Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tovey Blake, Owner of Above All Admin Support Services, located in Mississauga, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Above All Admin (AAA) partners with a diverse group of entrepreneurial-minded leaders and businesses to accelerate their success using a series of actionable business and technological changes for the betterment of the client’s business and well-being.
Tell us about yourself
I never had any intention of ever being self-employed. I was a teen mom and have always had to be able to have multiple income streams. This kept me out of the home for 18-20 hours a day as my daughter was growing up. My daughter was starting University in 2015, and I decided that I wanted to make myself more accessible to her. I had always written resumes for friends for free, so I was going to just post an ad on Kijiji, but as I sat at the cubicle at my new full-time job, I just heard this whisper say, “Bigger, bigger.” And by the end of my lunch, I was purchasing my master business license.
What motivates me each day:
- Servant’s heart
- Leaving a legacy that is beyond money, especially for those within the single-mother community.
- Make Above All Admin Support Services the elite service in the Business Solutions marketplace, with a broader, deeper line of service offerings than any of her market competitors.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment to date is leaving my full-time job on November 30, 2021, to become 100% self-employed.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
- Finding team members (subcontractors) that are interested in long-term partnerships and demonstrate their commitment through psychological ownership.
- Keeping up with my business process systems and automation (BPSA). I have had a few major life changes in the last few years that without up-to-date BPSA, I would not have been able to be in a position to keep my business running while not being available 100% of the time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
You don’t need a website. Many business resources made me believe that this is the only way to build your social proof, but it isn’t. A Facebook Business Page or Google Business Profile (both are free) is just as sufficient.
You must absolutely have non-working vacations. I had my first almost non-working vacation since 2017 in September 2022. I cried when I saw this going to be sent as my out-of-office message, thinking that since in between that time, I lost my mom (#mysweetgirl). This was my first vacation that I didn’t carve out time to check email or accommodate client requests while I was away. It probably helped that vacationing in Cuba gave me no choice since it restricted my access to the main applications I use.
Understand what changes your target audience could be experiencing at any stage of their business - realign current service offerings and/or create a related one to their pain point.
My clients are a mix of solopreneurs, small, micro, and small to medium-sized businesses. Since the pandemic, I have seen a variety of needs among my target audience for optimization and to remove burnout through the implementation of quality business processes, systems, and automation. This realization is what led to my new service creation called Recharge Your Operations, it is a simple, proven operations calculator created for burnt-out and busy entrepreneurs that want to be productive. Once the evaluation is completed, challenges can be identified, solutions formulated, and desired outcomes now become within arm’s length (with some commitment and trust in the process, of course).
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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