How many of us have been recognised for 'giving back to the industry'? Well, this lady has! Emma's business journey has been on a rise ever since she left her part-time employment and now she's empowering other VAs as part of her mentorship, creating a wonderful community. You may recognise her name from her appearance on our podcast too!
Hi Emma! I know you...I know you very well actually, but for all our readers, please tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Emma Rowley and I live near Portsmouth with my partner and our 2 children aged 21 and 11. I love being outdoors - nature is my therapy! So whenever I get the chance you will find me walking either by the sea, in the countryside or in the woods.
A woman after my own heart! Talk to us about your business…
I have been running my own business full time since 2018. Prior to that I worked as a freelance proofreader alongside part-time employment and ran a well-being product based business. I am a Virtual Assistant Mentor helping new and aspiring VAs to set up their own successful businesses. I am also a VA to a select few clients.
Why did you decide to become a VA and a VA mentor?
I came across Virtual Assistant work quite accidentally when reading an online article and after having 23 years of experience in senior office admin work, I knew it was a business I wanted to start for myself. I built my VA business from scratch and was often asked how I did it which led me into the mentoring side of my business. I absolutely love being able to support, guide and inspire others. I have also recently completed a Professional NLP Certification which is great as helping my mentees with their mindset and confidence is an area I am passionate about.
What have been your biggest learning experiences since becoming a business owner?
The biggest learning experience for me was learning to trust my gut. There were a few occasions where my gut was telling me one thing and my head another. My head was more often than not wrong and I had to end working with a client who wasn’t the right ‘fit’ for me when actually if I had listened to my gut from the outset, it could have been avoided.
I found out that setting boundaries from the outset of a working relationship with a client is so important. Once those boundaries have been crossed, it is hard to go back so by putting them in place initially it ensures you aren’t contacted by phone at all hours or asked to complete a task with an hour’s notice!
If you could give one bit of advice to someone thinking of starting their own business, what would it be?
There are so many! I think for me the most important thing is having that self-belief. Without it you will struggle to build a business. Also, don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. We all have a different starting point and end goal, so stick to your own path and you can’t go far wrong.
What has your biggest success/accomplishment/achievement been since starting your business?
Winning a Small Business Sunday award from Theo Paphitis was one of my favourite achievements and also being nominated as someone ‘who gives back to the industry’ in the VA Voice Awards was very humbling too.
Who inspires you?
Female business owners who have built up their own businesses from scratch.
Those who have decided that’s what they want to do and gone out and done it. They haven’t procrastinated or made excuses as to why they can’t do it, or it won’t work but had determination to succeed. And when things haven’t gone as well as they had hoped, picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and tried again. Those women inspire me.
What book/article/podcast really gave you that OMG moment?
I love all of Denise Duffield-Thomas’s books as well as Jen Sincero’s. I read Jo Malone’s book a few years ago and I was truly blown away by her book. She is very inspirational and I knew after reading it that I had to start my own business too.
➡️ You can find Emma: Website | Linkedin | Instagram | Facebook Emma has a growing Facebook Group for any VAs looking for mentorship and support. The VA Collective with Emma Rowley is free to join.
Emma Downey | Founder, Women Who Do
Emma can be found glued to her laptop/kindle or embarking on her next favourite hobby. Avid cake-eater, Disney-superfan and passionate about female empowerment, Emma founded WWD in 2017. She's currently travelling around Europe in her converted camper van and eating far too many croissants.
You can contact Emma: email@example.com