VA Friday Feature: Lindsey Brown Burden of LBB Business Solutions

What made you decide you wanted to become a VA and when?

I actually didn’t know what a VA was until I started to look at setting up my business late last year and was connected with Phillippa Goodwin of Essential PA! It was a whole new world to me but one that I am very glad to have stumbled across.

Were you concerned that there were already many VAs already out there and this would be competition?

Fortunately not knowing about the industry I was not fearful but did have the same anxieties as anyone else about starting up my business. Working with Carmen MacDougall at the very early stage of setting up certainly gave me the industry specific confidence that I needed.

What gave you the confidence to give yourself that push to go ahead and do it?

It was the amazing support from peers and business owners who I have been fortunate enough to work with over the last 10-years in my previous role as City Centre Manager in Salisbury. Support of this kind is invaluable to all business owners and at all stages of your business development and growth! It is my opinion that surrounding yourself with key people is essential to business success and I continue to extend my network.

When you decided to get started what made you decide to go for some VA training?

Phillippa Goodwin was extremely supportive and encouraging when I spoke with her and what she shared with me about the VA business was invaluable. The most important piece of advice she gave was to get in touch with Carmen McDougall … and the rest as they say is history!

Why did you decide on The VA Coaching and Training Company and what was your experience of the training?

Locally I know, and recommend, coaches and mentors but what I needed was mentoring specifically in the VA sector. So taking Phillippa’s advice I looked up Carmen McDougall and downloaded the 7-step programme, which I found to be sound and practical …… I got in touch!

Why didn’t I shop around because I am a people person, I believe in what I now know to be one of Carmen’s key principles, that people buy from people and in the 20/30 minute call with Carmen I felt we just clicked! Together we considered what was needed to achieve my business goals and so my mentoring began!

Personally I can’t thank Phillippa Goodwin enough for giving me Carmen’s name!

While I know that my business success is in part to the connections that I have made over the past 10-years and the reputation that I have built. Without doubt training with VACT has given me confidence in a sector that I had no experience, clear direction for my business and Carmen on my side!

What have been the highlights of your business so far?

Being in business for myself is a highlight, having the strength to know when a client isn’t right for me, being absolutely true to myself and knowing that all my work is from referral and the phone keeps ringing!

The greatest buzz is taking the call that begins ‘you were recommended by…’ what more could I ask for and a regular highlight.

What have been some challenges you have experienced and if you were to do things differently next time what would you do?

Due to my business background I started with a business plan and marketing strategy and therefore strong foundations for my business. Also at the point of leaving my ‘paid job’ I was working with a mentor. So I am not sure I would do anything differently but I am also not saying that at times it has been challenging however, with the right business foundations, clear direction and a mentor on side I do have the confident and ability to face anything!

I would say that juggling being a mum and building my business is difficult for me. I have to work hard at being a mum, while working comes much easier; so making time for the family and me and getting the work life balance right is a priority!

What type of clients do you work with and do you specialise in a particular service?

I have a very eclectic mix of clients, which I love working with from a local art gallery providing their marketing and communications (including social media) to managing a graphic design studio in its entirety while the owner lives in New Zealand (the only thing I don’t do is draw). I also provide a bookkeeping service to a local healing practitioner.

I have the pleasure of working with an amazing business woman who owns three companies all in the health sector, one being not for profit. Since working together we have developed her business strategy and created a marketing plan for her latest business. The work that I do and the role that I play in these three businesses has changed considerable since January and moving forwards I will play a more pr and comms role, which I am really looking forward to starting.

I have also event managed a business expo for a local Chamber and assisted a healthy and safety consultant with a training event from marketing to dealing directly with bookings.

More recently I have taken on some associate work for another VA, which has been a fantastic way of learning about new software packages, other ways of efficient working and a work buddy .. because we all need someone we can trust and who we can bounce ideas off!

I work with local businesses helping them to fulfill their dreams and reach their full potential.

What advice would you give to anyone just starting out especially in relation to training?

Surround yourself with people who can and are willing to help and guide you. Network and connect with people and businesses that you want to work with or aspire to be like. Never be afraid to ask for help and enjoy yourself!

Finally investment in yourself is investment in your business so training and mentoring is essential.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

On a beach enjoying the fruits of my labour – well actually I would like to be working with high end clients who value my worth and who I can assist in reaching their dreams. I want to be the first person people think of when needing support or help and that my clients both old and new recommend me without hesitation.

I also have a passion for supporting others and want to build an Associate VA team that through working with me I can help them in building their own businesses and success.

As a person who enjoys public speaking I hope that through the growth of my business I will be invited to speak at key events locally, nationally and why not internationally! One of my key principles is the sharing of knowledge and this would offer the opportunity to do just that.

Finally, holidays .. lots of them in the sunshine!

Who in business would you love to meet and why?

It is very hard not to simply state the obvious and many spring to mind – however for me it would be Peter Jones, CBE who comes across as the kind of entrepreneur who would give you his time, listen to you with interest and freely give advice because he has been there and done it!

I would also love to meet Rich, Adam and Jon the founders of Innocent Smoothes; you only have to visit their website to be inspired, to want just a little bit of their success and most importantly I have so many questions to ask them!

Which book has influenced you the most in your business?

The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott, recommended to me and I love the way he makes marketing make sense! I also can’t recommend highly enough 52 Ways to Transform Your Life (Weekly Wisdom For Busy People) by Annabel Sutton who I am fortunate enough to know personally and it was she that put me in touch with Phillippa Goodwin!

What is your favourite quote and why?

I love quotes, and my favourite changes constantly but if I had to choose one today it would be:

‘Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.’ – Robert H. Schuller

I don’t? see problems – just an opportunity to find a solution and so the quote by Schuller resonates with me and the ethos to which I live.

What do you love to do when you’re not working?

I have two small children aged 2 and 4 who are great fun to be around (most of the time); I love the sound of laughter from my family and time with them is precious!

I am an avid fictional reader and my Kindle is full of books just waiting to be opened (particularly crime)! I also love the beach and have a thing for shoes and handbags – but who doesn’t!

And lastly – what one thing can you tell us about you that not many people know?

I have a thing for overhead cranes – I just love them and think they add to the skyline!