Need some Monday motivation, or maybe some delegation?
Meet Rebecca Newenham who runs virtual agency Get Ahead VA
, a team of 30 highly experienced virtual assistants who love to take on the tasks that businesses don’t have the skills to do, don’t have the time to do, or simply don’t want to do. I bet we can all think of a few of those! Rebecca wanted to start a flexible, home-based business and spotted a niche in the market for affordable business support services. Now she and her team help businesses with everything from Twitter to telephone calls, accounting to admin and design to databases, priding themselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do. Sounds great, doesn't it? But what about the woman behind the business? Let's find out more about her...
Hello Rebecca, it’s fabulous to have you here, how are you today?
I am great thanks! It is lovely to take a few minutes out to chat with you. 2017 has been a busy year already.
Let's get straight to business then! What made you go into business for yourself? Do you remember the deciding moment?
I always knew I wanted to run my own business. I grew up with a successfully self-employed mother so I had seen first-hand that it was possible to work and be around for the family. I started my career as a Corporate Buyer, working for retail giants Superdrug and Sainsburys. I worked on the first ever online supplier auction which was very exciting! Once my daughters came along I decided not to continue commuting into London and once my youngest started school I knew it was time to start something for myself. I researched various options and after coming across the term virtual assistant online I knew it was the right choice for me. I attended a one day course which covered all the basics and Get Ahead VA was launched. I knew the business could offer the flexible working solution I was looking for and that I could employ other mothers so they could benefit as well. Six years later I now run an award-winning team of 30 virtual assistants. The vast majority of our virtual assistants are highly experienced mothers who work from home, successfully juggling the needs of our clients around their family commitments.
With your business, you see every day how support can make a huge difference to a business, but how important is it for you personally to have a support group? Who are those people to you?
Having a support group is key – especially if you have come out of a corporate career to work for yourself. Over the years I was so used to working as part of a big team and having a high level of support around me. It can be daunting having to do it all yourself. But for me, networking was key. I love the buzz of meeting new people and networking allowed me to develop a fantastic support group of like-minded business people. I also work with a business coach who has been a great support and ensures that I keep on track with my goals. My family have of course been my biggest support – as well as my inspiration.
I agree, networking is great for expanding horizons - it actually used to really scare me, but then I realised that its just a case of making new friends, I love it now! I also love that you said how important your business coach is to you. I'm looking for a new coach myself as I achieve so much more when I have one. (if you have anyone to recommend, send them my way!)
What’s next for you, any exciting challenges ahead?
This year I am really excited that we are continuing our geographical expansion through both direct appointments as well as developing a franchise model. Virtual assistance is a fast-growing industry and our franchise model will allow other aspiring virtual assistants to get into the market and provide a flexible income for themselves, just as I have done.
That sounds really exciting, I've started to use virtual assistants too, I agree that the industry is growing and will continue to as it does fit around so many different lifestyles. A franchise model sounds perfect for you too - I look forward to seeing that as it develops.
What techniques do you use to keep yourself motivated?
I am a big fan of goal setting. I find it really helps me stay focused on what I need to achieve. Together with my coach we identify the business goals for the year and how I plan to achieve them. I have them printed out and stuck on my office wall so they always there to remind me and ensure I don't get distracted from the task at hand.
I need my goals in sight too - literally pinned to the wall where I stand for short periods of time (a great place is by the kettle for a tea and coffee drinker!)
I know it can be hard to switch off, there is always more to do, what is your favourite way to get away and relax?
Luckily I work with a fantastic team of virtual assistants so I always delegate to them and ensure I have time off over the holidays to spend with my girls. They are, after all, the reason I started the business all those years ago. The team answer my calls and emails to ensure a seamless transition, highlighting anything important on my return. As a family we love to travel and had a fantastic trip to Australia last year to visit friends and explore. My husband and I had been there for our honeymoon many years before so it was lovely to take the girls with us this time. This year we are planning to visit friends in Barcelona and go island hopping around Croatia in the summer. We love the variety and sense of adventure of travelling around a country and getting to see its highlights.
Ahhh, isn't travel just so exciting? Amazing that you get away and your business really supports that. I think your story will have inspired lots of our readers to start using virtual assistants if they aren't doing so already. Thank you for talking to me today, it has been fabulous to hear more about your business and life and how they fit together.
You can connect with Rebecca and find out more about Get Ahead VA on the link below, and later this week, we'll get a glimpse of what this CEO carries in her handbag!
Have a fantastic week!