Get Ahead VA Blog

Expert showcase: How to view, store and manage files online using Google Drive

Here at Get Ahead VA our team includes experts in a wide variety of fields. From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our VAs can add value to many aspects of your business. In our Expert Showcase series our team deliver some of this expertise to you, with a series of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best bang for your buck in your business.

In this guide one of our virtual assistants Rachel talks about storing and sharing files effectively online with Google Drive.

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Meet the VA: Elly

Here at Get Ahead VA, our people are everything. Our ever-growing team includes a wide range of highly skilled professionals with different backgrounds, expertise and personalities to ensure we can find exactly the right virtual assistant to match our customers’ requirements.

Here’s 60 seconds with one of our VAs, Elly, who recently joined our team in Newcastle.

Name: Elly Roper

Area of expertise: Social media management, spreadsheets & data organisation, and business development.

When & why did you join Get Ahead VA: I joined the Get Ahead VA team in June 2019 after meeting Karen and Allison at a networking event. My passion is connecting people, which is why I was drawn to marketing. I love working as a VA because it gives me a chance to help regular people get their businesses seen by new clients and partners. 

What did you do before you joined Get Ahead VA:  I’ve worked in marketing for over a decade for various agencies and small businesses in the North East. I’ve focused on packaging design, general marketing and most recently in affiliate marketing. 

Career highlight to date: While working for a publishing software company in America, I managed a project where we took 2,500 pages of academic handbook edits from a large university, then updated, formatted and styled them into one perfect book held within our software. It was a massive project that had a great result everyone was pleased with!

Plans for the future: To continue helping business owners who struggle with marketing and admin tasks so they can have business coming in while spending time doing the work they enjoy.


If your business could benefit from Elly’s help, or from any of our other VAs, please get in touch on 01483 332220 or [email protected]. We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.

Meet the VA: Melanie McDowell

Here at Get Ahead VA our people are everything.  Our ever growing team has a wide range of highly skilled professionals with different backgrounds, expertise and even different personalities to ensure that we can find exactly the right virtual assistant to match our customers’ requirements.

Here’s 60 seconds with one of our virtual assistants Melanie who has a wealth of marketing expertise from a varied international marketing career including high profile corporate companies Eurostar and Natwest:

Name: Melanie McDowell

Area of expertise: Project Management, Marketing and Social Media

When & why did you join Get Ahead VA: I joined Get Ahead VA at the beginning of 2017, wanting to use my marketing skills whilst still being able to work flexibly around the needs of my family, and Get Ahead VA enables me to do just that.  When I met Rebecca for the first time, her energy and passion for the business made me want to be part of the team.  I particularly love that she gets the team together periodically, where we are able to share ideas and experiences.  I find I get so much energy being in a room with so many experienced and amazing people.

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VA Client Focus: Fox Davidson

Here at Get Ahead VA we are privileged to work with a wide variety of clients ranging from will writers to window cleaners and financial consultants to fashion designers.  All of our clients are motivated and driven businesses with clear plans for growth.  They recognise the value of outsourcing, passing onto others tasks that either they lack skills in, or tasks that drain their valuable time.

Here’s 60 seconds with one of our clients Wes at independent mortgage broker Fox Davidson who came to Get Ahead VA in search of some award-winning assistance:

What situation was your business in when you came to Get Ahead VA? Our business was growing strongly.  It was three years since myself and my business partner Sarah had formed the business and we were really proud of everything we had achieved.  We were keen to enter awards to gain external recognition of our success and help fuel further growth by generating good PR.

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5 tips for writing press releases that rock!

Writing press releases is a key part of PR.

Get your releases right and they’ll be published far and wide, but get them wrong, and they a) won’t generate the coverage that they deserve or b) you were hoping for.

It’s not possible to write all of your press releases in exactly the same way, but there are best practice techniques you can follow, like these:

1: THINK ABOUT HOW THINGS LOOK

Before we focus on the writing side of things, there’s just one small, but crucial thing I wanted to flag that has the potential to really impact how your press releases perform, and that’s how they’re presented.

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Expert Showcase: How to organise anything using Airtable

Here at Get Ahead VA our team includes experts in a wide variety of fields.  From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our VAs can add value to many aspects of your business.  In our Expert Showcase series our team deliver some of this expertise to you, with a series of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best bang for your buck in your business.

In this guide one of our virtual assistants Melanie talks about how you can organise, plan and track almost anything using an online tool called Airtable. (more…)

What is the Gig economy?

