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Episode 23

Client Spotlight with Kelly Hickson and Charlotte Dunlop

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About this episode

Welcome to this week’s episode of the Treat Your Business podcast.

Katie is joined in the studio today by Kelly Hickson and Charlotte Dunlop from Inspire VA.

Kelly and Charlotte help to support busy, burnt out business owners with everyday time consuming tasks such as appointment booking, admin, emails, etc. leaving the business owner free to focus on what they are good at and driving value into their business where it is needed.

Key points Katie, Kelly and Charlotte discuss in today’s episode:

  • Working within your geniuses.
  • Why it’s hard to pass things on when you’re a control freak.
  • How to manage your business and personal life in the same business.
  • The importance of having a VAs to help your business grow.
  • The importance of setting people up for failure in certain roles.
  • The importance of getting to know yourself as a leader -.
  • The importance of having a good relationship with your business owner.
  • How listeners can get in touch with Kelly and Charlotte.

Kelly & Charlotte’s Resource Links:

Email: [email protected]

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This podcast is sponsored by the team at HMDG


  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Treat Your Business Podcast.
  • 00:03:31 – Working within your geniuses
  • 00:04:44 – Why it’s hard to pass things on when you’re a control freak.
  • 00:06:46 – How to manage your business and personal life in the same business.
  • 00:10:41 – The importance of having a VAs to help your business grow
  • 00:12:42 – The importance of setting people up for failure in certain roles.
  • 00:15:02 – The importance of getting to know yourself as a leader
  • 00:20:16 – The importance of having a good relationship with your business owner.
  • 00:22:52 – How listeners can get in touch with Kelly and Charlotte.


You’re listening to treat your business with Katie Bell, the podcast for health and wellness business owners that want a need to give their business the treatment plan, it needs a treatment plan that will create more time back in your life, more income and more confidence when it comes to running your business. I’m here to share with you bite sized episodes full of tried and tested tips from my own real experience of growing a successful physiotherapy and wellness clinic. And from working with many businesses to do the same. The treat your business podcast is sponsored by hm DG. Marketing is always one of the top three issues for clinic owners that I speak to. It’s too expensive and complicated. They’ve had issues in the past or they just don’t know where to find a trusted expert. It’s always said only recommend products or services you’re confident in using yourself. Well, when it comes to marketing, we use HMD G for our own clinic. They’ve proven to be exactly what you’d want from an agency. As a specialist, they understand the industry. They’re responsive and always deliver. We can’t recommend them highly enough. Head to HMD To find out more. Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of the treat your business podcast. I’m really excited this week to be joined by Kelly Hickson and Charlotte Dunlop from Venture virtual admin services. Hello, ladies. Thank you and welcome. Thanks for having us. It’s really excited to I know that you’re a little bit nervous about like this before. So my job is to meet you completely calm and feel at ease. This week, so don’t don’t worry about anything. Listeners, we have got an amazing episode. And these two ladies have recently come into my life because they are taking over from France, who was my amazing VA who’s been with me for many years. And Charlotte and Kelly you are you are coming on board team thrive, aren’t you?

Kelly Hickson: 2:00

Yes, we are. We’re really excited. Fran has been great. And we’re definitely learning lots every day.

Katie Bell: 2:07

Yeah, and the reason that I kind of thought this would be a really nice episode for our listeners is because one of the biggest challenges clinic owners have, when we talk to them is they are time poor. They feel like they’re on a massive hamster wheel, there’s so many things in their business that they need to be doing. Not only just seeing the clients, which takes up most of their time, but you know, doing all the administration behind it, monitoring their emails, doing that invoicing. Just keeping up with the kind of mountain of stuff that we all know running a business and just, you know, just it just consumers and it takes up a lot of our time. So I thought it’d be really useful to kind of introduce our listeners to you guys. And what you do as a VA, because I think that’s a really, I think that sometimes people get a little bit confused only as to well, what do I ask them to do? What do they what are they not allowed to do? What are they allowed to do? So if it’s okay with you to let’s start with if somebody is kind of struggling to keep up with everything, or feeling that they’re just that sort of working late at night having to do that emails late at night, right? And then notes late at night, because they’re just kind of on this hamster wheel? What could a great VA or a great duo of VAs like you two are what could you do for that in terms of buying them some time back?

