I live in Guildford in Surrey with my husband Martin and our 3 daughters Isabelle 11, Aimee 9 and Robyn 7. Our house is very pink! Martin & I met when we both worked in retail – I was a non food buyer for Sainsburys based in their Head Office in central London. I loved the fast pace of new product development.
I always knew that I wanted to run my own business. My mother ran a tutorial business from home when I was growing up and was a great role model. I wanted to give my girls the continuity of me being able to do school drop off and pick up but I also wanted to contribute financially. I heard about the term virtual assistant as it evolved in the US. With my background and contacts I had a clear vision for how I could create a team and service a broad range of customer requirements, giving work opportunities to fellow mothers.
I launched the business in 2010 and since then we have grown to employ 19 virtual assistants – 16 of which are mums with 30 children between them. We deliver a broad range of virtual business support, covering anything from basic administration through to sophisticated email marketing campaigns.
This year’s Christmas lunch was a real highlight. Seeing the team together and hearing them talk passionately about our clients and the huge benefits of being part of GAVA made it all worthwhile. I know how much they value being able to work from home, flexibly around their families. I was also very proud earlier this year when we were voted 2nd most loved VA business in the UK through ‘the best of’ business directory and I was selected as a finalist in this year’s MumpreneurUK awards.
Running your own business from home is definitely a challenge but since moving into my garden office I have found it easier to set boundaries. Technology makes it a lot easier to manage your time but you have to be disciplined. At one stage I would wake up and check my emails before even putting on the kettle!
I think the secret to our success has been understanding our varied customer requirements and then making the right connections between the specific VA and the client. My advice would be make sure you really consider what your customers want and then deliver upon it.
Website address: www.getaheadva.com
Twitter address: @GetAheadVA