This week I am very pleased to introduce you to Hazel Weyman, Busy Keys Virtual Assistant. What I love about Hazel and her journey is, she shows how you don’t need a huge budget behind you to get started and that you can build and grow a VA business that suits your needs / situation. Buying things as and when you are ready or can afford to, not because someone tells you that you need these things. My favourite line of this post though has to be the answer that Hazel gives to “What does the future hold for your business?” Exciting times ahead.
Hi, I am Hazel, I live in the countryside between Bristol and Bath with my partner who is an arable farmer and my daughter who just turned 5. When I am not working I can either be found with my horses or doing crafts all be it slowly! I have an extremely sweet tooth and love my chocolate habit, it’s my one vice in life! I have been running Busy Keys, Virtual Assistant, since July 2018. I absolutely love being self-employed and I think what makes me stand out from other VA’s is the lightbulb ideas that bounce excitedly into my brain when I am talking to other business owners and my personal style of delivering information.
What or who inspired you to become a Virtual Assistant?
For me it was my daughter, she was born prematurely and I realised I didn’t want to go back to my previous career as a Veterinary Nurse and be away from her but I still wanted to work so I needed a stay at home option that I would enjoy but could flex around childcare and the unpredictability of my vanishing husband during farming busy spells.
How did you go about establishing your business?
I was initially extremely nervous as I felt like I had come into the VA industry from an unconventional route, I did a lot of online reading of Amanda’s content and blogs as well as anything else I could find. Then I created a list of things I needed to get in place. My first “client” was doing admin for a fellow NICU mum and that gave me the confidence to say I had skills to show people, then I began networking at local free networking, that fitted into the nursery sessions calendar. I also got my business Facebook page up together and started engaging in local business groups and used my friends and family who were self-employed to spread the word and do market research.
Did you have any savings or financial support in order to start your business?
No, I had been out of work for 3 years so no income or capital behind me. I went in with a spend as I earnt plan, I even made my own “business cards.” on word at home to start with. I figured giving people my contact details in some form was better than being forgotten or unreachable.
Was there ever a point when you thought it wouldn’t work out?
Not exactly, I am a stubborn person I need this to work so giving up is not an option, but it hasn’t always gone how I wanted!
What support did you have around you to set up your VA business (family and friends, Coach or Mentor)?
If you could go back and change one thing that you did when starting out, what would that be?
I would not resist all the advice to niche and think about my ideal client. I had the classic, I can help anyone attitude and it didn’t help me make clear pitches or describe what I can do. I now see that I don’t have to tell anyone else about what my ICA looks like she is just an imaginary friend for me to send a clear message too that just so happens to be seen by everyone else!
What is your best advice for someone who is just starting out or someone who is considering becoming a Virtual Assistant?
Don’t worry about the number of clients you have in the first three months just get known in all the places you want to be seen, I felt so accomplished when I turned up to an event and someone said: “ oh were your ears burning, we were just talking about you!.”
How would you describe the good, the bad and ugly of being a Virtual Assistant?
The good thing about VA work is you can take it anywhere with you, I even took my Wi-Fi and laptop on my Christmas holiday. (It was my choice; I was sat in a hotel room when my daughter was asleep so why not work!)
The bad, the buck stops with you so it’s not so easy to go on “annual leave” and clock off leaving the responsibility to someone else.
The ugly: When a client sends you the parting of ways email, and suddenly your income has changed and you need to fill that gap. It happens and even if you knew it was coming or the client is lovely with it, it still stings.
What is the best business book you’ve read and how did it impact you and your business?
Time to read a whole physical book has been rare but I am currently reading the “One-minute salesperson! By Spencer Johnson and it is helping me reframe my fear of “selling” myself. This mindset block is a turning point for me.
How do you stay on top of your own professional development?
I do hunt out training on platforms I don’t find easy and save up to join the intakes and I come into the VACT membership and listen to all webinars there as often as possible.
What do you love to do when you’re not working?
Horse riding, I own my own pony and have just got my daughter her first pony so if I’m not working, I’m in a field somewhere hairy and covered in hay.
Tell us one thing you can tell us about you that not many people know?
I can play the flute to grade 3 but hate the musical exams so now just play for fun.
What does the future hold for your business?
Despite what I thought when I started I am actually aiming to need an associate next year, it would be great to increase the business capacity without sacking off sleep!
Learn more about Hazel and connect:
Website URL: busykeys.co.uk
Facebook URL: facebook.com/busykeys.co.uk
LinkedIn URL: http://www.linkedin.com