ScaleUp Radio – From Freelancer to Franchisor

Scaling up a business isn’t easy, in fact it can be a little daunting. ScaleUp Radio exists to make it a little easier. The show is hosted by Kevin Brent, the founder of BizSmart.

Recognising the challenges that owner-managers face in scaling their businesses, Kevin interviews successful entrepreneurs who have ‘been there’, offering valuable insights and advice. With over ten years of experience working with hundreds of owner-managers, Kevin has distilled his learnings into a practical guide called the Entrepreneurial Scale Up System (ESUs), which serves as a helpful handbook for navigating the scale-up journey (buy a copy here).

About this podcast episode

Kate Chastey, our franchisor, was delighted to be asked to talk with Kevin on his renowned podcast. This episode delves deep into Kate’s remarkable journey and uncovers the ins and outs of the franchising world.

Kate’s infectious enthusiasm for her work shines through as Kevin explores her diverse experiences and the pivotal moments that led her to embrace the franchising model. They uncover the challenges she faced and the lessons she learned while experimenting with various business approaches before finding her calling in franchising.

This episode stands out as an invaluable resource for anyone interested in franchising or considering it as a viable business model. It’s also a great insight into the ‘human behind the business’ for any potential franchisees! Kate shares her personal insights and expertise, highlighting the advantages and opportunities that franchising can offer. It can help you gain a comprehensive understanding of how franchising works, its potential benefits, and how it may align with your own business aspirations.

Kate’s candid storytelling and the lessons she learned during her 13 years in business provide valuable takeaways for all listeners.

Key Takeaway #1: Buying into a franchise can lead to quick success
Starting a business from scratch can be a daunting and time-consuming process. But with the right franchise, you can benefit from a tried and tested business model that can catapult you to success within the first three months. Kate highlights the advantages of investing in a franchise rather than going it alone and explains how franchisees can recoup their initial investment in a short period of time with the Passionate PA.

Key Takeaway #2: The evolving role of Personal Assistants (PAs)
PAs are often misunderstood as solely administrative professionals. However, Kate sheds light on the extensive range of services that Passionate PAs provide for solopreneurs and SMEs. From marketing and business development to strategy creation and process automation, PAs offer a game-changing level of support for ambitious business leaders on their growth journey.

Key Takeaway #3: Cultivating a unique franchise culture
Kate emphasises the importance of creating a connected and supportive franchise culture that focuses not only on profit margins but also on a fulfilling work-life flow. With a strong emphasis on client happiness, mentorship and accessible support, franchisees of Passionate PAs have the opportunity to shape their own success while being part of a nurturing and connected team.

Click here to listen to the podcast


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Passionate About Profit with Kara

Having an accountant, and even a bookkeeper, is a great way to ensure that your business is compliant with all that HMRC require from you as a business owner. However, sometimes, neither of these services are enough to help YOU get emotionally connected to your numbers.

If not automatically redirected, please click here.


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

For business owners: The power of writing it down!

Steph Taylor is our Passionate PA based in Christchurch, Dorset. She joined us in November 2021 after a 20+ year career in Human Resources and Change Management.

In her role as a Passionate PA, Steph helps her clients manage their people through associate models i.e. where one or two directors grow their business and develop their client offering by outsourcing work to trusted consultants, associates or freelancers.

FIND OUT ABOUT STEPH

The power of writing it down!

One of the first things I was taught as a young, aspiring HR Manager was “keep a record… always write it down!”. As much as I now keep an electronic record rather than writing with a pen and paper, I still believe that this continues to be one of the best pieces of advice that was gifted to me.

As leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners we make quick decisions. We have multiple conversations, with multiple people about different things and agree actions every day. This is just normal for us, but, without notes, there can be misunderstandings or confusion. This can be costly too, both financially and from a human impact.

We simply cannot remember everything but writing it down isn’t just about memory joggings. It’s also not about those pesky HR people adding to your workload. In this blog I explore why the simple HR advice “always write it down” can be invaluable to you in every aspect of your business.

Clarity and Accuracy

When you write something down, you can clarify your thoughts, ensuring that you deliver your intended message. This is especially important when communicating with employees, clients or freelancers. By writing down the details of a conversation including any actions or agreements that have been made, you can avoid misunderstandings that can lead to conflict. Writing actions down and sharing them gives everyone an opportunity to check their understanding.

