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 Gayle Bu!
When people ask where I’m from, it’s a hard question to answer. I was born in Australia and spent my childhood in Australia, Greece, Germany and England. I married my husband in 1996 and moved to the US. We lived in NYC for a couple of years, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and we’ve been in Atlanta since 2005 (we love to travel – but we’ve now settled our roots here and are not planning on moving any time soon!)
I became interested in Virtual Assistance in 2001. I was working at Gap Inc. in San Francisco as an Executive Assistant. Gap Inc. was big on people development and I remember being continually asked, “where do you want to go in the company?” and I would sigh inside, because I secretly wanted to own my own business (from home without a commute)…but was conflicted, because I loved what I did so much and had no idea how I could combine the two.
One evening, I went to Barnes and Noble and perused the business section. I found out that I could provide “secretarial services” from home (at the time, I had no idea it was even called Virtual Assistance). I did some more research, started a draft of a business plan, joined a local organization of business service providers and then attended a conference where I met the amazing Anastacia Brice, the founder of AssistU. A few months later, in May 2002, I hit a snafu…
I ended up in hospital with a brain aneurysm, a subarachnoid hemorrhage and a subsequent stroke. At 27 years old, I had to undergo two surgeries, spent a couple of weeks in the Neurological Intensive Care Unit (and a while longer in recovery) and had to learn how to walk again. I tried going back to work, but between physical therapy, the early morning commute and my low energy level while in recovery, going back to corporate became difficult.
Knowing from my research that it was a viable business model, I launched my VA practice a few months later. It was the perfect segue… I could do what I wanted to do while being able to take care of myself so that I could fully recover.
In 2003, I enrolled in the AssistU Virtual Training Program and have been working as a full time Virtual Assistant ever since. Although I provide a broad spectrum of administrative support, my strength as a VA lies in strategy; much of what I do could be classified as administrative coaching. It’s not enough for me to simply complete tasks for clients – what I really enjoy is grasping where the client currently is, where he or she wants to be and all the little dots we need to connect to get him or her to that place. I get real joy from those aha! moments when we come out of a brainstorming session and have been able to identify specific strategy and subsequent implementation that is in true alignment with the vision that the client has for his or her business.
Although I was a “generalist” for the first eight years of my practice, I came to discover that my true passion lies with supporting coaches, authors and speakers, particularly those in the areas of health, transformation and leadership.
People globally need help; for some, it’s about having less than optimal health and wanting to improve that. For others, it’s about not being able to move forward in certain areas of their life due to mental and emotional barriers, which then impacts other areas. When I’m able to assist experts in these arenas, it frees up their time to help more people and together, we’re able to change lives. For me, that’s a beautiful thing.
For more information about Gayle Bu, please visit her at BuVirtualOffice.com and be sure to listen to the interview she did for the recent Interview With a VA series!
Gayle Bu—Interview With a VA (21 mins)
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
– Steve Martin