Celebrating Mompreneurs: An Unlikely Mompreneur

Celebrating Mompreneurs

In this month’s blog series, we are celebrating mompreneurs. There was once a time when you wouldn’t dare mention you were a mom because you might not get hired. Or if your work performance was ever in question it could be blamed on being a mom. Moms just couldn’t seem to win or get ahead. Now being a mompreneur has become a bold statement and an ever bolder way of running a successful business!

We are featuring Founder & CEO of the AVA, Melissa Smith

Melissa Smith is also the Founder & CEO of The PVA (The Personal Virtual Assistant), a firm that matches clients with the right virtual assistants.

Melissa is also the best-selling author of two books, Hire The Right Virtual Assistant: How the Right VA Will Make Your Life Easier, Create Time, and Make You More Money and Become a Successful Virtual Assistant: Learn the Business Side & Ditch 9 to 5 which is an integral part of the College of Western Idaho Administrative Specialist Program curriculum. Additionally, she mentors for Remote-how Academy, the first global, online education and individual certification program about remote work and is a passionate teacher and consultant for those looking to grow their business remotely. 

In 2013, Melissa began working remotely, and in 2017, became location independent. This transition gave her a newfound sense of freedom, affording her the opportunity to travel to 16 countries in 12 months, all while running a successful virtual business.

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When did you first hear the term mompreneur? Did you immediately feel as though you were part of a like-minded community?

I can’t remember when I first heard the term, but I believe it was in 2016 when I was interviewing VAs for a client. 

I actually didn’t resonate with the term at all because everyone I met, the articles I read, and the lifestyle seemed to be geared towards moms with young children. My children were post-high school by the time I even heard the term. Honestly, I didn’t know if I could be in the same group with these women because I wasn’t confident that I could run a business with the daily duties that come with being a mom to small children and running a business. I was in complete awe.

What was the first thing you did or the first time you realized you were an entrepreneur/mompreneur?

I had always said I would never own a business. When I first started my business I didn’t feel like an entrepreneur or mompreneur. I felt like a failure. Running a business was completely foreign to me. I might be what you call an “unlikely mompreneur”. Unlikely because my business wasn’t started to make tons of money or because I wanted to be on stage, let alone travel the world. I started my business naively, without a business plan, but knowing it was what I needed to do for my family.

The first time I felt entrepreneurial is when I realized people wanted to give me money and I went after it. It was late 2016 and I was getting ready to travel the world. When I made the announcement I had a few people ask if I was being sponsored and that they would be willing to sponsor me. I was completely floored. I had just a few weeks before leaving the country. I put together a formal campaign, put a survey out to my target audience, and ended up raising over $25k. 

The first time I felt like a mompreneur is when my children started sharing my work on social media. My business and work decisions always have them in mind. I forget that even they are grown they are still learning from me. I continue to have an opportunity to set an example for them.

What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about mompreneurs?

I think a misconception is that we’re all pink, roses, and baking cookies. You can be a mompreneur and a Fortune 100 executive coach. A mompreneur can be anything she wants. Including a virtual assistant.

A mom’s purse (handbag or backpack) is usually a treasure trove of whatever could possibly be needed. What are a few items you always keep stocked in your purse?

My purse definitely reveals I’m a mom, even though I rarely travel with my own grown children let alone small children. Being a mom and a career assistant it’s all about being prepared for anything. A few mom essentials are tissue, hand wipes, toilet seat covers, dental floss, and band-aids.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. When did you hire your first virtual assistant?

I couldn’t wait to hire my first VA! I can’t stand bookkeeping so that was the first hire I made. I was probably six to nine months in business at the time. 

What advice would you give to someone who thinks they are not quite ready to hire a VA yet?

You’re missing out! 

No one has ever told me that they wished they had waited before they hired their VA. Just the opposite. When I match clients to virtual assistants I conduct reference checks and one of the common responses to the question, “Is there anything else you’d like to share?” is, I wished I would have hired “Jane” sooner! 

What’s the one thing that you could never go back to doing after hiring a VA?

Bookkeeping for sure. Anything technical. I never really did anything technical to begin with but the thought of watching how-to videos and reading instructions when there was someone out there who already knew what they were doing AND could do it far better than me seemed like a huge waste of time for me. I was right! 

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a mompreneur? OR, if you could go back and tell yourself one thing when you first started your career, what would it be?

You can totally do this! If I can do this anyone can do this.

What’s it like to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mompreneur?

It’s surreal. When my kids were growing up I was an executive assistant. Now I’m an entrepreneur, founder, CEO, and author. My children have always been wonderful but to have them celebrate me as their mom and celebrate me for being an entrepreneur and the lessons I have taught them is overwhelming.

A few weeks ago I was asked to do a webinar for leaders in the sales industry. My son and his boss were on the call. It was the most nervous I have ever been. I wanted to make my son proud. After the webinar, I turned my phone back on and my son was the first to message me and to share how great I did. I cried. 

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I live on LinkedIn. I can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thank you so much for celebrating mompreneurs with us!

The Association of Virtual Assistants is your like-minded community. 

We see you. We hear you. We value you. 

Join the AVA and let us celebrate, support, encourage, and mentor you in your virtual assistant business.