I met my next guest on LinkedIn when she shared a post that made me chuckle. Finding connections online with a similar sense of humour to yourself is like spotting the sun through a black cloud on a rainy day.
When I discovered Catherine had written a few books, I knew I had to stalk her until she agreed to tell me all about them!
Allow me to introduce Catherine Gladwyn, author of How to be a Virtual Assistant and The 20% Rule, as we chat about the inspiration behind her books, living with Addison’s, and making a cushty living!
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
Having started my own business for that ‘better work-life balance’ and to enable me to manage my health and endless hospital appointments, I set myself up as a Virtual Assistant in late 2015 to utilise my years of PA and managerial experience.
Quite quickly, the business was giving me a cushty income and that work/life balance I needed. I couldn’t quite believe that work didn’t have to be stressful or life limiting and that Monday to Friday didn’t have to be spent in a cycle of depression, dreaming about my next day off. So, in November 2017, I woke up one morning and decided to share my knowledge and tips of my journey from employee to a business owner.
I wrote and self-published my first book, How to be a Virtual Assistant, in March 2018. I hoped, genuinely hoped, I’d be able to help about ten women create a happy, healthy working life too, but the book took off and became a number one bestseller. It’s also won multiple awards and been listed as one of ten best business books written by women in The Independent and still sells hundreds of copies every week.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
How to be a Virtual Assistant was my first book, and having said to a publishing client of mine that I would never write a book, I got the bug and wrote and self-published my second book, The 20% Rule, in 2019 while recovering from neurosurgery.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
Both are in the small business category, with my first helping people start and run their own successful VA business.
The 20% Rule pulls on my tried and tested systems, tips and techniques to help small business owners ensure their business is safe, sustainable and profitable. I’ve had to ensure my business runs without me as I keep growing brain tumours and have a chronic disease – Addison’s – which affects my quality of life.
I have to take time out and spend a lot of time (sometimes 20 hours a day) in bed with fatigue, so I can’t physically or mentally work sometimes, but my business keeps going, and that’s what my second book helps others to do – have a business that works when life gets in the way.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
One of my clients helps people write books and has written her own book about this very topic. I read it and thought, ‘I could do that’.
I also wanted to leave a legacy, so my daughter inspired me too.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Just keep writing every evening and don’t read it through until you think you’re finished. Personally, I found reading it through tends to make you go over the same thing too often, and you could procrastinate or get stuck.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
Genuinely, the thought of sharing what’s worked for me so that I can help others.
List three interesting facts about yourself
I take three tablets a day, every day, to stay alive.
I was on Deal or No Deal
I don’t have the pick of shoes in shoe shops just because I am a size 3
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
Reading it through again and again after everyone has done their bit, editors, proofreaders, typesetters.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
Leave a review on Amazon if they liked it, tell others, share photos, tag me in.
If they didn’t like it, let me know, as I can make changes to any future editions.
What is your next project?
I would absolutely love to write another book and was tempted to write one about my recurring brain tumours and that journey, but we’ll see.
Connect with Catherine:
Buy your copy of How to be a Virtual Assistant via Catherine’s website.
Take advantage of the 99p Kindle offer for How to be a Virtual Assistant between 1st and 7th November 2021!
Do you want a better work-life balance?
Do you want to be your own boss?
Do you want to be in control of your health, time, and be there for loved ones?
How to be a Virtual Assistant is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to start and run their own successful business as a VA. This book will guide you through everything you need to be a successful virtual assistant. With an abundance of insider tips on what to do – and more importantly, what not to do – Catherine has included the kind of detail that can make or break a new business.
Gain insights into every step of the process and practical advice on subjects from finding your niche to finding clients, what services to offer and what to charge, to how to prepare for losing clients and avoid running out of money.
‘Written with honesty, directness and a large pinch of Catherine’s trademark humour, How to be a Virtual Assistant will not only give you vital techniques for building your business but the self-belief you need to step out of your comfort zone and do it!’
Catherine is passionate about cheerleading people who are unappreciated and unsatisfied in their jobs to create a happier, healthier lifestyle for themselves. As she says: “I’ve looked high and low for the definition of work where it says ‘unbearable, depressing, thankless, soul-destroying’, but it doesn’t because it’s not supposed to be!”
Amazon number one bestseller in the Home Based Business and Small Business and Entrepreneur category
Voted Most Popular Book for VAs in the Virtual Assistant Voice Awards (2020 and 2019) Listed one of ten best business books in The Independent (2018)
Mentioned in The Guardian Finalist in Wiltshire Business Awards (2017)
Nomination for Business Mum of the Year (2018)
Catherine Gladwyn, founder of Catherine · Online, went from PA to thriving business owner – and you can follow in her footsteps.