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Becoming A Virtual Assistant.

Thinking back to 2018…. My husband and I were both working full time in very responsible jobs.

Simon was a Director looking after risk, fraud and money laundering working long days and I was a Branch Manager running a busy care recruitment office.

We have 2 children Emily 12 and Thomas 8. Our life was nice but we were time poor and had say no to the children a lot when it came to sports, clubs and play dates which are all so important at their age and you don’t get this time back.

I must admit we were coping but the cracks were starting to show.

Then came my dad’s dementia diagnosis. He had been showing symptoms for a while and mum and I had suspected but this kind of diagnosis not only majorly impacts the individual but hits family members like a tonne of bricks along with the worry that Frontal Temporal Lobe Dementia can be hereditary.

Dad is an entrepreneur and successful businessman. A talented builder who was always able to design, build and fix things with a great interest in computers. His condition started to deteriorate quickly.

So picture this … I was extremely busy running office, managing 3 members of office staff and 100 care staff, I’d grown the revenue from £5k per week to £20k per week and doubled the profit margins. I had built a team and a business, I was working silly hours and looking after a busy on-call phone. But it wasn’t mine!

By this point towards the end of 2019 I was realistic about the situation:

  • My children needed me therefore I needed flexibility
  • My dad’s dementia was only going to get worse – he needed me, and my mum needed support
  • The business I had built was not mine

I’m welling up writing this as I’m telling my story. Something had to give!

I was headhunted but it did not work out. I know now that it was because I already knew what I was destined to do.

Then came the day. I drove to the office and put my keys through the letterbox.

The emotions of overwhelming relief, excitement, guilt, worry set in and I cried as I drove home.

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, and Simon wasn’t happy as you’d expect.

The next morning bleary eyed after lying awake all night I had it. The first idea.

I was going to become a Virtual Assistant and my business name was ‘At the Drop of a Hat’. My mission was to help busy business owners.

Writing this in October 2020 I now have a thriving business. ATDOAH is now a VA matching service supporting many busy business owners with over 100 VA’s and I am mentoring and training new VA’s on our VA Academy – Logo to Launch course.

My mission is still to support busy business owners with the added desire to mentor individuals who what the same freedom of becoming a VA.

I am now able to manage my own diary which means that I can spend quality time with my children and support my mum and dad when then need me.

 

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Virtual Assistant

How to choose a VA

 

I started my VA business at the end of 2019. I gained clients before I had launched!

My first clients came on board as my first point of call was to speak with people I knew.

These were previous clients that I knew from my recruitment career therefore the know, like, trust factor was already there.

I wrote a business plan but what I learnt was that a business plan is a working document. For me anyway as mine keeps changing and evolving. Although my mission remains the same.

I’m a helper and solutions provider and this won’t change.

Working as a VA went well, and I gained a number of clients up to March 2020. I was using this time to learn about the VA world and develop my knowledge in processes and how to run a successful VA business. Things were going well.

Then Covid and lockdown!

Clients were nervous and nobody had experienced anything like this before. Many of my clients ran businesses that were seriously affected by the lockdown. I supported them and I was understanding about payments and that was the right decision as I have maintained my relationships by being understanding and supportive.

Lightbulb moments then began to happen!

Everyone started to ‘pivot’ their businesses and go online. I knew I had made the right decision in setting up my VA business working remotely from home. It meant that I could still work, I could support clients as well as staying safe and looking after my family.

I found Dani Wallace. She is pretty amazing and inspirational. Her Facebook challenge was brilliant and that’s when I found my voice and visibility doing videos and lives.

I was good at it and enjoyed it and started speaking in groups and for networking meetings.

Then came RRR The Race to Recuring Revenue Facebook Challenge with Lisa Johnson.

Oh yes more lightbulbs. I completed the challenge and attended her live masterclass.

That’s when it came to me. I was sitting on 16 years’ worth of recruitment knowledge and experience. I don’t find it difficult to business develop and find clients. In fact, I love the challenge of it! So, I started my matching service. I interviewed about 100 VA’s and 99 of them wanted to come on board and most agreed that they love being a VA, but the developing business part of things was not their forte. This confirmed what I thought, and I became the VA Matcher!

