Claire's Story

My name is Claire White.
I have a wonderful husband, two lovely children and a gorgeous Cockapoo called Jenny. 
I'm also a hugely proud business owner. 
Here's my story…

Once upon a time...

After a pretty straightforward childhood growing up in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, the first thing I did after sitting my 'A' levels was break my parents' hearts by choosing not to go to university.

My dad owned a National Investigation Agency and at the time was advertising for an Office Manager. I applied under a false name to get an interview, and then the job (and boy did I have to prove myself!) Over the next eight years I was involved in every aspect of the business, ultimately managing a staff of 12 including several middle aged men (3 of whom were my uncles) which at the age of 21 was challenging to say the least.

As well as managing the business, I spent time out in the field finding missing people, carrying out discreet surveillance and repossessing everything from cars to young children(!) I then successfully disappointed my parents for a second time by deciding not to take over completely, in favour of marriage and a move to the much more exotic surroundings In the south of the county. It was time to cut the apron strings.

A pretty miserable stint as a Local Government Officer followed (where I quickly learned that if the Council was privately owned it would be bankrupt in no time - Customer Service… que?) and after a short baby break, I decided it was time to work out what I actually 'enjoyed' doing.

I'm a born organiser and my family used to tease me about constantly making lists - my dad kindly embarrassed me by referring to it in his speech at my wedding! So I went with what I was good at, and a few years later, with a postgraduate qualification under my belt, and beating 19 other hopefuls at a gruelling 8 hour selection day, I joined the Carnell Motorcycle Group to work with the Managing Director.

This was something of a dream job. The fact was that my husband had motorbikes in his blood and an impressive knowledge of (it seems) every rider and sportsbike that has ever touched rubber to road, so over the years I'd had little choice but to join in, get my licence and fall in love with the sport. It was a great role too, starting off with my own team of assistants and later also taking on Event and Internet Management.  I worked long hours but loved rubbing shoulders with motorcycle racing's rich and famous when managing the corporate sponsorship programme and customer race days, and I was even lucky enough to whizz round the majority of British race tracks on either two or four wheels.

When Dixon Motors bought out Carnell in '99 I was thrown into a whole host of high profile corporate projects but by the year 2000 it was time to spread my wings again and the golden handcuffs were swapped for a more spiritually satisfying role in the Third Sector.

I loved fundraising and the department I was tasked with creating from scratch beat its targets year on year. But there's only so much blood you can get out of the charitable stone and after being inspired by a visiting freelancer, I decided it was time for a change.

Time to Break Free

Working for the family firm early on had had a big impact on me. I loved the sense of independence being a business owner gave, and now with several years more life and corporate experience I wanted some of that freedom for myself.

I had this dream of being able to work and travel at the same time but in those days working 'virtually' was pretty much unheard of, so it remained a distant hope. By this time I had two young children and had also swapped horsepower from two wheels to four legs, and the smell of oil to that of 'eau de muck'. But, thinking self employed would mean more time (yes, I learned the truth was actually the opposite very quickly) going freelance seemed to be the answer.

On January 1st 2005 Claire White Associates was launched. I immediately knew that being self-employed was for me.  I gradually built my client base and I'm hugely proud that several of those original clients are still with me today! 

I worked hard for several years with some really interesting people and projects until I found myself regularly turning work down and literally began to run out of hours in the day.  The light bulb moment came during a conversation with Nigel Botterill, a UK serial entrepreneur with 8 x £million businesses, and I set about turning my freelancing into a 'proper' business.

The real journey begins

The next few years were a complete whirlwind. Horses were my passion and I'd bought a beautiful young competition filly and spent several hours of my spare time every day shovelling muck, humping haynets and training. The cost was huge, both in terms of time and money, but I have to admit I loved every minute and the hard work paid off with lots of competition wins.

One of the aims of my business had been to build a team so I could have more free time to train and compete, but what I didn't expect was that I'd become so enthralled with the business that I'd lose the passion for my sport!  

My business development took me on a huge learning curve and I made it my mission to absorb everything I could from the best teachers around. I joined the Entrepreneur's Circle; completed a two year professional marketing qualification; completely repositioned my business; launched new services; and grew Claire White Associates into a brilliant team of experienced experts. But I also said goodbye to my beloved horse...

Over the next couple of years I learned that all work and no play doesn't do your health any favours. I was building a great business but I was spending far too much time at my desk and I missed the outdoor life I'd had with my horses. So in May 2014 we made an addition to our family - a beautiful apricot Cockapoo puppy called Jenny. She drives me nuts and keeps me sane at the same time, she's great company when I'm sat at my desk and as she needs a lot of exercise, she keeps me fit. It was definitely one of my best decisions.

After eleven successful years in business, I decided that this 'business thing' was definitely working and I really ought to make it official - Claire White Associates was incorporated! One of the best things about this milestone was that it spurred me on to have a thorough business spring-clean and a complete overhaul of systems and procedures. In my world, that's bliss!

Today, my children have flown the nest and my lovely horse is having a great life down in Milton Keynes having quickly moved up the national competition ladder with her talented new owner. I align everything in my life towards creating a successful business and my dream of being able to run things whilst travelling with my husband and pooch is now a reality. I can honestly say that my business has become my way of life, and I absolutely love it! 

My work in helping clients get things done, stay on track and develop all aspects of their business has earned praise from Independent Professionals and Senior Execs across the UK.  I'd be delighted to hear from you if you'd like to discuss having me and my team work with you and your business.

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