Rebecca Newenham – Get Ahead VA
We caught up with Rebecca from Get Ahead VA who tells us her business success story of how she started her own business as a Virtual Assistant.
If you could first of all introduce yourself…
After graduating from university with a Business Studies degree I worked in London in corporate buying for retail giants such as Superdrug and Sainsburys – where I met my husband who is an IT director. We moved out to Guildford, Surrey just before our first child was born and now live in Guildford with our 3 daughters who are 13, 11 and 9.
What is your business called and when did you start it?
I started Get Ahead VA in 2010 after recognising a gap in the market for virtual assistance (VA) services that offered the flexibility, value and performance that small businesses and start-ups need in the 21st century, digital economy. We take on the tasks they don’t have time to do, the skills to do or simply don’t want to do – enabling them to get back to what they do best – growing and running their businesses.
How did you come to start your company?
I took a career break after my first daughter and it gave me time to think about what kind of work I wanted to do. After having two more daughters I was well practised at multi-tasking! I researched various options and decided that setting up my own virtual assistance business was the best solution.
Why did you feel that starting your own business was the best option for you?
My mother ran her own business when I was growing up and was a great example to me. Just as she did, I wanted to do something flexible that meant I could contribute to the family financially, as well as being there for school drop offs and pick-ups.
Did you have any previous experience of running a business?
My corporate buying career had given me lots of great contacts and a sound basic understanding of business.
Tell me a bit more about the services Get Ahead VA offer
Through our team of highly experienced VAs we support a wide range of entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses in key business areas including social media, email marketing and PR as well as telephone answering, administration and holiday cover. We are a one stop shop for small business support needs and provide a flexible, cost effective resource on an hourly, project or ongoing basis.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge you have faced?
There have been many challenges but certainly knowing what to invest in and when has been key. For example, in 2013 we invested in a completely new website which really improved our online presence and developed social media as a key referral channel for our business.
What have been the best and worst things that have happened since you’ve been in business?
The best thing was winning the Mum and Working Flexible Business of the Year award in 2014. It was great to see our commitment to flexible working practises recognised by such prestigious national business awards.
The worst thing was losing one of our VAs when she accepted a job working for someone else. She had been a huge asset to the business and a consistent revenue stream which I had to replace.
How do you fit in running your business with your family?
I was lucky that by the time I started the business all three girls were at school which gave me a good amount of time to dedicate to building the business. Of course half terms and holidays are a challenge but I am lucky to have a great team of assistants around me who can pick things up when needed.
What 3 words would you use to describe your ‘business self’?
Passionate, consistent, challenging
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
My favourite quote is ‘what will be will be’. I accept that we might not get everything right first time – but it is all part of the journey and all worth it!
Who do you look up to business wise? Do you have a business idol/mentor?
My mother was my biggest business idol and I also work with a business mentor who is great and listening and making sure I keep myself on track. I am a fan of TV shows like The Apprentice and Dragons Den. There are some great business people like Karen Brady that we can all learn from. I admire their commitment and determination.
If you could go back in time, would you change anything?
No. Making mistakes is all part of the journey and part of learning. The only thing I think I would change is I would have started the business sooner, if I had known it would so be so successful.
And finally where can we find you?
To find out about how to work with Get Ahead VA, visit www.getaheadva.com/jobs
Would you like your success story to feature here? Get in touch!