We’re back with another post in the Student Success Stories series!
Why are we doing this? Glad you asked!
We want to feature people who have participated in Gina’s VA training program and got serious about working on their freelance careers by taking action. Each story is unique, and they all bring their own perspective and wisdom. They’re real journeys, and everyone is on a different path!
In this post, we’re featuring Brea Horton, a social media manager based in Portland.
Brea shares some great insight about pitching – and it’s definitely working for her. She’s one driven go-getter who’s doing a great job of overcoming the challenges many new VAs face. Read on to find out how!
Name: Brea Horton
Course enrollment date: May 2017
Business launch date: July 2017
Date hired by first client: July 24th, 2017 – my first pitch was my first client!
Hours worked per week: 15
Average monthly income: I hit $2640.00 in September, which is officially more than I made at my desk job!
Top three services/niches: Social media management, email management, content editing.
Hi, Brea! Tell us a bit about yourself:
Hey there! I’m a 25-year-old Portland, Oregon native and dog mom to my giant one-year-old St. Bernard, Moose. I enjoy coffee, rose wine and soggy cereal. (Don’t judge!)
What about your business?
I’ve always been a go-getter. When I get an idea or have a want, I make it happen.
It was no different with my business. I was stuck in a desk job that provided little value or stimulation and I craved more. I learned that I could start my own business, and that same day I was on Pinterest reading every article and blog post I could get my eyes on about starting my own online biz.
I found Become a Pinterest VA Today, and then Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success (now VA Foundations and included in The #FullyBooked VA System) soon after. I dove in head first!
How did you decide to start working online as a VA?
I was back in school after a three-year hiatus and fell in love with my new classes. This time around, I was majoring in business.
I knew that I finally found a career path that had me EXCITED, and that’s marketing. I decided to try my hand at my own VA business so that I could start building my skills and clientele. I wanted to quit my 9-5 (actually 7-5 was more like it) ASAP.
I also knew that in order to do so, I had to just jump in! So I did.
How long did it take you to earn back your investment in the program?
Technically, I didn’t put myself out there until the end of July, and I bought both courses in May. So, three months.
What was your biggest fear before you started your business?
I was afraid of failing. That was the scariest part.
Once I quit my job, the pressure was on to replace that income. I don’t have twice monthly paychecks to depend on anymore, so I have to MAKE that happen. I think that’s what gave me the most pause. But, then I told myself that even if I DID fail, the worst that could happen was that I would chalk it up as a loss and get a different job. Which, to be honest, still seemed better than staying stuck where I was at the time.
What was the most challenging part about getting started?
I struggle with impostor syndrome. I wish there was a cure for this, so let me know if anyone finds it!
I just had a hard time being confident in myself and the value that I bring into my client’s businesses. I’m getting more confident with each month, so I feel like the more I continue doing and learning, the better at tackling this I’ll get!
Another big one was pitching. I’m not alone here, I know, but pitching made me feel so “salesman-y.”
I decided to embrace my personality and hit prospective clients up in a way that made me sound like a real person when I pitch.
I often get really great feedback on my pitches from the clients who signed on with me. They tell me that my pitch is refreshing because I am more casual, less “businessy” and I really take the time to learn about their blog or business. That way, I can personalize my initial pitch to them in a way that makes them feel like I actually care about them and their business.
I also try to only pitch to clients that I can get excited about. If I am excited about what they stand for or what they are doing, then that will show in my pitch and my work.
How do you overcome impostor syndrome?
I fake it until I make it. Seriously. Confidence comes to me with more real-life practice, and I get that by working on tasks for my clients. I wholeheartedly stand by this phrase!
What has been your biggest success since you’ve started?
Signing my biggest and highest paying client yet at the end of September! She owns three local pet boutiques (talk about dream job for an animal lover like myself!) and I am handling the social media platforms for all three of her shops!
She was referred to me by another client of mine, so that was a major confidence boost!
What are you working on right now?
Maintaining my client roster while looking to add a couple more clients. I’m also excited to come up with more and more fun ideas for my new client’s social media marketing plans.
We have a lot of fun things in the works and I love that she is giving me the freedom to explore my ideas!
What are you looking forward to most over the next 12 months?
I am looking forward to continuing to grow my new business, and hopefully even begin to outsource a few simple tasks in 2018 if I hit my income goal of $7k/month.
Ready to kick off your VA journey like Brea did? Join The #FullyBookedVA System and let’s do this!