Charlotte Dunlop: 3:31

I think really like from our experience, when we come across a client owner who liked yourself is feeling a little bit burnt out because like I say they wanna be able to concentrate on what they’re good at, which is seeing the clients, they do tend to go home and sit on their laptop till God knows what time and I think we enjoy coming in, we have that first introductory call with them, we get a list together of all the things that they feel, takes their time up away from their business and seeing clients and then we will work through exactly what we can do. And then we go from there. We do a little bit at a time but we can feel like a massive benefit and a weight lifted off the client shoulder straightaway, sometimes with just simple things that they may not realised takes up a lot of time. So email management straightaway is something we can go straight in and get things sorted from there.

Katie Bell: 4:20

Yeah, and I’m a real big believer in kind of working. Working within your geniuses so my genius is very much is that it is about kind of motivating value people coaching people mentoring people and giving them the kind of solutions of what they need to go away and do. My genius definitely is not in high detail. administrative stuff, it takes me for ever to do it. And you know when you pass things on like that when you because I’m a somebody that’s a little bit of a control freak in many areas of my life, but a lot. A lot of our listeners have the same It’s it is actually hard to pass over those jobs and think, oh, you know, do I trust is it going to be done the same way. But from experience, you not only do it so much quicker, but you do it with such sort of better and higher attention to detail than I would ever, ever do.

Kelly Hickson: 5:20

Yeah. And I think like Shar said, it’s something as little as your emails, you’ve got an inbox that you log into every day, there’s 200 emails, a chunk or read a chunk aren’t read. If they’re sat in your box, and they’re seven months old. Are they best just filed away? Because Are you going to stroll a scroll right down to the bottom looking for them? No. It’s much nicer. And I think, to walk in, in a morning, login to emails and see, for tension of Katie, there’s nine emails, you’ve got to deal with the rest of filed, done dealt with? I think, just to think about that daily is a lot easier than looking and thinking, Oh, I’ve got 200 in my box. And I probably should have done something with some of those. But I haven’t. Yeah,

Katie Bell: 6:02

absolutely. And that like even the thought of that just it feels joyous for the business owner who’s only got nine things that absolutely need their attention. And I think it’s very easy for us to be distracted. As business owners, we are often kind of shiny object syndrome, rules our life a lot. And if you’ve got emails and you open them first thing in the morning, you know, one of the things that we coach our clients is to absolutely not go to their emails as their first thing, you know, in the day, but that’s what you guys are there for you will manage that process, you will pick up on anything urgent that they might need to know about. Yeah. What are the things would you would you assist a business owner if we can

Charlotte Dunlop: 6:45

do lots of things? So email management, we can do social media management, project management invoicing? We do we are both trained medical typist as well. So for some business owners, they might want help with, like clinic letters liaison with GP practices, how HR recruitment, we can chase up references, arrange a Zoom meeting meetings, calendar management appointments, personal appointments. The list is endless, really. And like I say, from where we’ve come from, we’ve learned so many different systems. And I think within the health and wellness industry is where our skills best lie. And that’s where our passion is.

Katie Bell: 7:28

And you’re both actually from a medical Secretary background, aren’t you? So you used to run the health sales industry?

Kelly Hickson: 7:36

Yeah, between us, I think we’ve got 20 years experience. So we both started within GP practice right at the bottom. And we’ve kind of climbed our way up, and both touched on the clinical stuff. So I trained as a HCA and SHA as a GPS system, which is quite a new role for where we’re based. And I think it’s just give us a real understanding and appreciation of both sides. And appreciate appreciation of the pressures you might be under as a clinician. So, you know, when you’re getting people asking, Could you squeeze a patient in, and you’re already behind? You don’t then want to be thinking about all the admin you’ve got to do afterwards, when you’re already running late walking into the waiting room with lots of patients, luckily,

Katie Bell: 8:19

you knew really well.

Kelly Hickson: 8:23

So yeah, we went on, and then trained as medical secretaries, and we’re used to busy, high pressured environments. And top quality work is where we’re really passionate about we don’t like to just settle for, that’s okay. Or second best or, you know, we’d like to follow the job through and make sure it’s done to the best of our ability. Yeah, and I

Charlotte Dunlop: 8:46

can absolutely vouch for that you

Katie Bell: 8:47

are you are those people in your, in your life that need, you know, we, I think every entrepreneur is often quite creative. They’re quite, they’re often the visionary. They’re not necessarily the ones that are going to follow through a project, follow a process follow a system, and they’re not often finished, finished, you know, complete finishes. So I know both of you, you are those people, aren’t you, you have kind of, I guess your satisfaction in seeing your project through from start to end.

