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There’s No Place Like Home(working)

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Dare to dream, says Hilary Stoddart, Designated PA’s client development manager and former office-based senior PA…

 

If you’re considering taking the leap from office-based employment to the world of flexible, home based, virtual work and feel (understandably) daunted, Hilary’s story is sure to reassure and motivate you!

It was August 2014 when I made the biggest change in my career. I was working for a major investment company in central Edinburgh, when I resigned from my Senior Executive PA position. My health was suffering from the long daily commute and my doctor advised that I either move closer to my job or work closer to home. The first option wasn’t possible, so I started to look for a new job in my local area.

“I was already aware that jobs like mine just didn’t exist outside of the city, but I was determined not to settle for anything less.”

Rewind further still, to the snowy winter of 2013. I was stuck on yet another late train home when I picked up a newspaper someone had left behind, and read a brilliant article about virtual PAs. I remember thinking how amazing it would be to work from home, doing the job I love. In fact it was a standing joke between my boss and I that if I had red sparkly shoes like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I could just click my heels and be magically transported to the office, without the terrible commute! Sadly, I thought this could only be a dream. But I just couldn’t get that newspaper article out of my head….

Back to 2014 and by the time I completed my notice, I had already set up my own virtual PA business. I had commissioned a website expert, decided on a name, ordered business cards, and signed up to some local networking groups. I had already signed a couple of small clients from ex colleagues and I was being introduced to some amazing opportunities. I was also networking on LinkedIn and had researched similar companies.

I remember finding a post by Designated PA on LinkedIn. It was like the most wonderful and exciting breath of fresh air! I loved how the company came across and compared to others, and they seemed like a great team. Soon enough, a role was advertised for a virtual PA to join the Designated PA team. At that point my own clients were very intermittent, and a large contract had just ended, so I wasted no time and applied. I got a reply the next day followed by a lovely call with Managing Director Jane Braithwaite herself. I was subsequently offered the job and was beyond happy…

“Finally I could do the job I loved, be part of an amazing team and do all this from home!”

I had a couple of London based clients in the early days, and also loved the direct contact with Designated’s customers and answering questions from new enquiries. I started signing up new DPA clients and felt a buzz from using my own experience to advise them on how Designated PA could make a difference to them. I was passionate about the ethos of Designated PA and how we could support all types of businesses, large or small.

“Within my first 6 months, I was promoted from PA to Client Development Manager.”

Fast forward to April 2018 – I am approaching my second anniversary with Designated PA and I couldn’t be happier. I manage all new business enquiries as well as working closely with our existing clients to ensure they’re getting the very best service from us. It took a while for me to adjust to a sales focussed role but the fact that I was promoting something I loved and believed in made it relatively easy. I honestly feel so lucky to have a job I love and to be part of such a brilliant team.

My final note would be to always have goals and never compromise, lose sight or give up on them. I’ve worked extremely hard to get to where I am now; my health is the best it’s been in years and every day I get to be Dorothy, click my heels and I’m in my home office. It’s funny that all those years ago I thought it was only a dream!

Turn your dream into reality – if you are an experienced, professional PA, EA, bookkeeper, digital marketer, medical secretary or social media manager contact us on 0207 952 1460 or at info@designatedpa.com

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Unsure what support you need?

Get in touch with Hilary on 020 7952 1460

Hilary will listen and discover how we can help you.   She will talk you through the process and give you insight into how our team of PAs can work with you.

Find out how Designated PA can help you and your company