What I do
Work Life Balance VA Service provides individually tailored, professional and time efficient virtual assistant support. I support busy solopreneurs and small businesses with their admin and project-based tasks so that you can focus on their core business, growing their business and (hopefully) creating a good work life balance! My career experience is in mental health and I specialise in supporting consultants, coaches and practitioners in the health and wellbeing sector.
Why I set up my own business
The situation I found myself in is very like that of many modern women. After several years focusing on my career I met Mr Right, got married, started a family and suddenly found that I was a stay at home mum. Being a stay at home mum had never been part of the plan for me. I loved my career and had always planned to return to work after 9-12 months of maternity leave.
However, things didn’t pan out this way as 2 months after my daughter was born we relocated overseas for a year. This was an amazing opportunity for our little family and we all enjoyed the adventure, however, it did mean that I had to hand my notice in rather than taking maternity leave as planned. Since then, we have moved around a lot to support my husband’s career.
My little boy made an appearance into the world two and a half years ago and when he was 18 months old I started looking at options to return to work. I felt extremely frustrated by the limited choices on offer for a woman (or man!) looking to have a meaningful career while also maintaining a good work/family life balance. I had a chat with my husband about possible solutions to this problem and we tried to ‘think outside the box’ and we started to consider freelance and small business options.“Self-care doesn’t mean that you are being selfish, it just means that you are looking after yourself which is so important if you want to continue to be there for your family and to run and grow your business.” Tweet This!
I remembered seeing something about virtual assistants on a Bounty email that had pinged in my inbox and we started to do some research. The more we looked into it the more excited we became as it seemed like it could really work for us. I would be able to work flexible hours, there wouldn’t be excessive childcare costs and I’d be able to use all the skills I’d honed in my (what felt like) long lost career.
After a couple of months of research and background preparation I finally launched my virtual assistant business at the end of January 2017. It’s been a steep learning curve as building your own business and working for yourself is a whole new world. There have been a lot of ups and downs, with the occasional crises of confidence but I have been overwhelmed by the positive response of my family, friends and former work colleagues. I now specialise in supporting consultants and coaches in the health and wellbeing sector making use of the skills and knowledge I gained working for the Royal College of Psychiatrists and in the NHS.
Challenges in my first year of business
I have found that the hardest thing about setting up my own business, alongside being a mum, is constantly juggling my workload with family life. This is the nature of the beast to some extent and I find that it comes and goes in waves. There’ll be a couple of weeks where everything is well organised and under control and life as a freelancer is fantastic. Then something will change (signing up a new client, extra meetings, the kids catch a bug or the school holidays!) and the chaotic juggling goes into overdrive. But then things settle down into a manageable routine again. I think juggling work and family life is something that needs to be worked on constantly as work demands and family demands inevitably change. The hardest thing to overcome is to accept that this is the case, to not be too hard on yourself and to remember that it’s worth all the effort!
My advice to others setting up on their own
The main piece of advice I would give to someone just starting out (particularly mumpreneurs) would be to make sure you build ‘Me Time’ into each day. When you work for yourself it’s easy to feel guilty if you’re not doing client work, working on the business or taking care of your family (school run, homework, mealtimes, clubs etc etc). Self-care doesn’t mean that you are being selfish, it just means that you are looking after yourself which is so important if you want to continue to be there for your family and to run and grow your business. Schedule in ‘Me Time’ and when your workload becomes too much, outsource your admin tasks!
I booked to attend Maximise as an exhibitor back in June and I’d been looking forward to it for months before I found out that I’d been nominated for the Business Mum of the Year award. It was so fantastic to have been nominated, let alone to become a finalist. Hearing my name read out as the award winner at Maximise and to go up on stage to collect my prize really was the highlight of my year! An amazing pat on the back for all the hard work and juggling since setting up my business at the beginning of the year.
I thoroughly enjoyed every second of my Maximise experience! It was great to be able to exhibit and meet so many inspiring business women (and a few men too!) It was great to catch up with women that I’d met while visiting other Women’s Business Club lunches and to spend some extra time with the fabulous ladies from my ‘home’ Bristol club. The speakers on the day were truly amazing and I came away with some great ideas for moving my business forward. I’m looking forward to Maximise 2018 already!
Work Life Balance VA Services
Tel: 07546 956 898
Email: [email protected]
Read more articles like this in Women’s Business News