Photo taken by Andrew Collier Photograpy, 2015
So, Who Is Swift Virtual Assistant?
My name is Alex Platt and I am the founder and owner of Swift Virtual Assistant. I live with my husband and two young sons in Warrington, Cheshire, but I grew up in Southampton.
I am an experienced and passionate Executive Assistant. I thrive and am motivated by busy, challenging environments. My ex-boss described me as tenacious!
How long have you been in business & why did you start?
At the point of writing this, I have been in business for just over 8 months. Back in November 2012, I was 7 months pregnant with my second son. I was also due to be made redundant four months later. I knew that I didn’t want to be working full time again with my children in full-time childcare. It was at that moment I realised I needed to start my own business doing the job I loved. It felt like my destiny was calling! I trained with the Virtual Assistant Coaching & Training Company who taught me everything I needed to transfer my skills over to supporting small businesses.
Who do you love to work with?
I love working with female entrepreneurs in the Health and Wellness Industry. My background is in Healthcare and I have always worked well with women managers. As a mum of two small children, I can empathise with other working mums. I also understand the juggling act of business and home-life. This means I understand the solutions to make that easier.
What are your client’s biggest challenges?
I think the biggest challenge most small businesses face is time management. If you have a set amount of hours outside of your home life that you work, there are a lot of things to fit into that time. You have to build, promote, maintain & grow a business – meaning there are a lot of tasks on their To Do List. Most of those tasks will stay at the bottom every week. Social media management seems to be a big challenge for most people I talk to, as well as other marketing work.
What 3 tips would you give someone if they have never worked with a VA before?
1. Be honest about all the things that are taking up your time.
Don’t only think about the things you want to delegate. A good VA will be able to take off your hands a great deal more than you would imagine. Utilise the hours you are paying them for and maximize the amount of time you are getting back!
2. Communication is key.
I ask for monthly catch ups with clients to keep up to date with priorities and receive feedback. Without this, the relationship can suffer, as can working effectively together.
3. Be open to advice from your VA about your business.
We are looking at ways to make your business more efficient, which is only going to benefit you in the long run!
Who in business would you love to meet and why?
Karen Brady when she was on The Apprentice. She’s determined and looks like she would be fun to have a G&T with.
Deborah Meaden on Dragon’s Den – she doesn’t take any nonsense!
Denise Duffield-Thomas is inspirational and speaks a lot of sense – her books are great.
What is your favourite quote and why?
“Always take life with a pinch of salt. Plus a slice of lemon. And a shot of tequila”. Life can throw some curve balls, so it’s best not to take them too seriously and instead enjoy the ride.
What do you love to do when you’re not working.
I started rowing in February 2015 with Warrington Rowing Club and I love it! Being on the water with no one around, often out in the elements, is great for my relaxation. Feeling healthier and fitter help too! I also like to knit, but that comes and goes with the winter. I have always loved to read and always have a pile next to my bed that I’m halfway through!
Tell us one thing about you that few people know?
I have played the piano since I was 6 and would love to be a piano teacher, like my Grandma who taught me.