What do you do: 

Elite Virtual Assistants is a virtual assistant agency offering boutique administrative and digital marketing services that support attorneys, busy professionals and small businesses in Cleveland, Ohio and throughout the US. We provide a cost-effective, efficient, dependable and professional staffing solution to our valued clients.

What inspired you to start your business?: 

After leaving the corporate world back in 1997 to be home with my daughter after she was born, I started to work as a virtual assistant (before it was even a word) and continued that for 18 years. In 2015, my kids were older and I was ready to take my skills and knowledge to the next level by opening The Elite Virtual Assistants Agency. I was on a mission to help other women fulfill their dream of getting out of the 9-5, having a more flexible schedule for their family, and still be able to keep their skills sharp and contribute financially to their families.

What's special about your business?: 

We Foster our core value of empowering people to live a happy life that is rewarding both personally and professionally. We have developed systems over the years to set both our clients and virtual assistants up for success from day one from our unique onboarding process to tailored follow up and check-in process. We never stop working on improving the client and virtual assistant relationship for effectiveness and efficiency.

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner?: 

There have definitely been more high than low points in my business, for which I'm truly grateful. Going from the "idea" stage to continually growing every year and navigating the business world has truly been a high. I've learned so much and met so many amazing people along the way, and know there is still so much out there for me to learn to continue to grow. The gratification of helping hundreds of business owners and virtual assistants over these last 5 years has probably been the biggest high yet. Hearing how we've not only helped businesses grow but also how we've helped the women who work as our virtual assistants live their dream of being home with their families while still being able to work makes all the work to run the agency 100% worth it. There's always going to be low points in business, ours has really only come from working with unethical people (which doesn't happen often, but has happened on a few occassions) and the COVID-19 pandemic that hit earlier this year which was our first major downturn we've had since we opened our doors. I'm fortunate and grateful to say that we've bounced back, but that was a very scary and uncertain time for not just me, but our world. Owning a business and being an entrepreneur is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, twists and turns. You have to expect it and be willing to ride it out to continue to learn and grow.

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner?: 

I've learned that everything can change on a dime and you have to be prepared mentally and financially to weather the ups and downs of business. Planning is essential for continued growth. You can never let your guard down or let things get "stagnate". You must always be learning and working to improve your systems and processes. Being a good leader is also key, as your company grows, to be able to find and retain amazing talent.

What is your relationship with SCORE?: 
SCORE client
How SCORE Helped: 

Mark has been amazing. I initially sought out a mentor when COVID-19 hit and I needed someone to talk to, bounce ideas off of, and help me develop ideas to generate new business. Mark always has great insight, has gone above and beyond with finding new information to share, pointing out new opportunities for me to explore and helping me find answers to see if a direction I wanted to go was viable. He's ultra-responsive and our meetings helped keep me accountable. We always laid out a plan of action during our calls and he would follow up with bullet points on what we discussed and what my actions steps were which has helped me stay on track and bring my business back to where it was before the pandemic hit.

What's Great About My Mentor?: 

Mark's organization and follow up helped keep me on track, and his continual efforts to share relevant information to what we were working on together was invaluable!

What advice whould you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?: 

Don't overthink it! So many people have great ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit, but stop themselves because they're afraid to fail. Failing is part of business. The more you fail, the more you learn, it's that simple. It takes hard work, a passion for what you do, and the drive to do it. Like anything else, you'll get out of it what you put into it. Just do it. You have to have an "I can do it" mentality, always.

Empowering Women To Be Successful Personally & Professionally

My Mentors