Quit Your Day Job Series: Angela Caliver

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Abbey Ashley

 

Today our spotlight is Angela, a SavvySystem student turned full time entrepreneur! She was able to put in her notice at her 9-5 and GO FOR IT! Angela, how long have you been a full time entrepreneur?

 

I left my corporate job July 7, 2023.

 

Congratulations! You have worked so hard to make this happen. Before we jump into the nitty gritty of your business, tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from, tell us about your family, what you like to do when you’re not working your business? 

 

My name is Angela, and I have the weirdest last name. People think it’s Cavalier but it’s actually Caliver! I am married to my husband and we will celebrate our five year wedding anniversary in August. Together, we have four adult daughters and two granddaughters. There are no boys, so we’re just hoping that at some point we will have a grandson. When I am not running my business, my grandbabies come over every Friday and they check into their recurring reservation at the Mimi and PawPaw Airbnb. They’re always spending the weekend with us! We love to spend time with our friends and family. My husband loves the New York Yankees, so any chance we get, we’re going to a game or we’re watching some sort of sporting event.

 

First of all, kudos to you for being an amazing Mimi and having your grandbabies over for the weekend. I think that is a beautiful way to love your girls well, and give them time for themselves and with their families. I also love that your husband is a baseball fan. Thank you for sharing a little bit more about yourself!

Tell us –  what did life look like before you quit your job? Or even before you were a virtual assistant at all, what did life look like? Tell us a little bit about that transition.

 

I have been an administrative assistant, executive assistant, program administrator – whatever title that you want to place on that role – my entire career, which is more than 25 years! I’ve only had two other jobs that weren’t admin related, and as you can see, I’ve always found my way back. I had been having tussles internally,  when I felt that I didn’t want to support anyone. But, that is the true nature of who I am, I’m always taking care of people. It’s the one thing that I do and I do well. The role that I had when I launched my business, an Operations Coordinator for the local transit authority here in Columbus [Ohio].  I handled the day-to-day operations as it relates to their transit operations system. The seed that was planted to enter into the virtual space came about during a time when I was working for a local non-profit organization. I was a Program Administrator. Prior to my departure, they asked me to stay on and support them virtually until they found a replacement. I worked a few hours every evening completing administrative tasks and reports. Once they hired the replacement, I spent a week training that person virtually via Zoom. It was then that I began to think that supporting someone virtually is the way to go. However, life happened, my husband and I moved into our forever home and the thought was put on the back burner. 

 

I think what’s so interesting with your story, specifically, is that sometimes seeds are planted, and we’re introduced to something, but it’s not time for it to be harvested. It’s so true, not just in our businesses, but across all spectrums of our lives. Sometimes we might meet the right person, or interact with somebody in a group or friend of a friend. We may hear about this new skill, or whatever, but it’s not time for us to act on that, or dig deeper and harvest. Sometimes life happens, but that seed has been planted for later on down the line. I love that that’s part of your story! 

 

Tell us about when you jumped into virtual assistance and started that journey.

You’re right…it was truly a planted seed. I began to see some of my entrepreneur friends make social media inquiries that they needed virtual assistance. I knew I could do the work, because it’s my job!! I made the decision instantly to figure out as much as I could about what it was going to take to be a virtual assistant. From that moment, every single day I was doing research. I was reading, I was watching videos and taking notes. I had a notebook of all the things that I wanted to do, all of the things that needed to be done. The moment that things took off was when I purchased the SavvySystem Virtual Assistance Course. To be honest, I was tired of going to different places online and not finding solid information. I could spend hours on YouTube and could watch ten minutes of the video only to realize that it’s just somebody doing a sales pitch. That’s ten minutes of my time that I could have been doing something else and actually getting some value There was another system that I was looking at outside of Savvy System that didn’t fit me personally. I joined the Virtual Savvies Facebook group and the genuine sense of community within the group and its admins. It was commonplace to see interactions on posts from anyone on The Virtual Savvy Team. That let me know your team was supportive of the community and wanted us all to win. When I purchased the course, I opted to study using the “retreat pace.” Because I had already completed a lot of the tasks prior to purchasing the course, I was able to complete the modules in a day and a half. I was engulfed in everything the system had to offer. 

 

The day that I decided to launch my business was on April 26, 2023 which was Administrative Professionals Day . My husband and I carpooled to go to work because we worked in close proximity to one another. We were on the highway and I said, I think I’m going to make a post to announce my business today! He looked at me, and said, why today? I said, it’s administrative professionals day. What better day? I got to work and created the post and added it to my Facebook and Instagram accounts. It was within minutes that I received an influx of accolades. From, “you’re perfect for this,” to “oh my gosh you’re going to be great at this.” It was at that moment that everything began to fall into place and it became added confirmation that I was doing the right thing and I’m in the right space. 