Kelly Hickson: 9:15

Yeah. And I think we get a real buzz when we start to work with a client and you do something for them for the first time, like email management or help them with their HR. And it’s that common. Gosh, that’s so much better. Thanks so much. For us. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing that you’ve helped someone and you’ve achieved what you set out to do.

Charlotte Dunlop: 9:36

Or a client that gets their evenings back to themselves. And they’ve I think one of our clients said I find myself with nothing to do in the evenings now because my emails are all up to

Katie Bell: 9:49

the lake like you know fit for you guys. So Charlotte, you briefly said before, we were listing kind of all the things that you can do and there is so many things. You mentioned personal things. I think that’s an interesting point to just touch upon. Because a good VA, for me, is somebody that can manage all aspects of your life because your, your business is a part of your life. It isn’t your life. I know it sometimes feels like it’s your life. But you, ladies, you also do some of the personal management stuff as well, don’t you? Can you give some examples of what you might do personally for people.

Charlotte Dunlop: 10:25

So again, like, their calendar management for even personal appointments, birthday gifts, that’s something we do a lot. So we do like online shopping, and things like that. There’s not really too much we wouldn’t do. But it is mainly to be fair, anything that’s going to help our clients, we will turn our hand to it.

Katie Bell: 10:48

Yeah, and I think that is a game changer in terms of where you spend your time. You know, it’s, it’s that whole looking at, for a business owner, where their time has been kind of pulled a lot. And often, it’s in those tasks that are administrative tasks. That note, don’t necessarily kind of radicalise and change your business and grow your business to the next level. But without that support, you must the creative and the visionary can’t then go and have any time to have that headspace. And I always say you can’t create from a diary. And you know, when you’ve got to go and be that visionary, you’ve got to go and be that person that’s going to rally your team. And think about new ways of working, you absolutely have to have the bandwidth to do that. And you won’t have it if your email inbox and your life is out of control. Yeah,

Charlotte Dunlop: 11:38

so like I say, it’s just as much not only for some clients, they bring onboard vas, so they get a bit of their time back so they can enjoy that evenings with their families and not have to sit on the laptop. But also the other side of it is for potential business owners who want to grow, who want to put more into their business, but like you say, just don’t have the time, because they’re feeling behind with the admin work. So once that’s relieved, they can then go on to think about how do I move forward with the business?

Katie Bell: 12:06

Yeah, absolutely. Is there anything that you wouldn’t do?

Kelly Hickson: 12:12

I don’t think there’s so that we wouldn’t try to, I think if we’re realistic, there are people that for very specific jobs. So for example, if you wanted a website developing, we’d be very happy to support once that had been created and done. But when you’re looking for a VA, I think if you need something like that, you need to look at very honed in skill sets. So to get a website designer in. But we’re very happy that when a process is set up, or the actual product is ready to go, we can then run with it. But I think we were able to most things.

Katie Bell: 12:44

And I think that’s really important, isn’t it, because sometimes we we set people up for failure in certain roles. And I think it’s been very clear about scope of practice, we’re very used to that word in our industry. But for you ladies, it’s about you know, for example, if we wanted a website developer to come in, you ladies would be the people to assist in going out to find those, we could have a process where we you know, we, we looked at lots of different companies, you could help with that process. But then ultimately, if we wanted someone to develop the website, we will be looking for an expert in that field.

Kelly Hickson: 13:18

Yeah, exactly that and and then we’ve got the option to kind of liaise with that to take the pressure off the client. But overall, you’re getting the expert to do what you need them to do.

Katie Bell: 13:30

And I think really recognising where you work best. We had a really funny situation, ladies, and I’ll tell our listeners this because they will laugh. Philipa is our man, our business mindset coach Filipina and I have been friends for many, many years. And it’s a good job. We’ve been friends for many, many years because we know each other so well. So we’ve in our roles, we’ve done lots of personality profiling, okay, so we know at a high yellow, but she’s a high blue. We know how we work and how we don’t work. Now. This was just as you guys were coming on board, we run the business retreat in the Cotswolds. And Philip has a high blood pressure. She’s very, very high detail. She likes to be very planted in her approach. I have a yellow slide, really enthusiastic about the idea, but possibly will forget some of the most important details like telling Philipa the retreat wasn’t actually at the original venue, it was at somewhere else. And I had that moment of realisation which was right. I need Kelly and Charlotte to be on board way quicker than they think they got to tell our coach where she was going to do. It made me laugh because what if Philipa didn’t know me, Philip and would have been offended that was a high blue because she would have felt like she wasn’t important and I hadn’t remembered to tell her. She just knew that I was probably so excited about the goodie bags and the gift bags and all the amazing things we’re going to do To purchase products. But this is the important isn’t it? This is the important message is that the more you know yourself as a leader, the more you can delegate things to people like you to who know what you’re really good at. And we can then have people really excelling in their roles within your company. And that means you’ve got those foundations for growth, for success, for stepping out your comfort zone to go into the next level doing those bigger things.

