We like to know our members really well. And we like you all to know our memberes too. Today meet Genevieve McAllister from Crocus Connect. Who tells us why she became a member of the BWN and what her business is all about. You can meet Genevieve at our Essex events.
What made you set up your business?
Running my own business had always been at the back of my mind even whilst I was building my career first in the City and then in Corporate Communications. As my children were growing up I had progressed from working part-time to almost full-time, but I was constantly juggling childcare and trying to put the hours in at work – and feeling guilty a lot of the time. I remember going for a walk with my dog through the fields a couple of years ago and having an intense moment of clarity where I realised things needed to change. And very soon after I’d thought this, an opportunity came up at work which meant I could leave and start realising my dream.
How many years have you been in business?
I’ve been self employed for about 18 months, but it was only last summer that I decided to focus more on becoming a VA (virtual assistant). It made sense to me because the people I was meeting through networking were mainly owners of small businesses who don’t necessarily want to employ other people directly, but sometimes need to outsource office support or marketing.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I like the feeling that I’m the one who makes the decisions and can focus on whatever is most productive for me at any given moment. I don’t have to wait around on other people telling me what I can and can’t do. And the feeling I get when someone wants to hire me to do some work is brilliant!
What do you hate most about running your own business?
My tax return, definitely. I’ve been grappling with HMRC only today.
What benefits do you get from networking?
I’ve picked up work from networking and it’s a great way to get yourself in front of people and find out which of their work problems you can help solve. Also, as I spend a lot of time on my own working at home, it’s good to meet people and talk through day to day issues the way I would if I worked in a more conventional office with lots of colleagues.
What would you say your greatest skill is? (Be honest you have lots!)
I recently read a blog which resonated with me and it was asking people to identify what is their ‘thing’. It’s usually something that comes to you so naturally you barely even realise you can do it. After a bit of thought (and asking my husband, my mum, my friends…) I realised that my ‘thing’ is proofreading – I can look at a page of text and immediately pick up the typo. It shouldn’t have been news to me – after all, I’d been project managing communications and publications for several years so it was always part of my job, but like I said, often your ‘thing’ is something you find easy and don’t believe it’s a skill.
What was the reason that you decided to be a member at The BWN?
I’d heard good things about the BWN (and Mandie!) from others and decided to come along and try it for myself. I’m just finding that the women who do attend are really supportive and interested in what everybody else is doing. I always come away fired up with enthusiasm and that’s a great motivator once a month.
What do you see the future holding for your business?
I see the VA side of my business growing this year as I continue to focus my networking activity around that. There’s a direct correlation between the work I put in and how my business grows, so it’s important to keep up the momentum.
Longer term, I’d like to develop a balance between my VA work and my copywriting and proofreading. And if I can throw a little voiceover work into the mix too, that would tick all my boxes nicely!
Who would it be good to for you to know?
I’d like to meet people who run small to medium-sized businesses who need extra support but don’t want the formality of hiring extra people. Because I’m quite patient and organised I’m a good foil for whirlwind creative types – and I like working with them too.
I’d also like to meet someone who would get satisfaction from acting as a mentor. I think that having someone to act as a sounding board is invaluable and of course, it’s a two-way relationship.
Thank you Genieveve for sharing your business growth plans for 2016, who you would like to know and how you can help us. If you would like to answer these questions and get your business talked about on our blog, learn more about being a member here. It costs less than the early bird ticket!