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Why I love running my own business

I’ve run my own business for 11 years so far and it’s been a rollercoaster of experiences and emotions.

When the cost of living crisis loomed, I wondered if it was time to hang up my entrepreneurial hat and become employed. After about a week of considering this prospect, I realised I am now unemployable. The desire to work for anyone else is permanently in the past.

The rewards

Running a business must be like raising a child or being in a long term romantic relationship. There are good days and challenging days. But for so much of the time the rewards of seeing people’s lives transformed through interacting with my businesses spurs me on to continue.

Just Helpers: The ethical cleaning agency

I started Just Helpers accidentally. In 2013 I left my job as a secondary school teacher, because I wanted to focus on campaigning against the exploitation of migrant workers. I needed to support myself while I did this, and as I’ve always enjoyed cleaning, it was a natural choice.

Then, I realised there was an opportunity here to combine the two. By creating a cleaning business with fair pay and decent working conditions at its heart, I could help migrant and other low-paid workers. So Just Helpers was born.

Now, we work across London, matching clients with Helpers (they are more than cleaners!) and we are proud to be affiliated to the Living Wage Foundation.

Justly: The tech solution

A few years in to running Just Helpers, I realised that the tech available for the cleaning industry was not adequate. It wasn’t solving the problems we were encountering as a business. And this is still a common lament in the cleaning industry.

So we set out to create our own solution. Right now, we are in the middle of birthing Justly working to create a system that works for cleaning businesses. We are at the scary stage of looking for investors, but we are excited about the future.

EntrePLANeurs: The support tribe for female business owners

My latest passion project is EntrePLANeurs which I have set up with my great friend Lynsey Harrison. We wanted to create a safe space for women in business, following the emotional strain of juggling a business and family responsibilities during COVID. We have a Facebook Group and we offer regular retreat days for female business owners to meet together, support one another and focus on growing their business.

My Why

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching as I look forward to turning 50 in 2024. I’m asking existential questions like why am I here on the planet?

The common thread in my life is a drive to empower people to find their joy. I want to enable them to work from a place of strength, and to positively impact the world around them. The freedom to call the shots, set the culture, and work with the people that share your vision and passion is an amazing thing to be able to do. And I get all of this running my own business.

Through a combination of the businesses, we have impacted thousands of lives. We have spread the message about the need to treat people with dignity, and to pay them a wage that enables them to thrive. We have shown people in low paid work that they have the right to thrive in their work and their lives – through fair pay and decent conditions.

I am conscious that I have less birthdays ahead than I have behind me. I no longer have a desire to save the entire world. But I am very clear that I am a a changemaker, through the way I run my business, spend my money, interact with strangers and impact a few individuals. This is how we change the world – one person at a time – and this has meaning and worth.

Commercial Cleaning for your Business

During this lockdown period I’ve been working on a really exciting project with Sussex Innovation Centre to look at the future direction of Just Helpers.  In particular I’ve been looking at our commercial cleaning service.


Exciting Opportunity

At a Female Founders Event in February, I talked with a member of the Innovation Centre team about Just Helpers. It was so exciting to reflect on where we have come from, with someone who was seeing the business for the first time – a “fresh pair of eyes.”

Following this event, Sussex Innovation Centre gave us 12 free hours of business coaching, as part of a project funded by the European Union.

This comes at a great time for Just Helpers. Over the last few months we have been  thinking about who our clients are, what we can do better, and how we can connect with more commercial clients in particular. We already provide a great service to a number of commercial clients, and our Helpers have been asking for more of this type of work.

I spent some time with Simon Chuter from the Innovation Centre where he helped me to really focus on what we offer to our commercial clients and what makes it special.


Our Commercial Cleaning Service

At Just Helpers we  really care about our service.  That means:

  • Attention to detail and being responsive
  • Supporting our Helpers so they stay with us – our high retention is rare in the cleaning industry
  • Being an integral part of your team
  • Contribute to a company’s CSR as with every hour of cleaning purchased, we donate to a B1G1 project
  • Every Helper is paid the London Living Wage as a minimum
  • Taking care of your cleaning so you don’t have to!


Reaching New Clients

Simon is going to be developing a marketing plan for Just Helpers to help us to reach more of the commercial clients we want to work with. I am so grateful for the European Union Funding which has made this possible.

We are looking forward to working with some new commercial clients in the future. So if you are:

  • A business of 5-30 members of staff
  • Looking for 6-10 hours of cleaning a week
  • Located in Farringdon, Blackfriars, Holborn, Euston, London Bridge, Oxford St, Soho, Tottenham Court Rd, Islington, Victoria

please get in touch.

Of course we will still be providing our great service to our domestic clients too!


My Vision

Like many small to medium-sized business owners, I am often juggling many different aspects of the business – I often feel like a “jack of all trades”!   So it’s great to have real experts on board and supporting Just Helpers.

In addition, I will also be working with Anne-Fay Townsend looking at my role as a female founder, and my hopes and dreams for the future of the business – and they are big!


Involving the Team 

We’ll be holding a remote team training day for our managers in the coming weeks to look at how these developments can be rolled out across the business.  At the end of that day we will be having a whole team Zoom AGM involving the Helpers, to get their feedback and ideas.

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing regular updates with you.  Watch our for my Tuesday Thoughts, live on our Facebook page every Tuesday at around 6.15pm.

#EC1 #EC2 #EC3 #EC4 #E1 #WC1 #WC2 #SE1 #W1 #N1 #SW1


Need a hand cleaning your home?

Life in London is demanding and time is at a premium. Get some sparkle back into your life and home with one of our domestic cleaning packages.

Looking for commercial cleaning?

We provide a regular cleaning service for offices and commercial premises in the Greater London area, helping you maintain a professional, healthy and productive work and business environment.

We’d love to chat with you, see your space and walk you through our process.

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020 3995 4810 - Clients
020 3995 4821 - Helpers

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71-75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9JQ

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