Posted by: on March 3, 2016

Or so a long-standing client declared to me on Monday in one of our sparky, rather honest conversations…

It is always so great to hear our clients really grasping the concept of outsourcing within their fast paced, ambitious businesses but it got me thinking as to why more of our local entrepreneurs and business owners don’t see this as a viable growth option in their businesses too.

In my experience it’s three things: (more…)

Posted by: on January 10, 2016

 

This year marks 6 years since I took over The Passionate PA. It’s been an incredible journey filled with learning, ambition and some self discovery too.

When I took over from Sarah Howells in 2010, The Passionate PA was very much a lifestyle business based in Poole and Bournemouth. There were a selection of great clients but walking in Sarah’s shoes proved to be an emotional minefield. I found it tremendously hard to follow such a legend and began to realise pretty quickly that I didn’t know very much about being a ‘traditional PA’ or running a business either! I was just 26 and having come from a very corporate background working in Advertising and then Print Management, I simply had no idea what was required to run and grow a profitable little business. A severe confidence crisis ensued!

In 2011, things started to look up. I finally realised I didn’t need to emulate Sarah. Respect her, honour her wishes and be welcoming of every single ‘Pash’ supporter was all I actually had to do. Doh! After this realisation, it all seemed so much easier to move forward. It may seem obvious looking back but at the time, moving the business past Sarah’s death seemed impossible. Anyway, with newfound self-belief and a massive amount of courage, I started to mould the business into my own little empire with more focus on profit, more focus on the right sorts of clients and hey presto… the second generation Passionate PA was born!

I invested heaps of time and money reading, learning and testing the “theories” of how to run a freelance business, and how to be a brilliant PA. It became very clear very quickly that the two things were not being done together by many people and sure as hell, nothing like the way I wanted it to be done.

For me, establishing a brand was everything. Having real values and clarity in our service delivery and building a sustainable business was the future.

So, in 2012 business was booming. Despite a pesky recession, despite £15 per hour Virtual Assistants popping up all over the place, I found myself with more work than I could handle and I even took the massive leap of renting office space and employing a couple of assistants.

Interesting times! I was inundated with ladies (yet to receive a single job seeking email from a chap!) wanting to be Passionate PAs. These people generally just want to make a fair living for being a fabulous PA. But, employing an army or Passionate PAs seemed a little too scary for me. All that HR rubbish… yuk, that was never in my Life Plan.

And then it dawned – how difficult could it be to teach the right sort of ladies how to be Passionate PAs in their own right? How difficult would it be to write down everything there is to running, managing, growing (and even selling when the time is right) a successful lifestyle business that gives women the power to have a career they want whilst juggling all the things life throws at them? How difficult would it be to share The Passionate PA business model with others, widening our target market yet maintaining the structure and trustworthiness of a brand Sarah and I have spent years creating?

How difficult indeed…

In October 2012 Dominique Bailhache became the pilot franchisee. The guinea pig for following the model and systems; Dominique received mentoring and support from me, and tested the market in another geographic area. Now, in 2016, I’m ready to launch the franchise officially and it is with huge delight Dominique and I welcome Debbie Frith to the team.

I plan to create a network of Passionate PAs, one in every town, that quite simply are the most resourceful, positive, skilled assets to any entrepreneurial business.