Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Melissa Clarke, Founder of MC Virtual Assistants, located in River Vale, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
MC Virtual Assistants is a boutique Virtual Assistant agency solely supporting Interior Designers with their administrative and operational needs. We are a team of VAs who provide virtual support for the day-to-day administrative tasks within our client's businesses, such as procurement, tracking, and operations.
Tell us about yourself
I'm originally from the UK but relocated to the US 5 years ago (via Shanghai!) due to my husband's career (he works in the automotive industry). I left my career in Advertising behind when we moved to China, where I had our (now 6-year-old) daughter. Upon moving to the US, I was ready to return to work, so I spent a couple of years with another Virtual Assistant Agency. I took a break to have my twin boys and decided to go solo once they were born (and after COVID). I went back to work virtually for a couple of my previous clients who were Interior Designers, and the referrals grew from there! I am truly passionate about this industry and supporting designers to help them grow their businesses. I love having the flexibility to build my business at home with the children while they are young - it also allows me financially to get back home to the UK to visit family once a year!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We have grown quickly in a short space of time - it was my husband who encouraged me to take the next step for growth by investing in a sponsorship collaboration and taking on more team members, and I can't thank him enough. We have gone from a team of 5 to 15 in the last year and tripled our client roster. It's an achievement every day to see how we support other creative entrepreneurs in their businesses!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Knowing when to switch off - being virtual, I could work 24/7 if I weren't careful. You have to be passionate about what you do, as putting in the extra hours in the evenings and weekends is all down to you - no one is telling you to do it!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Believe in yourself - you are your biggest cheerleader!
- Be ready for hard work. Anything worth having never comes easily - otherwise, everyone would do it! Being an ex-pat and living abroad is hard at times, but it's the best thing we ever did - sometimes, you have to take the leap into the unknown to see what is waiting!
- 'Rome wasn't built in a day' - it may take many months, even years, before you start to see a reward. If you are passionate about what you do, then it won't feel like going to work - for me, I love what I do every day!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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