Overcoming a range of challenges during lockdown, Hannah Roose from North Wales managed to pull herself together and launch her own virtual assistant business.

Having finally settled down in Wales after numerous years travelling the world, Hannah Roose decided to utilise the challenges and opportunities of the Covid-19 pandemic and invest her passion for organisation into her own venture, The Virtual Assistant Experience. With the help of the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service, the business was able to launch successfully in January 2021.

  • Successfully started and created 1 job.
  • Attended webinars on starting up, marketing and bookkeeping.

With 18 years’ experience across various industries, Hannah Roose from Conwy decided to set up her own virtual assistant business, The Virtual Assistant Experience. The business aims to remove everyday work stress experienced by business owners by looking after their administrative, secretarial and HR tasks. 

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

I have wanted my own business for a very long time, but “never had the time” to invest and set one up. I would always come up with random ideas but found it difficult to execute them.

In lockdown, I went through the highs and lows like everyone else in the country – first feeling happy to have some time off, then the reality set in and my job was put on hold, making me feel a bit anxious and scared. This was followed by boredom and then the self-care – lots of hiking, talking to sheep, reading, skincare, working with the lunar cycles; then the self-discovery and the practicalities of how I am going to get myself out of this situation and make some money came by. By this point, I had lost everything: boyfriend, job and apartment – it was tough.

But one day I had a lightbulb moment and decided that watching re-runs of Friends was not going to make any positive changes to my life.

My mind set had completely changed, like I had been rebooted overnight, and I thought: “right, this is the perfect opportunity to utilise my time, set some goals and at least try to have a go at it”. Plus, when else in this lifetime are we ever going to get this pause again.

After claiming universal credit for a few months, I was talking to my work coach about an idea I had and she thought it was great. She explained that if I put a business plan together, I might be eligible for some funds to get me started.

That belief from her really set me off on this journey – knowing that an external source thought my idea was good spurred me on to keep chasing the dream. From there I was also encouraged to contact Business Wales should I need any more help. Everyone there was championing my ideas, which was incredible and overwhelming, as my belief in myself had reached rock bottom.

I was successful in receiving some more funding thanks to Business Wales and I thought if people are giving me money to pursue this, it must be a half-decent idea, so I need to follow it through and make it happen.

I have an eclectic range of professional skills and experience from all over the world, from assistant directing Hollywood Feature Films and Operations Manager of medium enterprises, to Zip Line instructor and milking cows… and more! It can get quite exhausting explaining that range on a CV or in an interview, so I thought why not set up a website and advertise the skills and experience I have to companies that I am passionate about and want to work with, so they can hire me on a freelance basis.

I feel like it’s a win-win for everyone – the employer has no agency fees or HR hassle, and the freelancer has freedom, time and comfort to work wherever they please, in an environment that suits them, which would ultimately bring out their best work.

Now I have The VAEThe Virtual Assistant Experience, a personal, friendly and professional way to hire somebody to assist you either in a professional or personal capacity. I can hold zoom meetings or work via emails – the VA will get the job done. 

For me, wellbeing is key. I want everybody to be happy because when everyone is happy, that is when business thrives. I want the employer to feel like they are getting the best service and extraordinary value for money, and I want the VA to feel like they are worthy and appreciated.

What challenges did you face?

My biggest challenge is people having limited funds at the moment and living in uncertain times, so they may be reluctant to outsource assistance at first.

This is also a new concept for some people. Although I am hoping the positivity and trust that has come during the pandemic from employers will be an encouraged option in the future. Especially for women.

Business Wales support

Hannah approached Business Wales for help with setting up her new virtual assistance business. She attended a number of webinars on starting up, tax and bookkeeping and worked with a start-up adviser, Lee Stephens, to develop her business idea and plan.

Having received specific advice on cash flow forecasting and insurance, she was able to launch the business in January 2021.


  • Successfully started and created 1 job.
  • Attended webinars on starting up, marketing and bookkeeping.

Business Wales have been absolutely fantastic! Everyone that I have spoken to along the way has been supportive, encouraging and super helpful.

Lee has been all of the above and more. I sat in on quite a few of his webinars regarding finances and marketing and he was so informative, responsive and humorous. We have had regular check-ins and if ever there is anything I’m unsure about, I’ve given him a call and he’s been able to help. I can’t believe there is a service like this and it’s free to use, it’s absolutely incredible.

Future plans and ambitions

I would like to attract enough clients on the books, so I can outsource opportunities to other people looking to work from home. I would like this to be an international service eventually with virtual assistants all over the world. My first client was actually based in Miami, Florida, so it’s really lovely to be connecting with people all over the world - even though we may not be able to travel; this is the beauty of the internet.

I’d also like to coach VA’s and provide education on how one would start up legitimately as a virtual assistant. I have already started curating tools to do this.

This is a great opportunity for women, especially ones that plan to have a family or already have one. The pre-Covid-19 business structure was outdated and I am hoping this is going to be a positive shift in business, so women really can have it all – and healthily.

I also post regular wellbeing tips and recommendations to make working from home an enjoyable experience. I am currently collaborating with a local yoga instructor to host a Galentines Instagram Live event on the 13th February. This will be the perfect space for people to come and celebrate friendship and toast a mimosa, whilst also advertising our businesses – so follow me on Instagram @the.vae to keep up to date!

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.

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