A Year of VIVA Support

Today, VIVA Support is celebrating its 1st birthday – they grow up so fast! But what exactly does a year of VIVA Support look like? How on earth did I get here?

Cut to January 2020, I was a Business Administrator for one of the best nursery chains in the country, Childbase Partnership. I absolutely loved my job and the company; I had found a role that I not only enjoyed, I excelled at!

So why oh why was I there, standing face-to-face with my boss (remember when you could still do that?!), handing over my letter of resignation?

You’re probably thinking ‘well, you obviously can’t have loved it that much!’ but I truly did. It was such a difficult decision, one I did not take lightly.

My maternity leave was coming to an end after having my second baby and despite the incredible incentive of having 50% off childcare, the commute was a killer and I had to make the decision that was right for my family, not just myself.

So what was I to do? I always had the vision of starting my own business but the inspiration and opportunity hadn’t quite collided! until now. This felt as good a time as any! I am very fortunate to have a loving and supportive husband and between us, we decided to allow me 6 months to try and get this business off the ground.

On 22nd January 2020, my dream became a reality – VIVA Support was born.

Having previously owned a Recruitment Agency for 3 years, I had a good idea of what had and hadn’t worked when it came to winning new business. I was passionate. I was determined. I knew if I was going to do this, I would have to give it 110%, so that’s exactly what I did!

I got myself on LinkedIn from the off. I snapped up every free webinar I could to pick up as much advice as possible to help me along the way. I made the most awful DIY website and I designed my own logo. I was terrified of investing money because I was convinced I would just end up losing it all.

I began engaging in Facebook groups, using my experience to provide advice and guidance to those in need of support. Within 3 weeks, I had secured my very first client! It was a small job worth about £70 but it was worth a million pounds in confidence! I started to think! I might actually be able to do this!

The contract was drawn up, and I was raring to go! Houston we have lift off!

I was so excited to be up and running although I wasn’t getting ahead of myself. I knew there was a long road ahead but I couldn’t help but feel optimistic; I started to dream. Then, it happened.

COVID-19.

What seemed like a distant threat crept ever closer, away from Asia, into Europe, and finally onto our doorstep. Cases and hospitalisations soared as businesses began to shut; the country stood still.

Lockdown.

Childcare became a thing of the past and my two young children now required full-time care. My husband’s workplace remained open; he continued travelling to work leaving me alone to juggle everything else.

I was distraught. The happiness I’d felt, the positivity, the hope, was ripped away almost as quickly as it had come. Like so many, I was struggling to comprehend this new way of living. What was I supposed to do? How am I going to cope?

My Mum, struggling to breathe, was then rushed to hospital. COVID-19 had invaded her lungs. I was lost. I remember the intense overwhelm, exhaustion, sadness, and loneliness! it consumed me.

The odds were stacked against me and nothing seemed to be going my way. Starting a business is hard enough without this plethora of external anxieties, how could I possibly hope to succeed now? The business was barely off the ground, how was it supposed to survive in the midst of this chaos?

I didn’t see a way forward. I couldn’t see a way forward. I wanted to give up.

In the darkest days, I found that fighting for my business gave me the greatest hope. Somewhere, deep within me, I found a strength I didn’t know I had.

In May, I invoiced £18, recording my biggest loss after fresh investment to create a new website. You could say it was an unwise choice to continue investing, given the volatile and unforgiving business conditions, but I simply wasn’t ready to admit defeat! I wanted this.

After spending a number of days in hospital my Mum was finally able to breathe unassisted and was discharged; she returned home and started on the long road to recovery. The UK landscape began to improve and my children were able to return to childcare.

The first week of June brought with it the busiest week since the creation of VIVA Support. It felt like the stars had aligned, allowing me the space to think and breathe again; my hard work was paying off! I was determined to be successful so I invested in a business coach, Trudy Simmonds, who helped me gain clarity and focus. I set some crazy, ambitious goals to reach by the end of the year. I laughed at them. Partly because they seemed unachievable, partly because they scared me!

I started gathering momentum. I began networking (something I was petrified of), I built my LinkedIn network, but most importantly I started believing in myself. I was actually doing this. Yes! me! ME!

In July I invested in an assistant to support me with my social media and in September I increased his hours and expanded his areas of support. Each month to date I have increased his hours further and further. The feeling of being able to support another person whilst also supporting yourself is possibly the most amazing feeling ever! I couldn’t be happier!

My end of year goal, a mere pipe dream back in June, was reached a month early in November before being smashed in December! I couldn’t quite believe it; I was pinching myself.

2020 was an absolute rollercoaster but I’m so proud of what VIVA Support has been able to achieve in its first year.

I don’t know what the second year of business has in store for me or what nasty tricks 2021 might have up its sleeve, but I do know that I intend to grow my team, expand our services, and continue to provide a first class service to the Freelance HR world!

None of this has been easy – not one bit. I’m often reminded that nothing worth doing ever is! I could not have done this without those closest to me. They’ve supported me throughout this tumultuous journey and without them, VIVA Support would not be where it is today!

To every last one of you, sincerely, thank you!

Happy Birthday VIVA Support!

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