Sharon McRill is owner and president of The Betty Brigade, an expanding personal assistance and concierge company based in Ann Arbor. The Betty Brigade helps busy professionals with moving, home staging, organizing, event planning, pet care, errands – virtually anything that needs to be done but you have no time to do yourself.
What made you want to start the Betty Brigade?
“I had recently been laid off from a corporate marketing job and had tried other jobs here and there but nothing seemed to fit. I’d fantasized about having a personal assistant to help me with all the things I didn’t have time to do while I was in corporate life. One day while I was watching Oprah on the television, something clicked and I decided to turn that idea into a business concept, and The Betty Brigade was started.”
How did you know that starting The Betty Brigade was a good idea?
“I started by making a list of things I was good at and reached out to the contacts that I had built relationships with over the years from my corporate job and decided to go for it and start my own business. Then I started getting BUSY. Really busy. I was getting constant referrals. I had to hire an employee to help me keep track of all my appointments and really keep the business end of things in line while I was out helping clients. And it just keeps growing! We now have 15 employees and are as busy as ever.”
More About Sharon:
A resident of Ann Arbor since 1991, Sharon graduated from the University of Michigan in 1994 and was once voted “Worst Waitress in Ann Arbor.” She lives with her husband, a professional photographer, and their cat, Miss Olive.
While growing the business Sharon maintains a focus that the company be a positive force in the community and has worked on joint projects with such groups as The Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity and The Salvation Army. In addition McRill has organized city-wide clean ups for Ypsilanti, Michigan such as “Get Off Your Glass” and is currently involved in helping with the Ypsilanti P.R.I.D.E. Day community event that is sponsored by the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Chamber Foundation. The Betty Brigade is also a champion for the environment and takes an eco-friendly approach to every project, recycling and re-using whenever possible – in fact almost 100% of the furniture in our office is second-hand!
Sharon has done scores of television and radio interviews and has been featured in many publications and websites, including The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, Ann Arbor News, Women’s Day, Crain’s Business Detroit, Forbes.com, and MichiganInnovators.com. The Ann Arbor Business Review named The Betty Brigade one of the Ten Growing Companies to Watch in Ann Arbor. Sharon has also won awards from The ATHENA Foundation, The Tuck School of Business and Women Business Owners of Southeast Michigan.