I now work with some clients of my own, but the majority of the time is spent working on the matching service.

This is great as it’s utilising my experience and again, I’m helping the VA’s and finding solutions for my clients. Doing what I love painting my rainbow rather than chasing the pot of gold.

Busy business owners are just that – they are busy and a VA can be the solution for that however, finding the right VA is imperative. I believe that the match is crucial to the relationship working. If they speak to many VA’s during this process this will take up valuable time that they do not have and they still may not find the right Virtual Assistant.

I have a discovery call with a client, I get to know them, find out al about their business, what makes them tick, what problems they have and what their plans are.

Based on their sector, services, products, type of tasks and plans they need help with I can provide them with the ideal VA. Not forgetting the personality as this is very important. Not only do they need to be skilled in the tasks, knowledgeable about the industry they should also have a genuine interest in it and be they right personality fit. The client / VA relationship needs to be a close one for it to work. So I consider all of these factors when I have my matching hat on.

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VA Mentoring

 

“Mentoring is Like helping people turn on their light”

I have always enjoyed helping people develop. Throughout my management career in recruitment I had the pleasure of mentoring some wonderful people who I have stayed friends with.

I remember the day I met Laura. I’d been in my Branch Manager role at a Care recruitment company in Chester for all of about 5 minutes and it was a mess. No procedures, no structure, the office itself wasn’t fit for purpose even the filing cabinet had boxes of cereal in it! Oh and no office staff.

I love a challenge though and that’s where the journey began.

Laura one of the Carers walked through the door and said “Oh you look busy would you like some help? I can answer the phones for you”

I didn’t know it then but Laura was to become one of my greatest allies in the fight to make this office great!

She was lovely, caring, helpful and had a really nice way with her.

Despite this she was very underconfident and didn’t believe in herself. But I did!

Laura went on to become a fantastic recruiter and a valuable member of my team.

I am now mentoring again helping people who are looking for a career change, have been made redundant, lost their job because of Covid or people like me who just want more flexibility to look after their children and juggle their family commitments.

Becoming a Virtual Assistant is the perfect solution for all of these things as you are home working/ remote working, being your own boss, painting your own rainbow.

I offer 121 mentoring and coaching sessions to help individuals set up their own VA business and I mentor them along the way.

I also offer a group course called The VA Academy Logo to Launch Course which covers everything you need to know from scratch with the support on hand to set your business up and be running within 4 weeks.

The people I mentor then have the opportunity to join my matching service as VA Associates to gain clients though At the Drop of a Hat.

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How I halved the pressure and doubled my revenue in one month by hiring a VA

 

My business has continued to evolve over the course of the last year.

Starting as a Virtual Assistant, opening my VA matching service and starting mentoring and launching courses.

I believed in outsourcing anyway and all outsourcing should bring a return on investment.

Virtual Assistants exist to save you time, gain your work life balance and scale your business.

We are helpers and solutions providers that’s what we do.

The At the Drop of a Hat mission is to calm your overwhelm by matching you with the ideal Virtual Assistant freeing up your time to do what you do best, what you enjoy or simply let you do the revenue generating tasks that are required to take your business to the next level.

I know this works as I have seen this with many of our clients and myself.

I made the decision that to be able to scale my business and take it to the next level by launching my VA matching service and mentoring courses I needed support and I chose to invest in a Virtual Assistant.

That’s when I found Gemma. She was just starting out as a Virtual Assistant however we got on like a house on fire! We found that we had similar personalities and a love for dancing as well as Disney. Gemma started and straight away I felt more grounded and that I wasn’t alone. She was great at the tasks I didn’t like, bookkeeping, invoicing, contracts etc. Not because I can’t do them. I can but my efforts are needed to scall the business.

Within a month the new processes were working, and my revenue had doubled! This is what having the right VA for your business can do. Th proof is in the pudding and clients want a return on their investment.

Half the pressure and double the revenue.