Andrea is a professional un-sticker. Her business is My Perfect PA and she lives on the borders of Surrey, Sussex and Kent with her two teenage children.
Having always loved horses as a child, I bought a horse when I was 25 and she became a great teacher for me at many levels. During the 20 years she, and the foal I bred from her were in my life they trained me in care, reliability, adaptability, patience, acceptance, intuition, bravery, unconditional love, ingenuity, tenacity….and eventually in dealing with loss. It was an amazing experience.
What do you do?
I use my full range of practical, personal and business skills to help people who are at risk of overwhelm (and often at a pivotal point in their lives) to address the things that worry them and thereby move forward in their lives. I un-stick people.
How did you get here?
I worked for 30 something years in finance and admin for various companies where my wide skills and experience made me a go-to person. With my children getting ready to fly the nest, I wanted to create something personally meaningful and my inspiration was the realisation that the type of help I was giving my parents more and more frequently as they get older would be welcomed by others who, for whatever reason, were not able to rely on their family in the same way.
Not only are there things they feel daunted by (often technology related) but also they often want help organising their thoughts to produce a good letter, or find a better energy tariff, or moving some furniture around or “downsizing” their paperwork….whatever!
Then I realised that there are many other groups of people who need some support during stressful periods of change in their lives, such as divorce, bereavement or moving house. Often they need a helping hand for a few weeks or to solve a specific problem and that makes all the difference.
With my business background, I’m not afraid of paperwork, forms and problem-solving and I have a ‘can do’ attitude. I love learning so, in the event I’m asked to do something new, it’s a welcome opportunity to acquire a new skill.
Your typical client?
Someone who feels that the problems are piling up and they are losing control of a situation. They are often worried that their problem will seem trivial to someone else, but if it worries them, that’s all that counts. A person who dreads that knot in their stomach and panicky feeling when they look at that pile of paperwork or think of a particular thing that they don’t know how to address. They just want to move past it and get on with their life rather than being stuck in that groundhog day of “same worries, different day”.
Business is great. I took on my first client about a year ago and really enjoy what I do. It’s great knowing that I am helping people and making a difference to them and I love the variety and range of what I help people with. It’s been so interesting to connect with new people, and an unexpected bonus is that I’ve travelled through beautiful countryside to people’s homes and generally feel I’ve broadened my horizons. I still work for my old company on a consultancy basis – it is great to have been able to maintain those longstanding friendships.
I love the diversity of my clients. My website www.MyPerfectPA.com explains what I do, but I’m delighted that so much of my work is by referral and recommendation.
What makes you happy in your work?
Making a difference! It’s lovely when I start working with somebody and they overcome their initial anxiety – it’s like seeing a flower bloom. Often, when we’ve made some quick progress by knocking off a few issues that have been worrying them for ages, I just see them physically relax – which is so rewarding for me.
I like the variety, both in terms of people and locations! For years I sat at one desk, talking primarily to my colleagues. Now I meet new people all the time and getting to know them is a privilege. Everyone is interesting, but I guess the older people have had more time to rack up particularly fascinating histories!
Andrea, thank you.
What to Read Next: The Cost of Free Wills