Hi All

We have discovered that some emails sent to the comeptition@para-sols.co.uk email haven’t come through to us, whilst others have.

We’re trying to figure out what the discrepancy is but in the meantime can I ask that anyone who has emailed their competition entry to competition@para-sols.co.uk and hasn’t received a response from us forwards it to info@para-sols.co.uk please?

Thanks – and good luck!!



We recently came across this website at Para-Sols where it is possible to adopt a word for a year… And, of course we adopted Paraplanner!!


It’s a fab concept raising money for a worthy cause and we wanted to spread the word about the site. In addition, it got us thinking; if you could ‘own’ any word, what would it be and why?

For example:

New York“so when I see people wearing those “I Heart New York” t-shirts, it would raise my self esteem….”

Chocolate“I would demand royalties everytime I heard someone use it – payable in the form of chocolate of course!”

Innit“I’d own this then ban it so young people learned how to end their sentences properly”

So, we decided to run a little competition. Simply comment below or write to competition@para-sols.co.uk telling us what word you would own and why. Would you use it for good or evil?! The winner will receive one month’s free paraplanning, meaning you could end up owning a word, helping a charity AND getting your reports caught up!! Competition terms are below so good luck and we look forward to reading the responses :-)

1 – Anyone may send us their ideas for Adopted Words, but to win the competition entrants must be Independent Financial Advisers, who are not currently clients of Para-Sols and UK resident.
2 – Prize draw is open to anyone with who comments on this blog or emails competition@para-sols.co.uk
3 –The value of the free paraplanning for one month is limited to £1,000.
5 – Entries received after the closing time will not be included in the draw. Incomplete entries and entries from third party agents or bulk entries will not be eligible for the prize draw. We will not be responsible for any entries that are not received for any reason, by the closing date, whether lost, delayed, corrupted or otherwise, and whether or not due to any technical difficulties or malfunctions.
6 – Entry to the prize draw is free. No purchase necessary.
7 – All entries to be received by 5pm BST on Monday 31st July 2011.
8 – Prize is non-transferable. No cash alternative will be offered.
9 – Judge’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

As many of you will know by now, I am incredibly lucky to have been shortlisted for the If We Can You Can Challenge. This is in partnership with the Entrepreneur’s Forum, and part of the reason I entered the Challenge was for the mentoring which is part of the prize and which I think will be invaluable for helping me to develop the business.

Therefore… this is call for help! I would love it if everyone reading this could please, please, pretty please, vote for me before voting closes this Sunday. There are two ways to vote:

1. Via the website – http://ifwecanyoucan.co.uk/ – just click on the Vote for Cathi box and enter your name and email address et voila!
2. Text ‘Challenge Cathi Harrison’ to 07624 803 199 – easy peasy!

If you were feeling extra generous you could even vote both ways :-)

I’ll hopefully find out the results next week and will keep you all posted… and thanks a million in advance!

Firstly, my slightly belated New Years Eve resolution is to update my blog more often! The first quarter of 2011 has been incredibly busy and having just about recovered from the tax year end I was amazed to discover I have only done one blog since the year started! I’m never going to get to the stage of updating my blog 4 times a day (even though it would be great for my Google rankings!) but I will definitely try and do it more than 4 times a year!

Secondly, for those of you who haven’t seen it already, Richard Allum of ParaPlanPlus has launched a Paraplanner Directory, which enables an adviser to review a number of outsourced paraplanning firms all in one place, rather than trawl the internet looking for them – check out the blog I wrote for the website.

Finally, and intriguingly, there are a few changes coming up in the next few months which I will be sure to update you all about… via the blog naturally!

Hope everyone has enjoyed the double bank holiday weekends, is feeling refreshed and isn’t too pink from all the glorious weather we’ve been having (even up north!)

Well, the end of 2010 was a bit of a blur (as is usually the case!) with December being extraordinarily busy. It has taken me this long to recover.. hence the delay between blogs! I would just like to start off wishing everyone a happy 2011. Hope the start to the year has been as exciting and fruitful as we always hope it is going to be.

We’ve once again been very busy over at the PS HQ and are making a number of changes to our processes and the way we work. One of these changes involves having a collaborative system via which clients can access their cases to check their progress, upload any additional documents and provide us with further notes. We will be rolling this out to existing clients during February.

In 2010, I also looked at starting a Breakfast club for women in financial services in the North East. This didn’t really get started due to a) time constraints and b) there being so few women in financial services in the North East! However, I have been using the magic that is Linkedin and found several more willing attendants and so will be launching details of this soon.

Finally, I’m delighted to have been shortlisted as Best Paraplanner in both the Money Management and Professional Adviser Awards. This is a great honour and I will keep you all updated on the results. Thanks for all the wishes of support so far too.

