"For most of my career as an employee, I felt I was capable of so much more."
I always volunteered for additional duties and thought that knowing as much as possible about the companies I worked for would set me apart and pave the way for promotion to senior leadership.
Somewhere along the way, my enthusiasm and desire to get on were misinterpreted, and it was a pattern that kept repeating. Lazy colleagues exploited my good nature, and I was subtly bullied by line managers who I assume wanted to keep me in my place. Throw in the usual office politics, rigid structures and hierarchy, and you can see why I grew tired of corporate life.
Two things eventually led me to make some changes:
My dad dying months before my 30th birthday; and
A throw-away comment from my MD when I successfully negotiated a significant pay rise. It was along the lines of that’s all I’d be getting because, as a “girl in the office” and not a sales manager or engineer, I didn’t make the company any money.
Never mind all the money I saved by running the office – sourcing better suppliers, renegotiating contracts, improving processes, recruiting highly-skilled staff, etc.
After university, I only had three jobs in my 12 years as an employee. I wasn’t someone who hopped around. I gave my all to the organisations I worked for. I worked late, took work home, probably said ‘yes’ too much, and for what?
Nothing I gave was ever given to me in return. I was just another number left feeling bitter and used.
I wished I didn’t care as much or try so hard because each time I resigned, I felt like I’d failed, like all I’d done wasn’t enough.
It got to the point where I thought that perhaps I wasn’t cut out to be part of the workforce anymore, but then I remembered a former colleague talking about working with a career coach before switching to a new industry, so looked her up.
As a result of my coaching, I ditched employment to launch my first business as a VA!
Having stacks of back-office experience, doing the work of a VA was easy. The challenge was to rebuild my confidence and find paying clients who shared the same values and recognised my talent.
I did a LOT of research and learned how to market myself. I found people who knew what they were doing with marketing and stalked them, devouring every morsel of their content. 👀
There was so much noise out there. As soon as I started researching business set-up, a million ads filled my social feeds. Then came the business gurus shouting about what I should and shouldn’t be doing.
I could’ve been sucked into a spiral of confusion, but I knew that content marketing and social media would work for me. Words are my strong point, and I’m a deep thinker, so would always have lots to say. Social media would help me reach a much larger audience than in-person networking and it’s free. A no brainer when you’re starting from zero.
The other stuff people told me I needed could wait initially.
My philosophy from the start has always been to get good at one thing before moving onto the next, or I’d be spreading myself too thinly and not seeing results anywhere.
My VA business was profitable within months, and I soon became a close confidant to my clients who sought strategic advice from me, not just admin support. People on social media would also get in touch asking for advice with their businesses.
After a lot more work on my confidence and self-esteem, I bit the bullet and went after the work that really made me feel good. I shut down my VA business and relaunched as a Business Mentor, Consultant and Strategist.
Bit of a mouthful, isn’t it? It’s simple really:
My clients choose to work with me because I have been at the point of overwhelm, just like they are, and can pinpoint a strategy in the muddle of things they’re trying to do with their businesses.
I have a talent for
I use all the knowledge I’ve gathered from growing my business to help my clients grow theirs. It doesn’t matter where they are on their journey, I can support anyone, from those just starting out to those with a decade or more under their belt.
Why do I do it?
So more women with stories like mine can leave their draining corporate careers far behind and realise their full potential on nobody’s terms but their own. 🎉