Background: Hello Southerly is a flourishing creative content agency with an ever-growing client list, including Waitrose, Philips and Google. Based at the WeWork coworking space on London’s Southbank, the close-knit team of 12 specialises in developing authentic and audience-focused content to help its clients achieve their communication goals.
A growing company, Southerly had previously employed a number of in-house personal assistants to help their business grow, however, teething problems soon emerged. Shelley Hoppe, Southerly’s CEO, not only discovered that the assistants lacked experience - the ensuing hours spent on training leading to a huge strain on her time - but also desire: undertaking the role as a temporary measure and thus performing the bare minimum.
Southerly had fallen into the well-trodden SME trap of hiring inexperienced talent at a crucial point of their development, and as a result, Shelley turned to FYXER.
Fyxer met with Shelley to understand her exact needs. As the CEO of a growing SME, with a volatile work stream, Shelley like many people fell into the tap that she was unable to justify hiring an experienced work class assistant on a £30,000 pa salary. She needed the experience and commitment, but only at times of high demand.
As a close-knit team of content marketers & creative writers, Southerly has a distinctive company culture, in which all of its interests are entwined. It was therefore imperative that an in-house assistant fit seamlessly into this environment. As a leader, Shelley was fully aware of the importance of investing in her staff, but soon became concerned that managing her assistant was becoming more of an issue than the benefits she was receiving. Consequently, Shelley needed an assistant who was self-managing.
Experience - Experience is a two-way street: instead of having to guide your assistant, your assistant should also be able to guide you. All of our Fyxers have between 5-15 years of executive assistant experience and are trained and tested in managing executives.
Executing administrative duties should only be one string to an executive assistant’s bow. The true essence of a work class assistant is learning to think for the executive; a trusted ally that can help free up an executive's valuable time.
Work Remit - Shelley struggled with previous assistants neglecting work and each assistant wanting more than the role offered.
Handover - Each time Shelley employed a new assistant, she had to set aside time from her busy schedule to re-onboard her new employee and teach them all of her preferences. At FYXER, we hold an account dossier on you and your preferences. If, therefore, Shelley needed to temporarily hire a new assistant - for reasons such as ill-health or holiday leave - the process is seamless.
Work Requirements: On Demand Service
Due to the volatile nature of her workload, Shelley may require very limited support one minute, but the support of 10 assistants the next. Luckily with FYXER, Shelley doesn’t only have access to her Fyxer, but all of those within their team. As such, Shelley is not limited to the skill sets of just one dedicated personal assistant at the time when they are available, but a wide-range of skills available everyday of the year.
Cost: Hiring and training a work class personal assistant isn’t Southerly’s core competency. Not only does housing an internal PA require a desk space at WeWork, equating to £7200 per year, but this cost does not account for the human investment in setup training and management. Shelley therefore decided that investing time into a specialist service was much less of a risk than in one single individual.
FYXER provides a platform that enables our assistants to learn and develop, with each Fyxer has a team lead who works to build bespoke KPIs (consisting of objectives and key results) and undergoing monthly reviews. Our unique process allows Fyxers to be self-managing, affording them a large degree of autonomy in their work, whilst also benefiting from being part of a community of other personal assistants.
How did FYXER deliver the ‘perfect’ Fyxer?
“FYXER provided me with headspace. For so long, I’ve been unable to sit back and take the time to actually just think. What’s great about working with Caroline is that she’s able to think for me on areas that are absorbing my time and I trust her”.
What has been the cost implications?
“Not only have they got a high quality solution, but importantly the costs have been shaved. FYXER are 40% cheaper than doing this yourself even before you account for your own time.”
How has it been moving from having someone in-house to remote?
“Years before I went down the in-house personal assistant route, I used to have a remote PA from time to time. The freedom and flexibility was great, but I encountered some issues with response time and, therefore, trust. With FYXER, I have no such concerns”.
“What’s more, as FYXER is London-based, it’s still possible for my Fyxer to come to the office temporarily, if we require someone in-house. However, these days we are all working remotely that if you don’t embrace this way of working you are simply neglecting amazing talent. I would never go back to having someone in-house.”
What has been the impact on making the switch from being an employer to being a client?
“I’ve seen the impact in two ways. Firstly, I now feel even closer with my team as I’m no longer separated by my assistant and them. In addition, I’ve noticed the biggest impact in terms of leadership. I’m yet to have any management issues and I know that is down to FYXER. They take that off your plate and is just another area that allows you to have more headspace within your daily routine”.
Southerly Communications is a flourishing creative content agency with an ever-growing client list, including Waitrose, Philips and Google. Based at the WeWork coworking space on London’s Southbank, the close-knit team of 12 specialises in developing authentic and audience-focused content to help its clients achieve their communication goals.