Happy birthday, Get Ahead VA Berkshire and North Hampshire!

As you know, Get Ahead VA never misses a chance for a party! This month, we’re celebrating the first birthday of our Berkshire and North Hampshire franchise, ably directed by Suzanne Cox and Kristy Roff. In this blog, we look back on their busy first year, and look ahead to a growing business.

Kristy and Suzanne met at a mother and baby group nearly twelve years ago and have been friends ever since, supporting and coaching each other in their careers too. Suzanne had been working as an independent VA, while Kristy was in the corporate world of IT. Both feeling they had more to offer, they decided to team up – when the GAVA Reading franchise became available, they felt it was too good an opportunity to miss.

The first thing to do was to expand the operational area, and they quickly renamed the franchise Get Ahead VA Berkshire and North Hampshire. They admit it’s a bit of a mouthful (!) but it has helped them widen their catchment, connecting with businesses in Newbury and Basingstoke too.

The next step was supposed to be developing marketing strategies and creating templates for contracts, but the needs of the local businesses didn’t give them time! Suzanne and Kristy came back from their first networking meeting with two proposals to write, proving there was a real need for virtual assistant services in their area. Suzanne transferred some of her existing clients over to Get Ahead VA, and Kristy’s former employer was keen to continue using her expertise. The two friends found themselves with a solid base of clients.

After a strong start, they’ve stayed busy. Their clients range from business growth agencies to holistic healers, and everything in between. An outlook that all the clients share, unsurprisingly, is trust in the outsourcing process – they all know that outsourcing gives them time to focus on their core business. For Kristy and Suzanne, offering a variety of flexible services is crucial. Fortunately, the nationwide Get Ahead VAs were available from the outset, to bolster their own evolving team.

GAVA Berkshire’s flagship project to date was when Suzanne was asked to deliver all the elements of an international conference in Hong Kong, which she did, in spite of political riots forcing a last-minute venue change. You couldn’t make it up, could you?

Looking ahead, Kristy and Suzanne continue to grow their business further, adding more VAs to their team to ensure they can address as many business needs as Berkshire and North Hampshire require. They also plan to define their own roles more clearly to improve efficiency.

Become a franchisee

Investing in a Get Ahead VA franchise has been a great career move for Suzanne and Kristy. Running a franchise between two people has proved very successful – they’re proud to report they are as good friends now as they were a year ago! To find out more about becoming a Get Ahead VA franchisee, either on your own or with a friend, get in touch on 01483 332220 or visit our franchise page.

How to do CPD from home

Keeping up with your continuing professional development (CPD) can be tricky at the best of times, and chances are that the stresses of lockdown have not made this easier over the past few months. But if you’re feeling up to it, you might find that doing some CPD from home could be beneficial for you and your business.

Of course, you shouldn’t put any pressure on yourself to be productive during this time. Lockdown is hugely stressful for all sorts of reasons, and there’s no need to add to your mental load unnecessarily. It’s essential that you take care of yourself first and give yourself a break if you need it!

However, if you do feel up to the challenge, you may find working on your CPD really valuable. Perhaps you don’t have as much to do right now and you’re in need of a distraction or something to give structure to your days. Or maybe you’re keen to feel that you’re still making progress with your business, even if your normal workload has changed. Whatever inspires you, here is our guide to doing CPD from home.

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Protect your back health while working at home

Lockdown has forced thousands of people to start working from home, and for many of us this has meant swapping the desk and office chair for a corner of the kitchen table or a spot on the sofa. But if you’re finding that your new working situation is taking its toll on your back, you’re not alone – a poor home office setup can cause all kinds of discomfort and back pain.

Since it looks like we’ll be in lockdown for some time to come, it’s important to start looking after your back now, to prevent bigger problems down the line. So, here are 4 key ways you can protect your back health while working from home!

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Meet the VA: Katy Taylor

Here at Get Ahead VA our people are everything. Our ever growing team has a wide range of highly skilled professionals with different backgrounds, expertise and even different personalities to ensure that we can find exactly the right VA to match our customers’ requirements.

