As more small businesses and entrepreneurs shift to providing their services digitally, and demand for Virtual Assistants has skyrocketed. With so many experienced individuals trying to shift their careers to meet this ongoing demand, it can be extremely difficult to stand out from the hundreds of VA’s out there. This is where Jessica Strieder comes in. Jessica is a well-established VA and Business Coach who has made it her goal to help like minded women create a career-path that enables them to live life on their own terms. She teaches new and established VA’s alike how to develop their services, connect with their audiences and scale their businesses, bringing them one step closer to the remote worker lifestyle many are now craving. We took the time to sit down with Jessica to pick her brain and learn more about this exciting emerging industry. 

Q: Thanks again for taking the time to do this with me. First things first – I am sure our readers would love to learn more about you. How did you get here? What experiences, failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?

Jessica: This is a great question. I spent the majority of my life in and out of college and living paycheck to paycheck. I just wasn’t the “get a degree and work for someone else making just enough to get by” kind of gal. I knew there was more out there. I got pregnant in early 2018. It was the most exciting news I’ve ever received. Sadly, when I was 6 months pregnant my dad passed away. He was my rock. That threw my life upside down and made me even more depressed and lost. I was working in HR when I finally made the decision to change my life. I was in my car on my lunch break crying my eyes out and missing my daughter. I knew I needed a change. That’s when I randomly stumbled across my first business coach on IG. I hired her on the spot and quit my job immediately. I knew I was going to make this work. Since starting my business it has NOT been easy. I have tried so many things that didn’t work, I had to overcome massive mindset troubles, and I had to work early mornings and late nights. I did all of this to change my life for myself and my family. I decided to start coaching because the journey that I went through was so transformational and life changing that I wanted more people to experience it. That’s where my coaching career began. I still face roadblocks and struggles but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am more present in my daughter’s life, I got married to her father in September, and I don’t have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck anymore. I’d say losing my dad and the birth of my daughter were the most pivotal times in my life where change occurred and my growth started.

Q: Just like the readers I am very curious – can you explain what exactly you do?

Jessica: Absolutely! I am a business coach specifically for aspiring VA’s. My “title” is Virtual Assistant Coach. I do coach established VA’s but my main focus is on new and upcoming VA’s. I teach them how to set a business plan for themselves, strategies to grow their brand and attract their ideal client, and how to use specific methods in their communication with their ideal clients.

Q: What do you think makes you stand out in the VA coaching industry? Can you share a story?

Jessica: I genuinely listen and I really care. I care for the results of my clients. I continue to support my “graduated” students as if they are still my current students. I design different types of programs for people in all stages of their business. I understand this is not a one size fits all industry, so I cater to everyone no matter where they are in their journey. I take my time to get to know my potential client before telling them about my programs. I want to make sure we are actually a good fit to work together. I also don’t want to offer them a program without understanding where they are in their business. Like I always say, I’m not in to make a quick buck, I’m truly trying to change people’s lives. From a young age I knew I wanted to grow up to help people. Not in a million years did I think this is how I would do it but I am so grateful this is my life.

Q: What are the key steps you have taken to grow your business? What advice do you have for others on how to take their businesses to the next level?

Jessica: One of the most important things I did to grow my business was investing in coaching. Knowledge is power. The more you know the better you can be. Investing into yourself and your business is huge but so is having the will to keep going. It’s so easy to get stuck in the Valley of Despair. This is when you start something and are so excited about it but you realize results don’t come that quickly so you give up. If you keep going and keep telling yourself you can make this happen, then you will. You need to push past the Valley of Despair and keep going through all of the roadblocks and struggles. Another huge aspect to the growth of my business was getting my mindset in check! I had a horrible mindset and struggled with imposter syndrome. I invested into a mindset mentor and it completely changed the game. The moment my mindset was in check my business took of REALLY fast! My advice to take your business to the next level is to have patience with yourself and show yourself grace. Nothing good comes easy. Starting a business is not easy but it is so worth it. Especially when you can push through, get to the other side and say, I MADE IT! This life is possible for anyone. 

Q: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started out?

Jessica: Since starting out I always wanted to be close to someone who was also doing what I was doing. I wanted to be similar to this person and be able to have business convos and talk about life with each other. I wanted to make a biz bestie so bad. Well I did, but it was such a coincidence how it happened. My biz bestie, Racks (shout out to you!), took the same coaching program I did when I was just starting out but she was in the round before mine. I knew of her, but I never reached out. She actually intimidated me quite a lot. We both turned into VA coaches after some time and hired the same business coach to continue our journey. We didn’t know it at the time. I was speaking to my business coach and I said, “I want to co-coach with someone who is in my niche that has experience and someone I can vibe with.” She immediately said, “What about Racks??” I remember thinking omg this is crazy she will never co-coach with me! I decided to give it a shot anyway. I messaged her and asked her if she had time for a quick chat. The rest was history. We are now EXTREMELY close and she is the most amazing person ever. Since that day I reached out we’ve spoken every single day and have worked on many things together. We are in the middle of starting a podcast together also. We were in each other’s reach for so long but never knew it. We had all of the same experiences with the same coaches and decided to pivot into VA coaching. Bizarre how the universe works!!

Q:  What are other sales, marketing and social media tips, strategies and tactics of value to fellow marketers and entrepreneurs?

Jessica: I think the most “cliche” or obvious things are the most valuable. People seem to look over them because they are so common. But having a specific lead generation strategy is important to find new clients. Properly engaging with people is also something that is extremely important for the growth of your business and building trust. ALWAYS put captions on your stories so people who aren’t hearing can still understand your message, or if someone is in a place where they can’t play sound they can still see what you’re saying. Be very sure of yourself and your offering. Do not let someone try to lower your prices. Know your worth and own it!

Q: What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a CEO” and why.

Jessica: Oh my. 1- success doesn’t happen overnight 2- you will have very late nights and feel a lot of emotions 3- how important it is to keep track of your business expenses and save percentages of your income for taxes 4- it is not easy 5- you will fail a lot. Like a lot. I wish I knew these things before becoming a CEO because you can see someone’s business from the outside and want every aspect of it. Money, freedom, happiness, ability to travel, etc. But no one tells you about what happens behind the scenes. There are a lot of tears, struggles, roadblocks, insecurities, and uncertainty. Knowing these things before I started would have set me up a bit better but would not have stopped me.

Q: In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their virtual assistant journey?

Jessica: Just remember, community over competition- always!