The modern professional assistant is a genuine asset to their clients and organisations. 

That is not always fully appreciated. It is also something that should be said more in marketing and communications. 

Whether you are a VA, PA or EA, how you position yourself matters. 

It impacts your career or business. So, what’s it all about? 

What is Positioning? 

Positioning is about how you are perceived by others.  

At work, that could be your boss, your colleagues and visitors. In business, that could be your clients, prospects or market audience. 

Positioning is a marketing job. It’s also a messaging job. 

If you choose not to position yourself in the organisation or the marketplace, others will do it for you. 

Why does Positioning Matter? 

Today’s VA faces more competition than ever before. It is a service that more and more people are looking for – and there is plenty of choice around the globe. 

The very benefit of operating ‘virtually’ also presents a challenge. It means clients can pick an assistant from any part of the world. 

For the PA and EA, you want to be valued by your employer. You want your boss(es) and colleagues to recognise the value your work delivers. 

That’s good for your career path, your earnings and your potential to go it alone further down the line if that’s what you’re aiming for. 

Other professional assistants are in the same boat. They will also be thinking about how they can market themselves and position themselves. 

Just because you do nothing does not mean others will not. 

The Battle of the Mind 

It helps if you’re the first in your field. If not the first, you can still position yourself by being the first to describe yourself in a certain way. 

For many years I was dubbed ‘The Queen of Microsoft Office training’. I’m now known as ‘the MS Office Maestro’. 

The label helps people to place me and what I do in their minds. 

In other words, it is part of my positioning. 

Professional assistants can take a similar approach, whether for formal marketing of the business or using an informal ‘nickname’ at work. 

Helen becomes “The PowerPoint Genie” – every time she opens a presentation it’s like a magic show. 

Judy gets known as “The Teams Master” – she’s the one who knows how to set up group calls and help people use the application for better collaboration. 

Anne is “The White Paper Wizard” – she’s able to produce reports of exceptional quality in double-quick time. 

Those are just simple examples of how positioning can begin. 

A name. A nickname. A tagline. 

Getting into Position 

The first rule of business (and work) is you cannot serve everybody. 

You have to narrow it down. And, thankfully, that’s part of the positioning approach. 

Are you a leader in your field? Are you a newbie? Are you somewhere in between? 

Knowing your starting point can help you work out how best to position yourself, within the marketplace or the organisation. 

One place to begin is with your audience – that is, the people who you help. 

Who do You Help? 

As a PA or EA, this will be a boss or executive. It may be several leaders you serve. 

As a VA running your own business, you could have any kind of audience. You get to choose and shape that audience. 

Do you help small business owners? Medium-sized businesses?  

Do you support coaches, trainers, consultants or other ‘helping others’ people? 

Do you work solely with female entrepreneurs? With socially conscious organisations? With environmentally friendly businesses? 

When you choose a niche, you are positioning yourself. 

Different Ways to Niche 

Picking a segment of the market audience is one way to niche and position yourself. 

There are other ways to differentiate yourself. 

Whatever type or level of assistant you are, you can position yourself by your services and your skillset. 

What are your strengths? 

Do you excel at Excel and spreadsheets? Are you an organisational expert? Does your power lie in creating perfect presentations? Is report writing your forte? Do you lead in the world of lead magnet creation? 

With great skills, you can promote yourself as a specialist. If you need to upgrade your competency or confidence in one or more applications, get some good quality step-by-step training. 

You can find a course for any aspect of Microsoft Office.

Position your skills. Position your services. 

You can also position ‘you’. 

Who are you? What are you? How would you define yourself? Can you sum yourself up in one concept or idea? 

Are you the first? The best? The fastest? The cheapest?  

Are you about excellence, quality and premium services? 

Are you an organiser, a leader, a self-starter – or all of those things? 

Make it known to people. 

Some Final Thoughts on Positioning 

Positioning is about the perception of you (that you can create) in people’s minds. 

It involves an element of psychology. It involves the smart use of words. 

How you connect and communicate is so important. Understanding – and having empathy for – people is vital.  

Positioning also requires vision and courage. It is not about ‘playing safe’ and there will always be those willing to try to ‘shoot you down’ if you place your head above the parapet. 

Whilst it is important to believe in yourself, it’s also important to be objective. Understand your strengths and your weaknesses. 

Keep things simple. Make your messages clear. Keep your eyes open to the world and the change around it. 

Do that and you’re on the path to strong positioning and a greater likelihood of success. 

How do you position yourself?  

I find Shelley’s training easy to follow and the very best thing is that you can do it all at your own pace and revisit modules if it doesn’t quite sink in the first time round! I have learned so much from her training and continue to do so! She is responsive to my questions and I learn something new with each module. I find Iam hardly ever having to Google or YouTube information now, so it really is saving me time in my work day. Time that can be better used by learning more about the business I operate in!
Thanks Shelley!

Tracey Whitehouse – Executive Assistant

I have been following Shelley on Linkedin for several years, and always loved her hints and tips. In May of this year, I had the opportunity to recommend Shelley as one of our workshop speakers at the annual HMC Heads’ PA Conference in Sheffield.

On receiving the brief Shelley quickly produced content for two IT Microsoft Skills Workshops covering nuggets from Outlook, Word and Excel. Shelley then delivered (virtually) these two fantastic workshops to over 60 PAs at our conference.

From initial enquiry to delivery Shelley is the consummate professional and it was my pleasure to have had the opportunity to engage with her.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Shelley to any individual or group.

Michaela Fletcher – Heads PA

Shelley is THE guru on all things Microsoft.

I love Outlook, use it every day, and think I have a pretty good understanding of it. But every time I attend one of her sessions I learn a lot more. Her knowledge is remarkable. And she delivers her knowledge in a really clear, engaging way.

Thanks Shelley

Kathy Soulsby

I have just spent less than an hour at one of Shelley’s presentations and my mind is truly blown! I thought I was fairly proficient in Outlook, but I had no idea it could do so much more! So many time saving tips and shortcuts to help me – I can’t wait to get stuck in and implement them all! Thank you Shelley – I would highly recommend!

Hayley Rose – Executive Assistant -Dalcour Maclaren

Shelley joined us for the annual HMC Heads’ PAs conference in May 2023, where she delivered two hands-on practical IT skills workshops for over 60 PAs in attendance. Both sessions were warmly received by all participants, and from a personal perspective it was an absolute pleasure for me to work with Shelley both offline in the extensive prep phase ahead of the sessions, and online during the day itself – sharp in subject knowledge, flexible in content delivery and everything executed with a really affable manner and “can-do” approach throughout. I would recommend her services wholeheartedly.

Gareth Johnson – Leader GRE Education

Heads PA Conference

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn. It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney