Women’s Business Club Small Business Awards – Upsource is a finalist!
We are so proud to announce that we have made the shortlist for the Women’s Business Small Business Awards! And even better, Caroline Marshall has been nominated for Business Mum of the Year, an award with deeply personal significance, as well as recognising Upsource for the incredible collective that it is!
“I went from redundant to furloughed first time mum taking the plunge all within a year, and started my business deep in lockdown; running around after an 18 month old and pregnant with my second.
Mumpreneurs – Starting a business as a mum
I truly started Upsource because I was exhausted by how hard being employed, trying to have a career and raising a child felt.
I knew I was a great VA and had the fire of ambition. Either I tried to job hunt during lockdown while being the main carer and pregnant again – or I went out and got the work myself!
So I could focus on being a mum, I planned not to launch until my firstborn was able to go back to nursery in July 2020. Luckily, by then Upsource was ready, and I turned to my 1 x 10 hour per month client (who I still work with!) to being fully booked with clients by August 2020. Then, in November 2020,I handed over my clients to a team of 5 VAs so I could take maternity leave with my second child.
The struggles of entrepreneur mums
It’s been really important to me to share my struggles and success as a mum juggling this business. I want to show other working mums that it’s not easy, it takes a lot of hard work, support and some tears (mine and the kids!) When I first started I was working on the business the one hour a day my husband took for his lunch break and then when his working day was over and could take over childcare. (Outside of that I was FAR too exhausted parenting and pregnant – but I achieved it)
I did take maternity leave, but the one virtual event I attended was the UK VA Awards 2021 – My husband was getting our eldest from nursery and I had our (at the time) 12 week old, who needed feeding. I ummed and ahhed about switching the camera off, but I decided to be brave and leave it on, accepting ‘Best Newcomer VA 2021’ as I was breastfeeding. I’m not hugely confident feeding in front of people I don’t know on camera! But I am so proud to represent mums achieving their business dreams as well as nursing their babies.
When I returned from leave picking up more ‘work days’ in 2021, I decided to grow the agency model. It paid off. As of October 2022, We now have a team of 30 Virtual assistants!
Supporting and empowering mums in business
It hasn’t always been easy being a mum running a business and knowing where the line is – this is something I am constantly learning. Most of all I am proud of the many mums on my team; it’s so important to me to support other mums in creating a work life that they can balance and fit around their home life. Over 50 per cent of the team are mums and work a variety of hours/days that suit their schedules.
I want my VA agency to be a flagship in the UK not only for the power of female / mother founded businesses, but also to be a true representative for the industry and what a mum in business can truly achieve. I care so deeply about the women who work with Upsource and want to see them succeed with their own careers and businesses. We are living the value of collaboration.”
If you’re a mum looking for more work/life balance and would like to join the Upsource fold, get in touch with Caroline.