Hey everyone, I am Abigail, owner and founder of Poppins PA. I like to think I have brought Mary Poppins into the modern day!
The concept behind my business is to enable my clients to ‘live life seamlessly’, ensuring that they don’t also crash and burn along the way.
I offer far more than the expected diary management and organisation of various things.
We primarily focus on client’s personal lives as I believe that by starting there, they can then show up to their professional lives in far better shape.
I also offer accountability, reminding clients of various things / appts, being that sounding board and taking it back to basics and finding the real them!
What or who inspired you to become a Virtual Assistant?
Sitting at my corporate desk was no longer serving me financially or mentally. Plus my family was growing and like so many, I needed far more flexibility as we had such limited childcare.
How did you go about establishing your business? I started as a ‘jack of all trades’. I left the legal industry and started networking within that but still took on pretty much anyone who enquired. After a couple of years of bouncing around, I moved into the property world before my husband and I having that conversation ‘when are you going to get a real job?’. This was a real red flag to me as I had learnt enough to know that I didn’t want to be employed again! So I dug deep and set out to find out the parts of my previous roles that I liked and was good at.
I met my husband half way and looked for a part time role but within the private industry. This way I would get the stability he wanted / I needed and the experience I knew I needed in order to carry on with my business…..
The universe was on my side, I managed to secure a part time role within Kent (so rare in the private industry!) and it was, to this day, the best role I have had.
And so that was it. I had proved myself right. The private industry was where I should be AND I now had glowing references to give me a kick start.
That was how I made my transition and get my business established. The rest is thanks to Linkedin and sheer dedication!
Did you have any savings or financial support in order to start your business?
Was there ever a point when you thought it wouldn’t work out?
Yes! After the first few years. Bumbling around, not really liking the work, the people I was working with. I hadn’t heard of ‘personal development’ and thought that was it. That was what self-employment was for me. Thankfully, I listened to my gut and pushed through.
What support did you have around you to set up your VA business (family and friends, Coach or Mentor)?
No-one. As I say, I hadn’t heard of personal development and the only VA group and VA I had ever heard of was the VA Handbookers group!
If you could go back and change one thing that you did when starting out, what would that be?
Start building relationships earlier. This I find totally under rated, but its what I think is absolute key in attracting clients and keeping them.
What is your best advice for someone who is just starting out or someone who is considering becoming a Virtual Assistant?
Do some research on yourself. What do you enjoy doing, what kind of people do you like to be around? I am a big advocate of business starting with us, business is all about people.
How would you describe the good, the bad and ugly of being a Virtual Assistant?
Feeling uncomfortable is common so again, doing some research into who you are would help as I have been in some very stressful situations that I have had to sort out with no one to bounce off, trusting ourselves is vital. Confidence in our own ability is crucial AND the confidence to say no!
What is the best business book you’ve read and how did it impact you and your business?
Ah I cant pick just one!
Rachel Rodgers ‘We Should all be Millionaires’ is fantastic. She speaks plainly, gives some great advice and I have since listened to all her podcasts and she never fails to motivate me to get some shit, done!
Im also a huge fan of Denise Duffield-Thomas, so Chillpreneur and Lucky Bitch are both great business books for any level.
How do you stay on top of your own professional development?
Podcasts! Im a huge fan. Carrie Green / Leonie Dawson / Hello Seven (Rachel Rodgers as mentioned above) / Diary of a CEO (Steven Bartlett) / Entrepreneurs Get Visible (Anna Parker Naples / Powerful Stories (Tory Archbold)
I could go on…I get a lot from each one, confidence, motivation, business tips, contacts, advice and so much more!
What do you love to do when you’re not working?
I took up running last summer and seem to still be going! I go to parkrun every Saturday and have since run my first official 10k in March.
I am also known to get busy dancing whilst cooking dinner which doesn’t win points with the kids or hubby!
Tell us one thing you can tell us about you that not many people know?
I love to make people laugh 😊
What does the future hold for your business?
I am enjoying building my team and enjoying the organic opportunities that are coming up.
I would like to raise awareness about the importance of starting with ‘us’ first and the benefits…we all know this stuff but so few put it into action!
So who knows, I would happily speak pubically