Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Little Helpers going a long way

Published:Sunday | August 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson

The struggle is definitely real for parents running around trying to find the right sitter. And as for domestic duties ... . Maybe all you need is a 'little help' - it will go a long way in saving the day.

Owner of Little Helpers Services, Joni Ellis, can certainly relate and so she decided to make lives easier with her novel idea.

Helping others was always a compulsive passion for the entrepreneur. She grew up in May Pen, Clarendon, in a single-parent household, with her two sisters and her mom. And because her mother worked six days per week, she along with her sisters, would often lend a hand towards the chores around the house, cleaning, washing and cooking, all while learning to be responsible under her mother's trusted guidance. "My mom later migrated to help finance myself and my two sisters' university studies. There, she worked as a caregiver/helper. I find nothing demeaning about the profession and appreciate the sacrifice she made because it's not always easy to serve," she explained.

 

HOW SHE STARTED

 

After working in the sales and service industry for over 15 years, managing staff and zones across Jamaica, she developed the necessary skills to efficiently run a service of this magnitude islandwide. But how did Little Helpers truly get under way? One day, her friend needed some ironing done and asked Ellis for help, "I contacted another friend I knew who had a helper, made the connection, along with a profit." She found herself helping friends to find various services that they needed. There, Little Helpers Services began."

"The name Little Helpers Services speaks to everything we are and do. We are here to help with the daily tasks to make our clients lives easier. Our services include residential and commercial cleaning, laundry and ironing, event maintenance and staffing."

When the company got started four years ago, it was a relatively new concept, "We were the first company to present this on 'The Innovators' and the reception was overwhelming. Jamaicans began to realise that these simple convenient services also exists here, not just aboard. This made them willing to open their doors and hearts to us. Also, we were able to boost the confidence of many women who are in this industry as helpers, casual workers, as they are respected for the services they provide at Little Helpers Services," Ellis asserted.

Although the concept was ingenuitive, the obstacles were twice as hard for the start-up. With no obvious data or information on how to launch and grow such a business. The biggest challenge they have faced so far is going through the applicants to select suitable and qualified employees. "We are often overwhelmed by applicants whose rÈsumÈ issues fail to pass our selection process. This makes it harder to meet demand for our services, as our main focus is the quality, always."

With the staffing and experience growing with each stride, Little Helpers is looking towards expanding its commercial and residential services. Responsible for multiple contracts cleaning gyms, spas and offices across Jamaica, they are planning to take this business regionally to include property maintenance cleaning, mobile car wash and garbage collection.

Outside of entrepreneurship, Ellis enjoys cooking, dabbling with household decor, and last, but not least, taking care of her beautiful bundle of joy, three-year-old daughter, Caitlyn Chloe. "Becoming a mom gave me deeper insight into my business, as I now run a household responsible for raising this little life. I am better able to connect with and understand the needs of my clients," she added.

Her advice to new business owners is to be very afraid, but do it anyway. "Be afraid of failing and disappointing, not just yourself but those around you. I find that this motivates me to do everything in my power to not fail. Plan, execute, and pick yourself up. Failing isn't an option and no one is coming to save you."

For more information, you can contact Little Helpers Services on Facebook: Little Helpers, Instagram: @littlehelpersja or call: 876-997-8857.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com