Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name’s Tanya Kuhrt and I live in Loughton, Essex. I have a daughter, Lydia who is now 14. I also have two stepsons who are now grown up and in their twenties.
What’s your business called?
How to be a Virtual Assistant
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Award-winning Virtual Assistant, now training PAs to be VAs!
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I became a Mumpreneur in 2012. What inspired me was not being able to get a job! Previous to 2012, the last time I’d been applying for jobs was 2001 and things had changed A LOT! I wanted something well-paid and part-time but I wasn’t getting anywhere so essentially I was forced into the position of finding freelance work – and it grew from there.
How did you fund your start up?
I didn’t really – it was on a shoestring! As I made money bit by bit I invested in things like networking and a website. Luckily I’m not on my own though – I did have help and support from my partner and father to my children, Jason for day to day living costs.
How do you manage working around your children?
Now that Lydia is at “big school” I’m not needed as much as before and she wants a certain amount of independence – but because I work from home I still stop work in the afternoons so we can spend time together, chat about whats happened at school and I can make sure she’s doing her homework! Its great that I’m also around in the morning so we can have breakfast together and I can to take her to the orthodontist or for doctors appointments easily. No more asking for time off because I’m my own boss.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I get up at 7.30, have breakfast with Lydia and then get a wash on before starting work. I’ll try to get at least a couple of hours client work plus a bit of my own admin or marketing in before lunch. Then I’ll often go for a walk or go swimming before heading back home for sandwich and to get on with the rest of the client work I need to do. Some days I’ll have a networking meeting at lunchtime, and sometimes I’ll do a lunchtime live coaching webinar for my students. It’s important to me to get out of the house every day in some form or other. I’ll usually stop for a tea break and a chat with Lydia when she gets back from school and then I’ll usually carry on for a bit before Jason gets home from work around 6. Then that’s it – because I work from home I’m quite strict with drawing a line under work each evening. The exception to this is that once a week I do an evening group coaching webinar for the students on my How to be a Virtual Assistant course.
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
The first year was hard. I found it really difficult to get used to selling myself – confidence was a big issue. There were a few times during that year when I felt I was banging my head against a brick wall in terms of sales and finding clients, and I nearly gave up a few times. But I kept on with it. I think throwing yourself in at the deep end is one of the best ways to overcome any fear. I joined a BNI networking group – this was extreme networking, and then some! I quickly got used to talking about myself and my business – because I had to. Any setbacks I had in my business would send me spiralling into despair at first but in the end I just got up and got on with it. The phrase “If at first you don’t succeed…..” is a cliche but it is so true. If I failed at something I tried, tried and tried again and eventually the strategy paid off.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Flexibility. Independence. Being a great role model for Lydia!
What are your plans for the future?
To develop my Virtual Assistant training business further and provide a range of online courses.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Don’t try and run before you can walk. And start networking as soon as possible because that is the best way to grow your business quickly. Face to face networking if you can, but if you can’t then start networking online.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
If any of your readers are thinking of setting up as a freelance Virtual Assistant, I’d love them to join my Facebook group which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomeaVAintheUK/ for tips, advice and chat about becoming a freelance VA in the UK.
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BecomeaVAintheUK/
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