What’s in your handbag, Rebecca Newenham?

rebecca newenham whats in your handbag jennifer hamley VA - handbag Jan 17

On Monday we met inspirational award winning woman in the world of business, Rebecca Newenham, CEO of Get Ahead VA.  Rebecca runs a virtual agency that helps businesses with tasks they don’t have the skills, time or desire to do.  (I have just started using virtual assistants and I LOVE THEM!)

If you have been reading my blog for a few weeks, you’ll know that each Thursday I like to ask our inspirational woman of the week to share what they carry in their handbag – we always learn so much more about our stars personality, life and business!  So what does this lady carry in her handbag day to day?

Over to you, Rebecca…

I found this bag in Warehouse sale.  I love the colour and the fact that it had a bag within a bag compartment!!

1) Green purse – I bought this in Australia during our trip there last year. I have so many cards that it is perfect but larger than I realised! I love the colour – I can spot it a mile off.

2) Rose gold notebook – A birthday pressie from Anthropology. It goes everywhere with me.

3) My business cards – I spend a lot of time out networking and meeting with prospective clients so these are a must.

4) Folder with GA rate cards – These are a useful discussion tool and leave behind with clients.

5) Bottle of water – Being out and about I always try and stay as hydrated as I can.

6) Tissues – This time of year and with 3 kids at home I can’t go far without tissues.

7) Lip gloss and lip balm – Amazing what a slick of lip gloss can do to make you feel positive just before a meeting.

8) Phone – My business and personal lifeblood!

9) Keys


Thank you for sharing what’s in your handbag Rebecca!

You can connect with Rebecca and find out more about Get Ahead VA on the links below – I urge you to delegate some tasks so that you can get on with making your business and career fly!


Wishing you a fabulous end to another week – see you soon,

Jennifer x



Q&A Monday with Rebecca Newenham

Q&A Rebecca Newenham

Need some Monday motivation, or maybe some delegation?

Meet Rebecca Newenham who runs virtual agency Get Ahead VA, a team of 30 highly experienced virtual assistants who love to take on the tasks that businesses don’t have the skills to do, don’t have the time to do, or simply don’t want to do.  I bet we can all think of a few of those! Rebecca wanted to start a flexible, home-based business and spotted a niche in the market for affordable business support services.  Now she and her team help businesses with everything from Twitter to telephone calls, accounting to admin and design to databases, priding themselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  But what about the woman behind the business?  Let’s find out more about her…

Mum and working awards 2016 (400x400)

Hello Rebecca, it’s fabulous to have you here, how are you today?

I am great thanks!  It is lovely to take a few minutes out to chat with you.  2017 has been a busy year already.

Let’s get straight to business then!  What made you go into business for yourself?  Do you remember the deciding moment?

I always knew I wanted to run my own business.  I grew up with a successfully self-employed mother so I had seen first-hand that it was possible to work and be around for the family.  I started my career as a Corporate Buyer, working for retail giants Superdrug and Sainsburys.  I worked on the first ever online supplier auction which was very exciting!  Once my daughters came along I decided not to continue commuting into London and once my youngest started school I knew it was time to start something for myself. I researched various options and after coming across the term virtual assistant online I knew it was the right choice for me.  I attended a one day course which covered all the basics and Get Ahead VA was launched.  I knew the business could offer the flexible working solution I was looking for and that I could employ other mothers so they could benefit as well.  Six years later I now run an award-winning team of 30 virtual assistants. The vast majority of our virtual assistants are highly experienced mothers who work from home, successfully juggling the needs of our clients around their family commitments.

With your business, you see every day how support can make a huge difference to a business, but how important is it for you personally to have a support group?  Who are those people to you?

Having a support group is key – especially if you have come out of a corporate career to work for yourself.  Over the years I was so used to working as part of a big team and having a high level of support around me.  It can be daunting having to do it all yourself.  But for me, networking was key.  I love the buzz of meeting new people and networking allowed me to develop a fantastic support group of like-minded business people.  I also work with a business coach who has been a great support and ensures that I keep on track with my goals.  My family have of course been my biggest support – as well as my inspiration.

Get Ahead VA team picture_lr (650x279).jpg

I agree, networking is great for expanding horizons – it actually used to really scare me, but then I realised that its just a case of making new friends, I love it now!  I also love that you said how important your business coach is to you.  I’m looking for a new coach myself as I achieve so much more when I have one.  (if you have anyone to recommend, send them my way!)

What’s next for you, any exciting challenges ahead?

This year I am really excited that we are continuing our geographical expansion through both direct appointments as well as developing a franchise model.  Virtual assistance is a fast-growing industry and our franchise model will allow other aspiring virtual assistants to get into the market and provide a flexible income for themselves, just as I have done.

That sounds really exciting, I’ve started to use virtual assistants too, I agree that the industry is growing and will continue to as it does fit around so many different lifestyles.  A franchise model sounds perfect for you too – I look forward to seeing that as it develops.  

What techniques do you use to keep yourself motivated?

I am a big fan of goal setting.  I find it really helps me stay focused on what I need to achieve.  Together with my coach we identify the business goals for the year and how I plan to achieve them.  I have them printed out and stuck on my office wall so they always there to remind me and ensure I don’t get distracted from the task at hand.

I need my goals in sight too – literally pinned to the wall where I stand for short periods of time (a great place is by the kettle for a tea and coffee drinker!)  
I know it can be hard to switch off, there is always more to do, what is your favourite way to get away and relax?
Luckily I work with a fantastic team of virtual assistants so I always delegate to them and ensure I have time off over the holidays to spend with my girls.  They are, after all, the reason I started the business all those years ago.  The team answer my calls and emails to ensure a seamless transition, highlighting anything important on my return.  As a family we love to travel and had a fantastic trip to Australia last year to visit friends and explore. My husband and I had been there for our honeymoon many years before so it was lovely to take the girls with us this time.   This year we are planning to visit friends in Barcelona and go island hopping around Croatia in the summer.  We love the variety and sense of adventure of travelling around a country and getting to see its highlights.
Ahhh, isn’t travel just so exciting?  Amazing that you get away and your business really supports that.  I think your story will have inspired lots of our readers to start using virtual assistants if they aren’t doing so already.  Thank you for talking to me today, it has been fabulous to hear more about your business and life and how they fit together. 
You can connect with Rebecca and find out more about Get Ahead VA on the link below, and later this week, we’ll get a glimpse of what this CEO carries in her handbag!
Have a fantastic week!
Jennifer x

What’s in Your Handbag, Julia Scodie?

Julia Scodie - handbag work bag jennifer hamley
On Monday we met with Julia Scodie, who took the plunge, left her full-time Project Manager job and set up Exercise in the City – taking exercise classes directly to busy professionals in their workplace.  If you missed my chat with this inspiring lady, you can catch up here.  Julia is back today to share what she carries in her handbag (backpack!) to work all over the City of London.

Over to you Julia!

I have to carry so many things around during the day, I use a racksack. My favourite is my denim adidas originals (retro!). I carry that and always a Pilates mat too… Jennifer I’m waiting for the design of your K.T Workbag which I can attach my mat to!

Julia Scodie - numbered work bag handbag contents (2)

1) Mobile phone/laptop – My mobile office as I do not have physical one!

2) Antibacterial wipes – To keep my mats and other Pilates equipment clean after each class.

3) Umbrella – essential as travelling around London all day you really are exposed to the elements.. Staying dry is key!

4) Nivea Moisturiser – My go to handy sized moisturiser. Don’t leave home without it.

5) Diary  – I love the old fashioned paper diary – backup for my appointments in case modern technology lets me down!

6) Pen/note pad – To make notes when meeting potential new clients and for making my to do list whilst on public transport.

7) Snack to keep my energy levels up – At the moment I’m loving Pip & Nut handy squeeze packs of their delicious nut butters

8) Makeup – face powder, liquid eyeliner and mascara.  I don’t wear much makeup when teaching –  but these are the essentials, and being out all day the odd top up is sometimes necessary if meeting potential clients!

9) Oyster card – essential for travel

10) Fitness band/Pilates block – useful for clients with muscle tightness to help them get a safe and effective stretch.

11) Flyers – everyone’s a potential new client… so I always have some on me to hand out.

12) Wallet

13)  Keys

Thank you for sharing Julia – I will certainly start sketching ideas of straps that we could add to a handbag for you for your mat!  I’m thinking a handbag/backpack design would work perfectly.

Julia can be found across the internet on the links below – do get in touch with her if you have questions, or just say hi (she’s lovely!)


Join me on Monday to meet another inspirational award winning woman in the world of business, Rebecca Newenham.

Wishing you a fabulous end to the working week,

Jennifer x


Q&A Monday with Julia Scodie

Q&A Julia Scodie

It’s another glorious week, spring has definitely sprung and I’m raring to go with this weeks goals, as I’m sure you are too.  To kick the week off week, I’m chatting to Julia Scodie from Exercise in The City to give us some fabulous Monday motivation!

