Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Jo Phillips, and I have two girls. Elise is 17, and Jessica is 3.5. I became a mum in 1999 and 2013.
What’s your business called?
Managed Virtual Assistant & PA Service
Can you describe it in one sentence?
As a virtual assistant I offer business support to sole traders, small businesses and individuals both virtually and on-site.
When did you become a Virtual Assistant and what inspired you?
I was working for a big company here in Coventry when I restudied to become a hypnotherapist. I handed in my notice and during the last week of my notice we found out we were having a baby ( it was a shock, to say the least). I had to rethink my plan and so I decided to become a Virtual Assistant. I have over ten years administrative experience having managed a Commercial Director and an Investment Director for nearly six years.
How did you fund your start up?
I just threw myself into it. Luckily there was not a lot outgoing, and I have a very supportive husband!
How do you manage to work with your children?
Jessica goes to nursery thee days a week, and on the Tuesday and Thursday, I concentrate on tasks that can be completed with her around. I like to spend a little time in the evenings when hubby is home to get on or catch up.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I currently manage seven clients on an ongoing basis. Each client is different, and their workload is also varied. Many of the tasks that I complete can be auto-scheduled or have a particular time frame to complete. I normally start my day by checking emails, both mine and clients. I then delegate the priority management tasks. I use Asana to organise tasks and schedule social media for the day. I then contact a client’s customers to set appointments and handle his diary. I normally have a blog or e-book to write, and then I wait to see how the rest of the day will pan out. Most of my clients have their workload scheduled in advance which leaves me with time to tackle anything that drops in throughout the day.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Initially, my first concern was how to find clients. Once the first one came on board, it was relatively easy forward. The main challenge earlier this year was an unpaid bill, that is not a nice process to go through, but it was dealt with. Being self-employed can be difficult because you don’t know some months where the next client is coming from but if you can forecast ahead, you can cover the quiet periods.
What’s the best thing about being virtual assistant?
Spending time with my family and knowing that I am in control of my day. If I want to take a morning off or pop ou somewhere, then I can. I love being flexible and available for my three-year-old.
What are your plans for the future?
I am hoping to expand in the next two years and offer a training system for school leavers thaare less academic than usual. I would like to take on a small office and train them into someone they can be proud of and where they can eventually set up their own business, confidently.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Keep at it. It is so easy just to throw the towel in and when you think it is all bleak the next opportunity will come along. Make sure you have a plan in place and forecast for the tough times.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
If you are thinking about becoming self-employed then why not try it, make sure that you have your finances in place to cover for the first few months and go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? You’d have to go back to work. Be prepared and have a plan and take the leap.
Wondering if a Virtual Assistant business might be right for you? Our course Business for Mums: Finding the right idea for you, could help.