NEWS - Discover the start of Laura’s incredible journey with Alchemy VA
Posted on 28th March 2022 at 20:56
Laura Barley achieved her two-year Virtual Assistant business plan in just six months!
We sat down recently to chat with Laura who runs her Alchemy Virtual Assistant Franchise Hub from the outskirts of Glasgow...
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF LAURA...
I’m Laura! I am “in my forties”, I live just south of Glasgow with my lively 7 year old son and even livelier 1 year old pup.
I started my Alchemy Virtual Assistance journey in the summer of 2021, launching my business in September of that year. I cannot believe it has only been 6 months since my business launched! I have done, learned and achieved so much since then…
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE STARTING YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS?
I was a police officer for 11 years, but due to a huge, sudden change in my personal circumstances I could no longer fully commit to the role. I did several jobs after that, seeking the flexibility I required for my family.
I have always been an organised and proactive person. I am generally ‘the organiser’ in my various groups of friends. I have a wealth of previous experience that I knew would be valuable, transferable and a chance conversation with a friend reminded me about the Virtual Assistant industry. She knew that I’d looked into becoming a VA a while before but until then I hadn’t given it any real focus, more thought than action. It seemed like a distant dream to have my own Virtual Assistant business.
But the time was as close to right as it was ever going to be so that conversation led me to explore several avenues. I remember feeling rather unsure of how to start and what to do for the best. There were so many things to understand and so much to do.
WHY ALCHEMY VA?
The day that I spoke to Suzy was a big turning point in my search for more freedom and fulfilment. I instantly felt a connection with her and we chatted for ages! I knew then that an Alchemy VA franchise was the right opportunity for me.
The thoroughness of the franchise selection process gave me confidence and peace of mind. It was helpful to have the support but also the space for both me and Alchemy to make sure that this was going to be a successful venture for me.
I know just how much Alchemy commits and gives to the success and growth of their franchise family and honestly, I haven’t looked back. My only regret is that I wish I had found Alchemy VA years ago!
It was easy to put my faith in Suzy and Alchemy. Not only are the procedures and methods tried and tested, and a proven success, the support network is incredible too.
I recall being so impressed when I saw the training schedule and all the resources that were available to me! I have worked with much larger companies who didn’t have anywhere near such a wealth of information and tools. Starting your own business is scary and a bit of a minefield, it is very comforting to know that everything is all in place for me to utilise and refer to.
WHAT DID YOU SET OUT TO ACHIEVE AND GAIN THROUGH YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT FRANCHISE?
I didn’t set myself specific time-defined goals when I started my business. I discussed the Franchise Progress Pathway with Suzy, but being entirely honest, initially I was more focused on just earning enough to pay the bills. Being the sole income provider in my household, that was my top priority.
The higher rungs on this unique to Alchemy business development framework seemed very out of reach.
Before I was awarded my franchise, I had planned and projected to achieve the higher levels on my Progress Pathway towards the end of year one and into year two. As it seemed so distant, I only fleetingly thought about it.
Little did I know then that my Virtual Assistant business would turn over more that my previous annual salary in less than five months!
TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU FIRST STARTED FINDING CLIENTS...
This was my main concern. How to find clients! But I needn’t have worried. It was all covered in my initial training. The proven, practical strategies and the mindset behind it all.
Suzy gave me my first client, who is fantastic, before my franchise even launched! Welcoming my first client so soon was such a great way to really put into action what I’d learned in my pre-launch training. It was such a great contract it gave me the confidence and income to leave my permanent job and focus entirely on my Alchemy VA business.
I had planned on a slow transition away from my employed role for financial reasons, but it wasn’t long before clients 2 and 3 came along. It was exhilarating being able to do this in such a short space of time and making my new business schedule fit around my home life too. I still struggle to believe that I have now achieved Executive Franchise Hub Manager level, in only my 7th month of business.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS OF BEING A PART OF THE ALCHEMY VA FRANCHISE FAMILY FROM YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE?
It's not only financially I am reaping the benefits of being part of the Alchemy VA family. I hoped for a better work/life balance and being able to be there for my son when needed. I have certainly achieved both of these things.
It’s not been easy. There’s no doubt that I’ve put the work and hours in. But I can largely schedule that work to suit me and I truly enjoy what I do! So, it’s definitely not a chore, or a sacrifice and I have never minded working in the evenings if needs must.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE ELEMENTS TO YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS?
There are so many things I love about my Virtual Assistant Business! But I think I have 3 favourites…
Firstly, definitely the people I have the absolute pleasure of working with on a daily basis. I see what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ in my clients’ businesses and am in awe of what they achieve, often with so many constraints.
The supportive, appreciative, and respectful way my clients treat me is wonderful and without doubt aids my satisfaction and happiness.
Second on my list of favourites is the help I can provide to businesses, offering solutions to make processes more streamlined and efficient. My VA Franchise Hub supports a diverse range of businesses, and I can honestly say that I have learned so much from every single one of them.
I can use this knowledge, coupled with my own experience, to truly make a difference to my clients. I often receive feedback regarding the support I provide - offering value and giving them time to work on other aspects of their business – all of which I find highly motivating.
My last, but certainly not least, favourite aspect of my business is my new Alchemy family. Alchemy is very much a family business – Suzy and Paul welcomed me on day one and made me feel like I had known them forever.
My fellow franchise hub managers consistently inspire me and I love our weekly virtual gatherings. I am so excited for the relationships we are building, and for my first in person, whole family gathering this summer!
Starting my own business was a big step, but with the support of Alchemy VA it wasn’t a scary one.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT BUSINESS?
My hope for the future is to continue supporting my fabulous existing clients!
Now that I’ve recouped my initial franchise investment I can continue to invest in and further develop my Alchemy VA business.
High on my agenda for the next 12 months is to support even more wonderful clients and recruit more Virtual Assistants to support me - providing them with flexible, fulfilling careers too.
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?
The one piece of advice I would give myself is to know my worth.
To get to know Laura and learn more about her Virtual Assistant services for entrepreneurs and small enterprising businesses you can get in touch with her directly via
Laura.Barley@alchemyva.co.uk OR 0141 2801915.
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