Natalie Perillo and her husband, Andy, set up their third business, ‘virtual PA’ service MyRuby last spring, and are expecting sales of £800,000 for their first year. GrowthBusiness interviewed Perillo about how she did it, and her tips for fellow entrepreneurs.
Natalie Perillo and her husband, Andy, set up their third business, ‘virtual PA’ service MyRuby last spring, and are expecting sales of £800,000 for their first year. GrowthBusiness interviewed Perillo about how she did it.
Why did you start MyRuby?
There were a lot of call-answering services, but they were very faceless. We had the idea of a ‘virtual PA’ whom you would get to know and trust. We decided to make me the face of the business because I’ve got red hair like Ruby Wax.
Describe your management style.
Some people say I’m a bit headmistressy: I even keep call logs and mark people on the accuracy of their messaging. But I’m very open and approachable in terms of managing my team.
What’s been your biggest hurdle?
Finding really good people, with the right ‘Ruby’ attitude. We have a Ruby pledge that people sign, but it’s a case of working out which people will actually follow that as opposed to just telling you what you want to hear in an interview.
Any tips for fellow entrepreneurs?
Have the courage to spend on marketing. This is a key thing growing businesses struggle with. If sales start to wobble, they think: ‘I’ll cut back on marketing’. But the only way things will develop is if you get out there and market yourself and your business.
What’s the next step?
We feel our model is scaleable by growing a team at a time. We’ve definitely got no plans to go global or suddenly open a massive call centre with 100 people. We’re not looking to grab from existing competition, either: we want to grow the market by persuading people to use our service.