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Down To Business: Good Life Sorted

Down To Business: Good Life Sorted

Reader's Digest spoke to Verity Batchelder, founder of Good Life Sorted, about her inspirations and how her business helps to combat loneliness

RD: How did Good Life Sorted get started, and how would you best summarise what you offer? 

Good Life Sorted was inspired by the grandmother of my co-founder, Constantine Karampatsos. She lived in her own home in Greece well into her late nineties, thanks to a neighbour, Mary, who popped in regularly to keep her company and help with a few chores.

We realised we could use our tech expertise to build a business that provides these services right across the country.

Our platform connects elderly or vulnerable people with registered Helpers in their area, who we have interviewed, vetted and insured. They then choose their own hours and fees to provide regular companionship and support

RD: How did your previous experience set you up for what you do now

I’ve had more than 20 years of international marketing and operations experience in senior leadership roles at digital businesses. I used to work at Amazon—it’s where Constantine and I met—and I’ve also worked for Yahoo. 

When I worked at Amazon, I saw how it made shopping so much easier on a global scale and it made me interested in how tech could make other things easier, and have a positive social impact.

I also worked for start-ups, so I’m used to leading fast-growing companies operating in the tech sphere.

Verity Batchelder, founder of Good Life SortedVerity Batchelder founded Good Life Sorted to help connect older people with "Helpers" who can assist them at home

RD: How  does your work complement your personality? What are the core values that  drive you? 

Our values are empowerment, reassurance and respect—each Helper offers a bespoke approach to their customers’ needs.

I’m passionate about empowering people to be the best at what they do, or to have the best experiences, and at work this is reflected in the way we operate within our core team and also with our Helpers.

"We empower customers to remain independent in their own homes"

We empower customers to remain independent in their own homes and make their own decisions, while enabling Helpers to run their own businesses and do something worthwhile for their community.

That empowerment really does impact on wellbeing. In fact, 98 per cent of our customers report improved wellbeing since having a Good Life Sorted Helper.

RD: What does a typical workday look like for  you? 

It depends on whether I’m working from home or in the office. If I’m in the office, the day is all about moving things forward with others. I go in two or three times a week and use that time to catch up on projects, brainstorming, collaborating, setting goals and reviewing results.

When I’m working at home, it’s all about the long-term planning and analysis and taking time to think about company direction and growth.

RD: How did the pandemic affect and inform your business? 

It led to the older generation becoming even more isolated—more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone.

However, the pandemic also helped to raise awareness about the issue of isolation amongst older people and inspired a new community of people who wanted to help, and then enjoyed helping so much, they continued to do so once lockdowns ended.

It showed us how kind people are and resulted in a raft of new Helpers joining the business

RD: What are your favourite and least favourite  parts of your job?   

Engaging with lovely, kind people, who are all passionate about making connections and genuinely improving lives.

By working with people in different areas outside cities, I’ve been able to see things from all sorts of perspectives. I love the sense of community in smaller towns and rural areas—that’s what we are trying to replicate: a community of Helpers, just brought together through technology.

"I love the sense of community in smaller towns and rural areas"

I’m also fascinated by data and insights, how we can use these to solve human problems by developing our own tech platform, as well as expanding into new areas to support more people.

My least favourite part is that there aren’t enough hours in the day! I always feel a bit stressed, but I imagine that’s familiar to anyone growing a new business.

Older woman and helper matched by Good Life SortedGood Life Sorted reduces isolation for older people who live on their own

RD: Could you share a story about a particular friendship that was established thanks to the platform?

There are so many! They all have such wonderful stories, from 100 year old Ron, who has become firm friends with Lyndon, the photographer we matched him with. They both love music, and spend hours at the piano together.

Also Nicky and Brenda—Nicky pops in to see Brenda regularly and thinks she looks like the late queen, they have quite the laugh.

Also Karen. She visits Wendy daily and they have some great adventures. Wendy has Alzheimer's and they have been fundraising for charity from their activities together.

RD: What has been the most valuable business lesson you’ve learnt so far? And your most tangible achievement?  

My most tangible achievement was when I launched online photo company Snapfish in Australia and New Zealand—I grew it to over £10 million revenue within three years. I was incredibly proud of what we delivered there.

The most valuable business lesson for me has been realising the importance of just being honest, and always making decisions based on what is best for the business.

Being honest with yourself, the team and the investors, and doing what is right for the business growth, which involves building the brand, hiring the best team and following the company mission, all of which will lead to financial success.

RD: How do you think the UK's ageing population will affect the business and will there be a bigger need for more service providers such as yourself? 

We’ve just marked the 75th anniversary of the NHS and we can all see the ways in which it is struggling—when it was created, the average life expectancy was much younger than it is now.

Current stats show that one in four babies born now will live to 100. This is fantastic but it means we have to consider different illnesses and social requirements, intervening in different ways.

"There are 1.4 million elderly people in the UK who describe themselves as often lonely"

There are 1.4 million elderly people in the UK who describe themselves as often lonely, according to Age UK, and although technology is being used to improve our lives in many ways, sometimes technology compounds loneliness by replacing or reducing human interaction.

We are using tech to increase human connection and interaction, which is vital for wellbeing. We’re using tech for good.

RD: If you weren’t in this line of work, what other career would you love to have?   

I’d love to renovate houses or be a garden designer, I have a passion for that as it’s so mindful. My dream is that my creations could be featured in Chelsea Flower Show.

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