Accountability

When you document important conversations or decisions, you create a paper trail that can be used to hold people (and yourself0 to account. This is great when making plans for the future or ideas sharing – and of course can be especially important when dealing with performance issues, disciplinaries or disputes. By having a written record of what was said or agreed upon, you can ensure that everyone is clear about their accountabilities and progress is made in the right direction.

Reflection and Learning

Writing things down gives you the opportunity to reflect on decisions and learn from experiences. By keeping a record of decisions, actions and outcomes, you can identify trends and areas for improvement. This can help you make better decisions in the future, replicate success and avoid making the same mistakes.

Litigation Protection

Finally, writing things down can also provide protection for your business. If you are ever involved in a legal dispute, having a written record of what was said or agreed upon can be invaluable. It can help you defend your position, prove your case and avoid costly legal fees.

Keeping a record doesn’t have to take a long time. It can be a quick note, an email or even a voice note. Just don’t forget your GDPR compliance (that’s a blog for another day).

And remember, it can be fun.

Our franchisor, Kate, once worked with an older chap who had a notebook for every quarter of every year of this entire career. They spanned a whole wall in his Dorset-based office and every single one was full to the brim of notes, drawings, musings, ideas and the full story of the multiple businesses he had run – each from inception to sale. It was fascinating to dip into these notebooks – for him, his family and friends, and for Kate! A very special way to honour a life’s work.

You can find out more about Steph by clicking here!


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Boosting Business Growth: Top Tips for Entrepreneurs to Enhance Productivity

As an entrepreneur, the desire to maximise productivity is ingrained in your pursuit of success. However, with numerous goals, ideas, tasks and responsibilities demanding your attention, it’s easy for your productivity to become inconsistent.

On the occasion of #WorldProductivityDay (20th June 2023), #TeamPassionatePA share some practical tips that can help you streamline your efforts, optimise your time and propel your business growth to new heights.

1. Prioritise with Purpose:

A key ingredient of productivity lies in effective prioritisation. Start by identifying tasks that contribute directly to your business’s growth or profitability and align with your long-term goals. Focus on completing these high-priority tasks first, as they often yield the greatest impact. Consider using productivity frameworks such as the Eisenhower Matrix or the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) to identify and focus on the most critical activities that will drive your business forward.

2. Master Time Management:

Time management is a skill that successful entrepreneurs swear by. Start by setting clear goals and breaking them down into manageable tasks. Utilise time management techniques, like time blocking, to allocate specific periods for focused work on key tasks.

Avoid multitasking at all costs as it hampers efficiency and increases errors. Additionally, leverage technology tools such as project management software, calendar apps and automation tools to streamline repetitive tasks, enhance collaboration, and make the most of your valuable time.

3. Embrace Delegation and Outsourcing:

Recognising that you can’t do everything on your own is so powerful. Doing something about that is a gamechanger!

Entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of micromanagement, which inhibits productivity and growth of their business but also themselves. Delegate tasks that don’t require your direct involvement or the things you don’t love and consider outsourcing non-core activities to trusted professionals or agencies (like us 😊).

Delegating frees up your time to focus on strategic initiatives that drive business growth. Prioritise your strengths and expertise, and allocate resources wisely to maximise productivity across your team.

Check out our free Delegation Tool to get started with this point!

4. Cultivate Effective Communication:

Clear and efficient communication is vital for productivity in any business. Streamline internal communication channels with your employees or freelancers to minimise your distractions and avoid information overload.

Utilise collaboration tools, like project management platforms or instant messaging apps, to enhance communication within your team. Encourage regular but scheduled check-ins and team meetings to align objectives, address challenges and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Effective communication fosters transparency, minimises misunderstandings and facilitates streamlined workflows – ultimately fuelling productivity and accelerating business growth.

5. Continuous Learning and Skill Development:

Investing in personal and professional development as an entrepreneur can significantly enhance your productivity. Stay updated on industry trends, attend relevant webinars, workshops and events, and network with peers and mentors to gain fresh perspectives and insights.

Develop skills that directly impact your business such as leadership, negotiation or digital marketing. Embracing a growth mindset improves innovation and adaptability, allowing you to navigate challenges more effectively and seize new opportunities – ultimately driving your business towards sustained growth.

 

#WorldProductivityDay is a great reminder for business leaders and entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity to optimise their productivity to propel their businesses to greater heights. By prioritising purposefully, mastering time management, delegating wisely, enhancing communication and embracing continuous learning, you can cultivate a highly productive business environment, accelerating you path to success.

