Student Success Story: Rachel Severns

Student Success Stories_Rachel Severns

Today we have another post in the Student Success Stories series. 

Why are we doing this? Glad you asked!

It’s because we want to feature people who took the 30 Days or Less courses and actually got serious about working on their freelance career. Every story in the series is a little bit different from the others. That’s because they’re real journeys, and everyone is on a different path.

This week we’re featuring Rachel Severns, a virtual assistant and email manager extraordinaire. We’ve had Rachel guest post on Horkey HandBook before, and her tips about managing emails actually landed her another VA client. Yup, one of her current clients found her – and contacted her – through a guest post on this blog.

Here’s Rachel’s success story!

Name: Rachel Severns

Website: Virtually Done by Rachel

Course enrollment date: August 2016

Started business in: October 2016

Got first client on: October 24, 2016

Hours working per week: 10-15

Top niches: Business owners and entrepreneurs who have had some success but now feel they are struggling as a result. These entrepreneurs are usually solopreneurs who can no longer manage everything on their own. My passion lies in helping people bridge the gap between struggling success and their vision of ongoing success.

Hi, Rachel! Tell us a bit about yourself.

In my teens and twenties I traveled all over the world and couldn’t get enough. In my mid-twenties, I married a military man and we “settled down” which actually only meant we slowed down on the traveling abroad.

We have been lucky enough to live and travel all over the United States because the military never seems to move us short distances.

During those years, I worked as a bank teller in a credit union, mortgage processor through the low real estate rate boom of the early 2000s and an assistant in a financial advisor’s office. I learned a lot about the professional world – things I liked and didn’t like so much.

We now have 3 kids (11, 10 and 9 years old). We are busy with school, sports and church activities! As a family, we love being outside, whether it’s hiking, fishing, gardening and resting or traveling – both near and far and generally enjoying the environment and culture around us.

Tell us a little bit about your business.

Virtually Done is a place I hope entrepreneurs and business owners can come to find relief for the weight of their success. Too many times I’ve seen success bog down a business.

Entrepreneurs can’t recover because they are unaware of the help one single VA can offer.

My goal is to offer outstanding value for the investment made by each of my clients.

My vision is that my business will thrive by helping other businesses bridge the gap between struggling success and ongoing success. Daily tasks have a way of weighing a business down; the urgent things are not usually the vital things in accommodating the success (and money making) of a business.

I have the skills to alleviate this burden from a biz so that it can get off the ground and soar!

How did you decide to start freelancing as a virtual assistant?

My youngest went to school three years ago and since, I’ve had this nagging thought about what I was going to do. That didn’t necessarily mean ‘go back to work’ but I knew I had experience and skills that could be used and were probably needed.

Since my husband is in the military and has an unpredictable schedule, I knew I couldn’t go to corporate America to find a job, nor did I want to. So I sort of just hung out being a wife and mom for those few years wondering what I should do.

I knew that I had skills that were needed and I love helping people. Now I GET to go to work every day and I LOVE working with the clients I have.

I am very fortunate that I do not need to provide financially or beneficially (health care) for my family because my husband’s career takes care of us.

However, we bought a house in Alaska and plan to stay here.

There are many home improvement projects around our house and property. Anyone who has done home improvement of any kind knows you need a chunk of change for each project! We have decided that my income will fund the home improvement. The rate that I earn at is the rate we’ll improve – it’s a great motivator! This enables us to maintain our previous lifestyle of travel, which our family loves.

How did you find 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success?

My dad and I have always had an ongoing conversation about ‘if only we could work from home and ACTUALLY make a living’.

Last May, he sent me a link to this post from Horkey Handbook, Everything You Need to Know about Becoming a Virtual Assistant – I have no idea where he found it.

At that moment, we were preparing for a move from Washington DC to Alaska, so I filed the email and thought “hopefully I’ll remember to check this out on the long drive.” Then I put it out of my mind.

I now know that it was meant to be, but at the time I wondered if it was because I did remember along the drive to check it out. It seemed promising, but I knew I couldn’t start until we were no longer homeless. 😉 One more tally in the ‘meant to be’ column came when I couldn’t stop thinking about it and before we even moved into our house I began the course.

What was your biggest concern before you started your business?

I was concerned that my skills were SO dated that nobody would be willing to give me a shot.

I had stopped working just before our first child was born. The way the business world functioned in 2016 was waaaay different than it was in 2005!!

How quickly did you get your course investment back?

The first month!

What was the most challenging part about starting your business?

Pacing myself. I made myself do each action step as I progressed through the course. I REALLY wanted this to work, so I challenged myself to do the work.

How did you overcome that?

Every time I wanted to jump over the action step and keep reading the course material I asked myself if I wanted to simply finish the course or actually have something to show at the end of it. Luckily this helped me slow down.

What had been your biggest success since you’ve started?

My second client needed email management in a big bad way. She had 20 thousand emails that needed sorted and filed before I could even dream of “managing” her inbox. It took several steps and a month, but it got done. She was thrilled and I was proud! You can read about it how I manage email as a virtual assistant in this post.

Since then, I have gained two more clients in an unbelievable way.

You hear about successful cold pitching, but you don’t think it will happen to you.

First, I found a woman with a product I was interested in. So as I became familiar with it, I realized she needed proofreading and editing help. I sent her an email, just like Gina taught us, and pointed her to my Work with Me page. She emailed back asking for a phone interview and away we went. To date, she is my highest paying client and she continues to give me more work to do!

The most recent new client googled for email management help, found the post I wrote for Horkey HandBook, emailed me and hired me! Mind. blown.

What was your highest paying project?

Definitely the email management job I referred to. She wanted the job done and was willing to pay for it.

What are you looking forward to in your business?

I am looking forward to continuing to get my name and work out there so work flows in by word-of-mouth (pipe dream?!)

I’m also looking forward to hitting my monthly income goal of $1500 while still being mostly available while my kids are home in the afternoon and evenings.

What are you working on right now?

My newest email management clients are vastly different and I am realizing the need to embrace the challenge, ask questions and believe that we will accomplish success!

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Rachel is a Virtual Assistant who runs her business from home in rural Alaska. She’s a master organizer and is always ready to help fellow entrepreneurs & freelancers. Rachel’s husband is in the military and they have 3 active elementary-age kids. She loves traveling, being outside and cooking.

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