Get Ahead VA Blog

A Soundtrack for Work

The benefits of freelancing or running a business from home are numerous, and worthy of a blog post of their own.  However, for many freelancers and business owners, there are two key challenges that come with working alone in the same space in which they live.  The first is the loneliness and isolation that comes with working solo, and the other is making the separation between home and work when they’re both conducted under the same roof.

The sound of loneliness can be deafening



If you’re someone who thrives on spending time with others, the absence of sound other than the ticking of a clock can have you counting down the minutes until the grocery delivery arrives for a brief moment of human interaction.  Also, for me, having lived with severe tinnitus for as long as I can remember, being anywhere without background noise means all I hear is the intense ringing in my ears, so I’ll do anything to fill the void of silence.


5 Halloween marketing ideas for your business

‘Tis the season of ghosts, ghouls and all things ghastly. That’s right, Halloween is just around the corner (31st October) and many of us are already getting ready for the spooky celebrations.

No wonder, then, that Halloween is big business in the UK. In 2016, consumers spent around £310 million on Halloween goodies: mainly sweets and fancy dress. But Halloween isn’t just a good business opportunity for confectionary and clothing shops; anybody can take part in the celebrations.

If you want to get involved in Halloween this year, here are 5 marketing ideas you can use, whatever your business.


4 apps for scheduling social media posts

Managing your business’ social media can be a full-time job. If you want to stay on trend, connect with your audience and post regularly, you could easily spend all day doing it – never mind running your business!

This is where scheduling comes in. Rather than creating posts as you need them, there are apps that will let you schedule your posts ahead of time. This means you can create a batch of posts and release them when the time is right – even during unsociable hours.

To help you get started, here are 4 of the best apps for scheduling social media posts, and some advice about the best times to post your content.


Is print marketing still relevant?

October 9th is World Post Day, a global celebration of the postal service, designed to “raise awareness of the Post’s role in the everyday lives of people and businesses, as well as its contribution to global social and economic development.” But in our increasingly online world, it can seem like print and postal marketing (e.g. leaflets, flyers, newspaper ads) has had its day.

So is there still a place for print marketing? According to many, the answer is yes. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that print is not only still relevant, but an important part of modern business.


Get Ahead VA wins Highly Commended Enlightened Employer

Get Ahead VA is jumping for joy, because at last week’s Women in Business Awards we were Highly Commended in the Enlightened Employer category!

The Women in Business Awards are a celebration of businesswomen in the Thames Valley, Solent and South Coast regions of the UK. The awards are given to women who have made an important contribution to their organisations, at all levels, and Get Ahead VA was thrilled to be nominated for two awards this year.

The ‘Enlightened Employer – supporting women in the workplace’ award is given to companies “that have shown exceptional commitment to gender equality in the workplace.” This includes all areas of business, from recruitment to employee development, “or any other ways of creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture which enables women to excel.”


Service Spotlight: Copywriting

Service Spotlight: Copywriting

Get Ahead VA offers a wide range of business and marketing services. In our Service Spotlight we take a closer look at one of these, and show you how our virtual assistants can help you and your business. This month we’re looking at copywriting.

What is copywriting?

The term ‘copywriting’ covers all sorts of jobs related to the production of written materials (i.e. copy). From blogs to adverts to newsletters to websites, if it involves putting words together for a particular purpose – to sell, to engage, to educate – then a copywriter can usually do it! Depending on the copywriter, they may also do other related work, including researching, editing, proofreading, planning campaigns and managing projects.

Copywriting is hugely important for all businesses, big or small, because having good, well-written copy can help you grow your audience, sell your products and do well in online search rankings. For example, research by HubSpot has revealed that companies who published 16 or more blog posts a month got nearly 3.5 times more traffic to their website than companies that didn’t blog at all.


How to strike a good work–life balance

This week is National Work Life Week, a campaign run by the UK charity Working Families to “give employers the chance to showcase how they provide work life balance for their staff.”

Finding a good work–life balance can be difficult, especially in the UK, where a culture of long working hours often tips the scales in favour of ‘work’. Research by Eurostat has revealed the UK has on average the longest working week for full-time workers compared to the rest of Europe, at around 41 hours per week. Evidence has shown that a skewed work–life balance can be unhealthy, leading to stress, burnout and physical health issues.

So how can we redress the balance and make sure that we get enough time for ourselves? Here are four things you can do to help find that all-important work–life balance.


8 tips for productivity

We’re back with another Top 8 list to celebrate Get Ahead VA’s 8th birthday, and this time we’re talking productivity! If you’ve ever wondered how you can get more done in the day without feeling overwhelmed, here are 8 useful tips from Senior Virtual Assistant Melanie McDowell.

  1. Schedule your days

Forget about writing to-do lists – they’re always too long and you never get to the bottom of them. Instead, I prefer to schedule every day, or even better, write out my next day’s schedule the night before I go to bed. Attaching a specific time to each task helps you keep on track and avoid distraction. Don’t forget to schedule in down-time, and time for travel between locations. When you first start scheduling, you might find that you put far too much into one day, so scale it back to what you can realistically achieve. I used to beat myself up for not ticking lots of things off my list, but it’s tremendously rewarding to see what you can actually get through in a day.


8 apps to help you nail your business finances

Managing your accounts can be the most daunting part of running a business. Fortunately, there are lots of apps out there that can make crunching the numbers a breeze. So, to celebrate Get Ahead VA’s 8th birthday, we’re bringing you 8 apps to help you nail your business finances, as recommended by our team of virtual assistants!

  1. QuickBooks

QuickBooks is one of the most popular apps around for managing business finances. There are two versions of the app. QuickBooks Self-Employed includes everything you’ll need as a sole trader, including invoicing, mileage tracking and tax estimations. QuickBooks Small Business offers all that, as well as VAT calculation, payroll, and employee time tracking. You can even invite your accountant to collaborate on the app with you!

  1. HMRC

Did you know that the government offers an official HMRC app that covers everything to do with your tax return? You can use it to check your tax code and National Insurance number, renew your tax credits, calculate the tax you owe, and keep track of any communications you’ve had with the HMRC. Even better, the app is free!


8 reasons our clients love us

In the month of Get Ahead VA’s 8th birthday, we’d like to celebrate by looking back at some of the lovely things our clients have said about us over the years. We pride ourselves on doing good work for all our clients, and when they’re happy we love to hear about it! So here are 8 quotes from our clients about why they love Get Ahead VA.

“Working with Get Ahead VA has been a godsend. I simply did not have the budget to hire a part-time dedicated person to focus on my social media needs, or the time to manage them. My VA designed a social media strategy for me. Social media marketing is now an effective part of our business strategy, thanks to Get Ahead VA.”
—Martha, FabLittleBag

“The great thing about Get Ahead VA is that they are an extension of your team. With the fluctuating demands on human resources which are typical of start-ups, we prefer to invest in staff who align with our core business, and outsourcing everything else is a great idea. We are making good progress and that is proof of the great partnership we have with Get Ahead VA.”