Franchisee Training and Team Masterclass (with Video)

In this blog, we share a glimpse into the training experience of our new franchisee Nicola Anderson (pictured left, back row) which included a week away with franchisor, Kate Chastey (pictured centre, front row). The pair immersed themselves in the launch of Nicola’s business and on the Wednesday were joined by the whole team for a masterclass delivered by Abigail Barnes of Success By Design Training.

We Do Things Differently

Once upon a time, Kate had a dream. She wanted to create a business full of incredibly capable, talented, driven people where each was nurtured and encouraged to create their own personal version of success. No hierarchy, no egos, no pretentiousness – simply great people doing great work and achieving their full potential.

That dream is now a reality!

In May 2022, Kate welcomed another new franchisees to #TeamPassionatePA. Nicola began her Franchisee Training on the 3rd May with a jam-packed calendar of learning. We provide a mix of self-led online learning through our bespoke e-learning platform which hosts our full Operations Manual and many other bespoke courses too.

Kate also works 121 with each new franchisee to provide masterclasses and upskilling in all areas of business management. Kate says “I don’t teach new franchisees how to be a PA, I teach them how to run a business, build and develop a client set to be proud of and most importantly, market themselves correctly to their ideal client. In today’s world, having great business support skills is not enough to be successful as a freelancer – you need to know how to actually run a business too.” 

The Training Retreat

Nicola’s training experience included a whole week away! She and Kate relocated to Stroud (half way between them both) for four and a half days to immerse themselves in the set up and launch of Nicola’s Passionate PA franchise.

Monday: Settling in to the AirBnB and dinner with Laurey, another member of the team from ‘up north’.

Tuesday: Professional photoshoot with our amazing team photographer Cerrie Simpson and the whole team arrived for dinner together for the first time since September 2021!

Wednesday: Full team masterclass with guest speaker from London.

Thursday: Nicola and Kate spent the whole day working on Business Development with masterclasses, client enquiry calls and a great cheese board for dinner!

Friday: We recorded Nicola’s introductory video for her webpage – see more here.

Nicola said “this was such a fabulous week! Better than I could have imagined. Every day was different. A little scary with some things I’d never done before but Kate provides such genuine and calm support that nothing seemed impossible. The result of this week was a sense of real achievement and I’m raring to go… bring on the clients!” 

The Team Masterclass

After our lovely team dinner on Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning brought even more excitement. Three times a year Kate organises masterclasses for everyone. These are opportunities not just to come together as a team but to learn, explore, develop and upskill.

May’s masterclass was on the topic of Productive Well-being with sensational speaker Abigail Barnes. Abigail’s business is Success By Design Training and she was enlisted to help us all view productivity in a fresh light…

Abigail is an international speaker and trainer and author of ‘Time Management for Entrepreneurs’. She works with ambitious professionals, driven business owners, companies, founders and CEOs who want to increase productivity and improve work-life balance for themselves and their teams. She teaches how to prioritise tasks not time, maximise resources to improve efficiency and focus on the activities that create results.

Abigail understands human motivation and uses her own life-changing wake-up call to inspire, motivate and teach audiences how to transform their mindset and results. She leaves audiences excited, ready to take action and begging for more. From the outset Abigail was engaging, supportive and very fun to work with.

“This came at just the right time for me and helped secure my motivation to make the changes necessary to reset my mind, body, and soul!” said Debbie Frith, our longest standing franchisee.

Steph Taylor, who joined in November 2021, added “The event was itself a masterclass in how to build a high performing team through investment, development and team spirit. The energy, camaraderie and commitment in the room was amazing. Everyone brought something different to the table which was not only accepted but celebrated and shared.” 

