bosses who would constantly take their bad moods out on me.
  • My roles were becoming more and more demanding (for the same pay). I would sometimes leave work at 10 pm at night!
  • I was so tired of getting home late, in the dark and feeling completely exhausted! There was never time to cook, so I landed up grabbing whatever was quickest (which normally resulted in a Pizza :)). Needless to say working out was NEVER an option, unless I was running on a treadmill at 11h30pm at night or waking up at 4 am to get it in!
  • My family and personal relationships came last! I never spent quality time with them, because I was normally so exhausted on the weekends, I just slept so that I could build up enough energy for Monday mornings.
  • Traffic daily was literally exhausting me. There were times I would sit in traffic 2 hours to work and 2 hours home (that was a 4 hour a day commute, on top of the 12 hours workday I was already doing.)

Once I realised all this, it was the A-HA moment I had been waiting for my entire life. I decided to do something CRAZY. I did not tell anyone about it, because I knew that people around me would say that I was doing the wrong thing and that it was completely insane to leave a stable, full-time salary paying job, with no degree, no savings and no hope of getting clients.  Let me tell you I am SO glad I made this decision!


I started spending every waking spare moment I had in my personal life to start working on my Virtual Assistant business. I had nothing, no one and no resources. In addition to this, I had no business background, no degree and certainly no mentor. I started putting together a service offering for my business, using the skills I knew I possessed. I taught myself how to create a website and even CSS coded it myself (yes I know! I have no idea how I did it ;))! Even though I did not know who in this world would even be interested in me or my skill-set, I gave 1000% of myself into a business idea that I had NO idea was going to work.  I had to fight off all my own thoughts in my mind telling me that I was crazy to do this. I did not even have savings to fall back on. This was me, an ordinary girl, on my own stepping into an unknown future and I will NEVER look back.


I went on to have countless clients and worked internationally in most countries you can imagine with the VA work that I did and worked in some very interesting sectors (NGO being my best). I made 5 times more my PA salary and never looked back. I am always transparent in saying that I definitely made mistakes in my journey and even had to restart my Virtual business due to these mistakes, which could have been avoided if I had had the advice and guidance I needed. My story does however take a bit of a twist! Over the years I had many women approaching me and asking me how it was possible that I set my own VA business up and how I turned it into such a success. These questions kept rolling in on a constant basis and I started offering up daily advice to these ladies, because the truth is, YES you have absolutely everything it takes to start and own your own successful VA business, BUT, it takes work, perseverance and A LOT of determination. The other most important factor is having the actual groundwork you need in place, like systems, a good website, a proven method to find clients, legal documents, a marketing plan and the right support etc. Once you have these things in place, there is NOTHING that can possibly stop you!

Ok back to the plot twist 🙂 I realised that there are ladies out there who would love to do this, they just don’t know where to start. I was once this woman and have made every conceivable mistake with my VA business in the beginning! I then discovered my TRUE passion in life and that is to assist anyone who wants to start their own Virtual business, from the ground up! YES, it’s true, there are thousands of articles and DIY VA COURSES out there that try to help ladies get started, but the truth is, you need support! You need someone who is on hand to tell you what the downfalls are, to tell you what to expect from clients, to tell you what it is like working virtually (positives and negatives). I then formulated a signature coaching package, where I take someone through the ENTIRE process of setting up a VA business oh and I also build websites for Virtual Assistant’s 🙂 . It is absolutely DAUNTING trying to set up a business on your own with ZERO idea of where to begin, HOW to start, WHAT is needed and this is where I come in. The ladies I coach have become my family and I have formed bonds that can never be undone. I have watched my ladies grow and blossom into their absolute SUCCESSFUL VA businesses and this is something that completes me on a daily basis.

I am here to tell you the following today:

♥ YOU are MORE than enough

♥ YOU have GOT what it takes, no matter what you or anyone else may think

♥ YOUR dreams are CLOSER than you think

♥ YOU may be ONE step away from the future you have dreamt of

♥ AND most importantly, I am here to help you

If this is something you have ever considered, I have created a FREE Virtual Assistant Start-Up Guide, that goes into more details of what you need to get started and what you can expect. You can grab your copy here:

If you ever feel like having a virtual coffee chat, please feel free to book a call here with me here.

I am standing by to hear from you♥

Melissa Nicholson - The Virtual Assistant Coach