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Startup Corner: Abbey Ashley, The Virtual Savvy

Springfield’s startup community is here. Take the pulse.

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Minimally viable product …
I teach aspiring virtual assistants how to launch their business from scratch using my signature online virtual assistant training program.

Problem solving …
The majority of my students are stay-at-home moms or women wanting to transition out of their current career. They are skilled, many have degrees even – but they don’t know how to work for themselves. My course teaches them how to start offering virtual assistant services to other small-business owners, so they can work on their own time with the skills they already have.

Seed money …
The Virtual Savvy is a now multi-six-figure company that was completely bootstrapped. I started off by offering virtual assistant services myself back in 2013 and started teaching others how to do the same in 2016.

Hurdles overcome …
The largest hurdles I’ve had to overcome have been working as a “solopreneur” while also being a wife and mom. Family/life balance isn’t easy for any entrepreneur. Since I’ve started my business, we’ve had sickness, job loss, death in the family and have moved to three different states. Life continues to move forward, but I’m so thankful for a flexible and remote business that can work with me throughout life’s obstacles.

Next phase …
In the coming years, I would like to create an online marketplace for clients and virtual assistants to connect, hire and delegate projects.

Pivot …
Changing from offering services to selling a digital product was a big shift, that took a few years to accomplish. As I built my service business, I also started compiling an email list. I had grand aspirations to build an online course about business branding and even spent three months creating one – that no one purchased. I was devastated, but knew I had to continue pushing forward. I eventually launched another course that was a success, and that course is now the largest source of revenue for my company.

Biggest mistake …
One of the biggest reasons I believe the business has been successful is that I’ve really just focused on one thing to teach to one audience. I tried to speak to everyone instead of defining a niche and target market.

Best advice …
Build an email list. You can have a huge social following on someone else’s platform but that can be taken away at any moment. Building an email list ensures that you have an audience you can tap into at any time for market research, feedback or to run sales promotions.

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