by Thomas Jordan
“Our personal assistant service is not just for the rich and famous. We want any of our clients to feel like a celebrity, if just for one hour,” says Run Around Betties founder, Michelle McCloskey. Her business archetype is changing the way busy people manage their lives and is accessible to all Angelenos who need a single errand run, or what she calls an “administrative superstar.” Not your typical cookie-cutter personal assistant service, McCloskey’s business model follows a distinct 1950’s theme through the look, style and the name of her assistants, ‘Betties’ for females and ‘Bobs’ for the males.
“I used to buy and sell vintage clothes and I loved I Love Lucy. When I came up with the name, it was like a brick hit me. I wanted it to be fun, not intimidating, something people like to talk about,” says McCloskey.“While some agencies require a four-hour minimum, Run Around Betties only requires we book for one-hour, which is great for me and my business,” says Gaslite owner, Claire Ragge. “When I need a task done at my home or even at my bar, I know I can always rely on a Betty to get the job done.”
“Every client is different so I’m usually looking for someone who is going to be a good personality match on top of being skilled and experienced for a specific client throughout the week. The people who apply for these jobs are attracted to the brand and a lot of them are kind of like me,” says McCloskey.Betties typically help pick up the kids from school, run errands, assist with homework, help around the house, and organize a closet. Bob’s are like handymen, they oversee household repairs or service visits, help with moving and packing/unpacking boxes, as well as preparing/planning a garage sale and more.
“I am a personal assistant matchmaker and the clients are trusting me so I have to be heavily involved,” says McCloskey. “I am the voice at the end of the phone or the email that clients talk to, and for those who are worried about the screening process and privacy, I make the final decision for the Betty or Bob to come aboard.”Like many successful stories, they would not be possible without hard work. Before launching Run Around Betties, McCloskey said she was assisting seven different clients, seven nights a week, only taking breaks to sleep. Her “ah-ha” moment came when she stepped outside the box and became a business owner.
“As an entrepreneur it just kind of happens, it falls in your lap and you just have to do it, I think that’s the entrepreneurial spirit. You just got for it and you’re passionate about it,” says McCloskey.“I never really had downtime to have doubt starting my business” says McCloskey. “Every time a new client came on it was a hurdle to figure that person out. After that, you start seeing a pattern.”
McCloskey predicts that 2014 will be a huge year for Run Around Betties, with plans of major expansion throughout Southern California.With more than 100 clients, business is good. www.runaroundbetties.com