When Maria Xynias fell seriously ill, she was left vulnerable. Forced to take two years off work, Maria was left in a state where she needed help in every area – especially errands. From the obvious household chores, she noticed it was the little things she was really reliant on, picking her up and dropping her off for medical appointments to specialists at the hospital. For an independent woman, it was difficult for her to rely so heavily on others, but she was in a state where she had no choice. And since, Maria has been eternally grateful.
Following her illness, she was faced with another life altering decision – whether to return to work or go it alone in an area she knew she could make it. For Maria, being vulnerable herself, she could empathise with others in the same position. She knew that if someone was depending on you, either due to health, age or for any reason, you couldn’t let them down. So armed with this knowledge and attitude, she gave up on the idea of returning to work and began her business, Ladies Running Errands.
Established in January 2011, Ladies Running Errands offers a plethora of services for all needs and occasions, from airport pick ups and drop offs to picking up kids from school, taking your elderly family to the pharmacy, the supermarket even – Maria becomes the personal driver you need but with a bit more. The bit more is what distinguishes Maria and makes her business a thriving success – so much so that she is expanding from Sydney to Brisbane. And she doesn’t charge per hour, she charges per job, which makes it an affordable option to personal drivers and taxis.
It’s the family feel behind her work that gives her a distinct edge. And she has her Greek heritage to thank.
“That’s the whole motto of my business,” she explains when asked about how family has helped and influenced her business.
“I come from a big Greek family who have always been there for each other, so I wanted to bring that to my business.”
She cares for each and every one of her clients. And by doing so, she instils a confidence in her clients who, she says, are always repeat business. With over 150 clients that Maria services daily, she says she can name each and every one by heart, and if they have elderly parents that need looking after, or if they have children. She also gets a lot of business through word of mouth from clients she’s serviced.
“We are there for people who need help,” Maria tells Neos Kosmos. “There are some elderly Greek women in our community who need to be taken to specialists, or shopping or want to go visit a friend and their children are at work, well, they can rely on me to take their mum out.
“And this has another meaning in the sense that the elderly women have company, aren’t isolated, for once they can regain their independence again and not feel like a burden to their children,” Maria explains.
Then there’s the added bonus of conversation. Once you start talking to her, you notice immediately what a bubbly and bright personality she is, so by talking to the elderly, the sick, the children – the vulnerable in our community – she’s given them another outlet. Boredom is something that impacts on our elderly community quite heavily due to isolation, and Maria is taking that away.
“This is so fulfilling for me – it’s hard work but it is my passion,” she says of her business. “I love what I do and I am so happy I listened to my gut instinct to go into this business.”
Maria implores others to do the same. If you have a business idea, stick with it. Trust in your instinct – Maria did, and now is giving back.
To contact Maria and for more information on her business Ladies Running Errands, visit http://www.ladiesrunningerrands.net.au/