VA Spotlight

We love our VAs and do what we can to help the world learn more about them. This week in the VA Spotlight:

Get to Know Diotima Booraem!

DB-portrait-color-300I was born and raised in New York City, but I began begging my parents to move to the country when I was only 6. While they made sure I had a couple of months at a wonderful camp every summer, we stayed in the city through my teenage years, and I went to college and lived most of my adult life in Maryland in the Baltimore/Washington suburbs. It has been a lifelong goal of mine to make my home in the country, and I have finally reached it, thanks to AssistU.

I graduated the VTP in early 1999, and by June of that year I had my first client, a financial planner. By September, I had two other clients, and I left my job at Smithsonian magazine in November to become a full-time VA. In January of 2000, my four cats and I moved to 2 acres in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.

I set up my home office in the room with the window that faces the little waterfall and stream in my back yard, dusted off my degree in Agronomy (the study of crops and soils) and planted my first garden in years that spring. My business grew along with my garden and brought me a varied and interesting practice with wonderful clients I consider it a privilege to work with.

When I first heard about AssistU, I was looking for a new business for myself. I had recently sold the small metaphysical bookstore I ran for 7 years, and knew I wanted my own business again — but I also knew I still wanted to move to the country. My interest in computers had been sparked when I was still in graduate school and had grown when I bought my first PC in 1989 to help me run my store. In the way of small business owners, I ended up learning everything from database management to spreadsheets to desktop publishing — and more about first DOS and then Windows than I ever really wanted to know!

Of course, computers were only one part of what I needed to run my business — bookkeeping, inventory control and other essentials of business management, event organizing, marketing and public relations are just a few of the other skills I had to acquire to run a successful retail store. Fortunately, I was blessed with wonderful friends and customers who were experts — often professionals — in the skills I needed, and were unflaggingly generous with their time and knowledge. By the time I sold the store, I had a lot of knowledge that would be very helpful in running a business… I just wasn’t sure what business I wanted to be in.

An article in The Washington Post on Anastacia and AssistU brought it all together for me one hot summer day as I sat at my desk in an office in Washington, DC, dreading the sweltering, noisy commute home. As I read about Virtual Assistance, I remembered how difficult it had been for me as an entrepreneur to juggle all of the different aspects of running a business — many of which I had to learn “on the fly” — and realized that my skills in administration, computers and marketing would be invaluable to small business owners. And, and, and… I could do this from home?!! I was sold!

More than a decade later, on a cool summer morning, I sit at my desk in my office, and the sound of a waterfall greets me as I open the window. If you were to come visit me, you would turn right after the stone house by the big field with cows grazing and go about half a mile up a dirt road until you got past the apple orchard run by my farmer neighbor. Then you’d see my garden on your left, behind the blueberry bushes that are now heavy with ripening fruit. The roses by the well are blooming, and my cats are snoozing in the sun. I’m in shorts and a t-shirt, but my client’s clients will never know this, as I prepare for another challenging and interesting day helping my clients run businesses located in Washington, DC, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. I’m supported by a wonderful community of other AssistU VAs and feeling very blessed to be here.

For more information about Diotima, please visit her at


“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
– Steve Martin