Kelly Hickson: 15:28

Yeah. And I think sometimes it might start small while you build up trust with the VA you’re working with. And then over time, like you say, We’re, we’ll be steps ahead, we’ll be saying, oh, Katie, I I don’t know if you have remembered. And it’s not because you’re trying to jump in on what the clinic owners doing. It’s just your second pair of eyes, you you you’ve got their company’s best interests at heart and you want to do a good job. So yeah, we will be steps ahead. Before long.

Katie Bell: 15:57

people listening to this will be thinking, Oh, my goodness, this sounds so great. So how if you know, when we got when we were working together, and when we were onboarding you into the business, and I’m you’re getting to know me? How for those, listen, how is it best that busy, really busy business owners work with people like you,

Kelly Hickson: 16:19

I think. So we try and do an onboarding call, which is really important. Because when you’re looking for a VA, I think you need to not, not just jump at the first person you see, unless they’re a good fit for you. There are lots of fantastic VAs out there. But it’s really important to make sure your ideas, morals values are aligned. So we try and, you know, learn about the client through the onboarding call. Communications also really important, some clients, they like to WhatsApp, us. And that’s their preferred method of communication, some like emails, some only deal with business, they don’t ask us to do anything personal. So it’s just kind of figuring out those boundaries early on. And I think that helps them to grow the sort of working relationship you’re trying to build with people. We try and plan weekly catch ups, just to make sure that we’re keeping up with everything that’s needed. And any changes and looking to take on more more work and offering ideas for things that we might be able to do for the clients we work with. And just becoming a second set of eyes. And often, we find that if business owners can give us a list of tasks that they think they might need help with, we can look to then expand on those sorts of things, and understand where they’re at, they might be ready to give you a whole load of stuff, or they might be just feeling a bit cautious. They’ve never worked with a VA before. And you know, they’re nervous to do so. So yeah,

Katie Bell: 17:52

let’s stay with that. Kelly, because I was getting my next question was going to be some people listening to this will think they’re not big enough for for a VA, they might feel they’re not successful in a free VA. It you know, there’s lots of kind of, I guess, beliefs around well, you know, when I get to that level, then I will need a VA, but actually a VA is the people that or the person that’s going to get you to that level. So do you can you do tasks that are you know, do you work with business owners for like two hours a week, right, up to 1015 20 hours a week?

Kelly Hickson: 18:23

Yeah, we work with some smaller business owners. And it might be like you say, a couple of hours a week, but that’s enough for them. And it doesn’t take long to get to know somebody’s business, we always like to offer the option that as they grow, we’d like to grow with them. So it could be just a couple of hours, it could be right up to 1520 hours. And some business owners that we work for are just on their own, they don’t have any other employees or staff, whereas some companies do, they’ve got reception teams that are in but actually, the convenience of having a VA is very different than having somebody in for a nine to five, you will get VAs that only want to work set hours, but Sharla and I like to offer flexibility. And it helps us get ahead with things that we’re doing. So it’s really helpful to be flexible, I think and not not asked us to work nine to five, we’re happy to dip in and out all the time, make sure that inbox is monitored, and that tasks are complete.

Katie Bell: 19:24

I think that makes it cuz Charlotte carry on.

Charlotte Dunlop: 19:28

I was just gonna say sometimes that you say when people think, Oh, I’m too small to do that. If anything, I think you have almost a bigger impact on the smaller businesses because like one of our clients is on her own. And I think it made her feel a lot more pressure off already. Just to know that we’re more of a team now so she can bounce ideas off us. We can brainstorm new suggestions and I think actually, it makes them feel better from the start that they’ve got other people around them to help and even if they like really busy And they can’t do weekly catch UPS just to know that we’re there in the background at the end of the email, WhatsApp or anything, if they need us for anything, or if they need to cancel a clinic, you know, between us we do cover throughout the day so that one of us will definitely get it done.