You can find out more about our talented team by clicking here!


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Busyness vs Productivity

When asked how business is, we often respond with “busy”. We live in such a fast-paced world and it has become very easy to define our success by how busy we are – it has almost become a status symbol.

As business owners, being busy means that there is a lot going on. Work, and importantly money, is coming in which will keep everything moving forward.

Or will it?

In this blog, Steph Taylor provides her top tips for getting productive rather than busy!

FIND OUT ABOUT STEPH

Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean that you are being productive – it certainly doesn’t always correlate with the bottom line in our experience as freelance business support to entrepreneurs.

Being busy means that you don’t have much free time. You have a lot on your plate and, sometimes, might mean you are feeling overworked and overwhelmed.

However, productivity is all about being efficient and effective with both your time and resources. It’s about focussing on the things that will help you achieve your end goal (or big vision as we like to call it).

Being productive rather than busy is about prioritising your time, focussing on outcomes and eliminating distractions. The tips below can help you make some changes to work smarter, not harder.

9 tips for being productive and rather than busy:

TIP 1: Clarify your big vision

Write down what your ultimate goal is in business and identify the tasks and projects that are needed to get there.

TIP 2: Prioritise aligned tasks

Before you start your day, make a list of the task that align with your big vision. Focus your time and energy on them before moving on to less critical work.

TIP 3: Avoid multitasking

Multitasking is counterproductive as you end up juggling too many different things, splitting your attention and brain power. You are more likely to make mistakes or become overwhelmed and so you will then waste time fixing the issues or errors created.

TIP 4: Rhythm and breaks

Identify your ‘deep work/admin rhythm’ – for example, some like to do their most important work within 30 minutes of getting up and then have the morning on more administrative tasks. Some are night owls and like the peace of the evenings for deep work. Whatever rhythm is most productive for you, know it, understand it and harness it!

Taking breaks can make you more productive too. Your brain has a chance to rest and recharge, which can improve your focus and concentration when you return to work. It also helps when switching from one task to another.

TIP 5: Remove distractions

Distractions can be a significant barrier to productivity so you need to remove as many as you can. Turn off your phone, turn off email notifications or choose to work in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted.

TIP 6: Reward productivity

You’ll know when you’ve had a productive day, it feels different from “busy”. Reward these by recognising them in your own mind or treating yourself to something special.

TIP 7: Say no

This can be a challenge for some but learning to say no is essential to maintaining productivity. Saying yes to everything will lead to overwhelm and overload. If a request doesn’t align with your big vision or personal rhythm just say no. It’s nowhere near as hard as you might think.

TIP 8: Focus on the outcomes, not the activity

Rather than focussing on completing tasks, think about the outcomes of those tasks. Ask yourself whether the outcome is truly driving your big vision, if not, why are YOU doing it? Does it need to be done at all?

TIP 9: Self-care

To stay productive, it is essential that you look after yourself. Healthy habits will take care of your body and your mind. Sleep, good nutrition, hydration and exercise are a great place to start. You will then have the energy and focus you need to be successful and productive.

You can find out more about Steph by clicking here!


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Dyslexia and Me – my story…

Rachel is our Passionate PA based in Cheltenham. She joined us in October 2022 and now specialises in helping neurodiverse entrepreneurs achieve incredible things in business. She is an ADHD qualified VA and works with senior charity leaders who have dyslexia and ADHD.

In this blog, she shares her personal experience of dyslexia and how she believes it’s actually brought her to where she is today.

Dyslexia and me

I am not usually one to share lots of very personal insights, but this is a subject I am hugely passionate about and feel it’s an important topic to put out there for thought and discussion.

Whilst I have never been formally diagnosed with Dyslexia, all the signs are there and indicators to suggest this to be the case.

For me, school was literally hell. I was ridiculed by teachers, told I was stupid and repeatedly asked why I couldn’t I just get on with the work like all my peers. No empathy was ever shown for the struggles I faced. I clearly remember the day I met the so-called “Careers Advisor” who said I was only capable of working in a minimal job and warned me not to aim too high. You can only imagine how that 15-year-old felt when she had such big dreams for the life ahead of her.

Taking Charge

However, I am very stubborn and not one to give up. Going to college was a revelation to me, I had teachers who understood me. I was taking a course that I loved, and set on a career path that would bring me to where I am today – running my own successful business, partnering with ambitious business owners.