Watch our video to see the week unfold…

After the masterclass, Jenni Bowman also shared “quite often in life, social media photos and posts can be manipulated to make things look far better than they really are.  However, coming together for a PPA Masterclass is every bit as wonderful as the photos look, if not more so. As a group we share laughter, tears, experiences, solve problems, discuss client work and of course, there is also a day of learning. Learning together as a team brings out the best in all of us. It can often be difficult to find time in a busy working and family life to have an away day, however it is ALWAYS worth it.”

If you would like to know more about our incredible team, please click here or, if you’d like to explore joining #TeamPassionatePA, please click here!

Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Getting to know Nicola

Nicola Anderson is an experienced and commercially savvy action taker offering executive level business support to ambitious business leaders. Grab a coffee and take a couple of moments to get to know her better.

Nicola joined us in May 2022 after a career in Commercial and Operations Management. Nicola’s aim is to partner with clients who are looking to grow at pace whilst operating as officially as possible.

Getting to know Nicola

Alarm goes off at:

Start the day with:
A very large coffee (or two, yes I’m an addict!) whilst checking LinkedIn and my emails. Then writing a ‘To Do List’ for the day ahead.

Where do you do most of your work?
Mostly in my home office, but I like to get out and about networking and seeing people face to face as much as I can.

What sectors do your clients operate within?
Currently I am working with several entrepreneurial business owners who deliver training and motivational speaking businesses along with 1:1 coaching. I also have a client who runs a tendering and bid management company for the construction industry.

Best part of your work:
The freedom it gives me to make my own decisions and manage my own diary to work for me and my family. Plus, the variety it gives me, I love being busy and having lots of balls in the air, solving problems and making other people’s lives easier.

Worst part of your work:
Having an office so close to the fridge!!!

Clients you add most value to:
Growing businesses that need someone commercially savvy to help them save time by introducing order and processes to streamline their business and to be their sounding board and ideas generator.

After work you’ll be:
Found in the garden, at yoga, spending time with family and friends or watching cricket at Trent Bridge. Anything that makes me appreciate life and smile.

Why a franchise with The Passionate PA and not go it alone?
I wanted to feel part of a team and I so do. The support from Kate Chastey is amazing and the other Passionate PAs are awesome too. We are such a supportive team and the skills and experience we have collectively are hard to beat.

What did you do before:
For the majority of my career I have worked as a Commercial and Operations Manager in the construction industry. I loved nothing more than delivering complex projects, and coaching and mentoring my teams. To see others reach their potential is so rewarding.

Favourite drink:
After coffee it has to be Aperol Spritz, preferably in the sunshine!

Favourite location for a business meeting:
West Bridgford in Nottingham, it has such a great cosmopolitan feel and optimistic vibe. Plus, the added bonus is that you may even bump into a famous cricketer as Trent Bridge is just down the road!

What are you reading?
I have just finished Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before by Dr Julie Smith, which was a great read for understanding the mind and emotions better. I am now reading a couple of books written by some of my clients; The Future is Freelance by Kirsty Hulse and Culture by Benjamin Drury.

Your guilty pleasure:
Spending too many hours watching Sky Sports! I think it comes from growing up with two sport mad brothers and my Dad, and now living with my husband and two sons who all love sport too. I was brought up as a Chealsea fan, but I would say that I am definitely a Nottingham Forest fan now (just don’t tell my Dad!).

Favourite hobby/past time:
Gardening and aromatherapy. I love learning about the healing power of our gardens and what grows there!

Most inspirational/influential person in your career:
Kate Chastey, for the belief and support she gives all of The Passionate PAs. Together we can achieve great things!

Favourite animal and why:
Cats, love their independence and self-sufficiency!

Greatest contact/supplier that deserves a plug:
Claire Bicknell founder of the Catena Network. Claire is such a great introducer and delivers fantastic events in amazing locations.

Your business plan for the coming year:
To develop a client base that I can build solid, trusted relationships with to help them achieve their business growth plans and become their confidential sounding board and trusted PA.

