Black History Month & Virtual Assistants – Celebrating Erica Landry
During Black History Month, the Association of Virtual Assistants is proud to celebrate Erica Landry.
Each Association of Virtual Assistants member is making history and setting a new path for their lives and the lives of their families. This month’s blog series is dedicated to our African-American members and future members.
Members aren’t only celebrated for their accomplishments. They are celebrated for their spirit, positive attitude, and the courage to follow their dreams.
In this interview with Erica, you will be inspired by an aspiring career VA who is making it happen!
Q. Please share some of your background so our readers can get to know you better.
I was born and raised in beautiful southern California; I’m a proud dog mom to loud barking, no-bite small Chihuahua/ terrier named Jhoy. I enjoy personal development in my free time. I’m always looking to learn a new skill; I have enrolled in a Project Management program this spring; I’m super excited about this course. I will get to learn more about managing projects. When I first started taking college courses I was a music major. I have a strong love for music and I use it to help me to reset and balance those tough days.
I started working in retail 13 years ago. I held different jobs from Customer Service Supervisor to Store Manager. After retail, I decided to change my career path and go into the Social Services industry. I’m the right hand to the Director and Senior Director in my current role as Program Specialist. I handle all admin related tasks such as housing coordination, client care issues, and managing other admin staff.
Leadership has taught me to be an effective leader and a good listener, while social services has taught me to be empathic and kind.
I will be transitioning into starting my own VA business full-time by the end of 2022. I have always wanted to start a small business. I look forward to being able to help businesses clean up and maintain the admin side of their business, so they can focus on the growth of their business. I have always been a big supporter of small businesses because I feel it helps to grow our communities.
Q. Why is Black History Month important to you?
There are so many amazing people in history who have achieved great things. It’s important to look at the people who came before you and acknowledge their accomplishments like Angela Davis, James Brown and Ella Baker, etc. If it wasn’t for their hard work and determination, where would we be? It means so much to me to be able to listen and learn. I’m grateful for it all and I’m proud to be African American.
Q. How are you celebrating Black History Month?
I will be celebrating by spending time with my family, sharing memories, and cooking. There are two documentaries about Maya Angelou and Sidney Poitier that will be coming out in February that I would like to see.
Q. What or who inspired you to become a Virtual Assistant?
I have always wanted to run my own business. My parents are my inspiration. My mother has been an administrator for over a decade. She provides excellent service and has so many different skills. My father ran his own construction company for 15 years. I don’t remember him taking a day off. He believed in himself and the services that he offered. It wasn’t always easy, but he always had a positive attitude. I can feel the same way about myself. His spirit shines down on me every day. I know that I can do this.
Q. What steps did you take to start your business?
I started with the network of people I know like co-workers, old bosses, and colleagues by reaching out and checking in. I have been able to connect with so many people from the past. I’m currently working on updating my social media, so I can start posting content about my business and what services I offer.
Q. What has been your best strategy for getting clients?
I just started telling people what I do and how I can help them get their businesses organized. I have been able to do some freelance projects, file management, and work with a private practice.
Q. Tell us about your services and what kinds of clients you enjoy working with.
I’m a general Virtual Assistant. I work with solo professionals and small business owners. I enjoy working on projects and cleaning up hot mess businesses, so they can operate successfully. Some of the services I offer are expense reporting, invoicing, and budget management. I would like to start working with content creators like Bloggers, videographers, and Podcasters. I enjoy podcasts and I listen to them every day. This would be my dream client for me.
Q. When it comes to the VA industry, do you feel you are provided the same opportunities as others? Why or why not?
I can’t say because I’m new to the industry. I will say being an African American woman your opportunities come in different ways. It isn’t always easy and sometimes you do have to work a little harder, nevertheless, this is a huge world with a numerous amount of people in it. My opportunities are going to come because I believe in myself, and my ability to let my work speak for itself.
Q. What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
I would say getting started and not being a perfectionist. I have spent the last few months overthinking the process. I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to look unprepared, but life doesn’t always work that way. I made myself a promise that this year I will commit to starting my VA business. I’m in the process of doing that.
Q. How has the AVA made you feel welcome or how did you know you belong and are valued in the AVA?
Joining the AVA is one of the best decisions I made in 2021. It’s helped me believe I can do this and be successful. I enjoy the monthly trainings, resources, and the support I have received. I know I’m valued because I feel comfortable asking questions and learning from those around me. I feel like I’m a part of an Association that has helped so many women be successful.
Q. How do you want to be remembered in history?
I would like to be remembered as a resilient, fearless, hardworking woman. A God-fearing woman who was persistent and driven to succeed no matter what. A person who did things with integrity and treated all people with respect and kindness. Someone who helped people, and not for personal gain. I want women to feel empowered. I want women to know they can do anything that their heart desires and be successful.
You can connect with Erica on LinkedIn
No matter where you are on your VA journey. No matter who you are, you matter. We see you. We hear you. We value you. You are an important part of history and crucial to future success.
Want to be celebrated by the Association of Virtual Assistants? Join the waiting list and be notified when we reopen membership again.