After leaving her job to start a family, Sadie Finch wanted something for herself. She wanted to dedicate every moment to being the best Mum she could, but because she also wanted to be more than just ‘Mummy’ to her two small boys, she decided to set up her own Virtual Assistant business so she could have the best of both worlds.
Hi, I’m Sadie Finch and my business is called Sadie Finch – Virtual Assistant (imaginative or what?!). I’m 32 and live in Ely, Cambridgeshire with my husband and two
terrors toddlers. Louis is two and Henry is one and they just love to keep me on my toes.
Why did you decide to buy Jo’s DIY VA course?
I worked as an Executive Assistant for 12 years in a Top Four Accountancy firm before leaving to have my first baby. I knew when I began maternity leave that I wouldn’t be going back. I loved the job and the people but I didn’t think it was fair for the partner I worked for to have a part-time EA, and I didn’t want to do a job that I couldn’t fully commit to.
I had also wanted to be a Mum for such a long time that I wanted to dedicate every moment to being the best Mum I could be.
Fast forward to two years later, and I’d had Henry and was feeling a little lost. I love being a Mum but I knew I needed to be more.
I needed some ‘me time’ and something else to focus on other than nappies, feeds and watching Toy Story for the millionth time.
I started thinking about part-time work but all of the roles available felt like junior roles, and I didn’t want to take a step back in my career just because I had children.
There was also the childcare to consider – my husband works long hours and we’re not lucky enough to have retired parents yet so we would’ve needed to pay for double childcare.
I started Googling things like ‘office work from home’ and was directed to the VA Handbook website. I instantly knew that this was what I wanted to do – it’s the perfect solution for my needs and my family life. I’ve since looked at other similar websites and they just aren’t a patch.
I knew all of the information was right there for me – but once I made the decision that I was definitely becoming a VA my brain went into overdrive and I just kept flitting about but not actually achieving anything. I knew I needed the course to direct me to do the right steps, in the right order.
Did you feel confident the course would make you a VA?
Absolutely! I read all of the testimonials and saw lots of positive stuff about it in the VA Handbook Facebook group and knew that if those people could become a VA, then I could too.
I couldn’t wait to get going and I did the course during nap times and in the evenings and ticked off everything on the checklist just one month after starting the course.
I signed up to the course on 16 April 2016 (paid for with my birthday money… thanks family!) and launched my website on 29 April. I did my first piece of work for an ex-colleague/friend on 21 April and she has since turned into my first regular client.
What is the course like and how did you find it?
The course is AMAZING. Invaluable. It covers everything you’ll ever need to know.
It’s also a bloody bargain for all of the guidance and support you receive – I’d never have been a VA without doing this course.
It’s well laid out, it’s logical; it’s broken down into small sections that don’t make it overwhelming. You can literally do as much or as little, as fast or as slow as you want to. You get every template you’ll ever need and the support from Jo and the other trainees is what seals it.
I’ve never felt so supported by so many strangers! The private trainee group are a fabulous, knowledgeable bunch and will go out of their way to help each other out. Even though we are all freelancers, it feels like we are all one big team.
There is always someone there to answer a question or be your own personal cheerleader when you need it and it’s great to have such a network of experts just right there when you need them.
But the best thing about the course is that it switches your thinking. From the very first moment you click the ‘BUY’ button – you are in control of your own future.
Before, I was full of doubt, wasn’t sure the steps I was taking were right, over thinking everything. In just a few months I’ve become a confident, business owner. I know what work I want to do, I know who I want to do it for, I don’t compare myself to others, I just get on with it!
I only feel this way because of all the advice and support given by Jo and the other trainees.
How are you getting on after finishing it?
It’s going great! Because the boys are still so young, I’m only doing part-time hours right now but I can see how I can easily scale this up to be a full-time career and I can’t wait for that to happen.
My main client is my first client – she has her own accountancy business so I’ve helped set her up with a CRM and task management as part of that, I’ve modernised her systems (like switching from typed invoices in Word to specialist invoicing software, manual diary to using a calendar etc), and helped her out with getting templates set up for all of her terms of engagement and other standard letters.
We’re also going to be setting up a monthly networking event so I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into that.
I’ve also had some interesting one-off projects – from researching companies for a mobile app developer to typing a manuscript for an author.
I love the variety that being a VA brings.
Is your life very different now to how it was before?
For me it was life-changing. I’m happier, I’ve made new VA friends and I feel like I’m ‘Sadie’ again rather than just Mummy.
I have a focus… and when the boys are watching Toy Story AGAIN, I can busy myself in my office with all sorts of exciting projects. I can’t ever imagine going back to being an employee.
If you’re thinking of setting up yourself then I say what the hell are you waiting for? Do it, do it now. You absolutely won’t regret it.