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

Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Nicola Anderson joins The Passionate PA


Business Launch Success: 14 days, 3 new clients

Leading freelance business support company, The Passionate PA, welcomed a new face to the team in May and within 14 days have celebrated the onboarding of not one but THREE new clients.

Nicola Anderson joins the team from a 30+ year career, predominantly in Operations and Commercial Management. She’s very much looking forward to partner with clients who are looking to grow at pace whilst operating as efficiently as possible and to impeccable standards. 

She joins The Passionate PA as a franchisee based in Nottingham, fulfilling her own ambition to be a business owner but adopting the company’s very clear mission; to assist ambitious business leaders and entrepreneurs in their pursuit for business success. Working in partnership with clients, each Passionate PA offers a unique and valuable set of skills to help create the momentum and results their clients desire. Services range from Business Admin and Organisation to Event Planning and Project Management, right through to Marketing and Business Development activities… there is no end to the skills and commercial experience offered by the team at The Passionate PA!

Before Nicola had finished franchisee training, she and franchisor Kate Chastey, had successfully found and onboarded three wonderful clients for Nicola. Benjamin Drury, Founder and CEO of The Culture Guy said “Anyone looking for not just admin support but business support should chat to Nicola. I’ve been working with Nicola for less than two weeks and she’s made a huge difference in that short time. I can’t recommend Nicola and The Passionate PA enough. So glad to have them on my team.”

Nicola brings an added layer of knowledge to #TeamPassionatePA with nearly two decades spent within the construction industry.  In her last employed role, Nicola was responsible for leading sustainable growth, identifying and developing the people, products and processes needed to establish the business as a ‘go to’ supplier for turnkey solutions. In her last 12 months in this role, Nicola grew her division by approximately 40% which had a significant positive impact on the company’s reputation and visibility.

Nicola says: “I am so thrilled to have found an exciting new challenge that allows me to bring together all of my commercial experience to assist ambitious entrepreneurs in pursuit of their business goals. I have a genuine passion for business and achieving goals and targets is in my blood. Becoming a Passionate PA has given me the launch pad and team ethos I need to thrive!”

Flexibility is key to the success in entrepreneurial businesses. 

Franchisor, Kate Chastey says: “Nicola is an exceptional addition to our team of commercially savvy, career-minded individuals. I have been really impressed with Nicola’s determination, approach and personality so far and with three client wins under her belt, I just know she is going to create the business she desires and work with some wonderful clients along the way. Flexibility is the key to entrepreneurial business and that is exactly what we offer – it’s a win/win for clients and my franchisees. The future is freelance!”

If you would like to work with Nicola, visit her webpage or call her directly on 07580 068 634.


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

6 lessons learned to celebrate 6 years in business

In 2022, Debbie celebrated 6 years in business as a Passionate PA. She decided to celebrate the milestone by sharing some of the lessons learned over her business journey as a franchisee with The Passionate PA. Debbie shared these lessons with the intention that they may prove useful to anyone embarking on their own journey as a business owner.

Lesson 1: Be yourself…

I was new to The Passionate PA, I was new to the Dorset network and business scene. I was scared of being myself in case no one liked me. So I was, I guess, holding back. Holding back from letting the full me be on show. Was Dorset ready for me?!

Well, yes, it seems it was. It took time and a pair of big girl pants, but gradually, being me seemed to be ok. There were lots of other people like me out there, as in, there were lots of other people in the same new to business boat, some of them with less confidence and experience, so hell yes, I could put myself out there if they could!

What it took was time. Time to understand, to listen, to appreciate, to experience, to learn.

One of the biggest things I learned is that people inherently don’t want you to fail. People are generally bigging you up, wanting you to succeed, cheering you on.

Once you realise this, the world is a far less scary place. Embrace it. Throw yourself in wholeheartedly and enjoy!

Lesson 2: Think like a business owner

Prior to being a business owner, I was a senior manager for years with significant responsibility for people, profits, quality, service and standards.

