The beginings of Fab-VA, Fabienne’s relocation back to South Wales as a new single mum left her in a town with no immediate contacts. She found herself in a new location, living on her own, with a young baby in rented accommodation and claiming benefits after leaving her fiancé, nice house, and good career behind! Moreover, now stuck with debt and no employment.
Fabienne found herself a part time job but two years on she began musing about how she could utilise a lifetime of skills, fulfil a desire to help people and prove to herself that she was still useful and could earn money.
In reviewing her CV, a successful legal career as a Legal Assistant, Legal secretary, Personal Assistant, Legal PA & customer service experience were all in her repertoire. Fabienne was studying CILEX, a legal profession course and was one year away from qualifying as a lawyer. However, as a single mum, she knew the working environment of the legal industry with its long, and often unsociable, hours was not the right fit at this stage. So what to do?
After some deliberation, Fabienne decided her unique skill set & experience would be best put to work by creating a job for herself through self-employment. Her plan, to do all the jobs a sole trader and small business cannot always do – cover phones/emails, produce invoices/ look after expenses, chase suppliers & clients, diary management, produce documents/ proof-read, look after clients’ social media & even coordinate their travel plans.
Full of enthusiasm, her next challenge was finding funding to cover start-up costs. Finding Purple Shoots online and liking the fact that the charity fit with her ethical ethos, despite lockdown constraints, Fabienne talked to Purple Shoots on the phone. After discussing her plan in detail, exploring actions to start the business and strategies on how it could grow, Purple Shoots, unlike traditional lenders, were happy to financially back her start-up. Through Purple Shoots’ support, she was able to complete a virtual assistant course, acquire the equipment needed to make this a professional business, create marketing materials, build a website, and fund business networking as a way to find potential clients.
Fab-VA was created and Fabienne began looking for businesses who needed extra time and could outsource to her, allowing them to focus on their core company objectives. In the first six months, and despite the limitations of lockdown trading conditions, Fab-VA has made good progress finding sole traders, small business owners, consultants, lawyers, and even doctors. Fabienne has found her niche – a paralegal virtual assistant. Ten years in the legal industry means Fab-VA is able to offer a range of legal support to assist solicitors, lawyers, in-house legal teams and barristers.
Fab-VA supports both the business to improve productivity, efficiency & save money. For those very busy clients Fabienne has found herself managing aspects of their personal lives, such as organising & researching tasks they do not have time to arrange themselves.
The work is interesting and gives a new challenge every day. Working in many industries for a mixture of different people is a great benefit and something Fabienne thrives on.
Duport give 10% of all company profits to the Purple Shoots, helping start-ups and ongoing businesses with financial assistance.
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