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Ep. 10: Building Alliances and a Virtual Assistance Empire

Ep. 10: Building Alliances and a Virtual Assistance Empire

Many of us have been through it—
being laid off and left to pick up the pieces. Our interview guest, Tiffany Harris picked her pieces up and never looked back. You’ll be inspired by learning how she started her VA business, Working With Tiffany- Virtual Assistance & More. She’ll give you her best advice for getting started and building a team of supporters along the way.

To Work with Tiffany, contact her at one of the outlets below:

Website: www.WorkWithTiff.us
Facebook: @WorkingWithTiffany
Instagram: @WrkWitTiffany
Twitter: @WorkWithTiffan1
LinkedIn: WorkWithTiffany
YouTube: WorkWithTiff

Podcast

Audio Transcript

Danielle: Welcome back for another episode of Dreamer’s Den Podcast. I’m Danielle Towner and today, we have with us Tiffany Harris of Working With Tiffany- Virtual Assistance and More. And I’m so happy to have her with us. She has been so awesome since I met her, and I know you’re in for a treat with her and you’ll learn a lot about starting your own virtual assistance business and just in general, that journey and the things you need to know ahead of time to have a lasting and a pleasant experience as an entrepreneur. So, welcome Tiffany!

Tiffany: Hi! Thank you  so much for having me.

Danielle: Thank you for joining in. I’m so excited to have you on.

Tiffany: Thank you.

[laughter]

The Birth of Work With Tiffany- Virtual Assistance & More

Danielle: So, we’ll get right into it. The first thing that I want to know is what made you want to start Working With Tiffany?

Tiffany: You know. I said before I came on, I needed a cup of coffee because that’s a deep question. I should’ve had my coffee.

[laughter]

There’s really no easy way to say this, but what made me start my company Working With Tiffany is I got fired.

Danielle: Wow!

Tiffany: Yeah. I know. A lot of people, they don’t just want to come out and say that. They’ll find so many different wonderful ways to say “I got released from a position because my company decided to merge and my position was one of the ones that was down turned”, which is what happened to me. But I mean, no matter how you flip it, smack it, turn it around, I was still released from my position and I didn’t know what I was gonna do tomorrow or the day after.

It was just — it was a need for me to take control of my life and make sure that as a single mother, because that’s not who I am but that’s what my circumstances were at the time, I needed to make sure that I could provide for myself and my son.

Danielle: Right.

Tiffany: So, that’s why I started my business.

Danielle: Okay, and I can imagine how — how much of a scary experience that can be. That’s the first like — before becoming an entrepreneur and taking that leap and having that continual not knowing what to expect, that’s kind of that first taste of not knowing what to expect.

I’ve been there. I’ve experienced that working in corporate America and no one is exempt from it. Like, some people think because, “oh, I’m tenured” or “I’m

— I have seniority. That’s my job security”, but no one is exempt from it. And when it happened with us, people from all levels were cut or laid off or their position may have went from full time to part time. Or people in management were dropped down to a lower level. So, I definitely understand that and that’s one of many reasons that I’m an advocate for entrepreneurship.

Tiffany: Yes. I feel the same way. Thank you.

VA Specialties at Working With Tiffany

Danielle: Yeah. So, getting into what you do with Working With Tiffany, we know that it’s virtual assistance, but that can be very broad and different virtual consultants have different specialties. So, what are some of your specialties as a virtual consultant?

Tiffany: I specialize in execution. As I was just talking about being an accidental employee — I’m sorry — accidental entrepreneur, I just needed to get a hold of my finances and I found the best way for me was using QuickBooks. So I do offer light bookkeeping through my accounting services to assist with helping to track your assets and liabilities so you can really understand where you are with your companies growth.

I also offer marketing services. One that I particularly favor is creating PowerPoint presentations.  And why I feel like that’s valuable is because when you’re presenting your ideas to let’s say an investor or even your general public, that’s a really good way to communicate your story versus having to use pictures. You can use graphs to show where you are in your company’s growth at a particular timeline. You can also import photos and videos to that too because I feel like that’s really important with crafting your story to tell to your audience.

And I assist with operational services. A lot of people — they still have their job. One of my favorite, famous quotes for myself is “I don’t see anything wrong with having a job and working for yourself too.

So, I assist with calendar management. Following up with all of these wonderful networking meetings that you go to. It’s hard to keep all of that stuff together. To have those contacts entered into your phone and they’re ready at a moment’s notice to follow up on emails. Just to get things done.

Building Alliances and a Virtual Assistance Business Dreamer's Den Podcast Ep.10

The Olivia Pope of Virtual Assistance

I feel like I’m the Olivia Pope [laughter] of virtual assistance. I just — I get it done, so I definitely have a list of my services too. I won’t bore you guys with going down a list of everything I do but I feel like those are the key attributes that I can offer an entrepreneur. 