Though I was a senior manager, I still had a boss, and I was still an employee. We were given a high level of autonomy and held responsible for it, this encouraged a sense of ownership for my work which remains deep-rooted in me. Ultimately though, there was always someone else above me who had more accountability than I did and a greater degree of responsibility.

When you’re running your own business, I have learned that the buck stops with you and no one else. I may work within a franchise, but it’s up to me how I implement that successfully within my business. The franchise provides a framework, within which I must operate. That framework is created from valuable experience and is tried and tested for success.

With my business owner mindset, I must make that framework work for me, drive my business forwards, seek out opportunities, learn and develop – to innovate and create new value.

A business owner mindset is a fundamental tool I use to improve, grow and strengthen my business. It’s so much more than achieving the daily to-do list.

This mindset must not get complacent though, it must be kept sharp to keep up with the demands of an ever-changing marketplace.

Lesson 3: Be consistent

Life is a rollercoaster; you’ve just got to ride it! Sang good old Ronan Keating back in the day. He wasn’t wrong, was he!

But, notwithstanding the ups and downs of life, the sharp turns and sometimes total upheaval faced (and my goodness the last 2 years has thrown a goodly amount of that our way) being consistent is key:

  • Being consistent is habit-forming. Habits that almost become second nature. And when that happens, you don’t feel like you’re even trying, you’re just doing what you do. Showing up consistently.
  • Consistency will help you to create your own accountability. You can adjust your actions and behaviours and progress towards what you want to achieve.
  • Consistency doesn’t take masses of effort. Small things done consistently can add up to big things over time. They will also differentiate you from others who are not being consistent.

My experience is that being consistent builds trust and momentum which in turn helps me feel positive about what I’m working towards.

Lesson 4: Act decisively

This means that decisions can be made, and action taken quickly for maximum impact. I’ve got a great support network to help if I want to bounce an idea around, or check that I’m not completely off track – I use that network frequently to do just that:

  • Decisions as a sole trader will often revolve around finances, health, and family
  • Work out what’s important to YOU and act promptly
  • Indecisiveness consumes energy

That saying ‘be the change you want to see’ is bang on point!

The decisions I have taken over the last 6 years have all contributed towards making me happier and more fulfilled in work and in life. Ultimately that’s my goal.

Lesson 5: It’s not all about the money

Recently I was asked to reflect on my previous year of business and talk about 3 achievements that I was particularly proud of.

One of those highlights was achieving a record turnover in one month; the highest turnover in a single month in my six years as a Passionate PA.

I keep a close eye on my finances, so it was no surprise to me what would be achieved by the end of the month, I had plenty of work to do, in actual fact, it was almost too much. The lure of £££ was attractive and spurred me on, but the cost to my sanity was also high.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson and as a result, I reorganised my client mix and workload into a position that was far more manageable for me, my business, my family and my health.

So, whether you’re a plate spinner, a serial list-maker or a fly by the seat of your pants kinda gal/guy, my advice to you is to find a balance that works FOR YOU, not for anyone else.

Lesson 6: Build a network

Being a sole trader can be a lonely existence. Actually, being a business owner can be a lonely existence full stop.  When leading a team or working on your own, it can be a similar feeling.

People often ask me ‘what do I get out of networking?’ they mean what clients have I won through networking, or how much business revenue can I attribute to the time I spend networking.  I surprise them by saying this ‘I don’t network to win business; I network to grow my meaningful connections’. Those new to networking are often taken aback, those that are more experienced get it.

Of course, it’s great when someone in your network becomes a client, this gives you a financial reward for your networking endeavours. But personally, I’m looking for something more.  I’m looking for, and have found, an absolutely brilliant bunch of people from all walks of life, doing all sorts of things, located all over the UK and overseas.

