Women in Business – Flexibility AKA Happiness is our priority

It’s taken a few generations but we’re getting there, women in business can now confidently and proudly declare that their profit is calculated on the happiness scale more so than by the bank balance. We no longer need to declare that our mission is to conquer the world and make mega millions. We can be honest, be ourselves, be feminine and quirky in our own ways and not only declare that a good work/life balance is our priority but substantiate it.

The infographic from the NatWest monitor is the hard evidence for the cynics hanging onto the 20th century. Having a good work/life balance is a no brainer for the female entrepreneur of 2017 because it is clear to us that our life memories are far more important than our work memories. We have happiness values in bucket loads, for us materialistic values are in the tv vaults with Dallas and shoulder pads. Furthermore, we have found out that if we do what makes us happy, we can also make money.

By being focussed on happiness rather than sustainable profitability, we create businesses which are more customer focussed than ever. We know who we are and what makes us happy, in turn our customers know how we are going to make them satisfied, they connect with us and enjoy a personalised cultural experience. They feel good, so do we, and we all keep going back for more. With our focus on having enough income to live on and flexibility of business around our lives, customers are attracted by our lack of heavy sales and identify with our values, they want the same as us, their empathy breeds loyalty, supporting their own dreams.

Breaking with long standing perceptions, Domestic Angels is one of the new era of home-based franchises on the market which breaks the materialistic mould instead generating profit and happiness in equal balance for its franchisees. Trading since 2002, the Angels can fully substantiate their winning formula that hits an excellent work/life balance, providing sufficient flexibility and income to do ‘life’ yet enough challenges to grow franchisees as business owners. Director, Samantha Acton says “I deliberately created a business which fulfilled my need for happiness in all areas of my life and not have work as the dominant time consumer. I want to share this opportunity with other budding business owners. As it goes these days, I probably work just as much as I did in my ‘career’ the difference being that I do it all for myself and I genuinely enjoy my work, it’s not work, it’s fun, it’s about helping others to be happy.’ Times have changed, for the better.

Meet the successful businesses that start at home and stay there

We’ve probably all heard stories of businesses which start in a spare bedroom and become multi-million pound concerns.

But what about the businesses that stay – and thrive – in that spare room?

For some, work can be done wherever there is a good internet connection and a phone service – even when it involves hiring and managing other people.

Sam Acton started Domestic Angels, a domestic cleaning and home help service, in her home at Southbourne in 2002. Not only has it expanded and won a national award, but she has recently turned it into a franchising opportunity.

“I started with an ad in the Daily Echo on April 11, 2002. At 11.10am, a woman phoned up. She was my first client and stayed with me for 11 years,” she says.

“I quite quickly had four staff, then stayed at that level for a few years. I learned to be an employer.”

She now has around 20 staff looking after around 1,000 client hours a month. Although the business has moved to a home office in the garden, she has found no need to find separate premises.

The agency started in the days of home produced flyers rather than websites and social media, and the advance of technology has been vital to keeping a sizeable business going from home.

“The business would never have got as bit as it has if it wasn’t for technology,” she says.

“Email is very speedy and I can email and communicate with our clients whilst they’re at work. You can email for a reference and get it back straight away, which makes the business scalable anyway.”

She chose to franchise as a way of expanding the business while keeping her own operation a manageable size. Franchisees buy into a way of running the businesses and the processes it has evolved.

“Our reputation is the most precious thing we have because we’re in a service industry. It’s a really big deal. Franchisees are buying into the reputation and the culture,” she says.

Kate Shaw runs her own public relations business, KTPR, from home in Westbourne. Having been involved in politics and the private school sector, she launched the business in an area that has no shortage of PR agencies.

“It was my husband who had the belief that I could make it work. I started totally cold and I did have many doubts and kept my eye on the job market for quite some time but I gradually picked up and it’s gone from strength to strength,” she says.

The business has moved a couple of times within the house and is now in a spare bedroom.

“I found when I was in the back room it was starting to take over my life. My office is confined to one room in the house,” she says.

Both women have learned about finding boundaries between work and personal life. Sam Acton says she had to make it clear early on that working from home was still working.

“I was making myself too accessible. I had to say ‘I’m working at the moment, can I get back to you?’” she said.

But both say they benefit from flexibility in their working days.

“I like the fact that when [son] Jack comes in the door, we can have a chat. It’s being able to do those kinds of things and enjoying life and not feel like anything’s getting out of hand,” says Sam.

“When you get to the end of the day you’ve got the chance to sit at the table and have a chinwag.”

Kate Shaw added: “Quite often when I’ve got a press release to write, I’ll go down to the beach and take my laptop and be inspired by the surroundings. I’ve been quite flexible about where I might go during the day.”

There is little danger of feeling isolated from not being in a busy office, she says.

“The nature of my job is quite social anyway and it’s not just me sitting in my office,” she adds.

For Sam Acton, the success of the business outstripped her expectations. She took the title for home based business at the Venus National Awards for women in business in 2013-2014 after winning the local award. The confidence boost from that success has helped her expand the business, go into franchising and meanwhile organise annual Parliament Week events locally.