Enjoy the rest of January – spring is just round the corner!

Well, Friday was the big night. It was the Women into the Network award ceremony and I had been shortlisted in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category. The event was held at the beautiful Hilton in Gateshead, and we duly turned up, put on our fancy outfits and hunted out the complimentary bubbly!

The format for the night was that the first four awards were announced, there was a break while we ate our meal, and then the remaining six were announced. My category was the first one after dinner… which meant lots of water (instead of wine) for me, and my chicken getting pushed around my plate. I was far too nervous to eat!

Over the last couple of weeks, the WIN team have been to the Para-Sols office to do some filming. I also popped up to be interviewed at the BIC in Sunderland and the film crew did an amazing job of putting all the footage together to make a short video about Para-Sols which wasn’t half as embarrassing as I had expected!

The golden envelope was then opened and the winner was announced… and it was me!! I was completely caught by surprise, and hadn’t even prepared a speech as I didn’t think it would be needed, so I just mumbled a few words before shakily sitting back down and letting the shock sink in.

To say I was surprised is an understatement and I am absolutely delighted to have been named the Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 by WIN Ltd.

As well as the amazing honour of being given an award, the actual evening was great fun and I had already made friends with a few of the other nominees prior to the event – it was all round an fantastic experience and I’d like to thank the judges, the organisers at WIN, all the lovely clients I work with and all the people who have supported me over the last 18 months. I had a glass of champagne (or two) on behalf of all of you!

Cathi x

Lovely recommendation from one of our clients on IFALife – thanks very much Tina Weeks!!


Well it has been a very busy time here at Para-Sols. As well as lil ol’ me being shortlisted for the Shell LiveWire Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Women into the Network Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, I have also finally received my shiny Chartered Financial Planner certificate – it is already framed and on the wall! Extremely pleased to have reached this milestone achievement.

Furthermore, we are now recruiting for another full time paraplanner to meet the demand we have seen recently. There are also a couple of new services in the pipeline so watch this space!

A big thank you to all the lovely IFAs we currently work with and for everyone’s support over the last few months. One super busy period over – but I have a feeling another one is about to begin!

Like many of you, I took my holidays in August and had a lovely, relaxing time away. I came back fully refreshed and ready to roll. In fact, I was so enthusiastic upon my return that I accidentally kicked over my PC tower, totally destroying my hard drive, and all the information on it!

Many of you will remember that only a few months back I managed to spill a cup of tea on my PC (I’m more than a little clumsy!) and that had provided me with the opportunity to test at least part of my recovery process. Well, my most recent path of destruction has meant that my entire back up system and recovery process has been tested to the max.. and I’m pleased to say that the majority of it has all gone smoothly. Although I have definitely learnt some new tricks and found a few gaps to be filled. It has also been much more time consuming than I realised, but having this back up has meant that nothing has been lost and everything can continue as normal…. although I am going to bubble wrap my PC!

I’m sure you all have very robust recovery processes in place but, if you haven’t already, I would suggest a full run through of the exact procedure you would need to follow in the event of disaster. It will alert you to any flaws in the procedure (I have learnt a couple of things which could make it much easier next time – although I hope there isn’t a next time!) as well as helping you to manage expectations in terms of timeframe and, of course, giving you peace of mind when it all goes well.

Hope you all had lovely holidays too, without such a dramatic return!!

I was thinking recently how nice it would be to meet up with like minded people once a month to share experiences and ideas and generally get the creative juices flowing… and that’s exactly what I am now organising!

If you are in financial services (whether advisers, paraplanners, life company representatives, marketing, etc. etc.) are female and somewhere in the North East and would like to know more about this, please drop me a line at cathi@para-sols.co.uk

The plan is a monthly breakfast meeting which doesn’t cut too much into the working day (but also not too early!).

Hope to speak with you all soon!


I am currently celebrating after passing a further two exams towards achieving my Chartered status – AF1 and AF5!

I’m on track to obtain Chartered by August this year – assuming there are no more changes made to the criteria between now and then! Although I don’t give advice, holding Chartered status is very important to me as it demonstrates to the IFAs I work with that I am fully committed to financial services and to ongoing studying and improving my knowledge. I know advisers feel more comfortable working with a highly qualified paraplanner and these two new qualifications are a couple of extra steps along that path!

Enough celebrating for now though… it’s back to the books for the next exam. Fingers crossed for hitting my deadline…

Para-Sols has recently  moved to new premises in Darlington. The new contact details, including address and post code are detailed below. And the office is looking beautiful thanks to all the fabulous flowers from very kind friends and family. I’m looking forward to welcoming in my clients with a fresh cup of tea!
Forsyth House
20 Woodland Road
T: 01325 345839
M: 07940 526508