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Hidden Gems: Meet Sydney Sherman Arenas of Admin Boutique

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sydney Sherman Arenas.

Hi Sydney, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My parents are entrepreneurs so I grew up without any mental constraints against starting a company. I probably always figured that I would follow in their footsteps! When I graduated from college, I had a sales job with a really great Austin entrepreneur who asked me to do administrative work for a non-profit she was running on the side. The sales job was a terrible fit for me but the administrative job gave me an idea, there are a lot of small businesses or non-profits who can’t afford or don’t need full-time employees so what if I pulled together a number of part-time administrative jobs and turned that into a full-time gig? I started doing just that and found that a lot of people needed help so I hired my first employee and then a second employee and within six months it was a full-time business. Admin Boutique is still running today but I also have started several other businesses in ethical fashion and consumption (The Etho and Montie-Joie.com) as well as a number of hospitality businesses in Guatemala with my husband. I just can’t get enough!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No! Business is rarely a smooth road. With Admin Boutique, I ended up moving to Europe for a school program my partner at the time was participating in. It was really hard to run the business from afar and I had many issues with employees. I don’t think I really knew how to hire at 23 and have always found hiring for part-time employees to be a big challenge anyway. In the first year at least, the CEO/Founder should be very involved with the business and I was in a lot of ways but also was not physically present which was hard. I lost the first client I launched the business with and it was a great contract so it is still a regret for us many years later. I have also worked for some pretty difficult characters and because administrative work can become very personal, had trouble with how certain clients wanted to treat employees. I personally treat my employees very well. I have had all different types of administrative assistants that belong to different minority groups and had to actually fire the clients for their behavior because I will always put my team first. Of course, that was hard for us too because giving up paying clients for a small business has its effects and those employees were suddenly out of work so I had to move quickly to keep everyone happy. Admin Boutique has gone through many phases alongside me overall. Living in Europe was hard, I then went back and got my MBA in a condensed program and started other businesses which was hard for AB, and now I have many businesses and a baby so am learning once again how to manage my life and work.

As you know, we’re big fans of Admin Boutique. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We launched Admin Boutique in 2015 with the belief that administrative assistance needed a rebrand. We wanted to focus on the needs of the professionals in our community. We envision a world where individuals and small businesses have access to simple, flexible and versatile assistance so they can focus on the most important aspects of their lives. We know well the unique challenges entrepreneurs face as they are expected to balance all facets of life. We love nothing more than to support people to live healthier and happier every day by sharing the weight of a busy schedule. One of our values is treating our team well and because of that we work with some pretty exceptional administrative assistants which help set us apart. We have less turnover and a healthier team. We set boundaries and also help our clients set boundaries so that they can spend more time doing the things that make them smile. It is really important to us to spread joy so we try to do that in all of our interactions. We can help with nearly anything and if we don’t have someone in house, we source that person for our clients directly.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
When I was about seven, my best friend and I decided to start a newspaper and distributed it around the neighborhood (if you are familiar with The Onion, imagine a seven year old’s version). While doing so we saw someone taking down all of the lost dog signs! We were horrified (although never stopped to consider that this person might have been the owner reunited with their pet) and decided to give this “sign nazi” (we were not politically correct seven year olds) some trouble. We created about 100 “LOST: fluffy the elephant” signs and taped them all over the neighborhood. For a week, you could see people stopping to figure out who had lost their elephant and what to do about it!

Pricing:

  • 40: Basic Admin
  • 50: All Inclusive
  • 75: Executive Assistant

Contact Info:

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