“In 2013, when I won the Venus, I struggled to take it on board that I was a business person. I was Sam who did Domestic Angels,” she says.

“When I won the national award, that’s when the penny really dropped.”

Sam attends a Festive All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women and Enterprise

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women and Enterprise in the festive Houses of Parliament. Representing Domestic Angels, Sam Acton, attended the meeting followed by Christmas drinks and speeches from the Women in Parliament APPG in the Thames Pavilion. We are particularly excited to have been appointed to a focus group within the APPG addressing business support, coaching and mentoring for women in business. Post meeting speeches were opened by Mims Davies MP and featured Maria Miller MP, Craig Tracey MP and Caroline Dinenage MP.

We feel privileged to be part of this APPG. It is an honour that our business opens doors for us to walk through allowing us to make a positive difference for others.

Samantha Acton: Women in Business, There Should Be More of Us

The infographic shown here clearly displays the classic reasons why women are more reluctant than their male counterparts to start their own businesses. It is my concern that these statistics reflect belief rather than fact, that us ladies just need to believe in ourselves a little bit more.

‘It’s too risky’ – yes, businesses fail but it is far easier to find yourself stuck in a job which you don’t particularly like and doesn’t suit your family needs. You can reduce risk by carrying out research and planning in advance of launch, get advice, the Start Up Britain Bus being one port of call to put into your diary http://startupbritain.org/bus/

‘Concerned the business will fail’ – we are all concerned that our plans will not be realised in quite the way we have imagined. Seek good and solid mentors to guide you through the rough and the smooth. Mentors have years of business experience and often offer their services free of charge or at a minimal cost especially to start-ups. Try contacting your local Outset http://www.outset.org/

‘The current economic climate is too difficult’ – this is a perception which could be applied to any month of any year however the strongest businesses are often born out of the ashes of recession or the necessity of the founder. If you really want to succeed, and you’ve done your homework well, the economic climate will rarely hinder the most determined.

‘Need more skills’ – developing and running your own business totally from scratch, from the proverbial blank piece of paper, does involve rolling up your sleeves and learning all of the disciplines of business from bookkeeping to employment law and far more. Purchasing a comprehensive franchise which takes these pains away so that you can concentrate on business growth is an option. Take a look at The Domestic Angels management franchise opportunity which also allows you to work from home and flex around family demands http://franchise.domestic-angels.com/

‘Don’t think I could get enough money to start up’ – many business ideas need very little financial investment to get off the ground, the big demands are often your own determination and time. Seek guidance from your mentor before approaching investors and ask the Financial Consultants at http://www.outset.org/ to check that your figures are robust and to recommend local funding groups

Domestic Angels partner with The Crumbs Project and encourages other small businesses to do the same

Samantha Acton, of Domestic Angels in Bournemouth, has partnered with local charity, The Crumbs Project, which helps those with mental health problems and learning disabilities become independent. Crumbs recently encouraged and supported Domestic Angels in taking on Kelly, a woman with severe learning disabilities.

Crumbs Training and Development Manager, Ursula Boardman, advised “Although the law is clear that people with disabilities shouldn’t be discriminated against when seeking employment, only 46.7% of those with disabilities were in employment at the end of 2015, compared to 80.3 % of non-disabled people. Given that there are seven million people of working age in the UK who have a disability, or health condition, there’s a huge amount of untapped talent for small business owners with vacancies to fill.”

Domestic Angels employs 20 people who carry out housework in people’s homes and holiday businesses. Speaking of the Crumbs partnership, Samantha advised, “The only cost to the company was time, we just needed to have a few more cups of tea and a few more chats than we would with other recruits. It was nothing more than that. We needed to gain Kelly’s confidence, so she felt she could open up, talk to us and ask questions. It’s new for her to come out to work.”

Kelly, with the support of her personal advisor at Crumbs, began shadowing another member of staff in cleaning properties two months ago. Now a paid member of staff, she is on her way to taking on a similar workload to other members of staff and becoming a fully-fledged Domestic Angel.”

Crumbs training and Development Manager Ursula Boardman commented, “We first met Domestic Angels at a recruitment fair in Bournemouth. Kelly was there with a member of The Crumbs Project staff who was there supporting her in her search for work. Marie who is a Team Leader at Domestic Angels was really interested to hear about the work that Crumbs does and was extremely helpful chatting to Kelly about the opportunities within the business. Kelly subsequently decided to pursue the opportunity to work for Domestic Angels and a work trial was set up.”

Continuing Ursula added, “Kelly was ecstatic when we told her that she had been accepted to do a work trial. Marie has been wonderful with Kelly, showing compassion and patience, spending time with Kelly and building Kelly’s confidence. Kelly is now in paid employment with Domestic Angels which has not only boosted Kelly’s confidence but has made her feel accepted and capable. We would like to say a huge thank you to Domestic Angels for the support that they have given.”

