Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sara Lingenfelter, Founder of Virtual Biz Partner, located in Monett, MO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I went from being a Virtual Assistant to becoming a Certified Online Business Manager, and now a business mentor and systems guru. I do two things; I help 6-figure business owners to grow via my business strategy and management. Specifically, it's done through strategic support, process creation, implementation, and building a strong team! The other is I teach moms they really can work from home and have the flexibility desired for their family; it's how I first started! My Build Your Online Business VA Training is designed to help women learn the must-have basic skills to become successful VA and skip all the struggles when starting their own businesses.
Tell us about yourself
I never ever had plans to be an entrepreneur...but I had always dreamed of making a difference in other people's lives and having "more," even though I didn't know what that was! When I first started in 2011 as a virtual assistant as a way to make extra money, I had no clue what I had stumbled upon. I eventually learned there was an entire world online where I could create something amazing. And my family was my motivation behind it. At the time, we had three young kids, and I wanted to go to school parties, pick them up, be there for them, and make money. So that's what did and still does motivate me even though my family looks different. I am now divorced, and my son is 15 (then he was 3). I am motivated to show him whatever you want is possible! As a single mom of 7 years, I didn't let that limit me and every day tell him he really can do whatever he wants!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is launching my virtual assistant training (Build Your Online Business VA) so other moms can accomplish what I have. Two years after quitting my full-time job, my income was double that of my salary job. I didn't fully realize it until doing taxes. It was not about the money, but it was then that I realized I could help others do the same and created the first version of my training program.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing for me is saying no. I really do want to help people, but I can't say yes to everything; otherwise will accomplish nothing. Most entrepreneurs call it "shiny object syndrome," and it's always a process of saying no. Just because I can help someone doesn't mean I have to. And the online world never stops, which adds to that struggle. After 10+ years online, it was not until the last couple of months that I really began practicing assertive boundaries and saying no to anything that won't get me to my goals.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First, start it as a side hustle that will help to build your confidence.
Second, do NOT try to do it all. If you try to do everything, you will be an expert at nothing. Isn't there a quote like that? The way you stand out and succeed is by becoming an expert!
Third, you will fail but learn from it. Knowing this ahead of time, you can prepare yourself mentally. I have many failures, but I look at them, learn the lesson, and try again.
A bonus tip that I have to mention is, don't listen to others. What I mean is you will always have doubters, people that think you need a "real job" or don't understand online work; if it's what you want and dream of, do it anyways. You are not living their life!
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.