Danielle: Right. Well, Olivia Pope is a great way to put it. That’s a great person to be of your industry. And some of the things that you do are some things that may not be the entrepreneur’s strength. And one thing that I say is to focus on your strengths and outsource the rest or let someone else who’s stronger at that do that for you. And that will even more empower you as an entrepreneur so that will be a great addition to their team.

Tiffany: Oh, thank you!

How to Start a Virtual Assistant (VA) Business

Danielle: [chuckle] Now, for those that are wanting to start a virtual business, what is some of the advice that you would give to them?

Tiffany: There’s so much advice I can give to you guys. I recently was interviewed by Candace Houston from NSpire U. She’s awesome. And it’s like N, the letter N S P I R E and the letter U. We did a wonderful pilot for her show and I was asked the same question. And just so I can give the best of me, I’m not going to repeat that answer. You have to tune in, watch the show to find out what my first answer was to that question.

So, the second answer that I’m going to give you guys just to build upon that value is, I would say join a mastermind class. And it’s so different. So many people would say, “seek out a mentor”. Well, mentors, they coach. I know a wonderful coach. His name is Cicone Prince. I was recently featured in his magazine, Next Generation of Speakers.

So, I think coaches are awesome too, but most coaches have mastermind classes where they can devote more time to groom you. And it definitely comes at an investment, but that investment saves you on time. And time is the only non-renewable resource we have, so make that investment and learn the tricks of the trade from an expert in your industry. Those are the benefits from joining a mastermind class.

And the one that I would recommend if you’re looking to become a virtual assistant. I don’t give this information out always, so this is just for you and your listeners, Danielle. It’s an exclusive

Danielle: Oh. We’re lucky.

Tiffany: Yes. I love the dreamers. Her name is Janine Henwood, and you can Google her Facebook group. It is a private Facebook group, but you can fill out the questionnaire, and based on their review, you’ll be approved or not. I’m pretty sure you’ll be approved. And the name of the Facebook group is called the VA finishing school.

Danielle: Okay.

Tiffany: And it’s a lot of great tips, tricks of the trade, but you’ll get more out of it if you were to join her new mastermind class and it’s called The VA Loaded, I believe.

Danielle: Okay.

Tiffany: That’s some awesome stuff. I had the chance to take a look at your recent interview, and it is great. So, you guys check it out. There are some things, like she said, that she didn’t go over here that are some great resources for you. So go check that out.

Danielle: And I agree with taking a masterclass, and someone who has more experience than you, has had years of experience, can guide you and help you avoid some of the pitfalls that you would go through without their advice and their grooming.

Tiffany: Right.

Forming Business Alliances (Virtual Co-workers)

Danielle: Now, we recently met because we’re talking about all these connections and everything. We recently met up and we put some collaborations in the works, and then we went to social media and posted a sneak peek about those.

[laughter]

Now some people — they were– some people were quite curious about how we’re able to work together and do it in a constructive way. Have a constructive relationship but still be in such similar industries. So, I just wanted to give you a chance to elaborate on that and then I’ll give my take on it.

Tiffany: Okay.This is going to — this is an interesting question.

[laughter]

I would say that I’m a spirit led person and I initially came to know you through LinkedIn, which is a professional social media platform. And I requested to link with you and connect with you and once you approved me, I was able to see a portfolio of your work that you do offer outside of your normal services. And I really think that we complimented each other very well. The services you offer, I could tell you’re very passionate about it and it shows in your work.

Danielle: Thank you!

Tiffany: You’re welcome. Yeah, you’re really, really welcome because you’re good at what you do. And the things that you do, I felt as though, like you were saying earlier in our interview, just dealing with someone who knows what they’re doing. Who’s really strong, and at the time, I was — which I won’t go too much into our secret mission

[laughter]

I was looking for someone to assist with facilitating a project with me and you were strong in that category. So, after our initial meeting on LinkedIn, I asked you for a  cup of coffee — which, I was so shocked because I didn’t even know you didn’t like coffee. I just wanted to meet you, but you were such a nice person. You were like — I had a coffee. You had a hot cocoa. You had hot chocolate.

[laughter]

And it’s like from the moment we met, were just laughing all the way through. So, we had awesome chemistry. So I would have to say in summary, I stepped out on faith, I observed how we complimented each other and how we worked together, and finally after we met we just had great chemistry. So, I guess it was just meant to be.

Danielle: Right. And I would agree with everything that you were saying. That we were able to cross-promote each other. Even without that, you need somebody whether it’s in your industry, a similar industry or just a different type of entrepreneur. You need somebody in your corner or someone that can relate to some of the things you’re dealing with. And after doing our research on each other and meeting up, we were able to see that we could do that for each other. Even if it’s, “hey, what do you think about this idea” or “what do you think about that”. Or “how did you do this or that?” You need somebody in your corner that’s able to do that. And it’s not going to take anything away from what you’re doing. You’re just going to strengthen each other.

