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23 Jan 2018

Featured Member – Annie B

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In the spring of 2015, whilst tidying the bedroom of my two young boys, I made the impulsive decision to commit to becoming entirely self-employed and start my business, Hello My PA.
OK, not completely impulsive. My journey had been a slow progression to this inevitable conclusion, with full-time employment and crafty ventures,  but it was at that moment that I took action. I stepped away from the toys, opened my laptop, decided on a business name, set up my Twitter account, created a market research survey and started emailing everyone I knew to tell them that I was now working as a virtual PA/VA
Now, almost three years down the line, I work with a variety of businesses and freelancers across the UK helping them with their admin, email marketing, social media, CRM and more. Helping people to achieve their goals with a proactive approach is certainly the highlight of what I do. I love to help my clients and I get a real buzz from seeing them ‘get it done’.
My passion for supporting UK freelancers as a whole is extended via the Freelance Heroes community on Facebook and Twitter. I became involved in Freelance Heroes in the summer of 2016 and now, as an organically grown network of freelancers, we are supporting over 2,000 members to date.
Aside from running Hello My PA and the Freelance Heroes community (the latter alongside a  business partner), I am a mother of two crazy boys, the wife of a globe-trotting academic, the owner of two mad cats, a lover of stationery and a long-term sufferer of a tea and baked goods addiction. I’m a little bit crafty too and my craft blog ‘Mrs Crafty B’ is waiting somewhere out there on the world wide web for my return.
One of the biggest challenges for me as a self-employed person is keeping a good work-life balance. My typical day consists of schools runs, supporting extra curricular activities, working on my client projects, building my own businesses and housekeeping. Not to mention the never-ending list of craft and home projects that I never get around to! It gets very high pressured at times, especially with some of the industries that my clients work in and although in the past I have struggled with the concept of ‘me time’ I now make time for myself daily. Sometimes that is ten minutes with a cuppa but three times a week I go to the gym. Not for a long time but enough to say ‘I took time for me today’.
Another challenge for me as a self-employed person is the social aspect. There is a common misconception that working for yourself means working by yourself and it is just not true. I work from an office in a co-working space 2 or 3 days a week, and communities such as Freelance Heroes and BizMums provide me with empathetic communities which I can access immediately. They are certainly a key part of how I have moved my business to where it is today.
Going forward, I have various plans for expanding Hello My PA and Freelance Heroes is celebrating #FHDay2018 this year with an event in May, but at the same time, I’m trying hard to take time to enjoy where I am at this moment. 

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