Debbie Frith is our Passionate PA based in Poole, Blandford, Wimborne and surrounds. She’s commercially savvy with great experience in business operations. In this blog, Debbie shares a little about herself.
Debbie became the third Passionate PA back in January 2016. Previously, her career had enabled her to build a wealth of experience in managing people, planning for growth and creating efficient operations. Debbie has a passion for business and doing things exceptionally well, she loves nothing more than seeing her clients’ businesses fly!
Getting to know Debbie
Start the day with:
Getting the family up and out of the door to school and work, then it’s time to walk the dogs.
Where do you do most of your work?
Most of my work is carried out remotely, though I strive to have regular face to face meetings with my clients as well, it’s so important in building and maintaining a great working relationship with them.
What sectors do your clients operate within?
Coaching Facilitation and Training, Town and Country Planning, Recruitment, Angel Investing, Life Assurance and Wealth Industry, Insolvency, Engineering and Manufacturing.
Best part of your work:
The variety of my work is amazing; two days really are never the same. I could be running an event for 50 investors one day and then delivering a strategic planning session the next. I’m also a Dorset Chamber Ambassador and I really enjoy the opportunity that gives me, to understand and support other businesses in the Dorset Chamber network.
Worst part of your work:
There really isn’t any because I choose the clients I work with and therefore the type of work that I do. Why would I choose something I don’t like!
Clients you add most value to:
Those that are already on a journey of business growth, they need partnership and support to continue on their upwards trajectory. They are maybe a little overwhelmed with their own success and need someone to help them establish some structure, process and stability in their business.
After work you’ll be:
Spending time with my family, socialising with friends, watching crime drama on TV.
Why a franchise with The Passionate PA and not go it alone?
It’s a no brainer to me and always has been. People who think starting up their own business is going to be easy, are usually misinformed.
There is so much to consider when running your own business, aside from actually delivering the service or creating the product – that’s the easier bit!
The Passionate PA is a tried and tested business model, it works, it’s successful and all the hard work of creating a recognisable brand with a great reputation has been done for you. The support I receive from Kate, the franchisor, provides me with the framework I need to fly. The hard work is down to me though, (it is after all my business), she is always on hand but the day-to-day running and overall goals are all down to me.
What did you do before:
I was a Senior Area Manager in branded restaurants, working with teams across the South of England. I then joined the family manufacturing and engineering business and worked with the directors for 12 years building and growing the company. I’ve been a Passionate PA now since 2016 and in that time have worked with many different businesses and organisations growing my experience even further.
If we’re talking a grown-up drink then it has to be wine – really, any good wine. I love a nice crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a lovely mellow South African Merlot.
Favourite location for a business meeting:
As I live in deepest darkest Dorset, I’m a big fan of Zoom for an online meeting. It saves me so much time in travelling, time which instead of driving I can dedicate to my own business development or delivering client work. I think business owners also find it convenient for the same reasons.
All that said, my regular catch-up and planning meetings with clients are always held face to face, even for those clients who are located far away from me. These meetings always have a strategic element to them, and we review activity and set plans for the future. These meetings are definitely important to do face to face, they take a good few hours and I’m rather partial to an afternoon tea while doing so!
What are you reading?
I’m a fiction reader more than anything, I love the escapism and it feels very indulgent to take myself off to read for an hour or two of an evening.
Your guilty pleasure:
A long soak in my hot tub on a Sunday morning with a cup of tea!
Spending time with my husband and daughter isn’t really a hobby or pastime, but it is my most favourite thing to do. We’ve got two dogs as well, so we spend a lot of time walking over hills, through woodland and along beaches!
Most inspirational/influential person in your career:
Three very strong women shaped me at the tender of 15-18 years old and taught me a great work ethic, something that has stuck with me throughout my working life. My most influential boss in my career was my MD back when I worked for Deep Pan Pizza and Tosca, he gave me such an opportunity to grow in a career sense, I never looked back.
Favourite animal and why:
It’s got to be a dog, I think. Such characters and no strings devotion (except the walks, toys, ball throwing, treats, laps to sit on, comfy cushions to lie on, tidy bed……)
Greatest contact/supplier that deserves a plug:
I was introduced to a fabulous web developer by one of my clients a few years ago, he even said to me “I’m sure you’ll end up using this guy for your other clients”, he was right, he now looks after 3 of my clients’ websites. Howard at HWB Design is just the best. His attention to detail, his detailed approach to the user journey and his great eye for design are second to none. This guy delivers and delivers and delivers, I wholeheartedly recommend him.
Your business plan (in one sentence!) for the coming year:
Grow my business through offering business owners an ‘intervention’. A chance to press pause, step away from their businesses for a while and partner with me to do some important short-, medium- and long-term strategic planning.