Ask me do I know someone who can…. and I probably do. These people have opened my eyes and my mind to all sorts of different perspectives, they inspire and motivate me every day. If I need a little pick me up, a swift scroll through my LinkedIn feed will generally throw something up that helps. If I’m feeling lonely working on my own, book onto an online networking session (or even one in person!) and those couple of hours will give me an emotional and mental boost that delivers real impact.

I’ve been able to refer countless people to each other, someone said to me recently – you’re a connector Debbie, a connector of people. Yes I most certainly am. I love putting people together and seeing it work!

Give it a go yourself, stick at it (see a previous lesson about consistency) and enjoy!

So, that’s a wrap, my 6 lessons learned over my 6 years as a business owner shared with you. I hope at least one person found at least one post useful, and it made a difference to their day. That’s enough for me.

To find out more about Debbie, click here. 

Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Getting to know Steph

Steph Taylor is a friendly and resourceful person with exceptional experience in people management. Grab a coffee and take a couple of moments to get to know her better.

Steph joined us in November 2021 after spending over two decades working for Sainsbury’s. Steph’s aim is to create a fulfilling business for herself using the array of skills and experience she has built up over the years. She understands business and the mindset it takes to achieve incredible things, despite all the challenges.

Getting to know Steph

Alarm goes off at:
7am but I am usually up before then with my 4 year old!

Start the day with:
A large mug of peppermint tea and breakfast followed by the walk to school. The school run gives me the chance to get some fresh air and exercise so that when I get home to my desk I feel energised and ready for the day.

Where do you do most of your work?
In my home office. It has recently been renovated it and it is a beautiful, dedicated and peaceful space that allows me to focus on the task in hand.

What sectors do your clients operate within?
My clients are really varied. At the moment I am working with a video technology company, health and wellbeing professionals and an Employee Relations consultancy. With over 20 years’ experience in retail and HR, I am used to fast-paced learning and delivery and I am really keen to get involved with any business where I can add value.

Best part of your work:
Partnering with clients to find bespoke solutions that make their lives easier and businesses more efficient and seeing that “ahhh” moment when they feel the release from the pressure they’ve been feeling.

Worst part of your work:
Knowing when to stop. When I am focussed, in the flow and enjoying the work that I do it’s hard to stop and leave it for another day.

Clients you add most value to:
Clients with growing businesses and to do lists that seem to be growing even faster. Reducing the pressure on entrepreneurs and business owners by reducing the ‘noise’ for them. Creating a flexible business support solutions for them and their business is my passion… hence The Passionate PA!

After work you’ll be:
Before 7pm it is all about family time so it’s homework, family meals and, at the moment, building Lego. After 7pm (on a good bedtime day!) I will be relaxing on the sofa, planning our next family day out or adventure.

Why a franchise with The Passionate PA and not go it alone?
Why would I go it alone when I can be surrounded by a team of incredibly talented and knowledgeable people led by Kate? The Passionate PA gives me the best of both worlds with a proven business model and structure, coupled with the freedom to manage my own business, clients and workload.

What did you do before:
I worked for Sainsbury’s for 21 years, mostly in HR roles including store based HR Management, HR Project Management and HR Change Management. My time at Sainsbury’s gave me the opportunity to partner with some exceptional business leaders across many disciplines; knowledge sharing, challenging and building an understanding of their motivation throughout. It has also given me a real passion for people and exceptional customer service.

Favourite drink:
Gin and lemonade – controversial for some gin drinkers, I know, but I only found out during the first lockdown that it isn’t gin that I don’t like, it’s tonic. That discovery has opened up a whole new world for me. Cheers!

Favourite location for a business meeting:
Anywhere that is light and airy with as much natural light as possible. The Christchurch Harbour Hotel is a favourite and The Bear of Burton is a recent exciting find.

What are you reading?
At the moment, most of my reading is bedtime stories and school reading books. I do love all the books by Gavin Oattes though and plan to revisit some this year.

