Entrepreneur starts business to make ends meet, help others
She’s worked in restaurants, as a cashier and most recently, as a house cleaner. But after years of working for someone else and then losing her job, one Bermudian woman is now her own boss and helping others get work too.
Charlie Jolliffe lost her job in January. She said she looked around for other jobs and spent some time being depressed about being unemployed but then, one day, she decided enough was enough.
“The idea came because I’m a versatile person and there’s nothing I can’t do. So I decided to put my skills on one website. I can clean, I love to cook, I’m a baker I love to bake, I love animals. So, all the things I do at home on a regular basis, I decided, why not put them to work?”
That’s when the 36-year-old mother of four decided to start her own business to generate income.
“I lost my job, but I no longer want to work for anyone and I don’t want to be on financial assistance.”
She started Directed Homeward, a business that does a little of everything and now has a network of people working for it. Offering a variety of services, everything from cooking and cleaning to child minding and pet sitting, painting, landscaping and more, Ms Jolliffe says her customers are Bermudians hard hit by the current economy.
“My price range came from looking at the competitors’ prices. I found out what they charge for various services and I dropped my price lower. Number one, because of how the economy is today and how people are struggling. But they still need things done. I’m specifically looking for the struggling type.”
Ms Jolliffe said she not only came up with the concept herself, she also created her own marketing materials.
“I made my own website. I created my own business cards. I did all these flyers. I created this stuff myself on my laptop.”
Much of the work, such as cooking, cleaning, babysitting and detailing taxis, she does herself. But she also has a network of people who are unemployed, have skills she doesn’t and need the work.
“A lot of people have trades in Bermuda. Some people can change tyres, some can paint, others are mechanics. If someone needs their house painted, I have someone who can do that. We have a long list of services on our website.”
Ms Joliffe thinks two things will make her business stand out: offering unique services and keeping prices competitive.
“Say there’s a painting job and it’s going to cost someone $1,500. With the economy the way it is today, people will say, ‘for $1,500, I’ll paint it myself’ but they don’t have time. So, I’ll go in and say, all right, I’ll charge you $600. If I could get ten people at that price, compared to just two people at $1,500, who’s winning?”
One of her most unique services is offering babysitting to people who work irregular hours.
“We offer a late-night in-home babysitting service, so people can work that late or overnight shift,” Ms Joliffe said. “There are a lot of people who need a sitter overnight, they’re single parents and they always have trouble finding a sitter. Most babysitters charge anywhere from $20-30 an hour. So, to get a sitter for $35 for the whole eight hours is a good deal.”
While she’s still trying to get her business off the ground and build a clientele, Ms Joliffe is already trying to inspire others to do what she’s done. At an OBA dinner for single parents, she spoke about how she got started.
“Hopefully it gets another person to say, ‘oh, I can clean, so maybe I could start a business’. I did it so they could get some type of insight from how I started my business, how you can get out there and make your own money without making excuses saying, ‘I can’t find a job, I’m tired of looking for a job, I’m going to financial assistance to use the Government’s money’. Do your own thing.”
Directed Homeward can be found online at www.directedhomeward.com.
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