Alchemy Virtual Assistance’s newest franchisee is Laura Barley – a former Police Officer who has overcome her own personal hardship and loss to embark on a new career path.
Following the unexpected passing of her husband from meningitis five years ago, and driven by the desire to create a flexible and fulfilling career to secure a future for her and her son, Laura has chosen to join Alchemy and launch her VA venture from her home office on the outskirts of Glasgow.
Starting her training over the summer months, Laura has hit the ground running, gaining multiple clients and using her excellent organisational skills, eye for detail and compassionate nature to support small business owners and entrepreneurs UK-wide with their remote PA, admin and project work.
Barley said: “My son was still a baby when my husband passed away. Within four days we had gone from a diagnosis to his life support being switched off. He was just 39 years-old, but tiger mummy instincts kick in and I just wanted to do whatever I can to look after my young family.
“When your life suddenly changes as mine did, and then with the added pressures of the pandemic, it causes you to really put things into perspective. I wanted a rewarding career working flexibly from home, where I could use all my transferable skills to add real value to others, but not at the cost of being there for my son.
“Setting up a Virtual Assistant business under the established and highly supportive Alchemy VA group, especially when lots more people are choosing to outsource their business tasks, makes me really excited. Not only am I chasing my own business dreams, but I am creating a better balance at home, as the Alchemy family are supporting, training, guiding and generally cheering me on to allow me to make a real difference to small business owners.”
Barley has a degree in business, and has previous experience as a recruitment consultant, project coordinator for a small family-run company, and in various challenging roles on serious crimes at Police Scotland.
Report, presentation and document production, research, diary management, meeting and event organisation, recruitment and social media scheduling are some of the many everyday administration jobs Laura is responsible for on behalf of her clients.
In celebration of Laura opening Alchemy VA’s very first Scottish Franchise Hub, the company’s founders – Suzy and Paul Sanders – have pledged to support an initiative to help rewild the Scottish Highlands in the Barley family’s honour.
Suzy said: “We’re absolutely over the moon to have welcomed Laura to Alchemy. She is an incredible woman who really compliments and strengthens our franchise family. Laura is deeply courageous and aligns to our values perfectly. She certainly has all that it takes to achieve her aspirations and I feel very fortunate to be able to continue to support her as a business owner in her own right as she nurtures and grows.”
Paul added: “What better way to mark the occasion than by donating to ‘Trees for Life’ who do great work to help rewild the precious Scottish Highlands providing space for wildlife to flourish and communities to thrive.
“From now on we will plant a new tree every time we welcome someone into the Alchemy VA family – whether they’re a Virtual Assistant, franchisee or client.”
Laura will take the number of Alchemy VA franchise hubs to five with more in the pipeline to launch before the end of 2021.