How did a contract law graduate pivot, lean into her organisational superpowers, and grab a very rare opportunity by the horns? How did she establish an in-demand VA business? It’s amazing how valuable some of our talents can be to extremely busy high net worth individuals, to the extent that they become clients for life. This was the journey for Cate Heaphy, and it’s one worth listening to. 

After working in contract law, and realising that it wasn’t her passion, Cate found a new path and went on to create a very special niche business. In episode 11 of the Life in Private Staffing podcast, Cate shares the journey she took, the lessons she’s learned along the way, and why there’s still a lot of opportunity in the virtual assistant space. 

Succeeding where others have struggled 

Thousands of recruitment businesses are founded, but many go under because the first 12 months are brutal. The learning curve is steep, getting a steady income is a huge challenge, and that’s even before you even have to think about building a stable client base. 

Cate and her business partner side-stepped these challenges because they had already built relationships, nurtured a client-base of people who trusted them, and when the agency they worked at went under, they all wanted to go with Cate. By building relationships and then grabbing an incredible opportunity in a moment of transition, they were able to start out strong from day one. 

A whole lot of opportunity

From the outside looking in, the VA and PA space seems saturated, and this discourages a lot of people, but it shouldn’t. Many people wear the hat of VA but specialise in different areas, offer different services and serve different clients. On top of that, working in the private sector isn’t just about skills, it’s about having a personality fit with the clients. You may not be a fit for one client, but someone else would be a better match. 

Client demand is another reason why aspiring assistants can still find a great job. You don’t just have to work with one family or business full-time. Many clients are looking for someone to help them for a few hours a week, and an assistant can easily slot themselves into a few of these arrangements and earn a full-time income. 

Building a business that supports your life 

Your private sector business can be the vehicle to make your dreams come true, support the life you want, and ultimately create the kind of workplace that enhances people’s lives. Cate’s wants to build a sustainable and safe business that fulfills dreams for everyone who works there.

One of the things that has come out of this pandemic is a bigger focus on having a work-life balance, and Cate is very much for this. 

The power of business ownership 

One of the biggest advantages of taking your organisational skills into the private sector is ownership. Instead of working as an assistant in a bigger company, you really have a say on what your service looks like, and most importantly who you work with. Life is too short to work for clients that you don’t like. In Cate’s words, it’s really hard to help and support someone if you can’t even have a conversation with them. 

Further information 

Cate loves helping people, and her goal is to eventually open an office where employees feel supported and empowered to have a better work-life balance. Her story is a true reminder that you can choose a different path than your initial study route, and build a rewarding career that leans on your strengths. 

Watch the full episode

If you’d like to learn more about the different career paths available within the private staffing industry, listen to our podcast here: Spotify, Apple Podcasts.

For more information about private staffing and what we can do for you, contact Silver Swan Recruitment today.

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