Through sheer determination, I wanted to find my place in the world and prove to that Careers Advisor and the misguided educators of my youth how wrong they were about me and what I could offer the workplace.

21st century definition of dyslexia

Credit to Made by Dyslexia

“Dyslexia influences as many as 1 in 5 people and is a genetic difference in an individual’s ability to learn and process information. As a result, dyslexic individuals have differing abilities, with strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills and challenges with spelling, reading and memorising facts.

Generally, a dyslexic cognitive profile will be uneven when compared to a neurotypical cognitive profile. This means that dyslexic individuals really do think differently.

Traditional benchmarking disadvantages dyslexics, measuring them against the very things they find challenging”.

There are 6 Dyslexic Thinking Skills:

VISUALISING: Interacting with space, senses, physical ideas and new concepts. (75% of dyslexics are above average at Visualising).

  • Moving:physical interpretation and game playing. Examples: Dancer, Musician, Sports player.
  • Making:visualising, planning and making. Examples: Engineer, Architect, Craft worker, Programmer, Designer, Chef, Gardener.
  • Inventing:exploring possibilities, making connections and inventing. Examples: Scientist, Technologist, Entrepreneur.

IMAGINING: Creating an original piece of work, or giving ideas a new spin (84% of dyslexics are above average at Imagining).

  • Creating: creating completely original work from your imagination. Examples: Designers, Artists, Composers, Writers.
  • Interpreting:using imagination to give ideas a new twist or bring out a fresh angle. Examples: Actor, Advertiser, PR, Director, Photographer.

COMMUNICATING: Crafting and conveying clear and engaging messages. (71% of dyslexics are above average at Communicating).

  • Explaining:assessing situations/information, and explaining clearly to other people. Examples: Journalist, Marketeer, Politician, Teacher, Campaigner.
  • Story-telling:creating vivid and engaging experiences in words, pictures or other media. Examples: Author, Writer, Games Developer, Song Writer, Film Maker.

 

And that’s not all – other skills include: 

REASONING: Understanding patterns, evaluating possibilities and making decisions.  (84% of dyslexics are above average in Reasoning).

  • Simplifying:understanding, taking apart and simplifying complex ideas and concepts.
  • Analysing:using logic to decide on strength of an argument or where the truth lies.
  • Deciding:interpreting patterns and situations to predict future events and make decisions.
  • Visioning:seeing past detail to gain a strategic (big picture) view of a subject or problem.

CONNECTING: Understanding self; connecting, empathising and influencing others. (80% of dyslexics are above average at Connecting).

  • Understanding self: recognising and managing own feelings, and understanding how they affect own behaviour and that of others.
  • Understanding others:understanding and interpreting the verbal, physical and emotional reactions of other people.
  • Influencing:managing, influencing and inspiring constructive emotions in other people. Empathising: sensing, understanding and responding (emotionally and/or practically) to how people feel.

EXPLORING: being curious and exploring ideas in a constant and energetic way. (84% of dyslexics are above average at Exploring).

  • Learning:having a curiosity for finding out new things and learning new skills.
  • Digging:looking into things in a way that means most is learnt or discovered.
  • Energising:being so passionate about something it gives a buzz and tenacity to learn about it.
  • Doing:using new knowledge to achieve a result that surprises and pleases self or others 

My dyslexic thinking superpowers are Exploring, Connecting and Communicating – I am creative in my thinking, a problem solver, super organised and always one step ahead of the game!

 

I have just finished reading Kate Grigg’s new book “This is Dyslexia”. What an incredible book, one that I would urge every parent, teacher and employer to read to gain a greater and important insight into Dyslexic Thinking.

If only I could go back to my younger self and read this book, I would have a very different outlook and would have felt so differently about myself and my future.

My son is also dyslexic and has faced similar struggles throughout his school life, the difference is now, with people like Kate Grigg, Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver, Lewis Hamilton, Steve Jobs, Ed Sheeran, Steven Spielberg, Alexandra McQueen to name but a few, dyslexia is not the stigma it used to be and he will find his place in the world and thrive because he has all the dyslexia thinking skills that will take him far, maybe even to join GCHQ as spy! Dyslexics make exceptional spies!

“It’s time we all understand dyslexia properly as a different way of thinking, not a disadvantage”. 
Sir Richard Branson 

You can find out more about Rachel by clicking here! Or, give her a call – she does love a natter!


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

When is it time to outsource?

