Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
I’m Louise Mackie, I am married to Andrew and we live in North Wales. We have two children age 7 and 3 – Alex was born in September 2009 and Hannah came along in September 2013.
What’s your business called?
My business is a Virtual Assistant (VA) business and is, quite simply, Louise Mackie Virtual Assistant.
Can you describe it in one sentence?
I provide hourly admin / customer service / social media support to small and medium sized businesses on a self employed basis.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
After a tough period in work last year I found myself looking for a career change. I wanted something that would completely fit in around my children, something that allowed me to be at the school gates every day, be able to spend most of the school holidays with them, to always be there for them when they are sick without feeling guilty about work and for every school play and sports day. I got introduced to the VA world by a friend and found that not only did it do everything that I needed to do, I also knew that because of my past work experience and skills it was something that I would really enjoy doing and be quite good at it too!
How did you fund your start up?
Starting a VA business doesn’t really involve a lot of start up costs – a laptop and internet are all that is needed to start a VA business. I did however invest in a training course with the Virtual Assistant Coaching and Training Company which I have recently graduated from. I funded this myself, it was such a great investment to help me plan and develop my business.
How do you manage working around your children?
The clients that I work with are all flexible (a priority to me when taking on new clients) and the work that I do means that it doesn’t have to be done at a certain time of day and therefore I generally work when the children are in school / childcare and in the evenings when they are in bed. Emails can be sent at any time and social media posts can be scheduled in advance. There will be exceptions when clients need phone calls making on their behalf but this can be pre-arranged and isn’t something I generally have to worry about on a daily basis.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
A typical ‘VA day’ involves checking clients inboxes, keeping track of the tasks I am required to do for each client and actioning them and new ones and responding to customer queries on behalf of the client. Once the client work is complete I spend time on my own business – writing blogs and sharing articles that are useful to my clients. Being ‘present’ on social media and building relationships. It’s important that potential clients ‘know, like and trust’ me so developing relationships is an important part of my business.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
So far I have been very lucky and have worked with some lovely clients and haven’t faced any real challenges as yet. I think this is down to two things, firstly, completing my training course as it has prepared me for all sorts of situations and I have been able to put action plans in place for potential issues – for example when my IT or internet fails or dealing with and managing difficult clients. Secondly I put this down to building relationships with my clients before they become clients. This means that we really understand each other and are on the same level when we embark on a working relationship.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Being able to plan my working hours around the needs of my children and showing my children that they can achieve anything that they set their minds too.
What are your plans for the future?
My immediate plans are to grow my business as I only launched in January. My aim for my business is to grow it to a point that I am at capacity and I will then tak on another VA as an associate. Associate roles are really useful to new VA’s so I would love to be able to support a new VA in the same way that I have been supported.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Plan plan plan! Really take time to sit down and think exactly what you want for your business and your ideal clients / customers. Set yourself goals that are realistic and achievable – 90 day goals, annual goals, 5 year goals and 10 year goals.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
If you are starting out in business and looking to grow your client / customer base – don’t underestimate the power of social media!!! It is amazing how many people you can reach with a post telling people about your business and even more so if it contains an image or a video!
Facebook – louisemackieva
Twitter – @LMVirtualAssist
LinkedIn – louisemackievirtualassistant