Fully Booked VA Blog

Student Success Story: Kathi Shepard

Welcome to another Student Success Story here at Horkey HandBook!

In this post we’re introducing Kathi Shepard… Her journey of turning an existing skillset into a thriving business is so inspiring!

Kathi said ‘so long’ to the burnout she was experiencing in her career and decided to build something that works for her and her family – on her terms. She’s putting her education and skills to excellent use and loves what she does!

Name: Kathi Shepard

Short bio: Retired RN, Retired Administrative Assistant, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, now SAHM and homeschooler to a 13-year old son.

Location: Conroe, Texas (USA)

Website: nswvirtualassist.com

Date hired by the first client: January 10, 2018

Return on investment: May 2018

Average hours worked per week: 16

Average monthly income: $1,600

Services offered: email and schedule management

Hi, Kathi. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m 55 and have worked since I was 15. This business is my first attempt at working for myself, and I love it! I just signed on a second retainer client, which has doubled my workload and my income!

How did you decide to start a virtual assistant business?

I quit my admin job in 2016 to start a nutritional therapy practice, but couldn’t make myself take the plunge. I knew I needed to do something to bring in an income again and began Googling jobs that I could do from home.

When virtual assistant work popped up, I went down the rabbit hole and found Gina’s course! Once I started working with my first client, I knew it was what I needed to be doing!

What was holding you back from starting your business?

I spent 13 years as a Registered Nurse and I feel I can’t take care of people anymore. It’s very exhausting. I’d much rather support practitioners who are much better at it than I am. I’m much better at the behind-the-scenes stuff!

Working as a VA for other Nutritional Therapists is my way of using my certificate instead of working directly with nutrition clients.

What was the most challenging part as you got started?

Being brave enough to leap. I thought about it for a few months, wondering if I had enough skills.

I posted a question to my Nutritional Therapy Facebook group asking if anyone had worked with a virtual assistant. I got a message within 10 minutes asking if I was available for a small project. I said yes before I thought about it.

What has been your biggest success since you’ve started?

The fact that 10 months into this new business, and I’m bringing in 80 percent of what I was making full time at my last job. I know that I made the right decision.

Can you tell us about your favorite client or project?

In May, I signed on a Nutritional Therapist who is a rock star in our world. She’s an amazing person, and I feel so honored to work with her. I’m proud that I am helping her do what she does.

How are you working on growing your business currently?

I haven’t done much marketing as I’m as busy as I can be with my family obligations. Signing on my newest client has put me to my maximum workload. As my son gets older and I have more free time, I’ll market within my niche to get more clients.

Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us, Kathi.

I’ve always been a “helper” so virtual assisting is a perfect fit for me. Whenever I’m speaking with a new client, and they’re unsure about their needs or what to expect of me, I tell them that it’s my job to take care of tasks to free them up to do what only they can do for their businesses. I’ve never failed to get a positive reaction! You can find me at nswvirtualassist.com

Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey


Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

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