A day in the life of… continues with a new guest!
Following on from my second ‘A day in the life of…’ from Rachael from Moorland Holistic, I am now pleased to share with you another local story from the Saddleworth Tameside area. Gemma Cooke from Business Gem is a Virtual Assistant and a fab one at that, I’m talking from experience!! Gemma is a fantastic asset to Inspired By Joseph and is like my magic fairy! There are certain things that I just know if I pass them to Gemma, she can work her magic in a way I just can’t! I cannot recommend her enough.
#3 A day in the life of Gemma Cooke, Virtual Asisstant, Business Gem
So, tell my followers, what do you do?
I am a Virtual Assistant with a HR background. You may wonder what a Virtual Assistant (or VA) is, well, VA’s are similar to an office assistant, administrator or PA with the main difference being that with today’s technology, VA’s work remotely from their own office and often have multiple clients. I offer a range of administrative and HR services on a retainer or one off basis and a couple of the great benefits to my clients are that they are not responsible for employee benefits as I am self-employed, plus they only pay for the work I carry out which is useful for when workload has peaks and troughs. I am there to take administrative burden from my clients supporting them to grow their business.
What does your typical day look like?
In a nutshell, no two days are the same in terms of the work I do. I try to have some kind of routine to my day as I balance my work with being with my 2 children age 3 and 11 months. I tend to get up earlier than the children (luckily, they are both relatively good sleepers!), and get myself prepped for the day – check and prioritise work, action anything urgent and have a quick look at my twitter feed.
Then, I get the children up and ready and do an activity with them, whether its playgroup, feeding the ducks, painting or playing football in the back garden. After lunch, its nap time for the children and that’s when I grab a coffee and start work for my second stint of the day. I could be doing anything from writing a job description, document preparation, audio or copy typing, website coding or email, calendar and workload management. I love the fact that I offer such a variety of services and I can be so productive with my time.
After nap time, it’s more child friendly activities with a spot of housework because 2 small children can certainly make a mess! Then family dinner, bath and bed for the children and if I have any work to finish, now is the time.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Providing the support to assist my clients in growing their own businesses. When I take a new client, I take time to understand their needs and their ethos and I manage their work and standards as if their business was my own. I am often used as a sounding board for decisions and I have picked up many new skills and knowledge working with clients from a variety of industries.
On a personal level, I love the fact that the hours are so flexible so I can spend time watching my children grow and thrive, plus I have the work life balance that I want. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work and my days can be long, but it is worth it to be able to spend the time with my children which I wouldn’t have been able to do in employment.
What are you most proud of in your job?
I am always proud when my clients achieve, because I believe that I have played a part in that happening, even if just a small part, I still helped. I’m also proud of actually taking the huge step to go self-employed with this idea I had whilst pregnant with my first born. Having always been in employment, financially, it was a scary decision to make, but with hard work, passion and determination, I made it work!
What or who inspires you?
I have many things which influence and inspire me for different reasons. My children inspire me because I want to be able to show them that whatever they want out of life, with hard work, they can make it work. My husband inspires me to be strong during difficult times. In the world of business, Baroness Karren Brady inspires me in her role in a hugely male dominated industry.
What piece of advice would you give to your future self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take with you?
Easy, and I’m glad its 3! My husband, my son and my daughter.
What is your favourite photo of all time?
This is so hard because I have thousands of amazing photos of my family and it is so hard to choose just one, so I have gone for something that makes me smile every time I look at it….
This photo is of Parque Monumento Nacional Bariay in Cuba. The reason why this photo is so special is that it was taken during the trip that I married my husband, plus the photo itself is of where Christopher Columbus first landed in Cuba in 1492. This photo is displayed on a wall at home and brings back such lovely memories every time I look at it. The place and the country are absolutely stunning (my photography skills do not do it justice) with fantastic, caring people. It was an amazing trip which I will never forget.
For more information from Gemma, please visit her website or you can follow her on Twitter.
Other blog posts you might find useful:
Celebrating Small Business Saturday
The six biggest lessons that I have learnt as a photographer
A day in the life of…. Rachael Smith from Moorland Holistic, Saddleworth, Tameside