If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a way to find a better fit for your business future while also creating an incredible experience for your clients, I’ve got good news.
Today I am interviewing one of my rockstar students, Claire Grace. She will be talking about her journey and how her life has been impacted since joining the Director of Operations (DOO) certification program. She shares how the certification allowed her to create a next level experience for her clients while also being a better fit for her life.
Claire is a Certified Director of Operations and founder of The Assistant Quarters a UK VA & OBM Agency. Claire’s journey to starting her own business is typical of many others. She had her first child in 2013 and just as her daughter was about to start school, she was made redundant from her 15+ year corporate career in Banking.
That unexpected turn of events gave her the nudge (and financial buffer!) to finally launch her own business as a Virtual Assistant. The goal, to work with ambitious female founders, be more present as a mother with the flexibility of working on her terms, without the stresses of a London commute.
Since launching in 2017, Claire quickly started to grow a team and rather organically grew The Assistant Quarters into a small VA Agency. In turn, transitioning her own 1:1 client offering from that of VA to OBM/ Ops Manager by bringing together a strong and skilled team of VAs with a range of specialisms to support clients to handle day-to-day ops support and implementation. Drawing on her experience of managing remote teams and her time in Project Management and Business Management roles, she realised her real passion was sparked in her work with clients to define their business strategy, nail their business operations and build strong teams.
Whilst on maternity leave with her second child in 2020 during lockdown, Claire signed up to the DOO Program, knowing that she and her business were ready to grow even further. She currently works with a small number of clients 1:1 as their DOO and offers her popular Business Freedom Formula Strategy Sessions. The DOO Program has renewed her confidence and energy and she has exciting plans to further grow her Agency in 2021 and beyond.
What is your background?
- Was with the same company for 15 years, in all different kinds of roles: project management, ops roles, and executive administration
- Her hour commute was becoming difficult due to having a young child
- Banking in the UK goes through routine restructuring, and once her job was made redundant, she took the opportunity to look into becoming a VA
- She hasn’t looked back, and would never go back to a corporate job
- Was solo for about 3-4 months, then hired an accountant and an associate around month 5
What was the journey from starting out as a VA to hiring your first associate to starting the DOO program?
- Came across the concept of an online business manager (OBM), and felt more aligned with that skill set rather than a VA
- Has been in business for 4.5 years
- Came across the DOO program and felt aligned with that skill set and it seemed like the next logical step
What intrigued you about the DOO certification?
- The opportunity to up-level her strategy sessions
- Using the Strategic Mapping she would be able to enhance this service
- Felt like a much better fit for where she wanted to head after the birth of her 2nd child
“This felt like such a much better fit for where I was heading after having my second child.” – Claire Grace
How did you integrate the Strategic Mapping™ with your new and existing clients?
- Initially started to talk with her current clients, and offered it to a few at a discounted rate to test the process
- Having the framework bolstered her confidence when she needed it
- Became much easier to sell confidently
- Went in depth with the script and the process from the beginning and kept refining it until it was her core service
How does the Strategic Mapping™ work as a product in your agency?
- A new client won’t come on board until they have a strategic mapping session with her unless they just need basic VA services
- If they are ready for an OBM or DOO, then this service is positioned up front so they can be really clear on what their priorities are
- Her sweet spot is in team hiring and business systems operations
- She secures the client, delivers the strategic mapping, then highlights some of the additional services they could benefit from. They will get a proposal for DOO short term supports, or accountability assistance, or an introduction into the team if they need VA support.
“There is no better way to scope a project than going through a Strategic Mapping™.” – Natalie Gingrich
Was there anything within the HR module that has really changed the way that you show up as an agency owner?
- She used to manage a remote team in her corporate career
- Going through the HR model made her reflect on how she could improve and how she wanted her team culture to be and how she wanted to show up as a leader
What gave you the permission to say yes to this investment?
- When she was first introduced to the program, lockdown had taken quite a hit on her ability to work, and she had to take a leap of faith
- She had faith in her connections’ feedback about the program and read other testimonials and felt like this would be a good fit
- She wanted to be surrounded by other OBMs and VAs who were leveling up, and a business coach who specialized in operations
What is next for you?
- Wants to design a membership or course that will help people who have gone through strategic mapping to take the next steps
Any advice for those thinking of joining the DOO certification program?
- Go for it! It has been the best investment she has made
- Have faith that coaches are there to support you, especially if you fall behind in the modules
- Don’t just think of it as the just a program and certification, there is an entire community there to support you
“I wouldn’t have the business I have now if I hadn’t made this leap.” – Claire Grace
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