 

You are in the right space. And Angela, you were BOLD! Let’s go back to the seed analogy because it’s really good. You were watering those seeds, right? You were tending to it and taking care of it and learning more. And you knew when it was time to harvest. You knew when it was time to do that. And here at The Virtual Savvy, we want all of you to educate yourself and figure out what your next step is. You were doing that, you were taking the time to learn more, to research. And then when it was time you stepped out, you were bold and you put yourself out there and you received the love and encouragement that you deserve. 

 

You mentioned realizing that the tasks that you were doing were transferable to the online space. Can you elaborate? What are some of those skills and tasks that have transferred well into the virtual assistant space? I know many people are working their nine to five but I don’t know what they could do or what they could offer. 

 

For me, in all the years that I’ve been in the space of being an assistant, the role has morphed. In the beginning the skills that were required of you were answering phones, doing some filing, and calendar management. As time went on, and technology advanced, the admin role changed more into a coordinator, a project manager. I’ve been responsible for different types of initiatives. I’ve led teams on different projects. I’ve kept track of budgets, I’ve kept track of invoicing, and things of that nature. But, honestly, if you can maintain your own email, schedule time for yourself and a friend to catch up, those tasks can be considered a basic email and calendar management service option you can offer. Another important factor is making sure you are organized. Entrepreneurs know how to run their businesses very well, it’s the administrative side that they struggle with the most – making sure that they’re not double booked, making sure that they have logistically all of the things that they need. When I first started my business, I was having a conversation with one of my clients. She had been notorious for overbooking herself and not allowing enough time between speaking engagements to prepare for the next. This time, she had scheduled three speaking engagements within weeks of each other, and she didn’t have enough collateral to take to those meetings. She was panic stricken because there was no time to order everything necessary. We were able to place a few rush orders for collateral to resolve the situation, but this is a perfect example of how an assistant will be able to add value to their business. I think when people come into this space and think there is nothing they can do, but that is not true at all. There is more you can do than you think you can do.

 

There is more that you can do than you think you can do.Yes! One of our goals here at The Virtual Savvy is to help all of you to see the gifts, talents, and abilities that you have as an individual. It doesn’t matter what your past experience is, whether you’ve been in a high level corporate position or you’ve been a stay at home parent, or you’re fresh out of high school or college. You have unique gifts, talents, and abilities that can be put into a service-based business to support entrepreneurs. 

 

Angela, what were some of the frustrations that you experienced at the beginning of your journey? What were the things that you struggled with very early on?

 

The first one was fear. Because as a nine to fiver, we as humans are conditioned to think about the fact that in two weeks we’re going to get a paycheck. I go to work Monday through Friday, and in two weeks I get a paycheck and then two weeks later I get another paycheck. The fear set in and I had to change my mindset. When I bill my clients is when I am going to get paid. Just make sure you have all of your affairs in order before you take that leap. You have to get out of that mindset and think about why you’re doing this and who you’re doing it for. The second frustration for me was making sure that I had everything in order. For example, everyone talks about CRMs. I was petrified when it came to trying to make a decision on a CRM. I had to remind myself that I have been successful at keeping myself and records organized without using a CRM, so until you figure out what will be a better choice for you, then make that decision. I didn’t let it stress me out. There were so many other things that come to mind that are too many to name. You CAN service your clients without having a website, a CRM, or a Facebook Business page. Had I not adjusted my way of thinking I was going to drive myself crazy. I was the only one holding me back.

 

YES!! So, you started your business. How long was it before you got your first client? What did that look like for you?

 

I secured my first client a week after I had launched my business. Some background things started happening before I decided to launch, I had a close friend in my ear that would ask for REGULAR progress updates. Back then it was annoying, but now that I reflect on it, she had a plan. She was holding me accountable. She told me that she wanted to send my portfolio to two people, a photographer and an author. The author was experiencing a lot of growth in her business and she could really use an assistant. The portfolio was sent to my friend to make introductions. Meanwhile, I had decided to begin attending networking events with some of the local Chambers in my city to meet people and let them know what services I provided. One evening, I was scrolling Facebook and came upon a post from one of those chambers. I saw this beautiful woman, talking to this group of people and I thought, WOW she’s so pretty. She had on a beautiful yellow shirt and it was just gorgeous. I keep going and don’t think anything of it. A few days had passed and I am speaking to that same friend again and I ask who she sent my information to, and when she said her name I was SHOCKED!! The woman I had seen in that chamber post was the same person that my friend had sent my portfolio to. It was divine intervention and no one can tell me differently. She reached out and we scheduled a discovery call and we started working with one another a week later and we celebrated our one year anniversary of working together at the beginning of May 2024.

 

How long have you been in business? 

 

Since April 26, 2023!

