Fully Booked VA Blog

Student Success Story: Paula Hickey

Ready for another awesome Student Success Story?

We’re featuring people who took Gina’s 30 Days or Less courses and who got down to business working on their freelance career. Every story is a little bit different from the others because they’re real journeys, and everyone is on a different path.

In this post we’re featuring Paula Hickey, a virtual assistant whose first clients actually found her! She’s building a successful business and managing a full-time job, and she’s a great example of how things can take off when you niche down and deliver excellent services.

Ready to hear Paula’s story? Let’s do it! 

Name: Paula Hickey

Website: PaulaSextonHickey.com

Course enrollment date: July 23, 2017

Business launch date: August 12, 2017

Date hired by first client: August 22, 2017

Hours worked per week: 10+ on top of my day job

Top three services: content creation, social media management, blog maintenance

Hi, Paula. Please tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m a wife and mom to two pups, Buffy and Mac. I’m still at my 9-5 job which is actually an 8pm to 8am job. I’m a night shift manager for a major retail store. I do virtual assistant work after my shift is over and on my days off. I love to read and write!

Blogging is one of my favorite things to do!

Tell us about your business:

I work with busy mom bloggers so that they can focus on growing their businesses and achieve their dream of working from home.

I handle tasks such as creating pins, formatting and optimizing posts and scheduling social media – all those little things that eat away at a blogger’s time. This is time that they could be using to create new products and services for their businesses, or time that they can use to enjoy their families and personal lives again!

How did you decide to start working online?

I’ve been blogging since 2010, so making a living online something that I’d been thinking about on and off for years. Over the past year, I realized that I didn’t want to work in retail for the rest of my life. I wanted more!

I kept seeing Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success course, and I kept coming back to it. Virtual assistance seemed like a perfect fit for me. I loved working on my own blog, so why not work on other people’s?

So I signed up!

And how long did it take you to earn your course investment back?

I earned my money back within the first two weeks of working with my clients.

What was your biggest fear before you started your business?

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to find clients.

I am very fortunate in that they found me! I realize how unusual that is, and that it won’t always be so easy to get clients. But it sure gave me a confidence boost!

What was the most challenging part about getting started?

Dealing with the major dips in my confidence at being able to meet client expectations.

I’ve been in retail for a long time, so I’m super confident in what I do there. I know I can always meet and exceed expectations. So this feeling of uncertainty was strange to me.

How did you overcome that?

I reminded myself that the confidence would come in time. The longer I work with each client, the better I am able to meet and exceed their expectations.

I also shared my fears with my husband who is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. He helped me a lot.

And of course, getting good feedback from my clients when I completed projects helped a ton! One client even told me that I was a Dream VA!

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

After completing two projects for one of my clients, I was able to convince her to put me on retainer. She loved the idea when I mentioned it! She knew she was guaranteed a certain amount of my time and that she could hand off tasks as needed.

I also recently signed on a third client who liked working with me so much that she referred me to another client! So I now have four clients!

What are you working on right now?

I’m pitching for new clients. I know that they won’t all come as easily as the first four. Three of my four clients found me through social media. I’m also working on creating more lead magnets so that I can grow my email list.

And I signed up for the Pinterest VA course. I know how valuable a service like this will be to my target clients. Plus, it’s something that I enjoy!

What are you looking forward to most over the next 12 months?

I look forward to building my business to the point that I can go part-time in retail. I’ve already told my boss that I will be stepping down to hourly in February 2018, so that I can put more focus on my business.

Eventually I want to be a full-time virtual assistant. I love VA work! It’s everything I hoped it would be!

I’m married to the love of my life, Rex. I’m also a huge nerd! Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are my fandoms of choice. I love to read, write, and binge-watch Netflix. By night, I’m a third-shift assistant manager for a major retail store. And by day, I’m a virtual assistant. I work behind the scenes with busy mom bloggers so that they can focus on growing their businesses and get back to enjoying time with their families. I handle content creation, social media management, and blog maintenance. You can find me on paulasextonhickey.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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