Meg Bell, Owner of Clockwork PA

Supporting businesses with admin, projects and marketing, as well as organising jellies on a freelance basis

When I had my second daughter in 2016, I was working in the HR department of a major British multinational retailer. With my husband working away half the week and my eldest daughter still only two, it wasn’t practical to inhabit the corporate world any longer.

Drawing upon 15 years’ experience working across different industries in various roles – including not only HR but also sales, PA work and office management – I believed in my ability to create a flexible business and make a success of it.

I’ve always been highly organised and able to handle big logistical tasks, such as the time when I recruited football coaches based in the UK to go over to the United States and teach soccer at summer camps. Being responsible for other people is something I genuinely enjoy – and whilst the first three years of running Clockwork PA has presented a fair few challenges, I’m in no doubt whatsoever that I’ve done the right thing. I get to do what I’m good at and enjoy my family.

This year I started to organise jellies, which are informal co-working events where local freelancers, home workers and SMEs bring their laptops and spend time working alongside each other. Jellies differ from networking in that the aim is not to find new clients or sell yourself or your business. The focus rests squarely on combating isolation, which is commonplace amongst people who are self-employed, through collaboration and interaction. Having something which makes me escape my own four walls has definitely been of great benefit to me personally, so I want to share that positive experience.

Co-hosted with local businesswoman Angela Boggiano, we’re currently running two jellies a month at a venue in Cheadle Hulme, but the plan for 2020 is to bring even more people together and create events which will offer more social stuff such as parties and lunches.

Speaking of parties, we’re holding our first Christmas do tonight for our jelly community, which is super-exciting – and for one business owner in particular it’s going to be a significant occasion because they haven’t, since going self-employed, attended a Christmas party in four years. That’s why Angela and I are doing this.

Clockwork PA