Inspirational Woman: Sasha Saville | Founder, The Executive Solutions Agency

Meet Sasha Saville

Founder, The Executive Solutions Agency

Sasha launched The Executive Solutions Agency in March 2020 providing outsourcing solutions for small businesses needing support in various areas of administration, delivery and marketing. Within four months she began building her team.

One of Sasha’s key differentiators is that her team work with many Neurodiverse entrepreneurs who may struggle with things like admin, organising their diaries, managing their inboxes, and other business tasks, which many of them put off or feel overwhelmed by.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I am a business owner and a Mum to my little boy Sidney who is 3-years-old. Previously I worked in the construction industry in communications but after I had my son I didn’t want to work full time anymore. When I returned to work I agreed to go back for 3 days per week, but within 8 weeks of my return there was pressure for me to increase those days and be in London more than one day per week. Going to London meant I was out of the house all day and I didn’t get to see my 6-month old son.

As a result I decided to launch my own business and in March 2020 I set up The Executive Solutions Agency providing outsourcing solutions for small businesses needing support in various areas of administration, delivery and marketing. I knew I only wanted to work part time so I could spend time with my son, but within four months of starting the business I had so much work that I needed to bring people in help me so I could carry on only working three days a week.

One of our key differentiators is that we work with many Neurodiverse entrepreneurs who may struggle with with things like admin, organising their diaries, managing their inboxes and other business tasks which many of us put off or feel overwhelmed by. My team are trained in neurodiversity support and have experience of living and working with professionals with ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

I grew up with a Dad and brother who are both dyslexic and saw first-hand the challenges they faced and continue to face in their jobs and life. About 18 months ago I came to discover one of my clients had ADHD so I started to research, expand my knowledge and discover how as a business we could change the way we worked with him to support his better.

It wasn’t until I began working with neurodiverse clients and expanding my knowledge that I began to truly understand the impact it that being neurodiverse can have on individual and business owner.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not really until I had my own business. After I finished my A-Levels I knew I didn’t want to continue with education so looked for a job doing something that I knew I would enjoy and be good at. I knew I wanted to be happy in the path I chose. I got an apprenticeship in Business Administration with a local building contractor, I was gaining a qualification and earning without going back into education. My career progressed using the same ethos, being happy and doing something that I knew I was good at. My employed career ended in 2019 as a Communications Manager for an international contractor/developer.

Since I have owed my business I have had to be more strategic with the support of some amazing people but ultimately I aim to be happy.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Before starting my own business the biggest challenge I faced was whether the move I was making was the right thing to do. But I have always followed my gut and if I didn’t think the move was right I didn’t take the opportunity. Since running my own business the biggest challenge has been that there was so much I didn’t know and I’m learning every single day. It’s also about the people I surround myself with whether that’s a new team member, a new client or a consultant I bring in to support me.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Definitely launching my business just before the pandemic and only working 3 days a week so I could be there for my son. Over 2 years later, the business is still growing and I still continue to work 3 days a week until my son goes to school full time.

Level Up Summit

 

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What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Without a doubt to make the business a success was down to the people I surrounded myself with in those early days, weeks and months. I built a fantastic support network.

I also backed myself 100% that I would have a successful business and for me success was to earn a full time salary working 3 days a week. I knew I could do it, but how I got passed that point and started to build a team was without a doubt the support I had, I knew I couldn’t have done it alone, I had no experience in building a business so I found people who had. I owe a lot to them.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Within 6 weeks of launching my business I found a mentor as I knew I could not build a business alone as I didn’t have experience. It was the best thing I could have done and I owe a lot to that person. It was in fact my mentor who suggested I looked into mentoring myself. After 9 months in business, I had a team of 4 people. All were associates and ran their own businesses like mine. I found that I was advising and supporting them on the growth of their own businesses so I decided to create a small group of Virtual Assitants who I could mentor. One was just about to look for a full-time job as her business wasn’t growing, another was in a job she absolutely hated and wanted to leave as soon as she could. I worked with them for a little over 12 months, their businesses grew phenomenally, all were working full time inside their businesses, some were looking for associates to support their growing workload and some I’ve hired to work within my own team.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I think Covid and the huge increase in remote and flexible working as already helped this significantly. I left my job because I didn’t want to commute to an office in London everyday and not see my son. Remote and flexible working can really help Mums get a better work life balance.

I consider myself very fortunate as despite working in construction for 17 years, I really wasn’t ever made to feel different being a female. I worked the last 9-years with as international contractor/developer which had a female UK Chairman. It was good to see how a large organisation like that operated and ensured they had a well-balanced, representative team.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I think for me it would be to have more of a voice and the confidence to express my own ideas and opinions. I didn’t always feel that I was knowledgeable enough or experienced enough to share my ideas and opinions with people more senior. Inevitably I would stay quiet and someone else in the room would say exactly what I was thinking but I just didn’t feel confident enough to contribute to the conversations. I have learnt that if you are thinking something and have an opinion you should voice it in a professional way and be part of the conversation.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

To continue to build the business and to expand the team further. I want to grow both my client base both with neurodivergent and neurotypical clients to help them scale and build their own businesses. But fundamentally I want to enjoy my work and home life and for me that’s ensuring I have the time to spend with my son and the rest of my family whilst growing the business I thoroughly enjoy.

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