Hard work has paid off!

Hard work has paid off!

So I was nominated for Northern VA of the Year 2014, and the awards took place this Saturday.
Guess what! I was only voted blinking runner up for the Northern VA of the YEAR!!! 

To say I’m still up there in the clouds somewhere is an understatement. What an amazing achievement, to finally be recognised for all the hard work I’ve put in over the past 7 years. 

I want to thank you for your amazing support and for believing in me.

I had an amazing day, met old friends and made new ones and everyone was such an inspiration. 

Anyone who knows me on a personal level, going to events like this is massively out of my comfort zone. I don’t enjoy networking much and much prefer the whole online/social networking, but it has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone more because the possibilities are endless (Cliche), but it’s TRUE! 

So my message to you today is, if there’s something that you’re stalling on because you’re scared, nervous, not sure about… just DO IT! It’s better to have regrets over something you tried, than have regrets because you were too scared to even get started

Have an amazing week.

Why I think parenting classes are a great idea

Ok, a little different to what I normally blog about but hell, it’s something that I feel strongly about so felt the need to share it, and  it has a little bit to do with work too.

So, if you’ve been watching the news, reading the papers you’ll see that David Cameron is introducing vouchers etc to use towards parenting classes. There’s been a lot of people Tweeting, talking on TV, on Facebook saying they think it’s not a good idea, can’t understand why he’s doing it, parenting won’t use it blah blah.

Well you know what, I think it’s about time he stood up and offered parents support!

When you think about having a baby, or when you’re pregnant, you read the glossy mags, see celebs on the TV all with their perfectly formed, well behaved, charming children, and you think that’s how it’s going to be.

What happens when that’s not the case? what happens when you have a child that doesn’t sleep? what happens when you have a child who has difficulty listening, aggressive behaviour? what then? where does a parent go for support?

I’ll tell you, because I’ve been there.

When I started my business back in 2007, I thought it would be great staying home with the kids, working with them in the house, listening to their laughter whilst I worked. Well wasn’t I fooled?

During 2007, my youngest son was born, my father in law passed away suddenly, and my eldest felt it hard. He lost his best friend and gained a stranger, and boy didn’t he want us to know it!

Depression sinked in, and I struggled through for nearly two years. Until I plucked up the courage to ask for help. BUT the only route was via the school and then only when I got a letter from the school would my GP listen. I then had to go through sessions with a parenting counsellor at the hospital and then referred onto a parenting course.Why is it so difficult for a parent to get help and support with their child when classes are offered freely to every pregnant woman even before the child is born?

At first I thought, a parenting course? really? I need help now! Not for a million years did I think a 12 week course would work.

But it did! we met with other parents who were in the same situation as us, so finally I wasn’t alone! We were given strategies to use to manage his behaviour and also identify areas we were going wrong. After all, we’re not perfect right?

Then a couple of years back I had the greatest pleasure of getting to know Sue Atkins who is THE best Parenting Expert! I started to work with her as her VA and I became to realise that there are so many parents out there that do need help, but have no idea where to go, who to go to and because mums are supposed to cope they feel like they shouldn’t ask.. Well I did!

Things are not perfect still, but then I think that is normal. My beautiful little boy is perfect to me, and because of the parenting course, there are boundaries, strategies and lots of fun.

So, if you’re a parent (mum or dad) and not sure if it’s the right thing for you, then head over to Sue’s site to see what parents are struggling with, talking about, because I can assure you you’re not alone.

oh and well done David Cameron for doing SOMETHING right! makes a change 😉

Get your business cards talking

Get your business cards talking

With the VA Conference just gone (I reached the finals!) I dug out my business cards in preperation, but knew there was no way I would be happy handing them out. I had them done 5 years ago with Vista Print. Whilst they were ok, they didn’t have any branding and had the typical lady with the headset on. Hardly a trend setter.

For about 3 years now I’ve been storing all kinds of tweets in my favourite section on my Twitter profile, and most recently any nice tweets clients have said about me. I knew I wanted to use them to market myself in some way and what great way to showcase your talent right?

So I had a brainwave, because Moo Cards have the ability to upload different images on each card, I took screenshots of my favoured tweets and used those!

Everyone I handed them to were impressed and they did look good!

Check them out!

Focus on the positives not the negatives

You know, you don’t find me boasting about myself (unless I’m showing off a logo!) I’m quite modest when it comes to receiving praise and don’t do the ‘I am, I can’ on Twitter and other Social Media platforms.. but I felt I needed to write a blog post about my achievements.

Why?

Well, as a Virtual Business, a lot of my time is spent working in the office for long periods of time, alone, and quite often, it’s easy to lose sight of what I’ve achieved and how I’ve achieved them.

