Supporting working mums and enabling innovative branding, design & comms

Running a business and looking after two young children isn’t usually a ‘can do’. But with the help of a virtual assistant, Julie Francis has been able to find the right balance…

In 2012, Julie Francis left a full-time job in marketing and print design to go freelance, and start her own company.

Very soon, she was working with large corporations designing and producing business cards, stationary, adverts and other marketing and comms related assets.

Partnering with Greg Rawles, an experienced art-worker, this company became Creative Fire, which today offers a full suite of branding, marketing, design and communications services, helping business to be more memorable and distinguish themselves from their competition.

creative work

Enabling growth while improving time management

The PA Business Support team brings tremendous value add for growing a business, especially those with the challenge of being time-limited.

But it wasn’t smooth sailing in the beginning – Julie had recently given birth, and her new-born baby boy was demanding nearly all of her attention. Response times dropped, deadlines narrowly hit, calendar management became a nightmare…she desperately needed help with handling everything, not to mention the large amount of admin that was piling up.

Thankfully, she happened to meet one of PA Business Support’s MDs, Sabina – and that was the day everything changed. Until that moment, Julie hadn’t even heard of a Virtual Assistant. Sabina explained what PABS provided and how hiring a VA could help steer Creative Fire back on course, not to mention give Julie her life back!

Very soon, PABS was providing support in the form of email and calendar management, acting as client liaison and helping Julie to manage her priorities.

This gave her what she calls a “layer of protection” which prevented her from becoming overwhelmed. Via regular weekly catch-ups and the use of instant messaging (WhatsApp and Skype), PABS was able to improve the business processes and very quickly restore Julie’s work/life balance. As a result, Creative Fire began to thrive.

I remember thinking, I don’t know how I’m going to do everything I need to do, have this baby and run this business at the same time. I didn’t even know what a VA was – I didn’t know that was a ‘thing’ – before I met Sabina. Then, having PABS there was an immediate, massive weight off my shoulders.

Julie Francis, Founder of Creative Fire

Reducing the strain on human resources means that business leaders can focus on revenue generation

PA Business Support VAs work around you and the particular idiosyncrasies of your business, so that you can focus on what your company really needs, whether that’s new clients, existing relationships, or long term strategic goals.

Talking about where the business is now, Julie says that partnering with PABS has helped her achieve much more than she ever expected. She references how much more confidence it has given Creative Fire in approaching clients and pitching for new business, knowing that the support is there.

If a client’s brief includes something that they may not provide in-house, Julie and her team know that within Sabina and Sophie’s extensive network of virtual professionals will be the right expertise. For example, event organising and social media management are two specialisms PA Business Support VAs can offer. This has upped the stakes considerably, ensuring that PABS and Creative Fire have a bright future on the horizon.

Without PA Business Support I would have suffered through those early stages. The birth of my children meant I would have struggled with the pace and keeping up with my workload. Thank you, PABS!!

Julie Francis, Founder of Creative Fire