Katie Bell: 20:16

Yeah, and that that is such a weight off a business owner in a clinic owners shoulders isn’t that?

Kelly Hickson: 20:23

Yeah. And I think having an insight, like you said before, into some things personal, that’s a real privilege, because you’ve built up such a good relationship with that person that they want to share those things with you. And that’s just us as people, we’re very happy to listen about your weekend, or hear where your dogs go in. And yeah, we really enjoy that side of it as well, I think that’s really important. Because to work with the business owner, that’s their baby, that’s their, their, their day to day work, and something they’re trying to build up and trust and loyalty. And that all goes hand in hand with everything we do.

Katie Bell: 21:01

Absolutely. And I think trust is, you know, if we’re looking at it from from my coaching perspective, trust is the most important thing in the function of a team. And if you haven’t got that base level of trust, nothing else, if you if you read, you know, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, it all comes down to your ability to trust somebody quickly, and build that relationship and build that kind of support, some kind of supportive relationship up so that, you know, your, your business has to fit into your life, rather than your life fit into your business. So you you both do need to know about that business owner and how they best work when they work, what their boundaries are, what their barriers are.

Kelly Hickson: 21:42

Yeah, and I think you’ve very quickly learn, they’re having an off day to day because they don’t seem quite right. And you’re there ready to say, is there anything we need to do? And then often you get, so please do ask, because actually, yeah, how do you need to just get some things out my brain to you? And what do you what do you both think?

Katie Bell: 21:58

Yeah, it’s such a, it’s such a powerful relationship in any business, I think having you are, that that sort of right hand person is always there. Always acting because that’s that support, and it can be a lonely business, it can be a lonely place, as a business owner, we hear that a lot, you know. So it’s, I think, even as a, whether you’re a small business, or a big business with team, you know, I have a team of 27 in my other company, but yet, I still need people like you.

Kelly Hickson: 22:27

Yeah. And I think again, that goes back to just make sure you find the right VA that fits with you, because sometimes they do become friends, as well as people that work for you. And it’s really important to feel supported, especially in a high pressured, busy environment, within healthcare as well, I’m sure we can all appreciate the pressures at the minute within health care.

Katie Bell: 22:51

Yeah, absolutely. And so if listeners are kind of hearing of this idea for the first time, like, I don’t have to do it all anymore, I could get somebody for two hours a week, or an hour a week just to support them in those really key areas that they feel like they need that support in straightaway. Or they may be looking to say, I cannot wait to offload all of this, and I’m ready to action straightaway. How, how Kelly and Charlotte can people reach out to you if they want to maybe get some advice about what they may need in their business? Or they may may be looking to work with you guys.

Kelly Hickson: 23:26

I mean, we can pop our details in the comments box. So hopefully everyone can find us. And we’d be more than happy to offer any advice, even if that’s where can I find a good VA because I need somebody particularly specialised in something where we’re very happy. So we’ll pop our details in that.

Katie Bell: 23:44

Amazing. So we will make sure that people can reach out to you on the show notes.

Charlotte Dunlop: 23:48

Thank you, girls, for having us. On this episode.

Katie Bell: 23:52

I obviously I rave about you to everybody. And I hope that business owners who are listening to this feel kind of inspired that they they don’t have to be anything to have somebody like you in their lives and in their business.

Kelly Hickson: 24:08

Yeah, we hope so too. And just remember, there, there will be a VA out there that can support you. And quality is really important. And I know it’s very hard to recruit admin. At the moment we see it in our day to day lives all the time. So there’ll be somebody there for you.

Katie Bell: 24:28

Is is not it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible. Yeah. Like you out there. Girls, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you for having us. Thanks, everybody for listening to this week’s episode. I would love it. If you could like this episode, if you could share it with somebody that you know, might need a VA in their life. It really helps other listeners be able to hear about what we do. And I look forward to seeing you on next week’s podcast. Thank you for listening to treat your business with Katie Bell, the podcast that tells you what you really need Good to hear and now when it comes to running a successful business in the health and wellness industry that gives you the time, money and freedom you are wanting for access to our free workshops on how to get more clients in your business, how to make more income in the next 30 days. And to get more time back in your business and life, head to our free Facebook group today. Treat your business or head over to thrive dash business All of the links are available in the show notes

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