Sam Acton concluded, “Small businesses should not feel daunted. I strongly recommend that they should try and embrace the opportunity if it presents itself. You will get back just as much as you put in. We can’t wait to meet the next candidate Crumbs put forward!”

www.domestic-angels.co.uk
www.facebook.com/thecrumbsproject

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/connect/small-business/taking-on-disabled-staff/

Parliamentary Reception for Female Entrepreneurs

Not your average Monday in the office for Domestic Angels on 12th September! Sam from Domestic Angels attended the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women & Enterprise Reception celebrating female entrepreneurship.

Hosted by Craig Tracey MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women and Enterprise, the discussion circled around the findings from of the NatWest Entrepreneurship Monitor.

The event finished with also featured a keynote speech from Helen Pattinson, founder of Montezuma London (their chocolate is a guilty pleasure at Angels HQ!) She spoke passionately about the need for female role models.

There was also a speech from Caroline Dinenage MP, Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Early Years Caroline who discussed the economic importance for the UK of increasing support for female entrepreneurs.

As well as Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise at NatWest, presented who ran through the results of the Entrepreneurship Monitor, which clearly showed the type of what support entrepreneurial women need but also what and more importantly the scale of the massive latent potential they have.

The Parliament event and seminar attracted a handpicked crowd of 100 female entrepreneurs and MPs from around the country to Portcullis House, Westminster.

Reflecting on the event, Sam commented “The findings of the monitor and the words from the Secretary of State and Craig Tracey MP gave me confidence that this government is on track to connect with the needs, and therefore potential, of the female entrepreneur sector and in particular growing sophistication and power of home based businesses.”

Domestic Angels Franchise Talk at Dorset Women in Business

On Wednesday 6th July Domestic Angels Franchising sponsored the first Dorset Women in Business Lunch Networking event at the Chocolate Hotel in Bournemouth centre.

Sam Acton & our Angels Management Team spoke about their business story to date and the exciting future for the franchising of Domestic Angels!

We were also treated to an entertaining talk and truffle sampling by Gerry Wilton, owner of the Chocolate hotel – there was even a chocolate fountain!

So if you, or anyone you know, might be interested in starting your own business? Take a look at the Domestic Angels Franchise Opportunity here; http://domestic-angels.com/franchise.html

You can view all the photos from the event, on our Facebook page here;
Domestic Angels Networking Lunch Photographs

Domestic Angels to Sponsor Dorset Women in Business Event

Domestic Angels & Domestic Angels Franchising will be sponsoring the July lunch for the Dorset Women in Business on the 6th at the Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth.

Dorset Women in Business (DWIB) is a fun & friendly female-only networking group covering most of Dorset through meetings in venues such as Wimborne, Bournemouth & Christchurch.

The Domestic Angels Team have been regular attendees at the Christchurch & Boscombe meetings for the past several years.

We are very excited about this one as Sam Acton and team from Domestic Angels will be speaking about our Franchise offering. The Angels are offering their business as a franchise to select local people who have great customer service skills and great corporate values. They will be telling you their story to date and about the franchise future. We have an enviable reputation in the industry and wider business community.

 

Domestic Angels become EWIF members

Domestic Angels are very proud to announce we are now members of EWIF – Encouraging Women into Franchising

EWIF’s primary focus is to support women who are looking for a route into the franchise industry. Their franchise operations are keen to welcome more female franchisees to their networks

” Established in 2002, Domestic Angels helps people in their homes with housework, home help and holiday home changeovers. I founded the business as a lifestyle solution to generate income whilst allowing me to have the time I very much wanted for my family and myself. I am very happy to be able to offer the same solution and work-life balance to you via the Domestic Angels franchise.

As a management franchisee you will be able to share in the success of a very well established and award winning brand and business formula with the figures to back it up. Our tried and tested processes for client management, recruitment and employment will be available to you via our company intranet with our management experts on the end of the phone to support you at all times. Distance and residential training during induction will ensure you are familiar with these processes and systems. We will also be guiding you to develop your very own social media and PR strategy for a supercharged start in your very own business. Our social media and PR experts are keen to work with you to make you successful as is our customer service champion to help you be totally at ease with the Domestic Angels culture.

Being able to offer you the Domestic Angels franchise is a great honour and one that myself and my team are committed to delivering successfully in line with the cultural values we hold so very dearly.

I look forward to the opportunity of discussing your business and life plans and how Domestic Angels can make them a reality.

All the best, Samantha Acton
Founding Director at Domestic Angels (UK) Ltd and Domestic Angels Franchising Ltd”

The Benefits of a Franchise Business

New entrepreneurs have many important decisions to make, but one of the biggest is whether to start a business of their own creation as a sole proprietor or to purchase a franchise.
A franchise offers many advantages over a typical sole proprietorship that you may not have thought about.

A franchise business has higher likelihood of success because a proven business formula is in place, the products, services, and business operations have already been established. It also offers the independence of business ownership, but is supported by the benefits of a business network.

High Street Banks typically see franchise owners as having a lower risk of repayment default and are more likely to loan money.

The extensive training, education and support that a franchise offers are designed to bring franchisees up to speed on the most successful business methods for their business.

As you can see, doing business as a franchise gives the entrepreneur many advantages over the sole proprietorship approach to starting a business; thereby avoiding costly mistakes such as spending too much for equipment or developing an ineffective marketing campaign.