Article by Fabafterfifty
“All these years I’ve been honing and practicing and developing my skills. Now finally, I’m in a position to use them to do something brilliant. It’s about legacy and helping others, and it really doesn’t matter that I’m 50+ years old, it just makes it all the more potent. Amazing things can happen when you are more worldly-wise, and long in the tooth.”
I’m Rhianne and, if you were to ask Twitter, my official title is that of Fairy Godmother
I run my own business supporting small and medium size companies as they work towards
brilliance. I’ve worked with some famous names from The Sunday Times Rich List but if I were to
whisper a word, I would have to kill you.
Did you ever reach a point where you finally felt like you’d found your vocation? You reach this
point in your life and instead of listening to the media and spinning your heels toward retirement,
life becomes more exciting and busier and a lot more giving?
“Another project I’ve got …”
I’ve had the entrepreneurial gene firmly installed since childhood and the ideas just flow unbidden.
Inspired by my brilliant mother, I’ve gone from teacher, to frustrated employee, to successful
Being an entrepreneur isn’t about being your own boss and working from home. Don’t
misunderstand me, I love that I can be the master of my own time. A leisurely breakfast in the
beautiful Welsh Gower is an experience to be treasured. But I didn’t magically transform into an
entrepreneur on that special day five years ago when I started my own business.
I’ve been practicing for this my whole working life.
I started that life as a teacher. Hurled into the role of running a challenging Business Studies
Department at a mere 21. While my contemporaries were just starting out with their feet on the
first rung of the teaching ladder, I was suddenly in charge of five other people, and running a
department. It takes a certain skill set to manage the peculiarities of school staff room politics too.
CEOs have shuddered at lesser things.
Fuelled by a desire to succeed, I thrived and honed my skills before moving on to the unique
environment of a girl’s finishing school. From an English rose to an African Princess, I taught the
girls business skills that they would later take to high profile jobs in UK and globally.
When thoughts turned to family matters of my own, I left the classroom to care for my new little
daughter and at this time I ventured into my first business which was home-based. Full of vision
and excitement, I entered full-time employment once again this time as a PA, when my daughter
was 10 years old. The most frustrating thing about being an employee I found, aside from seeing
others take credit for my ideas, was the demonstrable lack of drive they possessed. Five years ago
I decided that it had to be different. I had to have a chance to do it my way once again. I founded
Peninsular Business Services Ltd.
I had to set up my own business.
I started working as a Virtual Assistant (VA). This was at a time when VA’s were relatively
unheard of here in Britain. I supported companies in start-up mode by going into the workplace,
setting everything in place for them, making sure all the procedures were running smoothly,
recruiting staff when they needed them, and when everything was in place, I’d step back and they
would continue from there. When more input was needed they hired me again.
It was a amazingly rewarding time, making use of so many of the skills I’d developed in my days as
an employee but finally, I was doing it for myself and helping other entrepreneurs along the way. I
was never the sort of person who wanted to make her first million by the age of thirty. Yes, I work
to live and after that, I’ll contribute back.
Ideas don’t stop coming when you find your passion.
If anything, the cascade of ideas increased once I started my own business. With three computer
screens on my desk, I can be found working on as many as 30 different ideas at a time. I seamlessly
switch between different tasks as smoothly as fine dark chocolate.
One of the most important projects I’m working on right now, aside from all the other things, is a
bid to take a message about child safety on the Internet, to mothers and grandmothers across the
whole of the UK.
Raising the Profile of Child Safety on the Internet
I developed a sense of the need for this when my own daughter was in school. Harry Potter had
taken over the world and my daughter and I spent time together in the Harry Potter forums and
chat rooms. I realised kids needed coaching on how to use these online environments safely and
intelligently so that they could steer clear of undesirable activity on the web. I set out to teach them
safety tactics. This took place within an ideal setting: the local parish hall, via an After School Club.
As a direct result of running these classes for several years, a whole group of kids became very IT
savvy. Now I’m getting back to this again. I want to take this child protection message to all the
Women’s Institute branches here in the UK. I want to hammer it home to mothers and grandmothers
that they should be aware of these issues of safety. They need to know that their children and
grandchildren are being exposed to some gravely serious situations within chatrooms. The child is
the best person to protect the child, and that can only be achieved through insightful education.
Every year, the WI has several different topics that are debated, with it’s associated media coverage.
That’s the way I plan to raise the profile of the dangers involved in children online and that’s why
I’ve chosen to roll it out via the WI instead of any one of the other women’s networks. If you are a
member of the WI ask your chairwoman “When is Rhianne coming to talk to us about child safety
on the internet”.
This is what it means to be an entrepreneur. It’s not about cold hard cash. It’s about relationships,
ideas and skills. It’s about thinking positively and using every opportunity that comes your way. It’s
about giving back and making a difference. It’s about legacy.
If you’d like to learn more about my business and the campaign to keep kids safe on the web, please
contact me at Peninsular Business Services and remember to come and say hello to me on Twitter