VA Spotlight: Lupita Santana
Ready to become a virtual assistant? Read on to be inspired!
For this month’s VA Spotlight, I decided to interview a gal that’s very dear to my heart.
Her name is Lupita Santana, and she used to work with me here at The Virtual Savvy. You’ve likely seen her hanging out in some of my favorite Facebook groups.
What most people DON’T know is that Lupita started out just like all of you.
She came into the VA world in August of 2016, without even knowing what a Virtual Assistant was! She became a student and quickly landed so many clients, she was able to quit her job in three weeks.
This girl is a rockstar and inspiration, so it’s my joy to interview her for this Spotlight.
Let’s jump in!
Lupita is a virtual assistant and website designer who lives in Santiago, Dominican Republic (aka paradise!). Check out her website here.
Oh… did I mention? She’s also the Trello Queen!
Lupita started her VA biz in August of 2016 when her son wasn’t even a month old.
She partners with female entrepreneurs to help them SKYROCKET their business growth. She takes projects off their hands and helps them focus on the tasks that will grow their business/blog.
She also has a Trello board for everything! This girl seriously loves anything having to do with planning and organizing.
I sat down with Lupita to ask her a few questions about her business, what made her get started, and how she finds clients.
This is what she had to say:
How did you find out about the virtual assistance world?
I had looked it up a while ago and thought “that will be nice one day”, but honestly the more I researched, I came to realize there really wasn’t much out there to show me how to really do it.
About a year and a half later, I wanted to quit my job SO badly. I had a new baby and wanted a way to make real money from home. I signed up for Upwork and started looking for jobs. I looked for clients every day.
You’ll never guess how much I was making. I still can’t believe it myself…
$4 per hour.
It was SO hard to find people that would pay me enough to actually pay the bills.
WOW! $4 per hour? That is insane! What made you realize that you could start your own VA biz instead (and charge more?)
I had just had my son and was having a lot of complications. I was working from home at a call center and doing Upwork jobs, but I was still tied to my desk for 8 hours straight (or more).
Due to my complications, I kept having to go to the Hospital and I even had to have surgery. The day of the surgery I remember asking God to give me a way to be there for my family and to help my husband with the bills (living abroad is not easy).
The day after my surgery I found the Virtual Savvies Facebook group.
I remember reading something you (Abbey) posted about being ok with everything not being ok as a working mom. You said that we didn’t have to work for someone else day in and day out. You said so much and it really spoke to me.
I remember I started crying because I just knew that this was the answer to my prayer.
What a powerful story! What has been the most challenging part of being a business owner?
Being vulnerable and showing up.
Being an entrepreneur means that you have to put yourself out there. People aren’t going to hire robots. You have to show your true colors.
There will be haters. There always is. It’s all about keeping your head up after those encounters. There were times I wanted to quit after someone would put me on blast for being a rookie. If it weren’t for my husband and his encouragement, I would have given up.
Also, I find myself having a hard time with time management. I tend to procrastinate a lot. But I’m trying this new thing where I prepare my to-do list the night before. When I wake up in the morning and am ready to work, I go to my computer, open my Trello board, see what’s next on the list, and get started. I don’t check Facebook or email until the times I have scheduled for them.
Trust me, you’re not the only one! I have set aside times where I check Facebook and Email during the day too. It’s such a time-sucker!
So, tell me – what do you love about being a business owner?
Do I have to pick just one!?
I loooove working for my clients. I am inspired by them every day. To see their passion for what they do makes me love what I do even more. My goal for 2017 is to meet more of them in person. I feel like they are more than just my clients. We’re partners in crime.
Being an entrepreneur is HARD work. Seriously.
But I’d rather work 80 hours a week for myself to avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else.
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I remember when I was younger, I would make crafts and walk around my neighborhood to sell them.
I would always be thinking of a way to make money and be the BOSS. It’s the best thing ever.
Oh Oh! One more thing I LOVE about entrepreneurship…
Being able to travel wherever and whenever. I’m actually sitting in a hotel room as we speak!
I’ve gotta know…. What have you found is the best technique for getting clients?
Facebook groups. Seriously. ALL of my clients are from Facebook groups.
I search for people looking for VA help every once in a while. Mostly though, I just show up every day. I found my core groups to “show up” in and I post throughout the day. I post a new branding board that I create or a victory that I had with a client. I share my life and my struggles. I just show up and share every day, and it gets noticed.
I don’t even do it to get clients half of the time. I do it because these groups are communities full of women and men going through what I go through. We encourage each other and lift each other up. It feels like family. Honestly, I wouldn’t have the courage to do half of what I do without these groups.
Is it weird that I have friends I have never met!?
Not weird at all! We were friends before we met.
It was like we knew each other forever when we met in person!
I totally agree! Tell me a little about your daily schedule, being a mom and entrepreneur?
I have a 6-month old son, so when he is awake my attention is on him. My husband also works from home, so we take turns taking care of him. One day he works all day and I only work when I get a chance, and vice versa. We also make it a priority to go to sleep together and spend time either reading the Bible or watching some Shark Tank or The Profit : )
In the beginning, I was working until 5 am every day and I realized that I went from being an entrepreneur to feeling like an employee again (and I hated it). I needed to take control of my schedule and set boundaries in my business. So I did, and things have been incredible ever since.
What is a big “win” you had recently in your business?
I ventured into the Website Design world and that part of it is growing so much. I can’t believe it. I’m learning a skill that I never knew I could do! It is humbling. If you would have asked me a year ago if I could have imagined my life the way it is now, I would have laughed. It’s surreal!
I do love your website girl! It looks LEGIT!
Thanks! I honestly put it off for a while because I wanted it to look AMAZING.
Any future plans?
Yes! I’m so excited for this next year in my business. Here are a few of my plans:
- Transition to Online Business Manager
- Start my blog
- Collaborate more
- Make 10k a month!
- Big Goal: Create a physical planner
- Position myself as a TRELLO EXPERT
- Grow my team
- Continue refining my skills in design
I want to venture into the OBM (online business manager) world. I’ve realized that I am more than just a VA to my clients. I am invested in their business just as I am into mine. My goal is for them to succeed and grow.
What advice would you give to other Virtual Assistants just starting out?
Get some clients before you get a website. Creating your website is a lot of work. There are plenty of ways to get clients without a website.
When I first started out, my niche and ideal client changed all the time. If I had a website before I started working with clients, I would have had to redo the content so many times!
When you are ready to make a website, make sure you put effort into it! If website design isn’t your thing, hire someone!
I completely agree! I love all this advice! Anything else you would like to add?
Please don’t sell yourself out. Believe in yourself! I recently met with a VA via Zoom and we talked for a while about how she was questioning if she was made for this or not. I told her what I tell myself and so many others:
“In order for others to believe in your business, you have to believe in it first.”
I told her to stop doubting herself.
Well, guess what?! She got a client the next day!
BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN DO IT!
Interested in starting your own virtual assistant business?
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