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021: Ali Willoughby on How to Start a Virtual Assistant Business

The beauty of being a business owner is that you can set the rules and choose who you want to work with—you’re the boss after all. You also have the advantage of being able to bring your unique personality into your business, which is what Ali Willoughby did. Knowing your strengths is so important so you’ll know how to attract the ideal clients who’ll love to work with you. In knowing her strengths, she’s able to work with top entrepreneur women whose work she respects and admires. Listen to Ali’s entrepreneurial journey and the simple steps she took to create a successful online business.

Who is Ali?

Alison Willoughby, solo business owner and blogger at Ali the Happy VA as well as blogger at the soon-to-be launched mental health blog, Anxious Adventures, has been a work-from-home professional for a decade and a business owner for over three. After an uninspiring stint as a medical transcriptionist, she decided to take the plunge and open up her own virtual assistant business. Since then, she’s worked with popular bloggers, coaches, designers, and other creative women entrepreneurs. She’s now expanded her business to helping new or aspiring biz owners get set up in their own practice. Ali enjoys thrift store treasure hunting with her husband and is still in love with the color pink and all things sparkly.

Quotes from Ali

Without trying to sound too cliche, I do think you can do it, you absolutely can do it. It’s never been easier to start a business and I know there are resources out there to help you free and paid. (10:16)

I honestly think that the two biggest traits that are needed to succeed are curiosity and empathy. You always need to be learning things and also need to solve problems (10:37)


What You’ll Learn

  • How she built her business brand around her strengths and what appeals to her. Since social media and simple graphic design work lit her up, she knew they were good directions to go in.
  • There’s no preparation in the requests clients give you—it’s a good idea to set boundaries and a “cheat sheet” on how to work together for an optimal working relationship.
  • How she’s glad she ignored advice that she was “unprofessional” when she brought her personality to her work. It just goes to show how the workplace landscape—particularly digital—has changed and how you can find or create opportunities to do work around your personal brand.

Resources and How to Connect:
Ali’s website:
Social media: FacebookInstagram and Twitter
Resource mentioned:

Other Listening Options:
Individual player or full player view on website:

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