Real benefits for new virtual assistant business

September 27, 2023 BY

Virtual Forte founder, Jess Kingsley.

MUMS supporting mums is the mantra of a Bellarine-based business making inroads in the growing virtual assistant industry.

Jess Kingsley has established Virtual Forte, which provides administrative and professional support for small businesses and not-for-profits across the Geelong region and offers mums a flexible and convenient way to re-enter the workforce.

The innovative business model impressed judges of the Geelong Chamber of Commerce’s Geelong Business Excellence Awards (GBEAs), presented by LBW Business Wealth + Advisors, who rewarded Mrs Kingsley as a finalist this year.

Virtual Forte offers a wide range of virtual assistant (VA) services; from general administration and phone reception work, social media management, events management and governance.

VAs aim to provide support to businesses that saves them time and allows leaders to focus on key areas.

Its services are often provided remotely, which makes it an ideal fit for local mums who want to use their skills in a job that allows them to keep their families as a priority.

The need to put family first was the main driving force for Mrs Kingsley to leave her previous corporate job and make the leap to her own business.

“I remember going back to work after my parental leave and every fibre in my being didn’t want to be there,” she said.

“The first day as I went back to the office was almost like the universe was telling me something. Everything that could go wrong, did.

“One of the examples I keep coming back to is when I missed the train coming back from Melbourne and I had to wait another hour for the next train to come back to Geelong, so as a result I missed picking up my daughter from kindergarten and I miss picking up my son, who just started daycare.

“That was a pivotal moment in my mind, which I keep on going back to.

“I was standing there on the train after crying and saying, well, I’m not serving anyone, I’m not healthy, I’m not happy in what I was doing.”

Shortly afterwards, Mrs Kingsley discovered the growing virtual assistant industry and was immediately intrigued by the opportunity.

She took a redundancy package on offer from her workplace at the time, and began studying for her VA accreditation.

Virtual Forte quickly began building a client base across the Geelong region, and soon reached full capacity for a one-person team.

Mrs Kingsley said her conversations with other mums in similar positions to her just a few months earlier led to her expanding the team.

“There was so much demand and we attracted some amazing clients as well with similar core values and who were like-minded.

“I reached capacity really quickly, but I didn’t want to knock back these people.

“At the same time, I was also having these conversations with mums at school pick-up who were wondering, how could I find a role that give the flexibility so can be present for my family and my personal life.

“So that’s how they become a VA and joined my team.”

GBEA category winners announced at a finals event at GMHBA Stadium on October 19.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.gbea.com.au