Holly responded to my request for small business owners to showcase themselves and their businesses on my blog to provide insight, advice and inspiration for others who are starting up/thinking of starting up their own small businesses – including me!
The idea originally formed because I was fascinated by people’s stories and reasons for setting up their own businesses and I wanted to learn as much as I could in order to educate myself for the benefit of my own business.
I wanted to find a way to ask the questions I wanted the answers to but I realised that if I was interested surely others were interested in the answers too! In addition, I wanted the businesses willing to share their stories to get something in return so I devised the ‘Small Business Showcase’ blog series which will give each small business featured promotion across social media. Win-win for everyone!
The same 10 questions were posed to all small businesses via questionnaire – here are Holly’s replies:
1) How would you summarise the service(s)/product(s) your business offers?
I’m a Virtual Assistant who provides professional and personal PA support to Senior Executives, enabling them to focus on what they do best and relieving them of time-consuming tasks.
2) How long have you been a small business owner?
Almost two months – I officially launched in July.
3) What inspired you to set up your business?
I’ve always wanted to run my own business but had no clue in what capacity. One day I read an article that mentioned Virtual Assistant work and the penny dropped that I didn’t need a new career, I just needed a different approach to the one I already had.
The catalyst for change was having my daughter four years ago and returning to work when she was six months old. I promised myself by the time she started school I would have a more flexible role and I’m happy to report she started school last week.
4) What platforms/strategies do you use to promote your business?
I’ve focused on increasing engagement through LinkedIn and I try to post regularly on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve also started a blog which so far has been used to detail my business journey. I have my first few face-to-face networking meetings scheduled for this month so I’m really looking forward to some ‘real-life’ interaction.
5) What do you consider your greatest business achievement so far?
Gaining four regular clients in just over a month in business.
6) What do you consider your greatest business challenges?
Finding the time to work ON my business, not just IN it. With client work taking precedence, it’s easy to neglect things like my own accounting or marketing but my business won’t survive without me prioritising them (until, of course, I can afford to hire my own VA!).
7) What resources/training have been most beneficial to your business so far?
I completed the DIY VA course from The VA Handbook and am now a member of Joanne Munro’s All Stars membership group which provides fantastic training and support to other like-minded VA business owners.
8) What advice would you give to anyone thinking of starting their own business?
Really do your research before you jump in. Running your own business can be so rewarding but it is also a HUGE commitment and you need more determination than you ever imagined, thick skin and an incredible work ethic. Make sure you build a great support network, not just of family and friends but other business owners too.
9) What are your future plans for your business?
To extend the range of services I can offer by continuing to develop my own skills and growing my team.
10) Are there any other small businesses you would like to give a shout out to who have been an inspiration/support to you?
I love all the branding that Vicki Nicolson designed for me – she is fantastic. Since getting more involved with LinkedIn I’ve picked up some great tips and come across really useful advice from John Espirian, Janine Capaldi and Lyndsay Cambridge.