After working in her family's optical business for more than 20 years, Tracey Jones was ready to make a change. She took a leap of faith and handed in her notice, and that’s when she found SmartPA.
Tracey is now running her own successful virtual assistant business with SmartPA, supporting nine clients with a host of varied tasks. She feels challenged, empowered and is constantly growing and learning – working to her full potential.
Before I became a SmartPA Partner, I worked for my family business. We had a group of optical practices that were based in the Cheshire/South Manchester area. I worked there for over 20 years and then my dad made the decision to sell the business. I worked for the new owner for a couple of years and was made Yorkshire regional manager of the practices, but I just found that the travelling became a bit too much, I was up really early every morning and spending a lot of time in the car, so I decided I was ready for a new challenge and that's when I handed in my notice and decided to take a leap of faith.
When I came across SmartPA I was looking for a job as a PA or an EA because I knew that I really enjoyed supporting others, that I was organized and enjoyed admin. So, I was looking for a job, but when I was on holiday with family and I’d already handed in my notice and my dad, who was on his laptop looking for franchises, found SmartPA and he showed it to me. I had never thought about a franchise, being a business owner, or about being a virtual assistant, but as soon as I read up on it, I thought how brilliant it would be to be able to work anywhere just with a laptop and a phone – it just seemed really appealing, so I sent off for the information there and then.
The onboarding process for me was it was very smooth, I felt like I was guided through every step, and there was lots of support and information made available. I had an interview with one of the SmartPA ambassadors and that was really good. I was also able to talk to other SmartPA partners to see how their journeys had developed. I think the training was great – the training at the start about SmartPA branding and the different business models that you can be involved in and was thorough. When I launched there's a lot of support with the launch and I was able to join the mentoring program that was fantastic because I could set goals and was made accountable for achieving them, so I feel that the onboarding was very thorough, smooth, and very supportive from start to finish. For the first 12 months of the SmartPA journey I worked from home, but for me personally I found that I kind of missed getting up, getting dressed and going to work. After 12 months I invested in an office which is within another building with other business owners, only five minutes’ drive away. Each morning, I'll get into the office for about half past eight or nine o'clock. I currently work with nine clients so it's important to be really organised, the first thing that I do is run through all the tasks that I need to do, prioritize and write a schedule for the day. It's very varied, I do all sorts of different types of support; I book appointments, chase information, carry out invoicing, log expenses, I also do social media management for five of my clients - that's one of the things I absolutely love, it's just such a varied day. I tend to finish the day at about four or half past four, but the beauty is if I need to work later I can do, or on other days if you want to leave earlier you can do, and I just love that flexibility I love the work-life balance. This year I’ve also started to take alternate Fridays off which is a real joy! I work full-time but i absolutely love it, and I've got such a nice balance.
SmartPA has had a massive impact on my life, it's been a major journey of self-discovery and a really invaluable experience. I never realized how capable I was, I've learned so many different skills, I've learned the importance of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and following you your intuition. I've just learned so much, it's really helped my confidence and I just never ever dreamt that I would be a business owner running a successful business and having a fantastic work-life balance. It's one of the best decisions I’ve ever made career-wise, it's fantastic.
To sum up my SmartPA experience, I would say that's definitely been empowering. I've learned so much about myself and I've learned so many different skills. I just feel that I'm working to my full potential - I'm still learning new skills, I'm working with some wonderful clients, and I just feel completely empowered by the whole experience.
SmartPA is a business support and administration franchise transforming the way professionals work.
With more than 10 years’ experience offering remote administrative support to over 5,000 business clients globally, demand for our services has grown almost 30% in the past year - now is the perfect time to launch your franchise business under our SmartPA brand. We offer lifetime business support from the minute you sign up with us.