The Continued Importance of Sustainability in Business

The notion of large corporations making up the rules as they go along and turning into hungry, money making machines at the beck and call of shareholders is far removed from the experience of most companies. Sustainability in business has become ever more important over the last couple of decades and has been accompanied by … Read more

Double Your Size: Our Top Tips for SME Growth

If your company has been moving along quite nicely since you started but you now want to implement strategies for growth, the prospect of doubling in size will no doubt be appealing. While SME growth is top of many a business owner’s agendas, there are a number of factors to take into consideration however. These … Read more

Under The Spotlight: Karina Melvin, Artful Eating

Each month we showcase some of the fantastic stories our community of business owners and professionals have to share.

Over the past month or two, the team at Virtalent have been working intensively to support Karina Melvin, Founder of Artful Eating, who recently signed up to use the Virtalent platform. Over this period we are proud to have been able to accommodate all of her requests and truly support her in bringing her new course to market.

Karina has kindly taken the time out of her very busy schedule to participate in this exclusive video interview to give you a brief overview of her amazing new course and how we have been able to help her along the way. Enjoy!

Please introduce yourself and your business

I’m a psychologist and the creator of Artful Eating, which is an online programme to help people lose weight without dieting. It looks at the cause of people’s problems, their psychological struggles with food and their body. Its about changing your relationship with food and feeling good in yourself!

What does a typical day look like for you?

I have my online programme but I also run a clinic here in Dublin, Sandymount Psychotherapy Clinic. I also write and am studying for a PhD in the School of Medicine. I have lots of different things going on so I don’t really have a typical day, but usually its dealing with emails, engaging in the different strands of my work, studying, working with clients and developing my online business. Oh, and also walking the dogs!

Why did you choose to work in your industry?

I chose to work in this industry because I’ve always had a desire to help people. I guess for me this is very much a vocation and setting up the online programme was a continuation of that. The idea behind Artful Eating was an opportunity to help more people get the message out there that you don’t need to diet, you don’t need to restrict the food that you eat, that you can enjoy food and you can still have the body that you desire. This is how I ended up working online, which was a really steep learning curve because I am not the most technically advanced person! It was such a struggle for a long time because everything seems so insurmountable at first, but when you have a team like Virtalent a solution is a simple email away. They have the skills there at your disposal.

What has been the biggest challenge since starting the business?

Moving from being a therapist and being caught up in theory, as opposed to the practical application of WordPress or MailChimp or any of these wonderful tools that are necessary for an online business, there was a very steep learning curve. Initially I tried to do everything myself but it just took so much longer. I suppose its about how you value your time – time is of a premium.

What is your ultimate goal for your business?

That’s a great question! My ultimate goal is to help people feel more comfortable in their bodies, to help people enjoy food and to help emancipate people from dieting and strict regimes that aren’t serving them. So that’s my ultimate goal. Its so helpful to have that purpose because I think otherwise I’d lose it sometimes simply because there’s so much involved in an online business. I’ve no desire to have a massive enterprise. I’m an entrepreneur, but number one I’m a psychologist and a psychotherapist. That’s my mission, so the business side of things online is all about reaching more people and helping more people. I’m not interested in running a business per se; I’m more interested in doing my work, so having Virtalent there to step in and do the things that I can’t do, I don’t know how to do or don’t have the time to do is really incredible.

How did you hear about Virtalent?

My husband! My husband saw me tearing my hair out one day. He recognised that I needed the help but also that I didn’t want to hire someone full-time. Fortunately, he had come across Virtalent in a newspaper. Admittedly, I was wary as I had used other virtual assistant platforms before and really had found them lacking. Fortunately when I started working with Sam, Ellie, Alex and the rest of their team I quickly realised they were very helpful and supportive.

How To Grow Your Business In The Next 5 Years

Taking a small business to the next level is the ambition of most entrepreneurs. Some businesses start up and stay at the same level, often because the owner wants it to remain manageable, while others suddenly begin to blossom and turn into large corporations because there is a drive to make it so.  If you … Read more

Learning About Effective Marketing From Your Competitors

While it might seem sensible to put your nose to the grindstone and keep going no matter what, stepping back and taking a look at your competitors and what they are up to can be extremely beneficial. If you want to learn what effective marketing is in your industry or sector, then borrowing a few … Read more

The Importance of Having a Business Mentor

The importance of having a business mentor cannot be underestimated. Most successful businessmen and women will readily admit they would not have got where they are today without good advice and support. A mentor provides more than just helpful tips. They get to know you deep down and can guide you through difficult times to … Read more

NEWS: Virtalent Featured in the Sunday Times

The two Founders of Virtalent, Sam Wilson and Ellie Bekalo, were interviewed by The Sunday Times. Below you can read the original article by the Small Business Editor, Kiki Loizou, published on 28th June 2015. Here’s the official release: “It was a hot July afternoon in Birmingham. Graduation day loomed, and friends Ellie Bekalo and … Read more

Birmingham’s Silicon Canal – Growing a Start-up Scene

As the UK’s second city, Birmingham has really put itself on the map in the last few years. After the financial crisis that started in 2008, Entrepreneurs took 2014 as the year to step into the limelight and launch their businesses more confidently than ever before. It seems that Silicon Canal is the place to … Read more