 

Something I heard you say is you didn’t do this alone! Others can help encourage you. They can help push you, give you critique, give you encouragement. Another thing I heard you say, is how you tapped into the resources that you have available to you locally. Whether it be citywide, statewide, even nationally. There are so many entrepreneurial small business resources out there. Sometimes we get trapped in this online virtual bubble and we don’t see the opportunities that are right in our own neighborhoods. Pay attention, don’t go it alone and look for those resources that are available. 

 

How have you seen yourself grow as an individual since you started your business?

 

I’m more confident about all of the things that I’m doing. I can say that I am a business owner and I can say confidently that I am here to provide executive virtual assistance to solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, Executive Directors, CEOs. 

 

What are some of the things that got you to that point? Because that’s huge to be able to say that you can step into those roles and step into your business ownership with confidence!

 

The main thing that really got me to that point was the fact that I’ve been paid a salary to do that same thing. So what is the difference? Is there really a difference? No, there isn’t. So if you go to a job and you are having an interview with, you know, whomever that you’re supposed to be there supporting, doing the work fo – they have the confidence in you based on your resume of skills that you’re able to perform, that you can do this job and they’re going to give you this salary. It’s the same thing! The only way that I’ve received my clients so far is by referral word of mouth and that’s huge, that’s all I can go off of. That just speaks to the fact that I’ve done the necessary relationship building that I needed to do in order to get me into this position so that my work speaks for itself and the people that I know are placing my name in rooms where I’m not. And you know, I’m not going into this space wanting to build an agency and do all of these things. All of my clients are local, and to be able to provide that quality support to them has been the thing that means the most. 

 

Yes! You are exhibiting what we teach. Once you get over that first client hump and you’re serving your clients well, the best way that you’re going to get new clients is referrals. If you can get out there, be bold, build connections and network, then your name can be brought up and mentioned in rooms that you’re not in. Yes!!!

 

What does life look like now? We know you’ve done the 9-5, but how have things changed? Describe that for us.

 

When I first started, I was trying to juggle working and running my business. It was hard making sure I could get my work done as well as get the work done for my clients and how I was going to complete the tasks when needed. When I left that weight and burden was lifted. Now, I can get up when my husband leaves for work and take a morning walk, or go down to the basement and workout in our home gym. Or, I can stay in bed until it’s time for me to start work. Those days are my favorite!! Life is a lot different and I love it here. After my first few weeks of being home full time, my oldest daughter needed me to take my oldest granddaughter to dance camp every day. I was able to do that because of the flexibility that I have created for myself and my family. Those are the things that you’re just able to do when you are bold and you are living your life in the truth that you want to portray. What’s crazy is I never had being an entrepreneur on my life’s bingo card. I thought I was going to work, work, work, work, work and then retire, but things happen and things get planted in your spirit. I never imagined that I would be here, in this space, at this moment, doing this thing as an entrepreneur. Never. 

 

I love that you have clarity in who you are and your role as mom, and Mimi, and business owner – and you’re not ashamed of that. And, you know the path you want to go! Are there going to be twists and turns and pivots and unexpected things that happen along the way? Yes. But being confident in who you are is only going to help you. 

 

 

What is one piece of advice, Angela, that you would give to those in our audience that are new and just kind of exploring this idea of virtual assistance? Or maybe they’ve just gotten started. What is one piece of advice you would give them?

 

I shared it before and I’ll share it again. You don’t have to have all of the systems in place for you to start your business.The systems that you have in place are right there with you. I was working with one of my clients who was interested in using a CRM for her business. I had shared that I had begun working with Honeybook a few weeks prior and felt that it would be perfect for her and what goals she has for her business. We were in a virtual meeting with her tech team and she called me the expert!!! I was shocked, but said, I’ll take that compliment. It’s been almost a year since she started working with HoneyBook and it has been a game changer for her business. 

 

And why do they see you as the expert? Because you positioned yourself as one who knows. Want to know a secret? You don’t have to know all the things. You just have to know more than they know to be able to serve them well!

 

Yes! And, if you don’t know all the answers, you have to be able to confidently say, I might not know the answer, but I know where to get it. That’s one of the things that sets you aside from others. You might not know the answer, but you know how to get the answer. You can do the necessary research. So, don’t feel like you have to have all of the things to get started.

So, so good. Okay, let’s switch the question up a little bit. What if you could rewind time to before you officially launched your business. What is one piece of advice that you would have given yourself back then?

 

That I didn’t need all of the things!  I was doing the MOST. I had a binder, with blog posts I had printed, notes I had written. You name it, I had it. I killed probably about 20 trees, trying to get all of this information that I thought I needed to get my business up and running! I was literally driving myself crazy. I had list after list after list and book after book. It was crazy. It was insane. That’s the only thing I would’ve told myself – GIRL, calm down! I keep going back to the CRM issue, because it really kept haunting me that I wasn’t going to be a good business owner if I didn’t have one. With all of the things that I can do in excel, I knew that all I needed was a basic spreadsheet to organize my information and I was fine. Now that I am over a year into my business, I don’t even use a CRM because I don’t offer a service that has clients cycling in and out of my business like most VAs use who may do social media management or systems set up. 