It wasn’t until I went to my son’s assembly this week that I sat up and thought ‘ my god look at me, where am I’ and I felt so proud, for the first time in a long time! possibly since I’ve started my business..

So for those of you struggling, either financially, with confidence or just finding it hard to get motivated.. sit back, listen to this song.. whether you like it or not, focus on the words and the message it gives…(my son sings this in assembly every Friday and they call it their ‘Proud’ song)

 

So what do I feel proud of?

  • > I’ve built a mature client base from Twitter and word of mouth alone
  • > I don’t actively network in groups
  • > I don’t advertise or actively promote my services
  • > I’ve battled depression (twice)
  • > I gave birth to two amazing boys – and almost died twice
  • > I’m a good wife (well I think so lol)
  • > I’ve been in business 3 years and doubled the turnover each year

 

So tell me, what have YOU done to make YOU feel proud?

How I got here. My background

Education

1991 – 1996 Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni

GCSE’s Maths, English, Welsh

1996 – 1998 Ystrad Mynach College

Advanced GNVQ in Business

2003 – 2004 University of Sunderland

Post Grad Certificate in Health Information Management

Training
· Prince2 Project Management Overview
· Prince2 Practitioner
· European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
· New to supervisory management
· Access for advanced users
· Excel for advanced users
· Time management
· Introduction to customer care
· Equality and diversity

Experience

1998 – 2000 D.T.D Damproofer Ltd – South Wales
Full time position with a small firm. Duties include processing sales and purchase invoices, typing detailed reports, answering the telephone, taking and relaying messages. Photocopying, typing, allocating tasks to the company damproofers, writing out job sheets and chemical data sheets and placing the information onto the health and safety records.
2000 – 2002 Charter Housing Association – South Wales
Full time position. Duties included asses housing application forms, see people in reception, liaise with external agencies to give detailed housing advice and information both face to face and over the telephone.

Graphic design was also an integral part of my job. I produced marketing material for difficult to let properties, leaflets and questionnaires for the lettings team.


2002 –2004 Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust

Full time position within the IT department. Day-to-day duties included the co-ordination of the training programme and the Management of 4 trainers and one administrative assistant. Ensuring all relevant members of staff were placed onto training courses with accordance to the hospitals targets.

Sales invoice clerk/Secretary

My day-to-day duties also included booking appointments, processing incoming and outgoing payment, issuing guarantees and tax return forms.

Lettings Administrator/Void property inspector

Inspect vacant properties within target times, order routine works prior to re-letting of properties, control keys to vacant properties, input data and keep records up-to date, issue decoration vouchers according to policy. Ensure all properties are let to incoming tenants at the standard consistent with the Association’s policies.

LIS Training co-ordinator / Programme Administrator

Sending out Training needs analysis to members of staff to identify any training needs.

Ensuring all records were kept up to date for statistical purposes.

Other day-to-day duties included setting up accounts for the use of the Internet Café, and training staff to log on and off the system correctly.

I was also the departments Programme Administrator. My main duties were to support the Programme Manager with the day to day management of on-going and up-coming Programmes. This involved preparing meetings, the setting up of Operational Standards and Procedures and monitoring the departments expenditure budget.

2004 – 2007 Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust

2007 – to date South of Tyne and Wear Primary Care Trust

Admin Team Lead – Dental Service

To provide day to day leadership and overview of the activity within allocated areas in the team. To provide an effective customer focused administration and secretarial service in line with agreed standards. To maintain information systems and manual records where necessary, collecting data ensuring accuracy at all times.

Lead administrator – Partnership Services

To provide a high level secretarial, operational and administrative support to the Deputy Programme Manager (Partnership Services) and Service Managers (Information Governance, Web Development, Technical Infrastructure and IT Training Service) within the Sunderland Health Community Partnership Services.

Main duties include, assisting the Deputy Programme Manager and Service Managers with the co-ordination and Management of the Strategy Groups and Boards. Research and collation of the NHS guidance, strategy and general information relevant to the scope of the services. Also the organization of service team meetings and events, organization of travel, attendance at events/conferences on behalf of the Partnerships services programme manager.

Other major tasks include, the controlled receipt, identification and issue of all project documentation for service utilisation (ePSO). The provision of information as to the status of all programme and project documentation for Partnership services, to number, record file and distribute programme and project documentation as appropriate for Partnership services.

Other day to day duties also include the supervision of other administration staff within Partnership services, delegating tasks as necessary.

Main duties include, the supervision of 9 administration staff, carrying out regular appraisals and personal development plans. Monitoring sickness absence and monitoring departmental expenditure.

Other duties include, occasional transcription of letters, development of information systems to record required statistics.

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