This is such a powerful question for solopreneurs, SMEs and all ambitious businesses wanting to grow at pace. In this blog, our director (and seasoned freelancer) Kate Chastey, reveals how you will know when the time is right to start outsourcing.  

“If only I had more time, I’d be able to do everything myself”.

If you’ve said this sentence recently, chances are you are NOT ready to outsource. Let me explain; the real value with outsourcing comes from enlisting the help of people that can actually do things better than you – it’s a mindset shift. Only when you really grasp this will outsourcing be a decision you thank yourself for.

Sure, there are many tasks you can outsource that, on the surface, seem likely to save you time (email management or appointment setting being just two examples) but, I encourage all business owners, and especially Passionate PA clients, to think beyond simply time saving and onto where the real value will come.

A valuable outsource solution is one that adds something to your business that you cannot. This might be as simple as efficiency, but it might also be special expertise, knowledge, customer insight and so on. Ultimately, any outsourcing solution should not be seen as simply a cost to your business, but as an asset as it can actually improve your bottom line.

So, how will you know if outsourcing will add real value to your business now?

If you answer YES to any of these questions, now is the time to start outsourcing.

Has overwhelmed and/or overworked become the norm?

  • Do you or your team talk frequently about how busy you are, how overwhelming the to do list is and how you just wish there were more hours in the day?
  • Does this mean that you or your people are not focusing on the elements of business that only they can do?
  • Are errors being made or is customer service falling short?
  • Are you missing opportunities to upsell or drive profitable customer engagement?
  • Is there an over-reliance on one person who is performing most functions or tasks within the business?
  • Are you missing deadlines (even self-imposed ones)?

Are there knowledge and experience gaps in your business?

  • Are there tasks or responsibilities being managed by those with inadequate skill and experience?
  • Do certain tasks take far too long?
  • Are you missing opportunities to automate functions?
  • Is there a lack of fresh ideas and perspective?
  • Do you often have internal projects that overrun or get put on the backburner as there just isn’t the time to complete them?

Is your business in need of a flexible growth strategy?

  • Is your business ready for growth but you are not ready for the commitment of an employed team?
  • Or, do you personally not want to become an employer but still want to grow your business?
  • Have you tried recruiting but you just can’t find the right skill, expertise or personality?
  • Are you craving a consistent partnership that can grow with your business, something flexible rather than over-reliant on you?
  • Do you know there are more opportunities to be had for your business, if only you had the right support around you?

If you answered YES to any of these, it’s time to step back from the frontline and invest just a few hours in finding, speaking with and initiating a working relationship with an outsource service provider.

The most incredible thing about outsourcing is that it gives you power. It allows you to create the time and space needed so you can concentrate on the things you got into business for… the things that are uniquely you and the things you love.

Everything else can (and should!) be outsourced. Yes, everything.

If you would like to hear more from Kate about preparing to outsource, listen to Solopreneur SOS Podcast, episode 49, where Karen Murray interviews Kate to explore all things outsourcing.  

In our next blog, I’ll share with you how to go about finding the right solution for you, and how to start the outsourcing partnership. If however, you are ready to discover what you personally could outsource, we have a super tool to help you decide what you can delegate, and when. Just pop your details below and we’ll send it straight to you. 

 

Request your free Delegation Tool today to help you prepare to outsource. 

How to delegate your to do list

There’s no shortage of ambitious business owners that feel they have too much to do, in too little time. Or, like most of our clients – just want to focus on key activities, with more efficiency, in order to fulfil their own potential and business goals.

As Passionate PAs, we offer a tailored freelance PA service to suit the needs of each ambitious business owner or entrepreneur we work with. To us, your industry, target market, business structure and growth model are important, but what we really want to know, in detail, is how can we help you?

When potential clients are asked this question, there are a ream of responses;

“Ah, I’ve got this one niggling task, let’s do that first!”


Or…

“I hate doing X, can you take that away?”


Or…

“Tell me what you can help with, we’ll start there?”


Or…

“Here’s my to do list – crack on!”


All are valid responses that we, as freelance PAs, will happily work with. However, at the beginning, we encourage all of our client to assess their working patterns, task lists and priorities to understand where we can add real value, remove stress and anxiety, increase efficiency and profitability – and also inject a little fun! Who doesn’t want more fun in their work life?

So, at our first discovery meeting, we’ll always ask new clients if they have the time to do this exercise. It usually takes about 40 mins (but depends hugely on the size of the to do list and the new client’s propensity to go off on a tangent 🤪).