Your guilty pleasure:
Friday morning discos at home in the kitchen. It became a bit of a thing with my son in 2020 and it has carried on… we put a disco light on, turn the music up and have a good dance to some of our favourite songs, always starting with Friday by Riton x Nightcrawlers.

Favourite hobby/past time:
Does being outside count? I love being outside, especially with my family, enjoying our surroundings and making memories. So whether it is a walk, a day trip or a day at the beach that’s where I love to be.

Most inspirational/influential person in your career:
Alison Musselwhite. Alison has championed me throughout my career, coached me, encouraged me and sometimes just told me as it is. She guided me to take roles and projects that would give me the greatest opportunities to learn and grow as well as stretching me and pushing me outside of my comfort zone. Her approach to coaching, people management and development is inspirational and her ability to manage complex people issues is insightful. Alison’s generosity with her knowledge and experience has made such a difference to so many people and their careers including me.

Favourite animal and why:
I love all animals so it is hard to choose one favourite but I’d say giraffes because they are such beautiful and graceful creatures. They almost always appear calm and those big beautiful lashes are just gorgeous! I was lucky enough to see some on a game reserve in South Africa – by lucky I mean I added a stop onto our Honeymoon just to see them – and it solidified their place as a firm favourite. I also love penguins which was another stop I added to our Honeymoon to see them on the beach!

Greatest contact/supplier that deserves a plug:
Nathan Andrews of Okana Limited. What Nathan has and continues to achieve is inspirational. Nathan is exceptional in his field, constantly seeking new insights and professional development. He goes above and beyond to ensure that his work is of the highest standard. Not only all of that but he is an all round amazing person, generous with his time, care and enthusiasm.

Your business plan for the coming year:
Embed, Build and Grow – Embed the knowledge I have gained through my start up journey giving strong foundations for all future growth; Build a strong local network to share insight, knowledge and experience; Grow my business by partnering with great clients demonstrating the exceptional value I can add.

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

Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Getting to know Claire

Claire Bartlett is a font of corporate know-how and experience, known best for her ability to work with directors of large teams looking to improve efficiency and profitability. Here she shares a typical day in her world.

Claire joined The Passionate PA in January 2018 after a high-flying career with an investment bank. She has proven herself to be an exceptional strategic partner with commercial focus; Business Development and Strategy are her forte. Meticulously organised and detail-orientated in everything (yes, everything!), Claire is known for her infectious laugh and can-do attitude.

Getting to know Claire

Alarm goes off at:

Start the day with:
Coffee and checking Rightmove to give me a daily fix for one of my life’s passions – property! Then it’s reviewing the calendar for the day ahead. I always document the top three things that I need to achieve that day and try to get the most challenging one completed first. This gives me a sense of achievement and motivates me for the day ahead.

Where do you do most of your work?
Pre-Covid, it was an 80/20 split with the majority of my time spent face to face with my clients. Currently, its about 50/50 but I’m working up to getting out there more as this is when I can really get under the skin of my clients’ businesses and identify opportunities for improvement.

What sectors do your clients operate within?
Currently my clients are in management training and I also work with a fast-growing CEO and Managing Director level peer networking group.

Best part of your work:
Seeing the relief on my clients’ faces when I start taking the pressure off and organising projects and tasks for them. I love taking the lead when clients just don’t have the time. I also thoroughly enjoy bringing lessons from my prior corporate experience to the table and offering solutions they may not have considered before. Also, not forgetting the amazing feeling of being my own boss, deciding on the clients I work with and when and, also having that flexibility when I need it the most.

Worst part of your work: 
Finding a happy balance between being the greatest businesswoman I can be and the greatest mum too. I find it so hard to down tools at times, but it is so important to look after yourself to ensure you are the very best you can be. Champagne Friday’s help a lot!