 

I love what you just did, fighting the lies of Imposter Syndrome, with truth. Do you need to know all the things about Excel and have a certificate that says you are the expert of experts? No. Do you want to continue to grow, to continue to learn formulas and how to set up different spreadsheets? Yes. However, you know and have worked in Excel long enough to be able to execute it. 

 

When those lies come up and you’re thinking, I can’t do this, or I am not good enough to do this, you stop in that moment and you speak truth to yourself. If you are one that struggles a lot with imposter syndrome or with listening to those lies and giving them space in your mind, write truth down and post it somewhere where you can see it all the time so that you can constantly remind yourself of who you are and the amazing and unique gifts, talents, and abilities that you have that nobody else has. That’s why this virtual assistant business gig is so cool – because you get to build a business around YOU. You get to embrace yourself and you get to serve others with what you have been given. 

 

Let’s back up a bit. Angela, you mentioned making that first portfolio. Can you give some insight as to how you created yours starting out? What to include, what not to include? What did yours look like?

 

I focused on what I called a three tiered focused approach. The tiers are customer support, information support, and organization support. In those areas, I listed all of the tasks that I could complete in those areas of focus. I didn’t focus on showing examples of my work, because I wasn’t offering services related to social media management or graphic design. I focused on what I knew how to do and what I knew how to do very well. When I first started my business, I offered hourly service packages and I was providing too many servic

es and wasn’t getting paid enough money, which then led to scope creep, which is an even bigger issue. So I made an adjustment and moved to monthly retainer packages. In those service options, I have certain tasks that are performed within each price range and it has made life much easier.  When you have this approach to your service offerings, you can go in to a discovery call with confidence that you can provide the services that are needed. Everyone’s portfolio isn’t going to look the same, especially if your niche is different than someone else’s. I would suggest if you are looking for examples, to make sure that you are comparing it to someone who offers some of the same if not all of the services you would like to offer for your business. 

 

Oh, that’s so good. And, the template that we give you here at The Virtual Savvy when you purchase some of our products, it’s adaptable. We want you to make it your own, but we include some key elements, and we give you examples to fill in and or delete if you don’t need them. You want your portfolio to represent you and your business in a professional way. Another thing to remember starting out, is that character references speak volumes and can sometimes be more powerful than regular testimonials.

Yes. You’re going to find your clients. You can have the most beautiful website. You can have the best LinkedIn profiles and Facebook pages, but your greatest clients are going to come from referrals! Every client with the exception of two, who I found on Job Opps on the Virtual Savvy Group have come from referrals. Those clients have been the best relationships I have ever had. I’m gonna die on this hill! Referrals are important, networking is important. The people that you talk to every single day and the people you work with are going to be the ones who are going to mention your name when you are not present. 

Wow, yes! You’ve given us so many golden nuggets. If we could put them all into one simple tip, trick, or thought – it is to be bold. Put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to talk about your business because when you do, your name is going to be brought up. Your systems may not be perfect and all your ducks may not be in a row. But, be bold and put yourself out there and learn and grow and figure out the systems that are gonna work best for you. Angela, you are so amazing! Thank you for sharing your story.

 

AbbeyAshley3-21Print-5033

Meet Abbey

Abbey Ashley is the Founder of The Virtual Savvy. She helps aspiring virtual assistants launch and grow their own at-home business from scratch. She's since gone on to grow a multi-six figure business and retire her husband ALL from her at-home business. It's now her passion to help others start their own VA business so they can taste the freedom and flexibility of entrepreneurship as well.

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2 Comments

  1. Dana M. Anderson on June 27, 2024 at 5:21 pm

    How awesome it was to see Angela in the VA Spotlight!

    Before she joined the Savvy Circle, she invited me to an Accountability Group, and I immediately fell in awe of her. Our backgrounds are similar, and I’ve experienced the same apprehensions. I was not surprised when she announced she was preparing to BE BOLD. I knew she would do it, and she did. She doesn’t know what an inspiration she is for me.

    I still contact her for advice and affirmation, and she always has time to listen and offer words of wisdom.

    I’m so excited for her future.

    • Jaime Nickerson on June 28, 2024 at 7:11 am

      What a beautiful message! Angela is as amazing as you say. Thank you so much for sharing and best of luck in your own venture! – Team TVS

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  Today our spotlight is Angela, a SavvySystem student turned full time entrepreneur! She was able to put in her notice at her 9-5 and GO FOR IT! Angela, how long have you been a full time entrepreneur?   I left my corporate job July 7, 2023.   Congratulations! You have worked so hard to…

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