Could you do with a wing woman?

workingmums.co.uk talks to Abigail Langridge who runs a personal virtual assistant business that aims to help women deal with the home admin so they can focus better at work.

 

If you are doing most of the home admin as well as work it can be punishing mentally. Logistics and anticipating logistical challenges – a last-minute call for a medieval costume for World Book Day, picking up an anxious teen from a GSCSE exam around an important business call,  organising back-up care for a child with norovirus – can take up a large part of your consciousness. The ideal would be for your partner, if you have one, to share the load equally, but that is not always possible and sometimes you need more than another exhausted parent to help you out. So what do you do? That’s where Abigail Langridge steps in.

For many years Abigail worked as a Personal Assistant in a corporate setting – mainly in the legal sector, but after having children she found herself commuting part of the week to London just to be what she describes as “a glorified admin assistant”. She was bored and her skills were being underused. She reckons she was working at not even a third of her capacity.

So after she had her third child in 2014 and she had served her six months to qualify for a back to work bonus she quit. “I had it in my head within hours of giving birth that I was done with that world,” she says. “I’m not just a person who goes to work to earn money. I want far more out of life. I felt a part of my life had been stolen and wasted in the corporate world.”

She researched virtual assistants and put her own website together called Virtuallyabi. Having trained in ballet for 15 years, she had a certain confidence and ability to improvise, but she had never networked before. She found a legal networking group, picked up some clients and “winged it”. It was hard at first because she wasn’t used to running her own business and finding her own clients. She says she “bounced around like a pinball in a pinball machine for three years”, eventually breaking even, but thinks that, if she hadn’t have had those learning years, she wouldn’t be where she is now. 

Eventually she came across Helen Pritchard, who is known for helping people get leads from LinkedIn. Pritchard’s free content helped Abigail market herself online. She developed her own niche, understood the need for her values to align with those of her clients and learned how to say no and go with her gut feel.

Walking post-it note

In January 2020 she rebranded as Poppins PA, with a new website won in a competition and  a focus on helping high-achieving women like her reclaim their headspace through organising their personal lives so they can focus better on their professional lives and create their own version of how they can balance work and home life better. That includes helping with diary management so that it includes time for different aspects of work, exercise and family admin, sorting out children’s parties, setting reminders about school events and so on.

“It’s about going back to the basics of a true personal assistant,” says Abigail. Her husband came up with the name which links to the business’ two hashtags #onlinemarypoppins and #walkingpostitnote.  The rebrand came just before Covid hit which was another big learning curve for Abigail. She had one main client at the time who was forced to cut her hours significantly due to the pandemic.  “It was a real kick in the teeth,” says Abigail. After a month she decided to go ‘hell for leather’ on Linkedin and diversify her client list. 

She has since taken on more clients and, since 2021, has built a team of four freelancers she can call on. She has also launched a new service in the last few weeks. She says many people think you have to be hugely wealthy to have a personal PA, but she is trying to make her organisational skills as accessible as she can. While people can have her skills on a minimum monthly retainer of 10 hours per month at a rate of 45 pounds an hour, they can also now book a one-hour one-off session, encompassing a ‘brain dump’ before the call. For the two hours of work involved in planning and talking through logistics challenges, Abigail charges 99 pounds to come up with an action plan.

She mentions one mum of two who was exhausted from working late nights and early mornings. It was, however, the life admin side of the equation that was keeping her awake. Getting that sorted helped her to plan her work better.  Abigail says many women are trying hard to be superwoman and don’t feel they can ask for help or are apologetic about doing so. What she offers is not only a sounding board, but also practical help. “I am their wing woman,” says Abigail, who has her own personal assistant to help her manage her business and family life.

Abigail, whose children are aged 16, 11 and seven, works from her home in Kent and is keen to trial new approaches over the next months. Describing herself as ambitious, she says she has done a few podcasts and events and is building up her profile and her testimonials. One client, who is the director of a law firm, has told her that she couldn’t live without the service she provides.

“There’s nothing wrong with admitting that we struggle with these things,” she says.

*If people want to join Abigail’s team of freelancers, they can fill in a Google form on her site.



Post a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Your Franchise Selection

Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

Your Franchise Selection

This franchise opportunity has been added to your franchise selection

image

title

Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now


You may be interested in these similar franchises