The media appears to be full of headlines talking about the gig economy at the moment.  The topic even featured in election campaigning last week, with political parties talking about zero-hours contracts and other employment related issues.  But what exactly is the gig economy and does it matter?

The gig economy is a way of working that is based on people having temporary jobs or doing separate pieces of work, each paid separately, rather than working for an employer. Source: Cambridge Dictionary

The gig economy is another form of freelancing or self-employment.  The gig economy phrase was coined to highlight the fact that people get paid for each ‘gig’ they complete.  This is in contrast to a standard employment contract – whether permanent or temporary, which would usually be based on a number of hours worked.  Famous examples of the gig economy include food deliveries for companies such as Deliveroo, taxi drivers for companies such as Uber, couriers and even independent contractors such as plumbers, in the recent employment case affecting Pimlico Plumbers.

Flexibility or exploitation?

On the one hand, the gig economy like other forms of freelancing and self-employment usually offers greater flexibility.  People can choose to work as and when they have time available, rather than being tied to a regular hours arrangement.  However it does mean that gig workers are not classed as employees, so they have no rights when it comes to things like holiday pay, sick pay or maternity pay.

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8 things a Virtual Assistant could organise for your business

Whether you are running your own business or working in one, it can easily feel as though there are never enough hours in the day.  The ‘to-do’ list only seems to get longer.  You dream of having a magic wand with which you could clear your desk and get things sorted.

What you might need is a top organiser to help you get things on track.  A virtual assistant can do just that – taking on administration, social media management and marketing tasks to enable you to get back what you do best.

Here are 8 suggestions of things a virtual assistant could organise for your business:

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What is LinkedIn Pulse and why should you be using it?

LinkedIn Pulse is a self-publishing platform.  This means that you can write articles or blog posts and rather than publishing them just on your own blog or website, you can publish them on LinkedIn.

Access to a worldwide audience

The immediate benefits are obvious.  For your own website or blog the audience will be limited to your website users – or possibly your social media or email database audience if you publicise it using these means.  However, publish an article on LinkedIn Pulse and potentially you can hit the millions of users worldwide currently registered on Linkedin – and even those without Linkedin accounts.

Publishing on LinkedIn Pulse can also benefit your SEO, providing good quality links back to your own website.  Your Pulse posts are listed on your profile, so publishing regularly can improve the appearance of your profile, as well as your influence within the Linkedin network.

So if the benefits are obvious, how do I get started?

Pulse used to be a standalone news aggregator app which LinkedIn purchased in 2013.  It has now been fully integrated into the LinkedIn desktop, so you may even be using it without realising it.  Every time you choose to click on the box ‘Write an article’ as opposed to simply sharing an update, you are publishing on LinkedIn.

The key steps to posting your first article are as follows: (more…)

Meet Regional Director: Suzanne Cox

Meet Regional Director: Suzanne Cox

Here at Get Ahead VA, our people are everything. We’re dedicated to growing our business all over the country, so our customers can access a wide range of highly skilled professionals wherever they are. We currently have regional offices in Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle and Berkshire & North Hampshire.

Here’s 60 seconds with one of our Berkshire & North Hampshire Regional Directors, Suzanne, who is working alongside fellow Regional Director Kristy Roff.

Name: Suzanne Cox

Area of expertise:  I’m an experienced Virtual Assistant myself; highly resourceful, proactive and detail oriented with a core enthusiasm for HR.

When and why did you join Get Ahead VA? I joined Get Ahead VA in May 2019 after running my own Virtual Assistant business.  I always aspired to grow this business and support other local VAs, so the opportunity to run an established franchise came just at the right time.

What did you do before you joined Get Ahead VA? I built a career in operational HR for two multinationals and took redundancy as an opportunity to start my own business as a Virtual Assistant.  I had six great years when my children were young being able to manage my work around their needs.  I love the varied, reactive nature of VA work and particularly enjoy supporting start-ups to grow to the point where their needs for a VA develop.

Career highlight to date: I’ve been fortunate to have some great roles in my career, all giving me new insights into business, people and myself.  Managing and analysing performance management data for over 15,000 global employees in a part time role was certainly my biggest achievement and gave me the skills and confidence to liaise with a range of senior people. I’m really looking forward to taking all my experience into Get Ahead.

Plans for the future:  To build the Get Ahead business in Berkshire & North Hampshire with a team of experienced VAs helping our clients’ businesses to grow.


If your business could benefit from Suzanne’s help, or to find a regional office where you are, please get in touch on 01483 332220 or [email protected]. We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.