The result of this activity usually brings about a clear set of tasks and responsibilities that can be handed over to their new Passionate PA.

 

Request your free Delegation Tool today to help you take control of your to do list. 

Meet The Team

Each of our Passionate PAs has an extensive skill set and varied business background. We are all business owners and come together as #TeamPassionatePA with a shared ethos; to make a difference to our clients’ lives through our unwavering motivation, striking efficiency and remarkable ability to simply ‘make things happen’.

Meet the Passionate PAs

 


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Starting all over again – Jenni’s Story

Jenni is our Passionate PA based in Dorchester. She joined us in January 2018 and after a rollercoaster 5 years of personal and professional development, is delighted to share she will be a Passionate PA for a further 5 years!

This is Jenni’s very personal story of finding “a constant” during a tremendously turbulent period in her personal life, and why the decision to remain with #TeamPassionatePA was actually pretty simple.

Our franchisor, Kate Chastey, said “I have watched Jenni blossom as a Passionate PA over the last 5 years. She has found herself again, and strength I don’t think either of us knew she had at the beginning. Jenni is a wonderful woman and an incredibly Passionate PA, I’m beyond delighted she has renewed her Franchise Agreement. She is an asset to her clients – and she’s an asset to us!”

Starting all over again – Jenni’s Story

Around 6 years ago, my life reached a point where I knew things had to change. Having once had a thriving career, like many women, I had put “professional me” on hold to bring up my children. But in 2017 my children were 15 and 12 and growing up fast! I was needed by them less and less and my part-time job as a Facilities Co-ordinator for a well-known chain of travel agents was giving me little to no job satisfaction. My marriage was stalling too, and I was heading into my 40s feeling like my life was in freefall.

 

But what could I do? 

Even though my children were growing up, my daughter was a national level competitive swimmer, so I had the responsibility of 4.30am starts and late evenings by the pool as well as competitions at weekends all over the country. I knew that a full-time employed role would be unsustainable, especially if it involved a commute.

I threw myself into my volunteer role as the Club Secretary for my daughter’s large swimming club and this gave me the satisfaction that I craved – but for no pay! By using the skills I had garnered over 20 years of my professional career, I was able to work with a small team to turn an ailing swimming club into a profitable organisation and we guided the club through many many challenges – I needed to use every ounce of energy and passion I had to keep the club going. And whilst I loved the challenge that this role gave me, I knew I needed to throw that passion and ambition into a paid role!

 

And then the lightbulb moment…

Whilst pondering this conundrum over a coffee with my friend and successful business owner, Ally Case, Ally pointed me in the direction of The Passionate PA. Ally tagged me in a post seeking a Bournemouth franchisee and I immediately reached out to Kate. We hit it off immediately. I knew this was it – the ability to build my own business but work the hours I needed to on a freelance basis, working around my family, and at first, still maintaining my volunteer role.

Getting off the ground wasn’t easy, and Kate and I faced many barriers, but finally, in January 2018, I got there. I signed the Franchise Contract and I was officially a Passionate PA franchisee!

I’ll be really honest, at first I struggled with the commitment required to maintain the standards of the franchise, but I then learnt that this only serves to ensure I am the best version of myself and delivering my best work – achieving the success I so desired. Franchising is the ultimate way of working in my opinion – the choice to work when you want, with whom you want and create a lifestyle business, but at the same time the backing and support of a ‘Head Office’ structure.

 

Where am I now?

That was 5 years ago, and I can honestly say, I haven’t looked back. It has NOT been easy, I can promise you that. In the 5 years since becoming a Passionate PA, I have faced the toughest of personal circumstances; my marriage eventually broke, we faced a global pandemic, I moved house and became a single Mum. I look back and wonder how I ever got through.

But The Passionate PA has been a constant. I love working with my loyal clients. The role I take on for ambitious leaders is very rewarding and I’m entirely in control of my earnings.

When the time came to renew my contract as a franchisee or move onto pastures new, there was no questions. As I enter my next 5 year chapter as a Passionate PA, life couldn’t be better. I feel like I have all my confidence back – I’m just a wiser, more mature version of the ambitious girl I once was.

I am now in a wonderful relationship with a supportive partner, I have moved 25 miles away to a new town and built a whole new life with our blended families. I also have the client set of dreams. I earn an excellent income and have the ability to push that further when my (now 3!) children fly the nest.

