Emma Conway-Hyde made a decision and went forward with it. On the 8th May 2016, she left her job and became self-employed full-time setting up her own company, The Umbrella Tree. She had worked for over 20 years as an administrator and PA, however, had found herself becoming more and more disillusioned with her working life and longed to work from home and for herself. Emma’s motivation to shift her lifestyle came after a family bereavement and at turning 40 the thought of her child going off to secondary school and turning into a teen made her realise a yearning for her to be more with her family, so she decided to do something about it. After taking the time to research and finding a training course, which helped her set up as a Virtual Assistant, it pointed her onto the correct path to what she wanted to become.
The Umbrella Tree was born in May 2016 and along with it a definite vision for the future. The aim of Emma’s company is to provide business support to busy entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and small business owners across the UK on a virtual level and negating the need for costly overheads.
She spent the first six months running around networking, picking up client work here and there, learning how to do everything in social media, learning all the tools of the trade along with coping all the emotional challenges of running a business. Eventually Emma was working together with clients on a regular basis along with adhoc work. She noticed, however, her brand needed improvement to draw more clientele in. She felt she needed to gain more direction with her brand, to learn more about how to market herself successfully and understand where she needed to head with her brand. She improved her brand, alongside the company’s name, logo and website. “It was one of the best business decisions I made. However costly it was in terms of time and money “ says Emma.
Based in Dorset, The Umbrella Tree prides itself in providing value to clients and ensuring they receive the support needed to develop and grow their business is top priority. Working together to find solutions, get results and enable individuals to achieve their business and personal goals is what The Umbrella Tree strives for. The Umbrella Tree provides a flexible approach and an excellent level of service, making the lives of clients easier and offering them the peace of mind, ensuring the administrative side of their business is in good hands. The range of services includes: PA/Business Support, Email Marketing, Social Media Support and Event and Project Coordination. Over the last 18 months, the company has grown and is now looking forward to expanding its services into Website Design.
The Umbrella Tree lends a lifeline to those who are keen for help with time management, taking them from chaos to calm with the knowledge all aspects of their business may be managed under the one “umbrella”.
the Jupital had the opportunity to ask Emma some questions:
What makes you distinct and unique from other Virtual Assistants?
“I offer a bespoke and flexible service with unlimited hours a month to clients. My goal is ensuring clients’ priorities are met in a way, which is affordable for them. My aim in the future is to provide all the services to an individual or small business under one roof, hence the name, The Umbrella Tree; however this is a work in progress!”
How does taking a step back in one’s business aim to bring more structure into the business?
“At times it is challenging to release control of certain aspects of your business, especially if you have built it from the ground up. However, there are benefits of stepping back. If you outsource those tasks which are time-consuming you have more time to develop and grow, yet you get to concentrate on those aspects of business you love and are best. Knowing you have supported behind the scenes takes the pressure and the concerns away, allowing you to concentrate on the more important things.”
What are your favourite things about your business and why?
“I love working for myself and what I enjoy the most is the variety of different people I have met along the way, some of which I have had the opportunity to work with. I love having the freedom to be flexible in my working life as this fits in with my family. Most of all I get a vast sense of achievement when I have built a relationship with a client and know I have helped them deal with the challenges which were affecting them in a positive way.”
Emma had to do a lot of reassessing of priorities, especially in the last six months. She began to think again about how she might change her business model to suit her more effectively. She started planning towards a more project-based model and aims to introduce a new web design service shortly along with all the trimmings as well as considering some other options, which allows her to create a more flexible lifestyle. She also has become more involved in a new networking group which she co-hosts in her local area, enabling her to support other women in business as she has been supported over the last eighteen months.
She has been nominated for a Venus Award and has reached the finals of VA of the Year 2017 South West Region. She has learned a lot such as being prepared, be resilient, plan, plan, plan, refrain from comparing ourselves to others, support others and they support you. Be prepared to learn constantly and enjoy it. All the while remembering why she set this up in the first place. She is content she has left an employed role with all the benefits because she is rewarded with far more working time for herself than she ever did before.
Need some business support? Click here to touch base with The Umbrella Tree where Emma is able to help. Also, Emma is on many social media platforms:
What sort of steps does it take to setup an healthy and productive business?