24 Dec Interview – Paul Bannister, Owner, Freeflex Homeworking Solutions
Based in Birmingham, Paul Bannister has been a certified Arise CSP since October 2014. Initially working under another IB, he set up his own company, Freeflex Homeworking Solutions, in March 2015.
We spoke to Paul about his journey over the past 12 months, from when he initially started as a CSP to setting up his own business and having 4 other people working under his company umbrella.
“Having worked in call centres for the past 14 years, I decided that I would like to try something a bit different. I was also spending up to 3 hours a day commuting to and from work, which meant I had very limited time to spend with my family. Being quite entrepreneurial, I had looked into setting up my own mini-call centre, but the costs of having premises to operate out of proved too inhibitive.
I then looked into work-from home options, and felt that my career history in managing people in a customer service environment provided me with a range of skills ideally suited to a business model like that at Arise.
There were a few factors that encouraged me to choose Arise; I had past experience with one of their current clients and had also seen them on social media via other existing IB’s. After some research I discovered the extent of Arise’s operations and new they were a safe and secure company to work with.
After qualifying as a CSP, I initially started working under another IB, so that I could test the water and get a feel for what it was all about. I initially kept my existing job, and serviced for Arise part-time. After 6 months, I soon realised that I had a lot more to offer and there was real synergy between my past job roles and Arise. Having managed and mentored people face-to face in the past, I was keen to see how that could be translated into a virtual setting.
The first step was to speak to existing IB’s that I already knew. I was keen to create a business that offered CSP’s a real support network, over and above simply being their IB. Having the right CSP’s is key to your success, so I was keen to learn how they went about finding those people and to learn about any difficulties they had encountered.
Having made the decision to set up on my own, I spoke to my accountant, who advised me on the intricacies of registering as a limited company, rather than being self-employed. I then advertised on social media and created a website so that I could source other CSPs.
My first CSP was someone I used to work with. She had unfortunately hurt her back so going out to work had become increasingly difficult. Having seen an advert I posted on social media, she contacted me straight away, as she was keen to start earning again and working from home was an ideal solution. Knowing that I could offer her that opportunity made me feel really proud, as I’d known her a long time and had witnessed the difficulties she’d faced in finding a suitable income stream. The security of working under my IB really appealed and she’s been successfully servicing clients for over 3 months now.
My long-term plan is to qualify for the Arise Premier Partner Alliance. By qualifying for inclusion, Arise will advertise Freeflex Homeworking Solutions as one of their preferred partners to any new CSP’s that join the network and subsequently provide a boost to the growth of my business. At the moment all my referrals are from word of mouth but I plan to use social media more to help drive the volume of enquiries that I receive.
My advice to anyone looking to join the Arise network would be to give it a go – the beauty is that you can qualify and work alongside your current job if you wish to due to the flexibility of the hours you can choose. All my current CSP’s have done just that and liked it so much that they left their old positions to take up servicing full-time.
You have to be disciplined and organised to work from home, as you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder, but, on the plus side, you are in complete control of your day and can do as little or as much as you like, as long as you meet the minimum 15 hours per week. On a cold winter’s day, there is nothing better than being able to say at home, be at your desk within minutes and not have to battle with the rush-hour commute. The money you save travelling is also a huge bonus, and you can be earning money instead during the time you’d normally spend getting to work.
Ultimately it’s a much better work-life balance – there aren’t many jobs that will give you time out to go and drop the children off and then come back to work!”
To find out more about working from home with Arise, please visit https://www.ariseworkfromhome.co.uk/.
Freeflex Homeworking Solutions. Website http://www.freeflexhomeworking.co.uk/