Discover more about Natalia and her fulfilling journey with Alchemy VA
Posted on 17th July 2023 at 07:49
We sat down recently to chat with the remarkable Natalia Kalacova who runs her Alchemy Virtual Assistant Franchise Hub in Reading, Berkshire.
Natalia started training with Alchemy VA in early 2022. She is driven by a desire for flexibility - to be able to dedicate more time to her children but to also continue her personal and professional growth whilst working from home utilising her vast skills and varied experience to make impact on her local business community.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF NATALIA...
My name is Natalia and I’m originally from Estonia. For the last 18 years I have lived in the UK, attained my degree in Travel and Tourism, followed by certifying as an ILEX Level 2 Legal Secretary and a CIPD Level 5 in Human Resources Management.
I am married and have 2 children. My daughter is 5 years old, and my son is 18 months old. In my spare time I very much enjoy reading (fiction as well as non-fiction), learning about Human Design, constructing Lego. I also enjoy meditation and yoga.
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE STARTING YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS?
For the last 10 years I have been working in the Hospitality Industry, growing from a telephonist to an Admin Assistant then a HR Manager.
WHY ALCHEMY VA?
After becoming a mum, I desperately needed flexibility in my work and was looking for ways to utilise my skills and experience while working from home and with hours that suit me.
I stumbled upon a book by Alchemy VA's Founder Suzy Sanders “The Alchemy of Virtual Assistance” and the name spoke to me straight away. Everything that Suzy wrote about in the book made so much sense to me, it felt like talking to a friend guiding you toward your dream.
I then researched more about Alchemy VA and attended a webinar about the Virtual Assistant franchise. It was really interesting to listen to success and struggles stories, but at the time, I felt I wasn’t ready to take this step. I actually thought I could do this on my own.
I started researching what starting your own Virtual Assistant business entails and was quickly overwhelmed with all the information and relevant steps to make it all happen.
Only when I had my son, I realised that I need more flexibility to be able to dedicate more time to my children, but also to continue my personal and professional growth. I reached out to Alchemy VA and we scheduled discovery calls to talk through the necessary steps and it just felt right.
Suzy was able to answer all my questions and address any concerns, it was not just me choosing to open a Virtual Assistant Franchise with Alchemy VA, it was also about whether our values aligned. And this is what Alchemy VA is all about – helping you start a successful business and incorporating your values into it. For me it was the business to work around my family.
The Alchemy VA family welcomed me from the start and guided me through all the challenges of staring my own Virtual Assistant business, always being there to support, train, advise and assist. It felt like the business was already there for me just to naturally flow with. It is never about quantity and always about quality.
WHAT DID YOU SET OUT TO ACHIEVE AND GAIN THROUGH YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT FRANCHISE?
For me personally, I was set to do the work I love and enjoy doing at the time that works for me and my family, whilst also growing personally and professionally, learning, and developing new skills and using my previous experience to help other business owners with challenges they face in their business every day. To bring value and much needed time to busy professionals and be their right hand helping them achieve greater results.
TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU FIRST STARTED FINDING CLIENTS...
My first client came through an enquiry via Alchemy VA website, and I am very proud to say that I am still working with them!
I also joined a professional networking group to communicate and share experiences with likeminded businesspeople. I think that was my biggest fear starting out – networking and getting clients. But at my very first visit to a networking group, I was so warmly welcomed and felt very much at ease, because every single person there has been through what I was going through and was extremely helpful and supportive. After getting to know me, they were able to start genuinely referring me and my virtual assistant services to people they knew needed help.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS OF BEING A PART OF THE ALCHEMY VA FRANCHISE FAMILY FROM YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE?
As long as I can remember my life has never been 9 to 5 work, weekend plans with holidays planned a year ahead. It's always been a mixture of shift work with random days off and when I started in a 9-5 position my husband was still in shift work never having days off during the weekend. I was always craving stability until I had children and realised there's nothing better than flexibility.
Having the luxury of choosing when and how to work is not available to everyone... yet. Having this flexibility was the ultimate factor in deciding to start my Virtual Assistant business with Alchemy VA.
My life revolves around everyone's schedules, my husband doesn't have a set schedule and when he gets his monthly rota I plan my work around it, meaning when he is away I either work when children are at school and nursery or am off when the kids are home. In turn when he's off I work, and he looks after the children. I plan around childcare, social commitments, appointments, and most of the time it feels like a juggle, especially trying to fit work calls in child free time, but it is so worth it.
Because after I have planned everything out, I know when I need to focus and work and have the time and space to do it right and when I am fully engaged with my family or even having a little time to myself (because that's also very important).
Being a part of the Alchemy VA Franchise Family provides me with a perfect balance to utilise the skills that I have, bringing real value to my clients and being flexible to fit their needs. Sometimes a client doesn't work set days and hours either, but as long as they know that the task, will be completed in the most efficient way, that's all that matters. I greatly value that trust and I know that I am doing what I love, helping busy overwhelmed businesspeople get more focus, which ultimately leads to more time doing what they love.
My weeks are never the same, even though I have certain weekly commitments, my diary looks like a rainbow with various activities, and I just love when it all fits perfectly together.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE ELEMENTS TO YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS?
Being able to work with clients who are doing amazing work with their business. I always want to help people, assist, and advise them in anyway I can and when my clients are doing the same for their own clients it is incredibly powerful to witness.
It makes me feel like I am part of something bigger and better. It makes me want to be more involved, learn more, so I can assist them more.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS?
My ultimate goal is to grow my business into a successful team of people dedicating their time to assist, advise and develop other successful businesses.
I’m not looking for as many clients as I can get, I’d rather have a handful of clients who trust me, my expertise and who can rely on me and my team to get the work done, so they don’t have to worry about it.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME TO BEFORE YOU STARTED YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS AND OFFER YOURSELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Value yourself, your strengths and your skills – this is where success lies.
To get to know Natalia and learn more about her Virtual Assistant services for entrepreneurs and small enterprising businesses you can get in touch with her directly via
Natalia.firstname.lastname@example.org OR 01183 090472.
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