Tiffany: Yes, and since we both work virtually, I guess you can say we’re virtual co-workers.

[laughter]

What Work-Life Balance Really Means

Danielle: Yes, Exactly. Awesome. Now, and one of these — speaking of questions about how do you do it. You’re a student, a mother of a teenager, and you’re very active in your community and in your church. So, how do you manage all of that.

Tiffany: Well, you remember earlier when I was talking about coffee? [laughter]

Danielle: Yeah. [laughter]

Tiffany: That’s my secret weapon. [laughter] Coffee

Danielle: [laughter]

Tiffany: And honestly, I keep a calendar. I know that there’s supposed to be this mystic ora that I have about myself to make everyone think that I just have it so together. I want to pop that bubble, I want to break that glass ceiling, I want to break through that concrete wall and let you know there’s no such thing as a work-life balance. There just isn’t. What you do is put out the fire that’s burning the worst. And I can even make that sound better and say prioritize. Which is what my stagemate — on Nspire U, I shared the stage with Lashonda Holmes, and me a her were speaking. That was her response when we were initially speaking behind stage. So, it’s like, I may have to do something and I not going to come out of the house with my hair all pretty. I have to take care of my son when he calls me, so I’m going to put my hair back in a ponytail and I’m going to take care of him first. So, that’s how that response came up.

I prioritize and I take care of what situation needs to be handled. If that’s a client, I’m definitely going to take care of the client first. If you manage your time wisely and you handle your calendar with care, you can see where there’s a little bit of flexibility. And you can be very kind with yourself and don’t think that you have to be superwoman. Just use your calendar and if you can’t do something, learn how to say no and offer an alternative so you don’t feel guilty about it, if you can. So that’s my secret for staying in line as much as possible.

What about you, Danielle.

Danielle: Right. I just learned a few things from you, actually. [laughter] And, as a new mom, I’m learning everyday about what you said about putting out the fire that’s burning the worst because it is more of a juggling act as a new mom. After almost a year, I’m finally kind of — it’s finally kind of clicking and coming together. But like you said, there’s not such thing as the work-life balance. It’s a business lifestyle because it merges, it all comes together and mixes together.

I’m not as strong as you with the calendar, I will admit that. I do run off to-do lists, like as we were talking before recording, Evernote is one of my go-tos for writing notes and writing checklists. They have checklists that you can click and check off each box as you finish each task. And I do that, and I prioritize what’s most important at the top from the bottom. And whatever I don’t get to that day, it goes to the top of my list the next day.

Tiffany: You said Wunderlist, and I’m familiar with it, which I kind of told you that. I definitely  have to give it another try, but when I first looked at it. I mean, this is an awesome podcast because all of these free resources are coming out that people might not know about. Could you please make sure — could you spell Wunderlist so anyone trying to look up that app, they know how to find it?

Danielle: Well, actually I said Evernote.

Tiffany: Oh. Evernote. I’m thinking about Wunderlist.

[laughter]

Danielle: Well, that’s another one I may need to check out or might need to share too, but it’s E V E R N O T E. That’s evernote.com.

Tiffany: And then, Wunderlist, which is another good one is W U N D E R L I S T. I couldn’t find it initially. I spelled it with an O.

Danielle: Okay. Yeah. I was thinking O to.

Tiffany: Evernote.  I’m going to try it again though.

[laughter]

Danielle: But yeah. So, I’ve learned a lot and it’s encouraging to hear from other mompeneurs, whether they categorize themselves that way or not. But it’s encouraging to hear how they are doing things or just to hear “we’re with you we understand” how it is and how it goes.

Tiffany: Yes.

How to Work With Tiffany

Danielle: So, this has been awesome, and I’ve learned as well as I’m sure the audience has learned. And I hope you guys have found these little nuggets helpful. And if you have anymore questions for me or for Tiffany, feel free to press the voicemail button on this podcast and ask your questions and we will get back with you. And also, Tiffany share with them how they can reach you — how they can best reach you on social media and offline.

Tiffany: The best way to reach me on social media, there’s many platforms, but my favorite is Facebook. I’m not an Instagrammer.

Danielle: [laughter]

Tiffany: But anyway, [laughter]. It’s work W O R K with. I’m  sorry, working W O R K I N G with W I T H Tiffany T I F F A N Y. I gotta come up with a theme song for that because it’s so long, but I love it.

[laughter]

And just give me a call. I feel like with this technology world, so many people sending emails. Just pick up the phone and call me. My phone number is 251-215-9199, and I’ll do it again 251-215-9199. If I don’t answer, leave me a voicemail. I would love to connect with you.

Danielle: Awesome. Well, it’s been a pleasure and connect with Tiffany if you need her assistance. And as I always say to you guys, dream until your dreams come true.

Tiffany: [humming] [laughter] Thanks Danielle.

Danielle: [laughter] Thank you!

Danielle Towner | Entrepreneur + Digital Creative Resources

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