Fabienne relocated back to South Wales to be a single Mum with a baby, in a new town with no contacts.
She found herself changed from a busy lifestyle with her fiancé, nice house & good career to living on her own, with a young baby in rented accommodation & claiming benefits all in a new location. Plus, now stuck with debts and no employment.
She found a part time job & 2 years on she started thinking about what she could do to give herself an interest, utilise a life time of skills, fulfil a passion of helping others, prove to herself she was still useful & earn some money?
Fabienne looked at her CV with her successful legal career as a Legal Assistant, Legal Secretary, Personal Assistant, Legal PA & in customer service. She was studying CILEX, a professional legal course and was only one year away from qualifying as a lawyer. But as a single mum knew that the working environment and atmosphere of that industry with early starts and late finishes was just not possible at this time. So what to do?
Utilising her unique skills & experience and full of enthusiasm & a passion to help others, she decided that self-employment was her best route to fulfil her requirements and create a job for herself. Having done some planning, her idea of her business “FAB-VA” was born! Her plan to do all the jobs a sole trader & small business cannot always do – cover phones, produce invoices/look after expenses, chase clients & suppliers, manage their diary, create databases of contacts & maintain, provide holiday cover for phones/emails etc), produce documents/proof read, look after the clients social media & even be their travel coordinator to make bookings.
Her next challenge was how to fund the start up costs to cover what she needed & that is when she found Purple Shoots online. She liked the fact that it was a charity & it fitted with her ethics and despite lockdown was able to chat to them on the telephone and discuss her plans in detail, explore actions to start the business and how it could grow. Purple Shoots unlike her Bank, were happy to support a brand new start up, with no self-employment experience & having no cash to get it started! With Purple Shoots support it enabled her to complete a professional virtual assistant course, the equipment she would need to make this a professional business, to produce marketing materials, create a website & fund the cost of some business networking as a potential avenue to find her clients.
So, www.fab-va.co.uk https://www.facebook.com/FabVA20/ was created and Fabienne started looking for business owners who needed extra hours in their day to avoid burnout & could instead outsource to her giving them the ability to then concentrate on their core objectives.
Six months on & despite the challenging lockdown trading conditions, she has made good progress with finding clients- sole traders, small business owners, consultants, lawyers and even doctors. She has found her niche – paralegal virtual assistant. With her 10 years in the legal industry she has been able to offer a variety of legal support to assist solicitors, lawyers, in-house legal teams, and barristers. Since the pandemic Fabienne has also been able to assist solicitors with maternity, holiday, sick leave and COVID cover.
She supports business and personal needs thereby helping business owners improve their productivity, efficiency & save money.
And for those very busy clients she has found herself managing their personal life with a variety of organising & researching all those tasks that they do not have time to sort themselves!
She has found the work extremely interesting and gives her a challenge to her day. Being able to work in a multitude of industries for all different sorts of people is the benefit of her business and something she thrives on. Different people to interact with and having worthwhile conversations with.
As one of them said in a testimonial Fabienne is dedicated, hardworking & meticulous, taking all the stress of admin away & performing it to a top level!
“Purple Shoots helped me tremendously with the start up of Fab-VA, it was not just the fact they were able to assist with the business start-up finds but the support and guidance given was absolutely priceless. It felt like I had the best business advisors supporting me and gave me the confidence that I could do this! They introduced me to some wonderful people who have mentored and supported me and did everything they could to give me the best start as a business owner”.
Fabienne has joined the Single Mums Business Network (started by another Purple Shoots borrower) & the Womens Business Club to network with like minded professionals creating a support network as well as finding help with new business.
“The best thing that Purple Shoots did was introduce me to Julie at the Single Mums Business Network. Hands down this network group is the ONLY network you need to join if you are in my position. It is like a big family, and one I am very lucky to be part of!”