Clients you add most value to:
Two of my current clients are looking to grow their business rapidly over the next few years and I am helping them identify and implement strategic initiatives to move them towards achieving their goals. This is the work that I really love and being part of their Senior Management Teams allows me to challenge ideas together with suggesting different approaches at times. Taking the lead with some of these initiatives greatly reduces the strain on my clients, enabling them to focus on what they are brilliant at knowing that there is a trusted pair of hands helping them along the way.

After work you’ll be:
Since Covid, I’ve taken a hard look at how I spend my personal time. I love nothing more than a walk on the beach with my family – you’ll often find us at Hengistbury Head enjoying pizza on the beach. I love to read, cook and have dinner with friends. Life is so precious, and I love spending time with people that inspire me and lift me up.

Why a franchise with The Passionate PA and not go it alone?
I didn’t want to go out and do this on my own as I love the support of Kate and her guidance and understanding of the role. The other Passionate PAs are invaluable not only in terms of support but in our shared knowledge and experience! I did not appreciate just how well-known our brand was until recently, this has opened so many doors which, had I gone it alone, would not have presented themselves.

What did you do before:
18 years in various management roles at JPMorgan including a four-year stint in Luxembourg. Working on major clients, I was a key player in retaining and turning client relationships around. Management experience, risk and compliance management… big job, fun at the time. But this is rewarding on a very different level.

Favourite drink:

Favourite location for a business meeting:
I really enjoy going to clients’ houses or offices as I believe this enables me to really get to know them and provides valuable insight into their lives. We can tell so much by what’s on someone’s desk or dining table! Otherwise, it has to be The Olive Branch in Wimborne or anywhere with a good, comfy sofa and a delicious lunch.

What are you reading?
“Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers.

Your guilty pleasure:
A monthly massage with the amazing Fran. Check her out on Instagram!

Favourite hobby/past time:
My new passion is on the water, on a gorgeous boat with a glass of bubbles. Failing that, a good walk at the beach or in the New Forest with my husband and boys.

Most inspirational/influential person in your career:
My Dad. One of the strongest, most intelligent, hardworking and honest businessmen I know. He built a successful company and survived a recession when most local building firms did not. He taught me integrity and respect, and to always go to bed with a clear conscience.

Favourite animal and why:
My cats. Love their independence and calming presence.

Greatest contact/supplier that deserves a plug:
Heidi Roper, View HR. Heidi is not only incredibly knowledgeable and amazing at what she does, but she is so much fun to work with and gets amazing results with the clients that she works with. She has true passion, and it shows.

Your business plan (in one sentence!) for the coming year:
To build strong, trusting, local relationships to ensure that I am the Executive PA of choice for Ringwood and the surrounding area.

You can find out more about Claire by clicking here! Or, pop her an email and make a date to get together for coffee (or champagne?).

Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Kate’s quoted in the Mail Online

I didn’t quite “declare war” – trust the Daily Mail to exaggerate 🤪 – but I’m pleased to be quoted in this article. This is a really important read for all PAs, VAs and freelancers.

In response to over 500 secretaries at Deloitte being told their jobs were at risk last week, the Daily Mail has picked up on the huge wave of PAs and EAs moving into the freelance world due to the difficulties in finding suitable roles for their skill sets, post covid. The article talks about whether the role of the EA is dead and how successful start-up VAs really are.


Firstly, we (the whole Business Support industry and recruiters) all need to work harder to educate the business community and news reporters on the difference between a Secretary, VA, PA and EA. But I’ll leave that for another blog!

Secondly, making a successful career out of freelancing is not easy – this was my point, which has, to some degree, been lost in the article. Becoming a Virtual Assistant just because you’ve lost your job is not the right thing to do. (Note the word ‘just’.)

I have spent over 10 years honing my skills as a freelance PA and helping others carve out successful businesses for themselves too under The Passionate PA brand.

Here’s the reality; being a successful freelancer or VA takes more time, energy, dedication and stamina than most full-time jobs ever do!

