Category Archives: My VA Journey

What’s with the Name?

A lot of people have asked me how I came up with the name of my business — Monarch Virtual Assistance LLC.   I thought I would share with you my  story behind the name . . .

My original inspiration came from my Dad.  He worked as a Chef at the now-historical Monarch Diner. When I was growing up, I spent many days at the diner; after school, I would walk to the diner, and spend the rest of the afternoon sitting on the sugar barrel in the  kitchen, waiting for my mom to get out of work to pick me up.  Sometimes I would even help the wait staff fill the sugar bowls in the dining room or help “grandpa Jack” ring up a sale at the cash register.  And who could ever forget those fried New England scallops and crispy french fries, with creamy homemade coleslaw.  Yes…my childhood was filled with many great memories of that diner, and so I dedicated the naming of my business in memory of my Dad.

The second reason I chose Monarch Virtual Assistance was because I love butterflies, and the Monarch butterfly is one of my favorites. To me, the butterfly is a symbolism for change, freedom, rebirth, transformation, growth, new beginnings, good luck, beauty, and joy. I also believe it represents courage because one requires courage to carry out or go through the process of change. All of these things remind me of the Virtual Assistance concept and how partnering with a Virtual Assistant can make a difference in your business and personal life. I thought it was appropriate to name the business Monarch to represent the profession that I have a great passion for. It’s a metaphor of sorts….

There are five stages of the evolution of the butterfly and I believe these stages parallel the development of our dreams, goals, and realities from thought to manifestation.

The Evolution of the Butterfly

  • The egg stage is the beginning of all things. This is the stage at which an idea, concept, product, or desire is conceived, but has not yet become a reality.
  • The larva stage is the point at which you decide to create the idea in the physical world. In this stage you make a decision to learn more about it. You send for information; you speak to people who are in that field. You are beginning to build a foundation for your idea to become a reality.
  • The cocoon stage involves “going within”; developing your project, idea, or product, and preparing for its “birth”. This is the stage where any fears you have will surface and you must find the courage to address them and decide to move through them.
  • The transformation stage is the leaving of the chrysalis (cocoon). This is the stage where your idea, concept, product, or desire is born into reality.
  • The final stage is the butterfly stage. In this stage your idea, concept, product, or desire is set free and you start sharing the colors and joy of your creation with the world.

Virtual Assistance

  • Change – Letting go of doing it all yourself; embracing a new way to get things done.
  • Freedom – Having time to work ON your business, not IN it; enjoying your life more.
  • Rebirth – Taking your business to the next level.
  • Transformation – Adjusting to working differently; learning to delegate.
  • Growth – Expanding your business; increasing your income; letting go of status quo.
  • New Beginnings – Pursuing new business opportunities; time for networking
  • Good Luck – A light at the end of the tunnel; a solution; a partner in your success.
  • Beauty/Joy – Experiencing less stress, a better work/life balance, peace of mind.
  • Courage – Going through the process of change; thinking outside the box.

So there you have it….the story behind the name!   I would love to hear from others about how they chose their business name.  If you would like to share, please feel free to post a comment and tell your “story behind your business name”.

Until next time,



Time Flies by so Quickly

Wow…I can’t believe how time flies by so quickly!  Yesterday I was reminiscing and shared my story about how I started my Virtual Assistance journey and today I realized that I am now 3 months into my Virtual Training Program at AssistU (!

Next week starts week 15 (out of 19 weeks).  I’ve learned so much about being a Virtual Assistant, about being a business owner, and about myself as a person.  The program is very rigorous and more in-depth than I ever imagined, but I have no regrets.   It has lived up to it’s promise to be one of the  best Virtual Training Programs for sure.  Some days I feel overwhelmed and overloaded by all the information and homework, but I’m truly enjoying the program and meeting the great people who are part of the AssistU community.  I know that when I complete the program I’ll be completely prepared and ready to begin myVirtual Assistance practice and start living my dream finally!

I’ve spent the last few weeks writing my business plan (a homework project!), setting myself up on social media sites, networking, and learning about blogging! It’s been an exciting journey and I’m looking forward to the future.

