Celebrating two years in business – a reflection
As I approach the anniversary of my second year in business, it’s a time for reflection. A huge amount has happened in the last two years and it is exciting to think back on the journey.
Where it all began
In August 2015 I started out on the journey of self-employment. My head told me that I should not leave my secure, well-paid job as an Executive Personal Assistant and jump into the unknown, but my heart felt that there was more out there for me. I had been toying with the idea of becoming a Virtual Assistant for a number of years and I felt that if I was going to do it, the time was now.
I had some savings, and therefore allowed myself a couple of months grace to spend researching and setting up, and finally launched on 23 October 2015. I can’t remember why it was that date, maybe I set up my insurance, or my website was finished (finished?! It’s never finished!). I was fortunate to gain my first client mid-November, which was a minute taking job at an employment hearing. My first regular client came on board early December, helping a local photographer with her social media and generally helping her get organised.
My motivation for starting my own business was that I wanted to do a greater variety of tasks each day than you do as an employed PA, whilst life as a PA is an extremely busy one, with LOTS to do, it did feel a little like ground-hog day. I wanted greater variety and also flexibility, and to get away from the long working hours. It was a steep learning curve in the first twelve months. When I applied for the Best VA Newcomer Awards, one of the questions was how much networking and self-development I had done over the past twelve months, and the amount, astonishingly was 145 hours! From digital marketing, cyber security to LinkedIn Success and goal setting – the amount of research and planning was massive. The amount of work required to set up should not be underestimated. Yes, you can set up as a VA with a phone and a laptop, but to excel in the profession there is so much more to be done.
“From digital marketing, cyber security to LinkedIn Success and goal setting – the amount of research and planning was massive”
In April 2016, my husband and I finally saved up to have our honeymoon, and almost a year after we got married we set off to India for the most amazing three weeks. In May, I discovered I was pregnant with our first child, and then came another decision as to how the business would continue to run whilst I took maternity leave, and whether we could afford for me not to be working. In set self-doubt, was being self-employed the right thing for our family, was it stable enough and would I be able to bring in enough money? Our daughter arrived safely in January 2017 and whilst I had arranged for another VA cover my clients whilst I was away, when I returned to work in March it felt like I had to rebuild the business all over again! My husband took shared parental leave, which was amazing as it meant we could both be around for her, something we feel very lucky to have been able to do.
The future is bright
In the planning for my two-year anniversary, I started to think about how the business was changing and what service I wanted to provide to my clients moving forwards. I wanted to up-level and rather than supporting clients with one-off tasks, I wanted to build relationships and work with clients month in, month out so I could make a real difference. Following a period of discovery with my business coach, I remodelled and began a process of rebranding. Today, as I launch my new brand to the world, I am proud to be working with some amazing businesses and incredible business owners, and I am very excited about the future.
Starting and running your own business is a tough but amazing journey, and I am grateful to you all (friends and family, clients past and present, and all the amazing business owners I have met along the way) for being a part of it.
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