Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Rebeca Newenham and I live in Guildford with my husband and our three daughters. I first became a mum in 2001 and my girls Isabelle, Aimee and Robyn are now 14,12 and 10.
What’s your business called?
Get Ahead VA
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Get Ahead VA delivers nationwide virtual assistance services for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
In 2010, after a corporate career in buying for retail giants such as Superdrug and Sainsburys, I was looking for a flexible work solution that could fit around my lifestyle and my three young daughters. I was inspired by my mother who ran her own tutorial agency when I was a child. Having grown up with a successfully self-employed mother, I saw it was possible to be able to contribute financially to the family and to do school drop off and pick ups too. My mum was a great example and I knew that one day I wanted to run my own business just like she did.
How did you fund your start up?
Having looked at various business options I chose to start a Virtual Assistance (VA) business because I saw a clear gap in the market for it and because it had low start-up costs. All I really needed was a laptop and myself. My corporate buying career had given me so many great contacts and fantastic business experience, and after a few years of looking after my three children I was well accomplished at multitasking!
How do you manage working around your children?
It is always a juggling act but mobile technology really helps as I can be working from any location and I am not tied into being sat at a desk nine till five. As a business we really embrace flexible working – both for our clients and our VAs. There have been some late nights and weekends but I am lucky to have a great team of people working for me now which makes managing it all much easier.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
Every day is different. I am often at networking meetings or business events talking to prospective clients. Luckily I have always enjoyed meeting new people. I also have regular meetings with our existing clients and our team of VAs to make sure projects are on track and we are looking after clients’ needs. We often find that clients come to us initially looking for one service (such as social media or telephone answering) but go on to use our wide range of other services including PR, website design and even accounting.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Like any small business owner there have been many challenges along the way. Knowing when to invest and in what has been key. A few years ago we made a major investment in a new website, which proved to be really worthwhile. It made a real difference to our reach online and helped to develop social media as a key referral channel for our business.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
I feel so lucky to have found a real balance between work and family life. Being a mumpreneur means I am in charge of my own time – I can work flexibly around school hours and be there for assembly and netball matches. But I also get to use all the skills I gained in my pre-children career and do something I really enjoy. Networking is a huge part of my role and I have always loved meeting new people. The girls are all really proud of what I do which makes it even more worthwhile.
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment we are particularly excited about our expansion in Scotland, as we have recently appointed a dedicated marketing specialist for this area. Based in Glasgow, Beverley will be working on bringing new clients on board over the next few months. The number of SMEs in Scotland is growing strongly and we are well placed to assist in further growth for these businesses.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. Do your research up front and then just get on with it. If things don’t turn out quite as you thought first time don’t panic – just think about how you could do it differently. Keep evolving until you get it right.
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