Here’s 60 seconds with our VA Katy:

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The ultimate guide to online fun – for kids!

A few weeks ago we brought you our ultimate guide to online entertainment, to help you beat the boredom during lockdown. Today we’re back with a new edition – for kids!

The latest government announcement made some changes to the UK’s state of lockdown, including allowing for more time spent outdoors. However, schools remain closed and many people are still working from home, meaning that parents continue to face a big challenge: how to keep children entertained.

If you’re running out of ideas for fun things for your kids to do, look no further! We’ve put together our ultimate guide to online fun, so you can keep your children happy, healthy and entertained.

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5 ways a virtual assistant can help you during lockdown

Virtual assistants can provide invaluable services to businesses at the best of times, and especially so right now, when many people need extra support to keep their businesses running smoothly during lockdown. Remote, flexible working is the comfort zone of the virtual assistant, and that’s why we’re well placed to help you adapt to these extraordinary circumstances. Want to know more? Here are 5 key ways a virtual assistant can help you during lockdown.

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What I’ve learnt from starting a business… in the midst of a global pandemic!

So, it’s October of 2019, when I realise the dawn of a new decade is approaching – and 2020 would mark the 10-year anniversary of working for the same company. It really got me thinking; do I want to be here, doing this for another 10 years?   The answer was no, so I did something about it.  For me, this was a huge leap of faith.  I’ve worked in the media industry for my whole career since I was 18.  It’s all I’ve ever known and those 20 years (OMG!) – as clichéd as it sounds- have gone by in a flash.

I started to build the foundations for Get Ahead VA – West Surrey in Jan 2020. Things were really starting to pick up and I was excited about where things were going when…BAM!  The covid-19 pandemic hit, business shut down and the world felt like it was stopping. 

Now, we’re five weeks (I think!) into the lockdown and although times are undeniably tough for a lot of people, I feel much more positive and am still glad I made the leap to work for myself.  This is what I’ve learnt…

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Doing a 50-hour week from home? It’s time to change your working

Since lockdown turned us all into homeworkers, some of us are putting in longer hours at home than when we worked in an office. This is an interesting phenomenon, but not a healthy one. In the long run, productivity and work/life balance are more important than how many hours you spend at your desk. In this blog, we look at why working crazy hours is bad news, and what we can do to keep work under control.

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Beat lockdown boredom! The ultimate guide to online entertainment

The UK has been under lockdown for several weeks now, and for very good reason. We are staying at home to protect the vulnerable and the keyworkers, and while there are many parts of lockdown life that are difficult to deal with, we are very fortunate to live in a connected, online age that allows us talk to our loved ones and support each other during this difficult time.

For many of us, one of the main things to deal with during lockdown is boredom, but thanks to the creativity and ingenuity of countless people, and the wonders of the internet, there are all sorts of things we can do to stay entertained. So, to help you beat the boredom, we’ve put together a bumper guide of fun things to do online! For many of us, one of the main things to deal with during lockdown is boredom, but thanks to the creativity and ingenuity of countless people, and the wonders of the internet, there are all sorts of things we can do to stay entertained. So, to help you beat the boredom, we’ve put together a bumper guide of fun things to do online! For many of us, one of the main things to deal with during lockdown is boredom, but thanks to the creativity and ingenuity of countless people, and the wonders of the internet, there are all sorts of things we can do to stay entertained. So, to help you beat the boredom, we’ve put together a bumper guide of fun things to do online!

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How to onboard a new VA

Amanda Johnson, business coach, mentor and trainer, is bringing us her advice about how to onboard a new virtual assistant in your business. Her award-winning VA business, VACT, was established in 2003, and she has been in the industry since 2012, so she has plenty of great advice to share!

I love helping business owners find virtual assistants (VAs), and people often ask me how to onboard new VAs as smoothly and effectively as possible. In this blog I’ll look at the onboarding process from the business owner’s perspective and share my advice with you.

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