Here’s another of our popular Business Spotlight articles. This one is from Mel Austin who runs Girl Friday Wirral, where she provides all sorts of services to help those who are either time poor or physically unable to do some of the jobs needed around the home.

You can find out more about how Mel can help you or a loved one here – Girl Friday Wirral.

Mel Austin

Mel Austin

Girl Friday

“…if I’m physically capable of doing something then I will do it – whether it’s pulling out dead wisteria, decluttering a room or helping with paperwork”

When did you first set up your business and what motivated you to do so?

1st May 2018 – I had expected to get made redundant and had been mulling over for some time what I could do when the work finally dried up. I realised that when that job came to an end, I’d have the one thing that everybody craves – time! Hence the idea that I’ll do whatever you can’t because you don’t have the time.

What are the main products/services your company offers?

My time – if I’m physically capable of doing something then I will do it – whether it’s pulling out dead wisteria, decluttering a room or helping with paperwork.

Who is your key target audience?

Anybody who is pushed for time or physically unable to get those jobs done. That would cover busy mums although I seem to get most work from the elderly who simply can’t do what they used to.

Has it all been plain sailing (please pardon the seaside pun!)?

Having been an employee for some 30 years it has been difficult on the days when I’ve had no work. Likewise it’s frustrating when you get asked to do lots of jobs all on the same day, and you have to do whatever you can to fit them all in.

How have you found it working for yourself?

Although I’d expected there to be admin and non paying work, there’s more of it than I expected. Even just looking at what I’ve got on the next day and planning where I’ve got to be and when can take some juggling. As I’m still not busy every moment of every day, I still can’t enjoy the odd afternoon when I have no work on – I see it as wasted time. I hope that shift in attitude will come  soon.

What does a ‘normal’ day look like for you?

One deep joy is that I no longer have typical days. I meet lovely clients who have some fascinating stories – not least a former squadron leader with an OBE. I walk dogs 2 days a week, which has been fantastic with the summer we’ve had and it helps with my fitness.

I help an older chap with his paperwork and one day had to remove a cannabis plant that seemed to be thriving in his garden while everything else he was trying to grow was withering in the heat. I have also helped with the organisation and ‘on the day assistance’ with a wedding party and an anniversary party. The variety of work has been tremendous.

What type of advertising do you find works best for you?

I’m nowhere near as active on social media as I should be. Partly that’s down to me not liking to ask people if I can take before and after pictures and partly because I find it all a little complicated!

If you were able to go back and give yourself one piece of advice when you were first starting out, what would it be?

Get to grips with facebook so that when I had stuff to post I could get on and do it, without prevaricating.

What is the next step for your business?

The same as any business I suppose – to keep growing and get an established client base.

What are your ultimate goals for the business and are they within sight?

Pretty small time really – I just want to earn enough to pay my bills and have a full wine rack again! Hopefully within another 6 months I’ll be nearly there.

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