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. My latest programme was released in March and is structured a little differently to suit different styles so there’s no excuse for not being your best. 

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?  

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

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.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes