Juggling parenting and being their own boss. Meet Natalia from Clear Desk VA
I’m Natalia and I’m a Mum of two young girls – Rose, who is almost 3, and Arabella, who is 1. I was an English teacher for almost ten years in a previous life and now I run a Virtual Assistant business called Clear Desk VA. I’m married to a blooming incredible guy, called Chris, who puts up with my ridiculous house rules and is endlessly supportive.
I am the oldest of 4 girls, love being surrounded by female friends and having a boogie with a couple of glasses of fizz. We live in sunny South Gloucestershire, right near the estuary and the bridges that cross to Wales. Originally, we are from Worcestershire (yep, we met at school and then came together in later life!) and we live in a house that we are slowly renovating, one room at a time.
Tell us about your business baby:
My biz is Clear Desk VA. The idea for Clear Desk was born, as all brilliant ideas are, at 3am on one of the many long nights of being up with my youngest daughter, when she was tiny. I had this fire in my belly that I wanted to start my own business (I have lots of amazing female friends who are business owners and I wanted in!) but I just couldn’t think what it would be. I don’t “make” anything, so that was out, and I really wanted to do something brilliantly and be successful…which is when I realised that I just needed to marry together all of the qualities that I love: organisation, support and efficiency!
So, the idea to become a VA was born. I researched the heck out of it (love a bit of research!) and knew this was for me. Now, I am about to recruit my first Associate and my books are full, which is still hard to get my head around, as I only launched in September 2018! I simply ADORE my business and what it has brought to my life, as well as my family. It has brought opportunities, new friendships and a passion that I thought I’d left in the classroom, before I became a Mama. I pinch myself each week, honestly!
What’s your WHY
Ooh that’s a good question. This is the sort of question where you expect to read “my children”, right?! And, of course, they are a massive part of my ‘why’. I want to be a strong female role model for my girls and show them that working flexibly is an option, as a Mother.
But, to be perfectly honest, my main ‘why’ is Me. I want to keep striving to be the best person that I can be and pushing myself to be successful. I think I lost part of that, when I became a Mum, and finding that again has really made me feel like my old self.
What do you find the hardest bit of doing the juggle?
Childcare! Ugh – childcare! The blooming childcare juggle is hard, for sure. We don’t live near family so, when one kink in the childcare chain breaks, we have to try and work around it and it can be really hard to keep the balls in the air, keep clients happy and manage the dreaded Mum Guilt!
My husband and I have promised each other that, if we ever become grandparents, our motto will be “always offer”! Even if we live miles away, I think that’s something that I will really remember about this period of our lives.
Who’s your support network?
I’m so lucky to have a bunch of really strong female friends that I’ve met in the last couple of years, particularly Danni McCabe, who runs Mama Tribe and is a shining light of possibility and wonder. She has a great, creative brain and she’s such a fab support. Also, Maxine of Digital Bon Bons, of course! Her positivity is infectious and she’s such a wonderful friend.
Then I have my lovely girlfriends who I try and keep in touch with as much as I can. My best friend is in Oz for three years, completing a PHD, and I miss her a ridiculous amount. My other bestie is in London and we send each other lengthy voice notes on WattsApp everyday! Such a simple thing but it really helps to keep connected, when you don’t see each other as often as you’d like too.
If only I knew then what I know now…
How much your heart grows when you have children. It catches me each day!
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