I don’t know about you, but I have a recurring issue with my fitness/work balance, and the pattern goes a little like this; I’ve decided to start a new fitness regime, but decided to put it off until Monday, because, well, it’s the weekend!  And when Monday comes around I’m so busy at work that I put it off my fitness plans until later in the week.  The week then disappears and, well,  it’s the weekend again, so I put it off until Monday…

Sound familiar?  Julia’s business is a simple idea with amazing health and wellness benefits.  She cuts through all the excuses and takes exercise classes directly to her customers, in their workplace!

Julia Scodie - Exercise in the City at Coq D'Argent (5)

I’m super excited to have you here with us today Julia, how are you today?

Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for having me.  I’m great thanks.  I’ve had a really good and productive day today.  I was teaching a lunchtime Pilates class earlier for staff at a Corporate Finance company – I teach them in a meeting room with all the chairs pushed aside; caught up with some emails and admin this morning – I’m just in the process of putting together a timetable of weekly classes for another company.  Later on I’ll be teaching an after work class for staff at Girlguiding head office.  It’s a really busy time at the moment, lots of great companies looking to help their staff keep their ‘get fit’ resolutions!  So my days are pretty varied, but I love being able to teach as well as run my own business.

I love that you go to where your customers are and use the space that they have available to give them something that they truly need.  What inspired the idea and made you start your own business? Continue reading

Q&A Monday with Hex Cavelli

Q&A Jane CooperAs we fearlessly enter another new week, I am excited to introduce you to designer Jane Cooper, the creator behind the bold and beautiful brand Hex Cavelli.

Jane did a BA degree in Textile Design at Falmouth University before she followed an adventurous artistic route of mixed media, printmaking and classic jewellery design to find her calling with lost wax carving.  Then she created Hex Cavelli, her brand and alter ego, capturing creativity and confidence of an untamed persona and producing hand crafted jewellery and prints from strong, dark designs.

Version 2

Hello Jane, It is fabulous to have you here, how are you today?

Hello Jennifer, thank you for having me! I’m feeling great and sounding terrible – I have completely lost my voice this week so am sounding very husky, some say it’s seductive.  Others think I sound like an awk from Lord of the Rings so I guess it depends on your preference!

Well at least you’ve found a way to make it work for your brand!  I hope you feel better soon.  What’s next for you with Hex Cavelli?  Any exciting challenges ahead? Continue reading

What’s in your handbag, Cathy Padian?

I’m delighted to welcome back Cathy Padian to take a peek inside her handbag.  If you missed the Q&A on Monday, catch up here to get a glimpse behind the scenes of how she runs her beautiful accessories business, Alice’s Wonders.  This inspiring woman sells vintage and contemporary inspired necklaces, earrings and bracelets, stylish scarves and clutch bags, at fabulously affordable prices.  She’s a powerhouse that runs the business doing everything herself; from buying to photography, copy writing and social media to packaging and shipping.

Cathy Podian from Alice's Wonders.PNG

But what does a super busy small business owner have in her pretty and practical Preston handbag from Fossil when she is on the go?

Over to Cathy to reveal all…


1. Purse; Fossil.  Matches my bag; sometimes, just sometimes matchy-matchy is a good thing.  I was actually given the purse first and loved it so much I bought the matching bag.  Sometimes you just know it’s the right thing to do! Continue reading

International Women’s Day – a personal post

Jennifer hamley tribe

This is a post to say thank you to all the women in my life.  The ones that I know right now, the ones that are no longer living and the ones that I don’t see anymore, but who shaped me into the woman I am today.

I want to thank the women who have supported me when I haven’t thought I could do it.  Who’ve been there to bounce (good and bad!) ideas off and to pick me up when my heart was so broken that I didn’t think it would ever heal.

I want to thank the women who have been there for me with ideas and strategies and business acumen when I had none.  Women who help me celebrate my successes and who have blind faith that I can do ever more amazing things.

I want to thank the women who take time out to act ridiculously with me, in person or wherever I am in the world (Skype and wine anyone?)   Women who make me feel instantly home because I have a place in their hearts, as they have a place in mine.

I want to thank the women who have become my customers and in so many cases, friends.  Women who have taken a leap of faith and who are the most amazing cheerleaders –  I promise to keep creating for you.

I want to thank every single woman in my family.  Powerful, loving and with a touch of madness that can only be seen in the very best of people.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You truly are my tribe.

Jennifer xx