Image of Virtual assistant Jo Phillips

Managed Virtual Assistant & PA Service – A Business Mum’s Story

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.

The writers assistant

The Writer’s Assistant – A Business that Helps Writer’s Achieve their Dreams

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
Michelle Emerson. I became a mum to Isaac when I was 31 and then to Hannah 17 months later.

What’s your business called?
The Writer’s Assistant

Can you describe it in one sentence?
I give writers the impetus to finish writing their books, the confidence to share them with the big wide world and the motivation to keep on writing.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I started working freelance in 2006 as well as being employed part-time as a PA. During this time I was also studying an Open University English Lit degree and when I graduated in 2012, I knew I wanted to take everything I’d learnt from the world of academia and move away from being a PA.I wanted to continue to use my love of literature, books and all-things-wordy and so I created a job for myself. I’d worked in publishing on and off for 20 years by then and so I started out as a VA for writers and took the brave step of relying solely on self-employment in 2013. Very quickly, and after lots of training in Kindle publishing, my business has become a one-stop publishing support service for indie authors. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to earn an income that supports my family and lets me indulge in my passion for publishing.

How did you fund your start up?
I didn’t have much to fund, really. I already had a PC and because I work virtually, I didn’t need any premises or stock, so I was pretty lucky really. Anything I did need to fund (such as stationery and setting up my website) came from my part-time salary.

How do you manage working around your children?
As the children are now aged 11 and 12, life as a mumpreneur has got significantly easier. I try to stop working when they come home from school and spend some time with them while I make dinner. If I’m particularly busy, I’ll do an extra couple of hours from 6-8pm while they’re getting on with bits of school work or bouncing like maniacs on the trampoline (I’m sure they’ll still be bouncing on there when they’ve left school). Sometimes I have to work weekends, only occasionally, and they’re pretty good at just keeping themselves occupied, particularly when they know I’ve got a deadline to meet.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
Typically, I will walk Hannah to school (she’s in year 6 and really doesn’t need me to work her to school anymore but it’s a routine we both like – and it saves me from working in my PJs most of the day). I’ll get back about 9am (depending on how long I’ve chatted with friends), do a quick tidy round in the kitchen, put some washing on and grab a cuppa. Then I’m off upstairs. First I’ll check emails, make a little list of tasks to do for the day, post on my FB business page and have a mooch around on there to see what’s going on. Then I can spend the rest of the day either writing for my business (blogs, articles, new web pages etc) or writing for my clients. If there isn’t any writing work, you can usually find me proofreading and/or editing a manuscript to get it ready for publishing or I’ll be formatting manuscripts for Createspace and Kindle, writing descriptions and uploading books to Kindle and Createspace for my lovely authors. No two days are ever the same – it’s ace!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges I face is the feast / famine cycle. I’m either completely rushed off my feet, working round the clock or I have little tasks that can be finished in an hour or so. Over the years I’ve learned to handle this much better. Once over, a quiet spell used to have me up in arms but now, I just thank the Universe for giving me a break, get on with doing all the things I never have time to do (like go to the gym, go for walks with friends and catch up on my paperwork) and wait for the next crazy cycle.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Being here for my kids and not having to rely on anyone else to help me. Spending time with them when they come in from school, giving them a kiss and a hug to start their day and knowing that if they need me in an emergency, I’m always here.

What are your plans for the future?
My youngest is off to comp in September and so I’m going to have extra hours in the day. I’m therefore planning on taking my business to the next level with Kindle publishing support, more indie authors, and stepping out as a writing coach. I’ve waited a long time to reach this position and so it’s really exciting for me.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Try and go with the flow of your work cycle. If your client work dries up, keep on marketing, get your name seen everywhere you can online. Get active in social media groups, keep chipping away and your time will come.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Being a mumpreneur is the best. It’s not easy by any stretch but having the flexibility to be here for my children while doing a job I love is pretty awesome 🙂

https://michelleemerson.co.uk
www.twitter.com/thewritersasst

 

 

 

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