Meanwhile, summer is over and autumn in Florida is beyond awesome.  The weather is absolutely beautiful; not too hot and never cold!  Although I could do without the thunder and lightening storms that come through this time of year, and always keep my fingers crossed and say a prayer that we don’t get any hurricanes, it’s still my favorite time of year.  I must admit that I do miss the Autumn colors of New England, which are all my favorite colors.  I am in the process of building my website with all my favorite colors so I won’t have to miss them too much!  I can’t wait to share it with you soon!

Until next time, have fun, stay healthy, take time for yourself, and remember, don’t just dream about the life you want to live, take action to make it a reality, and start living the life of  your dreams!


My Virtual Assistant Journey

Hi! I’m Lisa.  This is my journey to starting my Virtual Assistance practice.

I have had a passion for entrepreneurship for as long as I can remember.  As a young girl growing up in New England, while most children would be playing hopscotch or jumping rope, I could be found managing my lemonade stand or selling Girl Scout cookies or typing recipes on index cards to add to mom’s collection.  After graduating at the top of my class from my high school’s Business Occupations program, I continued on to pursue a career as an Administrative Professional gaining extensive experience through on the job training and professional development opportunities.  I excelled in my career, and rose quickly through the ranks from switchboard operator to Executive Assistant to the COO of a local Employee Communications firm.

In 1986 after coming through a difficult divorce that left me emotionally drained and financially challenged, my entrepreneurial spirit surfaced and I started a part-time typing business to supplement my income.  Word of mouth referrals quickly catapulted my part-time typing business into a full-time venture, and in 1987 I decided to quit my full-time Corporate job and launched Alternative Office Solutions, a full service secretarial and business support service.  The business operated successfully for 10 years until I relocated to Melbourne, Florida in 1996.

I found myself back in Corporate America again continuing my administrative professional career, but I never felt as fulfilled as I did when I was working for myself.  I was growing weary and frustrated with working in Corporate America, and yearned to go back to owning my own business again.  I knew my passion but was not living it.   In 1998, I read an article written by Stacy Brice, President of AssistU ( in a magazine about an emerging profession called Virtual Assistance and it absolutely fascinated me.  I realized at that moment I wanted to become a Virtual Assistant.

Not quite knowing what to expect and without a mentor or role model, the monetary resources, or the training to learn how to work virtually, I wasn’t ready to quit my “day job”, but that didn’t stop me from immersing myself in learning all that I could about this emerging profession. I read every book on Virtual Assistance that I could find, I talked to established Virtual Assistant business owners, read articles and blogs, signed up for newsletters, surfed the web for anything I could find on Virtual Assistance, lurked around forums and chat rooms, researched Virtual Training Programs, and even started writing my Business Plan.  The more I studied the profession and industry, the more I dreamed of one day “quitting my day job” to become a Virtual Assistant and business owner again.

I continued to work for several more years to save money and gain more experience.  I kept my dream alive by keeping up with the latest trends in the Virtual Assistant industry — longing for the day I could transition out of Corporate America and into the world of Virtual Assistance and business ownership again.

In early 2009, I learned of a company who taught Executive Assistants interested in becoming Virtual Assistants how to transition out of the Corporate world to start their own practices.  At the time, I was working as an Executive Assistant to the President/CEO of a national residential homebuilder who was struggling due to the economic crisis, and I instinctively decided to sign up for the class.  During the class, AssistU was mentioned and plugged as being the premier training program for “Virtual Assistant wannabes”. I found myself researching the AssistU website, and learned that it was a rigorous, 20-week program and a little on the expensive side, but I thought to myself if I am serious about making this dream of mine a reality, and building a quality, professional practice, then I would need to learn from the best of the best to ensure I was completely prepared.

In March 2009, I decided it was time to start my transition process and applied to AssistU.  My plan was to stay working in my full-time job until I graduated in November 2009, and then transition out of Corporate America and launch my Virtual Assistant practice starting January, 2010.

Now, I am a big believer in the Law of Attraction, and sure enough the Universe delivered — although it wasn’t EXACTLY how I had planned it.  On April 16, 2009, I was laid off from my Executive Assistant position of nearly 4 years after my boss, the President of the Company decided to resign from her position.  On April  17, 2009, after going through a very in-depth application process, I received word that I was accepted into AssistU’s June 2009 Virtual Training Program.  And I haven’t looked back since!