So, Ally, welcome. Thank you for coming and spending time with us. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
I own a company, as you mentioned, called Heritage Estate Planning, and we help people get their wills, their lasting power of attorneys, any trusts, any funeral plans, that kind of thing in place so that their families are protected if the worst happens, in a nutshell.
I think I’ve broken the mould a little bit. I’ve got a big network of will writers and people that do estate planning and I think I do handle things a bit differently. The feedback I get from my clients is very much that it’s a friendly service. They weren’t expecting to actually have fun while writing their will. It seems like a crazy thing to say, doesn’t it? But, hopefully, I try and take the fear out of it. I don’t talk to people in legal jargon or anything that they don’t understand, and usually, people come away from it thinking, ‘I wish I’d done it years ago!’
So Ally, what’s your biggest success?
Wow, I had to really think about this because there have been lots of things that have happened over the last year, but I suppose the biggest one is that this is my best ever year in business, in terms of turnover, and we’re in the middle of COVID, so I would never have thought in a million years that this would end up being the best year, but it really has.
And within that year, as well, we’ve celebrated my office manager’s first anniversary. So, I’ve got a member of staff that I’ve had for a whole year. That made me feel really quite successful as well. So yeah, it’s just been a really interesting and good year from a business perspective, weirdly.
Your success is absolutely in alignment with the focus and the effort that you’ve put in. So, seriously well done. Obviously, this year has not been all light and joy. So, what’s been your biggest challenge?
Okay, well obviously, like everyone, lockdown – COVID – that’s been huge. So, overnight, I’ve had to take my business from being completely face-to-face, in people’s homes, usually, to learning how to use Zoom and Teams and all of those things. I’d never used any of these things before so that was almost a ‘learn this overnight so that I can keep my business going.’
At the same time as all of this upheaval and COVID, I discovered you guys, right at the beginning, luckily for me – that’s how I see it anyway – right at the beginning of the pandemic.
I’ve got BBB and I’ve got you guys. That really, genuinely, got me through, because all of a sudden, I’ve got this community of like-minded, inspirational people that have got your back. You can sound them out with ideas and they just keep you going and keep your energy high.
I’ve had to literally change everything overnight, but with the most amazing support. And I home-schooled a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. I’m just going to get that in there.
You slide that in. That’s no mean feat in the middle of what you’ve achieved. I love that.
It’s interesting, so just like you, we’ve had to suddenly work out how the hell we deliver everything online. I mean, it’s been a huge learning curve, but you’re right. What’s been lovely about it is we’re all in it together. Everyone’s trying to learn how to make it work, we’re all trying to improve our services, we can leverage each other’s mistakes and the resources to do that.
For many of us it’s opened up a huge opportunity. So, rather than it being the detrimental thing that we thought perhaps it was going to be, it has literally opened doors that we didn’t think were possible before.
Yes, it’s been character building Tracey, that’s right.
Well, we call it entrepreneurial conditioning. It’s all that stuff that you have to go through in order to run a successful business. And we’ve had some very concentrated entrepreneurial conditioning this year, that’s for sure.
So, what is the one piece of advice that you would give business owners right now?
Heritage Planning Estate