I love my work and now throw all my energy and passion into life as a business owner. I have the backing of an amazing and incredible team of Passionate PAs and we are sharing the journey with all of its ups and downs. Each of us treading a unique path, but do you know what… I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, with anyone else!

You can find out more about Jenni by clicking here!

 

START YOUR NEXT CHAPTER TODAY – CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

The 7 most common mistakes when outsourcing

Kate Chastey is the Franchisor of The Passionate PA and after nearly 15 years in business, it’s fair to say she is an incredibly experienced freelancer in her own right. She has worked with hundreds of ambitious business owners on an outsourced basis, and she now mentors each of our Passionate PAs to help them build successful and rewarding client relationships too.

A huge part of Kate’s work is talking to potential clients. It’s a pleasure to meet such a variety of business owners and whether they have already harnessed the power of freelancers in the UK, or whether they are brand new to the idea and don’t know where to start, there are common pitfalls for all.

There are many benefits to outsourcing; fresh talent, highly sought-after skills, commercial experience and new perspectives are just a few. But, these are not always obvious if the business owner is not prepared.

So, today Kate shares the 7 most common mistakes she sees when a business owner begins to outsource, and gives a little advice on how to avoid them!

FIND OUT ABOUT KATE

7 The 7 most common outsourcing mistakes

1: “I want someone to save me time!”

This is the biggest, most common mistake. Time is so precious and there is so much talk of ‘saving it’ on social media and from self-proclaimed productivity gurus. But here’s a newsflash – nobody can save you time. What they can do is help you change how you spend it. This happens by helping you understanding what ONLY YOU can do in your business and then helping you delegate all other tasks and functions – whilst keeping a keen eye on profitability.

2: “I just need a bit of admin done!”

‘Just’ is a dangerous word as this undervalues the tasks and responsibilities in your business. If it needs doing, it’s important. If this is a phrase you’ve caught yourself saying, perhaps it’s time to really review what you mean by ‘admin’ and if repetitive tasks need outsourcing, investigate the zillions of automations and process streamlining tools available. Simple admin is not something to be outsourced to skilled professionals like Passionate PAs. 

3: Poor Scoping and Briefing

Taking the time to scope your outsourcing requirements fully will ensure the whole process is more successful. Good briefing is about clarity, collaboration and knowledge sharing so be prepared for questions from your freelancer as this is how they determine value in both sides of the partnership. 

4: Poor Research

Once you have scoped your requirements fully, find the best person for the job rather than simply someone with availability and a willingness to learn. Ask the powerful questions every freelancers should have the answers to – see this great blog for ideas!

5: Confusing Price with Value

As the saying goes, price is what you pay, value is what you get. Focus on what you will receive from your outsourcing partnership and be really clear from the outset what success looks and feels like to you before saying £35, £45 or even £50 per hour is simply too expensive. If a skilled freelancers can improve the momentum and results in your business, in just a few hours a week, surely that’s worth every penny? 

6: Understanding it’s business!

Most successful freelancers are running business selling their skills and knowledge. It’s not a side hustle or something to earn a bit of extra cash – it’s business. This means clients will be expected to make a commitment, adhere to T&Cs and behave in a professional manner at all times. Oh we’ve got some stories of clients who just didn’t get this – adding us to their family WhatsApp groups, asking us to do inappropriate work (stop it!), or simply not respecting our time and remit. 

7: Understanding the power of a partnership!

This is key to outsourcing being the best decision you’ll ever make. Your professional, well chosen freelancers can and should become invaluable partners to you and your business – with a partnership mindset, truly exceptional things happen.

 

Want to find out how we do things at the Passionate PA? Meet the team here or book a call with Kate to start scoping what you need and who from by clicking here


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

How to find the right business support for you

Freelancers, or business support professionals, can be the solution to many modern business problems. There is no shortage of skills and experience available to businesses large and small, through the army of freelancers available in the UK and further afield.

However, a question we hear so often is “how do I find the right business support for me?”

The blog below has been created to give you an insight into finding the right solution for your needs. However, if you’d prefer to listen to a podcast, our director Kate Chastey was recently interviewed by Karen Murray and they discussed all of the below, and more!

TAKE ME TO THE PODCAST (APPLE)

Or to Spotify to listen there

 

Ok, on to the blog…

First things first

As the business owner, you need to determine what ‘right’ looks like to you.

What problem do you need to solve?
Be clear on the challenge you are facing and your desired solution. Is this challenge the result of an immediate or ongoing resource shortage? What skills and expertise are required?

