Experienced businesswomen and virtual assistants Amanda Ryan and Gwen Backhouse are working together to support others in starting up their own VA business in Cumbria (and now the Borderlands Region) from their office premises in Brampton Town Centre.

Gwen of Curlew Secretarial Solutions, who already has her office on Front Street in Brampton, is soon to be joined there by Amanda of Raindrop Comms so they can collaborate more closely as Co-founders of the Borderlands VA Network.

Gwen and Amanda have been running their own virtual assistant businesses for over seven years respectively, and they have both won multiple national industry awards for their services.

As virtual assistants, Gwen and Amanda provide their clients with a range of services.

Amanda specialises in social media management and Gwen offers more secretarial based services.

Their clients range from larger corporations to independent sole traders, and they have both been supporting their many clients individually throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as well as working on the Borderlands VA Network.

Amanda said, “We set up Borderlands VA Network in 2016 but had an official launch in September last year with a new website, free resources and a free membership programme. Having spent many years as the only VA’s in Cumbria, we wanted to see the profession grow here as it has across the rest of the UK.” She continued, “We have both been working as VA’s for over seven years now, and we both realised we were passionate about the industry, maintaining its professional standards, and we wanted to give something back.”

Gwen said, “Being a VA is a great profession, particularly if you have to work from home, but it can be a lonely one, and it is not as easy as people think it is; it takes hard work and perseverance to make it past the first two years of your new VA business, and that’s what we are here to support people with. Amanda and I know what it takes; we know how to get yourself out there, get clients, grow your business and ensure you look after your own wellbeing too.

The VA industry is now booming as a result of Covid19 as people have been made redundant and want to work from home; there are now over double the number of VA’s in the UK than there were prior to the Pandemic.

It has been an exciting few months for the duo as Amanda was announced VA of the Year North West recently, Gwen chaired a panel at the UK VA Conference, and Gwen has also been shortlisted for a Digital Women Award in the Virtual Assistants Category.

The Borderlands VA Network’s next VA meet up is being held virtually on Monday 22nd March and plans are afoot for the organisation to become a CIC (Community Interest Company) in the hopes that they can secure more funding for holding courses and events to benefit the VA community further