Tuesday, 8 April 2014
2Inspire Business Profile: Rebecca Newenham of Get Ahead VA
In this 2Inspire Business profile interview we meet Rebecca Newenham, founder of Get Ahead VA, an virtual assistants company. Read her inspirational interview, highlighting her business journey and accomplishments in the world of business.
Please tell us what is a typical business day for you?
My day starts with walking my 3 daughters Isabelle 12, Aimee 10 and Robyn 8 to school. I love the fact that running my own business gives me the flexibility to be able to do it. Then it’s usually off to either networking or client meetings. Meeting people is a massive part of my job so it’s a good job I enjoy it! I sometimes travel up to London as we are currently expanding our business there. My mobile phone ensures I can keep working – even on the train. I’m a bit of a social media addict!
What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I always knew that I wanted to run my own business. My mother ran a tutorial business from home when I was growing up and was a great role model for me. I wanted to give my girls the continuity of me being able to do school drop off and pick up but I also wanted to contribute financially. I started to hear about the term virtual assistant more and more, it evolved in the US. I researched various courses and found one run by 2 hugely successful UK based VAs. The course ran over one day and it was fantastic as it ran through everything you would need for a home office right through to documentation and types of work we could do. With my background and contacts I had a clear vision for how I could create a team and service a broad range of customer requirements. I didn’t want to be a sole trader and always knew I would grow the business and give work opportunities to fellow mothers.
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
We have been lucky enough to be recognised in several awards including being voted 2nd most loved VA business in the UK through 'the best of' business directory and being selected as a finalist in last year’s MumpreneurUK awards, as well as being a finalist in this year’s Networking Mummies awards.
On a personal level, a real highpoint for me was last year’s Christmas lunch. Seeing the team together and hearing them all talking passionately about our clients and also the huge benefits of being part of our team made it all worthwhile. The majority of our VAs have children and I know how much they value being able to work from home, flexibly around their families.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Running your own business from home is definitely a challenge but since moving into my garden office I have found it easier to set boundaries. Technology makes it a lot easier to manage your time but you have to be disciplined. At one stage I would wake up and check my emails before even putting on the kettle. This was crazy but an easy habit to get into!
What are your future plans for the business?
I want to continue to grow the team, giving more mothers flexible and interesting work and to be famous for playing a part in helping small business owners to deliver their dreams. I want to extend our geographic coverage and look at introducing area manager levels within the business.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Do it sooner!
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
My mother was an inspiration to me and I was so lucky that she encouraged me to follow my dreams of running my own business. I hope to provide the same inspiration to my three daughters and to all the other mothers who work in my team. I think women can feel that having a family can limit their career choices but our business is proof that there are real, flexible solutions out there that can benefit both women and clients alike.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Make sure you really consider what your customers want and then deliver upon it. I pride myself on being a fantastic match maker. I understand our varied customers’ requirements and then make the right connections between them and our VAs. I have also been lucky to benefit from a fantastic business coach and would strongly recommend working with one if you can. My coach constantly challenges me to ensure I am doing the right things to continue to develop and grow my business.
What or who inspires you in business and why?
My mother has to be my biggest inspiration in business. If it weren’t for her example when I was growing up I don’t think I would have had the confidence to start my own business when I did.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
“What will be will be!” It allows me to not be afraid to make mistakes but to continually evolve and learn along the journey.
Website address: www.getaheadva.com
Twitter address: @GetAheadVA