How do you want your freelancer to work/deliver services?
Are you needing to physically meet with your freelancer or will briefing/communication all be done via technology? If you are looking for a long-term business relationship, consider how you want this to take shape.

When do you need work completed?
What are your timescales/deadlines and what working routines are you hoping for?

Who is the person you are looking for?
Or, more to the point, what characteristics and personality traits matter to you?

Why is a freelancer the best option?
Are you looking for flexibility or a skill you don’t have in your team?

With all that clear in your mind, finish this sentence; the perfect scenario is…

Check this is realistic by discussing it with trusted business colleagues or a seasoned freelancer (we are always happy to talk 😊).

 

Then comes the research

The next step is to start looking for the freelancer you need. The best places to do this are:

  • Your personal business network – ask for recommendations and referrals from people that know you best
  • Social media (particularly LinkedIn if you are keen to find a professional)
  • Internet search using key words (skills and location)
  • Then there are, of course, some big listing websites that will introduce clients to freelancers. These have their plusses and their minuses – but that’s probably a different blog altogether!
     

7 brilliant questions to ask your potential freelancer

So, after you have made it clear what you’re looking for – preferably by email so the potential freelancer has time to digest and you both save 15 mins on the next step… a Zoom call – then, it’s time to really get to know each other.

Here are 7 questions, with talking points, that will sort the wheat from the chaff. Remember, the beautiful, valuable, amazing thing about freelancers is that each one is unique. It’s hard to find the perfect fit but, once you do, that’ll be partnership power like you’ve never known before.

1. Tell me about your background and your skills and experience as a freelancer

  • Ask how long they have been freelancing – just starting out or seasoned pro
  • Discuss why they choose to freelance
  • Talk about what skills and experience they have to share

2. How could you add tangible value to my business?

  • Discuss what they know that you don’t
  • Ask what efficiencies they could introduce
  • Talk about the software/tools they are confident with
  • Ask whether they are an ideas person or a completion expert – or both!
  • Really delve into whether they understand your target market and sector

3. What does a successful working relationship look like to you?

  • Investigate what kind of personalities they like working with
  • Ask for clarity on what they need from you to get started, and then what they need from you to achieve the results you have set out
  • Discuss what sort of work/responsibilities you can outsource to them, further than the initial brief
  • Also clarify whether they will be doing all the work themselves or if they outsource/have employees

4. How would we communicate during our project/work/relationship?

  • Ask what their preferred communication channel is
  • Talk about how they manage workflow and deadlines
  • Understand their boundaries – when are they contactable (business hours/working days etc)
  • Discuss whether they work virtually or are they happy to meet in person

5. Tell me about your clients…

  • Who is their favourite client right now and why?
  • Talk about who their ideal client is, and is that you
  • Ask for the back story on a testimonial you have found – talk about tangible value and timescales
  • Discuss how they monitor results and client happiness
  • Ask how many clients they work with at any one time and how this looks in terms of weekly/monthly contact
  • Ask how close they are to capacity and whether there really is space for you
  • Discuss whether it is possible to speak with a current long-standing client

6. Tell me about a business challenge you’ve had, and how you overcame it?

  • Ask them to tell you about a time when they have missed a deadline or underdelivered to a client’s expectations
  • Discuss what their clients like most/least about working with them
  • Ask whether a client has ever ended a relationship with them abruptly – if so, why
  • Ask whether they have a contingency plan for emergencies (power cuts, equipment disasters, illness etc)
  • Delve into their business ethos – who supports them in their business development and growth

7. Tell me about your contractual terms, GDPR compliance, fee structure etc.

  • Understand the hourly/project rate and how this is tracked, plus, other than that are there any additional charges
  • Discuss contract terms, notice periods, service level agreements, invoicing procedure etc
  • Talk about how they will they keep your business information secure and confidential, whether they are registered with the ICO and their understanding of GDPR
  • Are they insured, registered with HMRC and fully aware of IR35 legislation

Seven key questions to really get beyond the fluff and into the value. Freelancers can add so much to your business and/or team but, as you can see, it’s not always easy. The perfect freelancer for you is likely to be someone who will help you create the momentum and results you need to thrive. Finding them can be tricky but it is worth putting in the time so that the relationship gets off to a flying start and your business feels the benefits quickly.

Happy searching!

You can find out more about our team of business support professionals by clicking here!


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: