I'm Aaron Henriques, a former police officer turned British entrepreneur.
I'm a franchisee of Maid2Clean currently operating in Cardiff, Newport and North East London with over 40 staff. I'm also the founder & CEO of Handlr a British B2B company providing digital solutions such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), digital marketing & WordPress hosting services.
I have started a life long dream of becoming a commercial pilot and will document my professional pilot flying training progress on my podcast, "British Pilot Podcast".
Away from business life I have a private pilots licence, enjoy outdoor activities, travel, web development and have an interest in criminal law.
I started my first business in 2013 when I was still a full-time police officer with the Metropolitan police service in London, UK. I became part of the national Maid2Clean domestic cleaning franchise initially covering an area of North East London.
After several years in Maid2Clean, I acquired three other territories. One of which was already trading and had an existing client base. I exited that particular territory less than 6 months later making a 1,333% return on my initial investment! That's still the best ROI I've had to date!
In 2017/18 I was the Maid2Clean franchisee of the year out of over 150 for my contributions to growth of the overall franchise operations.
I continued operating my Maid2Clean business as a side-hustle business and achieving sales in excess of £180,000 whilst still employed full-time in the police.
After starting to get the business bug and having lots of business ideas under my belt, I decided created a plan to create Handlr. Initially Handlr was created to provide call answering and live web chat software and answering services and we later moved into providing SEO and WordPress hosting. Due to an issue with an apparent award winning web design company (I later found out they sponsored their own awards!) who after 17 weeks still had not completed our website, we were left with an unfinished website and lost 17 weeks of sales and incurred costs. This left us without a marketing budget and we quickly stopped the call answering services to cut costs.
Unfortunately the company decided to try every trick in the book to not take responsibility and 18 months later, we finally had our day in court. Of course we won the case (September 2019), but it was bitter-sweet as the money we claimed was nowhere near the true losses. The company had no way of funding a 6 figure civil suit at that level in the high court and the company concerned would most certainly have gone into administration. But we did win!
On the bright side our customer value was 280% more than projected in the business plan, we've had some great staff (also some not so great!) and worked with some amazing companies along the way. The bad news is whilst we fought to keep the company open to get the case to court we just never had the funds to market the services in the way we had planned and so it was decided to close the live chat side of our business, at least for now whilst we recover.
It might sound like Handlr was a terrible experience overall and I would have been better off without ever starting the business. You'd be correct financially, however I've never been more creative with resources, carried out more business negotiation and creative contracts, learnt more about digital marketing and full-stack web development myself, digital and offline sales negotiations, integrating complex technology systems, how civil cases work (very different to criminal I tell you that much!) and generally a far more informed, educated business owner.
It truly was possibly the best business lesson I could have learned - albeit one I would have preferred not to have.
For the future, Handlr still exists providing SEO & digital marketing services in the main, and I continue to own my profitable Maid2Clean business. I have turned my hat also to property investment and investing in other online businesses.
January 2018 - Maid2Clean franchisee of the year 2017/18.
February 2018 - Featured in top 100 British entrepreneurs by Enterprise Nation publication distributed to 70k+ businesses, with a special foreword mention from Emma Jones MBE.
June 2018 - Invited to the home of the British prime minister 10 Downing Street with 9 others to provide advice to government on small business.
June 2018 - Awarded the top 10 entrepreneur for business strategy by Enterprise Nation.
August 2018 - After a long process, Handlr became an official supplier to British government via the Crown Commercial Service.
February 2019 - Handlr became an accredited supplier to public sector organisations via Bloom procurements.