Creating an online business has never been easier, but to find people worth working with, you need to dig a little deeper for those who are both a pleasure to chat to, passionate about what they do and can get things done. If you’re thinking of taking on virtual support for your business, this is the person you need: friendly, hard-working, and always has your back.
Vanisha Patel’s business is exactly that, and she’s grown hugely since starting out, through being simply great at what she does. Vanisha has been part of the Desk Life Project community for a while now, and it seemed fitting that one of our January Startup Stories be with her!
Here is her story…
Hi Vanisha! What’s your business called, and what is it all about?
‘Vanisha Patel Helping You In Your Business’ offers a range of Virtual Business Services including Social Media, for businesses and individuals. The business was set up in 2016 and has grown massively with clients from all over the UK and worldwide.
My work is tailored specifically to each client and includes email management, Social Media Support, content creation and one-to-one Social Media training sessions which have always been very popular and beneficial for clients. This means that clients can learn how to use Social Media more effectively, put together a strategy, discuss content ideas and build brand awareness. Each session is different and unique depending on the individual and business.
As for the business, it’s growing every single day and it’s only just getting started!
Tell us about your background before you began the business. What motivated you to change direction?
My background was working in a number of different environments including the NHS, Leicestershire County Council which involved managing Social Media platforms, being an Events Co-ordinator, Personal Assistant and having to manage several roles. Over the years this led to growing a large network and developing more skills and experience, however I knew that this wouldn’t be my long-term career.
After realising that I wanted to travel, and focus on that all-important work life balance, this motivated me to change direction and do something that I am enjoying and passionate about as I love to help others, so one day I decided to take the leap, use my skills and experience and launch my own business. Since I left my full-time job I’ve never looked back, it’s been such an exciting journey and the best decision I have ever made!
Since I left my full-time job I’ve never looked back”
What has been your proudest moment in business so far?
This is a difficult one as I have many, but my proudest has got to be being invited to events to speak about Social Media, never having a website or business card for over 2 years! (Yes it’s true and the business has continued to grow!) And having clients that have attended Social Media Workshops from all over the UK, taking action which led to amazing results and growing more confident using Social Media following their one-to-one training sessions.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned since starting your business?
“You will always grow through what you go through” – I love this quote. Every business has challenges, every self-employed individual will have these to face at some point in their business. At the time it may seem like the worst thing in the world, but I’ve learnt that there’s always a lesson to be learnt so remember to look back and work out what that lesson was.
For me, you must keep going no matter what happens. Remember your goals, remember your long-term vision and plan to keep that all important focus! Luckily, I’m surrounded by the most incredible friends and family that keep me motivated every single day! Just keep going no matter what, it may not be easy, but it will be 200% worth it!
How do you stay organised? Any tips or tools?
When you’re running your own business and working hours around your lifestyle and commitments, it’s even more important to stay organised and focused. I realised this when I left my 9-5 role to ensure that I work to a schedule.
I do this by working backwards starting with planning for the years ahead, then breaking these down into months, and then weekly followed by daily. This involves scheduling in client work that I need to complete, social media training, where I need to be, whether there are any meetings to attend. And making time for me which could be travelling, going to the gym or simply switching off.
The best tips would have to be don’t overthink it and overwhelm yourself, make small manageable tasks and to do lists, use a diary, use Asana to manage tasks, use Toggl to track your time, find out what time you’re most productive and time block to make sure you have regular breaks.
Would you say you have a healthy work life balance? If yes, what do you do to maintain this, and if no, what would you change?
Yes, I believe this is so important to have, although this was not always the case for me. Being self-employed means it can be so difficult to switch off quite literally, even on my days off I couldn’t help but look over emails and new enquiries that were coming in but I learnt that it’s so important to have that work life balance. I only work a select number of hours a day and have learnt to switch off a lot more. I regularly go to the gym, and spend time with family and friends with no mention of work and the business.
The most important change I am making going forward is to travel more, have set days off and work smarter not harder.
What do you have planned for your business and what are the next steps toward your goal?
It was important for me to launch my website which was finally done at the end of 2018. I also managed to secure contracts with some of the biggest clients, so I will be working closely with them in 2019 and beyond!
As for the next steps for the business, these are continuing to grow and develop the business. These include some exciting collaborations and more charity work which is something I am very passionate about, you’ll be able to find more details on my website. I can’t give too much away but you can keep a look out over on my Social Media to be the first to find out!