Sadly, the ‘quick-fix’ freelancers and VAs that are popping up daily, only to disappear within a few months, are really making it so difficult for the business world to understand the value a professional outsourced business support solution can offer. I appreciate going freelance is sometimes out of desperation. Of course. But sometimes it’s just pure naivety and rose-tinted glasses.

The whole reason I franchised my business was to help talented, ambitious individuals have an easier route into self-employed success. If you’d like to know more, visit our Join Us page.

I’ve heard so many horror stories of business owners trusting start-up freelancers and VAs, investing valuable time and energy into their on-boarding, only for them to quit when they find suitable employment. This leaves the business in the lurch and feeling very burnt by the whole experience.

➡️ My best advice to business owners – if you are serious about using freelancers to help you structure and grow your business, invest in people that make it their business to ensure you succeed. Check out Karen Murray‘s latest podcast where I talk about how to do this.

➡️ My best advice to employees staring down the barrel of unemployment or experiencing job loss – UPSKILL, invest in your own professional development and commercial awareness and really, really, really delve deep into your own values, passions and strengths.

Freelancing and being self-employed is NOT the easy route that so many gurus try to persuade you it is. Only embark on becoming a freelancer when no plan B will do! By that I mean, when your soul is hungry for choice, fulfilment and awesome clients and you are ready and willing to give your new adventure the focus it needs. You need an awesome support network and it you really want to thrive, an experienced, hands-on mentor that will open doors for you and help you navigate the challenges from day 1.

I’m very happy to talk to anyone thinking of doing so who’d love some unbiased and very honest advice.


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Kate on the Evolve to Succeed Podcast

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For the first time ever, our Director and Franchisor has spoken publicly about how she came to take over The Passionate PA at just 26, and the effects that choice has had on her as a person.

“Starting a business is never easy, but doing so at just 26 with the weight of the world on my shoulders was probably one of the hardest challenges of my life. It’s a choice that has made me ultimately very happy, but the initial years were a rollercoaster of emotions, challenges, excitement and continuous feelings of not being ‘enough’.”

Kate Chastey was delighted to be asked to talk to Warren Munson, long-time supporter of The Passionate PA. The team at the Evolve to Succeed Podcast did a superb job of creating the finished recording.

Kate said “this was a wonderful opportunity to share my business story and talk so openly with Warren about the things I hold so dear. Creating a life I don’t need a holiday from is 100% my personal definition of success and it was great to discuss that with Warren.”

In this episode, Kate and Warren also talk about:

  • How Kate’s early work experience with an entrepreneurial celebrity shaped her belief in what a PA could be and what she now feels a modern PA should be for entrepreneurs
  • How her early career in advertising agencies helped her learn so much about people, leadership and performance – and gave her the grounding for the leader she is today
  • Kate’s experience of Imposter Syndrome when she took over the business and found herself with very big shoes to fill
  • Our route into franchising with Kate’s ‘build it as we go’ approach and her fierce commitment to the people that choose to partner with her as Passionate PAs
  • How Kate’s father influenced her view of corporate life and financial security, and to this day still thinks she should get a ‘proper job’
  • And, of course, how all this has effected Kate’s personal life and given her a truly unique mantra to live by… “Create a life you don’t need a holiday from.”

“My definition of success is being able to enjoy every single day whilst adding real value to the people around me. It’s not about money. Success, to me, is about fulfilment – and understanding that it is all about NOW rather than one day in the future.”

Happy listening.


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Trisha Lewis Podcast – Trust who you are

We are so thrilled to share a podcast recorded recently with Trisha Lewis – Communication coach, speaker and author.

Trisha invited Kate to talk about the things she holds most dear; leading with an open heart, the unique and exciting opportunity of franchising and the role of the freelance PA in today’s business world. Oh, and her crazy life on Dartmoor!

Kate and Trisha had an absolute blast recording this, as it evident from the outset. If you want to know more about Kate and how our business is just so different from corporate life – this is the perfect place to start!

Click here to listen


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: