We are wishing our business baby, Evelyn & Ford, a huge, happy, sassy, birthday! We can’t quite believe a whole year has passed. It is quite an emotional feeling to look back at our first year and process all that we have learned and achieved. In this post we discuss what it’s like to be best friends in business, overcoming trials and tribulations, being a new business in a pandemic, the willingness to learn and a huge thanks to our wonderful, supportive and inspirational clients.
BEST FRIENDS IN BUSINESS
Firstly, we want to discuss our friendship and the business. With the two of us being the face of the brand as well as a beautiful hazelnut tree; we have been conscious of portraying too much of ourselves together across our channels. Do you know how hard it is to do a business photoshoot without us looking like we are a couple, engaged, having a right ole jolly or just plain awkward? Finding that balance is key but this photo is wholesome, true and sums up our respect and love for each other as friends and as business partners.
Let's rewind five years first. We met in 2015 when working at an Investment Bank. Nicola sat one desk away from Charlotte, who had recently joined and was undergoing heavy training in her new role. There was nothing but a concrete pillar and the odd awkward smile between them. They eventually bonded over their love of lists. After a few weeks of small talk and intrigue, a girls night out was planned and the rest is history. Fabulous years of friendship mirrored unfulfillment and resentment in the day job as they dreamt of bigger things outside of the corporate walls.
You are told to not go into business with friends...
‘You shouldn’t mix business and pleasure.’
How about you don’t get married Sue? (Sue is several people). Marriage is a lifelong commitment - pretty ‘serious’. It may not work out but you do it anyway. Going into business with a loved one, family member, partner or friend is no different. What we have is special and it works. We bring different strengths to the business, our hearts are in the right place and our morals are aligned. We motivate each other. We share the same invaluable experience. We reassure each other. We trust each other 100%. We are riding this crazy journey together and we laugh - every single day. It is a dream come true.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you, you cannot go into business with your friend.
TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS AND A SPRINKLING OF A PANDEMIC
Not only have we battled the trials and tribulations a new business brings but to do it through a pandemic, is quite something. But we must be honest here in that the pandemic helped shine a light on who we are and what we do. Overnight, the world pretty much stopped and changed forever. Everyone was forced to work from home, we had to ‘lock-down’ (we despise this word) and face unprecedented change none of us were prepared for. For us, businesses could now hear and understand clearly what outsourcing means; what virtual administrative support is, and the realisation it is a cost effective option. If the pandemic hadn’t happened, our growth (business and personal) would not be where it is today.
For years we predicted our day job as Executive Assistants in the city came with an expiry date and that the future of administration would be outsourced. In the first 6 months of our business, the conversations we were having are very different to the ones now. The pandemic changed our dynamics and our niche went from large corporate companies to start ups and small businesses. We had to adapt and adapt fast. Somehow, in a crazy and very lucky way, being self-employed Virtual Assistants is the safest we’ve ever felt in terms of job security.
LEARNING - ALL THE GEAR AND SOME IDEA...
It’s all been self taught. We were fish out of water 12 months ago, with all the gear and some idea. What has made us successful is the willingness to learn, patience and the power of an open but driven mind. We trained ourselves on platforms such as Dubsado and Quickbooks. We designed our website, which has led to several web design projects, including online shops. We can now add financial forecasting to our skillset, extensive project management, content creation and social media management. Not forgetting our baby, The E&F Method, which has gone on to become one of our most popular services. Who knew you could wrap ‘organisation’ in a pretty, informative, sassy package and change people’s lives? To elaborate further on our learning throughout our first year in business, the 12 lessons are as follows:
Wellbeing & self-care - If you don’t look after yourself you will fail.
Utilise the network around you.
Take the time to share and celebrate others' successes.
Establish your true niche.
Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn't take advice from.
Be extremely selective with whom you go to for advice, counsel and guidance.
Always give your highest self. (You owe it to yourself, your business and clients.)
Word of mouth is the most powerful advertisement.
Listen to your intuition. The power of gut feeling is incredible and always right.
Stop comparing. They are not you, you are not them.
Dream B.I.G. - think empire, not business.
Look back at the mountain you’ve climbed regularly and drink champagne.
Huge thanks to our inspirational and supportive clients, friends and family members who believed in us from the beginning. If we can leave our highly paid job in the city and start a business in a global pandemic. We can do anything and so can you.