Jennie Bayliss is a girl who knows what she wants, and she goes for it. She founded her business in January 2013 and by 2014 she had won her first award, the Best New Business in Bedfordshire. Her business, Office Wings, offers virtual PA services across the world, and Jennie has big ideas for her business with plans to franchise so that other people can benefit from her learning, skills and knowledge. Jennie has achieved so much in two years, I decided it was time to chat to her, so that we can all learn from this badass business babe!
Hi Jennie, it’s lovely have you here, how are you today?
Very well thank you Jen. It is a very busy time for us with lots of clients working around the world so we are on international time zones at the minute!
It’s so exciting that your client base has grown so quickly, you must know exactly who your ideal client is. What’s your number one tip on defining your perfect customer?
It is essential that as business owner you know who your perfect customer is, otherwise you cannot work out what it is that you are offering them or create a message that will not only reach them but also appeal to them. My advice to anyone who hasn’t yet pinpointed their exact ideal customer profile would be to ‘create the person’ in the centre of a piece of paper, give them a name – this makes them real – then write words, descriptions, feelings, activities, places, beliefs around them that are relevant to that person. Ask yourself lots of questions: ‘what do they like to do?’ “what are their beliefs?” “what is important to them?” “where do they hang out?” “what do they read?”. The answers to these questions define your perfect customer and help you to target your messages more clearly. Some businesses have multiple ideals customers which is great; you just to make sure the messages are different for each one.
That is great advice Jennie, I know in my last business I didn’t pinpoint my perfect customer, which left me confused as to who I was trying to reach, it was a big mistake which added to me losing my passion for what I had built. It seems so simple, but so many of us miss it.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in business and how have you learnt from it?
I would definitely say it has been spending money on things I didn’t need – over a couple of years I have probably wasted in excess of £7k on office space, advertising in poorly chosen places, and buying things I didn’t really need. I am much better now at making informed choices on how to spend my budget but I think that is because I understand my business needs and have a couple of years of accounts to show me exactly where all the money has gone. It hits home when you can see just how much money you spend on coffee!
And in the beginning money is always tight, right? I’ve been guilty of that too – I always think, it’ll be best for the business in the long run, but most of the spending is totally unnecessary. On the opposite end of the scale, what is the most important business tool that you have discovered that you just couldn’t give up?
Wunderlist – I love it! I use it with my team and my clients, you can create as many lists as you like, share them and also download the app onto almost any device. It is great for managing multiple workloads, sharing information on jobs and it makes a lovely noise when the job is ticked off which is extremely satisfying. Best of all – it’s free!
I really need to check that out, I’m still to find my perfect planning tool. I have just started Bullet Journaling – which is completely analog, just a notebook and some pens – so always a chance to sketch something rather than write it.
What would you say is your passion?
My purpose in life, the thing I am absolutely, totally passionate about, the reason that I get out of bed each morning, is to make peoples lives better. I want to offer services and support to help others to achieve more, to enable them to be better than they would be on their own, to take care of the things they do not want to do and to give them all of the great feelings and all of the benefits of having a team to support them both at work and at home. Every part of my business is built on this foundation, this purpose, and it means that we offer something amazing to our clients, to make them better, to make them more successful, in both their business and home lives.
Jennie, what a perfect answer. I totally see your passion – I want to employ Office Wings now to do all the things I don’t want to do! There are so many things in start-up which I would be easier to give someone else, as I’m sure you remember. Back then, or more recently, have you ever been tempted to give up? What advice do you give to others who might feel that way?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, as we can’t and don’t know everything. Being in a business makes it very difficult to scrutinise it and make small changes that could mean the difference between giving up and keeping going. There was a period of time where I almost did give up – I remember standing in my kitchen saying “I just cant make it work” and then spent the next few weeks job hunting, which included hours of time filling in forms, speaking to agencies, attending interviews and searching the internet for jobs. This was a distraction and a total waste of time. What I should have done was stop saying “I can’t” and then sought some advice from someone I trusted on what I could do better to make the business work for me. It wasn’t that the business wasn’t doing well, by all accounts it was doing great – it just wasn’t quick enough for my expectations and therefore I felt like it was failing instead of realising that it was actually doing very well for a start up.
Inside my head I am screaming ‘So It’s not just me?!?’ There have been times with my business where I feel like I’m going so slowly, that things aren’t happening for me and that I don’t know what else to do. Thank you, for reminding me that it’s normal, that success is not a sprint, but a marathon.
Thank you also for taking the time out of your busy day to chat with me, your energy is just wonderful and I wish you all the best. More Awards for Office Wings please!
If you would like to connect with jennie, you can reach her:
I also found this funny quick fire Q&A with Jennie that made me chuckle – I had no idea she could sing so well!