NEWS - Why a Virtual Assistant Franchise
Posted on 16th May 2021 at 19:45
Why a Virtual Assistant Franchise?
Our Founder Suzy shares her thought process and reasons behind choosing to franchise Alchemy Virtual Assistance as she reflects on her entrepreneurial journey.
Written by: Suzy Sanders
This entrepreneurial mountain climb began like many others…
I always knew I wanted to build a meaningful business with real impact. After deeply exploring all my options, the franchise route was the one that best aligned to both my business growth aspirations as well as my personal values and company ethos.
I started Alchemy Virtual Assistance because I was seeking what many entrepreneurs seek - flexibility, freedom and fulfillment. I view starting my Virtual Assistant business a bit like a warmup hike, although, it very rarely felt like a warmup.
At times, it felt like I’d set out straight on the mountain in my flip flops with very little protection or gear!
In the early days I was seeking flexibility, freedom and fulfillment for myself but, an underlying desire to help inspire and facilitate them for others too ran deep. As my business grew and evolved, so did my goal. Most entrepreneurs I have had the pleasure of meeting share this deep-rooted purpose.
Success is so subjective, so personal and, in my experience, isn’t always just about making money.
We were already running a profitable business. Our turnover and client base had been steadily increasing and our profit started to take a planned and considered drop as we continued to invest more back into our franchise model. Our first franchisee became truly profitable within a few months, recouping her initial investment in the Alchemy VA franchise. An incredible achievement considering that she started her Alchemy VA business three months before the covid-19 pandemic hit and the globe went into lockdown.
In these strange and uncertain times, I have learned a lot.
Most significantly, I’ve witnessed the robust and scalable nature of the Alchemy VA model. The resilience, drive and ambition from our enterprising and entrepreneurial clients and franchisees has been incredibly empowering and inspiring.
And as the illusion of the traditional ‘safe, secure job’ has started to crumble for many, more and more people are seeking out ways to create their own self-employed path in innovative and rebellious ways.
I do not mean to belittle or diminish the sheer devastation and heartbreak of recent months when I say this but, it is an exciting time to be in business. Through the chaos and uncertainty, I wholeheartedly believe that there is a lot of opportunity and it’s the smaller, leaner, more innovative business models that they will accelerate and thrive.
Not having the constraints of a large employed workforce, the onerous task of mass shifting corporate cultures, or the heavy expense required to innovate at scale and adapt at breakneck speed.
Beyond the wider economic challenges, from the many challenges I have overcome franchising Alchemy VA, three key areas stand out:
1. Research and development
2. Attraction and recruitment
3. Navigating the whole transition in a healthy, productive and profitable way
By both defining clear, strategic goals and allocating as much time and resource as practically possible where the first obvious steps. I have found striking the balance between ready, good enough. Being prepared and thorough yet still being fluid enough to allow for growth, change and evolution has been a difficult one to master.
It’s been a steep, turbulent climb.
The view from here is beautiful and humbling, but I know there’s still a long way to go to the summit and then, there’s the decent - often the most dangerous and perilous part. Isn’t it funny how it’s also the part that we often don’t plan for quite as much?
The ascent has been worthwhile on so many levels. Personally, being in a position to be able to inspire, empower and support others is what makes it ALL worthwhile. It’s a place of great responsibility yes, but also great privilege.
Commercially, we’ve grown our geographic reach and presence. We’ve expanded our skills and capacity in a sustainable yet impactful way. This growth also in turn means we’ve been able to make a lasting and positive impact to more people, both franchisees and our clients.
This was always my ambition.
As a team, and we very much are a team. Yes, we’re all self-employed, running our own businesses but we are in it together.
Success is personal yet collective, we are all stronger together.
At Alchemy we all have the opportunity to make the most of our talents. For franchisees it’s the support and confidence gained from having an established brand and business that allows them to really focus on what they what to do.
Knowing that there is an overarching force driving continual development and strategy. There’s real power in the collective knowledge, insights, experience and opportunities. And of course, all of this is channelled to our clients. After all, they are the ones that make all of this possible and purposeful.
But, and there is always a but, at what cost? The risks of franchising my business have always been clear, real and potentially devastating both personally and professionally. My three main concerns when I started my franchise journey were:
1. Protecting the brand and business
2. Welcoming the right people
3. Maintaining our exceptionally high standards and quality of service
I’ve poured the very essence of my being into Alchemy VA. It’s my baby and I feel a primal fierceness to protect it. Leaving myself or the business vulnerable in anyway was simply not an option.
I’m certainly not at the end of my journey, in many ways this is just the beginning. Besides, I don’t think you ever really ‘arrive’. As an entrepreneur, you always keep moving. But I certainly wouldn’t have got this far without my trusted support network. My husband (and Business Partner) Paul in particular, but also the Alchemy VA team. Their courage, unwavering belief, infectious positivity, passion and resilience is what keeps me clearly focused on driving us all forward.
If I could travel back in time and give myself some advice before I started this particular part of my entrepreneurial journey, it would be this...
1. Be courageous
2. Follow your instincts being sure to validate them
3. Recruit franchisees who you think would be better than you
4. Don’t worry about the people who don’t understand or celebrate your achievements, they won’t stick around long and if they do, they’ll probably sling mud at you.
Lastly, I will always remember that when people say that it can’t be done...
It’s an expression of their limitations not yours.
Read more about starting and growing a successful Virtual Assistant business in Suzy’s book: The Alchemy of Virtual Assistance.
Or to discover more about our Virtual Assistant franchise opportunities please get in touch with the Alchemy VA team.
This article first appeared in Business Digest Magazine in January 2021
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