016: Joel Nelson – Author and owner of Zen Virtual Assistants

Joel's background is in systematic futures trading. Joel wrote a book and started his podcast last year to show people that many of the things they assume about finance are wrong, and also was managing a small hedge fund when he became completely exhausted. He turned to virtual assistants to help him with his work load. After a couple of months of working with assistants in the Philippines, Joel started a company called Zen virtual assistants.

Impact Person

Alicia Dunham helped Joel work with book packaging and book marketing and suggested that Joel try a virtual assistants.  She was a real inspiration to Joel.


Turning over tasks, such as email to assistants can be challenging.  Language barriers should be approached with thoughtfulness.  Joel recommends you choose your assistants by the task and keep culture in mind.


In order to allow his company and clients to liaison between each other, Joel'’s company, Zen Virtual Assistants has created a team leader that manages each project.  Joel credits his teammates Penny (Rock Star VA) and Krizza with the success of Zen VA.

Life Before Current Business

Joel was a systematic futures trader, which he says is just a fancy way of saying that he uses computers to find patterns in commodities markets and trade on that information.  Joel also managed a small hedge fund.

Contact Information