Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Elizabeth Brooks. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Elizabeth, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Let’s jump into the story of starting your own firm – what should we know?
I truly never thought Virtually Brooks would ever turn into an Agency. I was content with working as a solo Virtual Assistant but life is full of many blessings in disguise. I was introduced to the world of VA work by a mentor at the time. She gave me the courage to leave my corporate job and strike out as a Virtual Assistant. Quickly I realized that working under her company felt similar to still working “for someone” and I had felt I had learned enough to strike out on my own. That’s when Virtually Brooks LLC was established, and 2018 took me on a ton of unexpected learning curves. After a couple of years of learning how to maintain a baby business full of lessons on boundaries, managing a business, and the trendy title of a “boss babe” I quickly found myself preparing for a real baby. The summer of 2020 was quickly approaching and in February of 2020 I brought on my first contracted Assistant, Casey. She had been a long-time friend and at the time, I was training her to help provide me with a short maternity leave, or so I thought. As we all know, in March 2020 the world shut down and all plans for business became extremely unknown. I had clients who overnight lost their entire business but on the flip side, I had clients who, like myself, had their business start to explode.
The idea of a remote assistant no longer was this foreign concept because in what felt like over a quick few weeks, every company was remote and Zoom became a household name for everyone. Though Zoom was already a platform I had been using with clients for years. As my due date was approaching, it was apparent that business was not slowing down. That was the first time I had to consider growing an agency. If I wanted to keep up with the demand, I had to grow a team and in order to grow a team, I had to increase rates. It was an organic growth process from 2020 to 2021 and during that time we had to be open to a lot of trial and error. But by the end of 2021, we had worked and overcome more pivots than I knew were possible. And in return, our hard work paid off. We built a unique and proven structure and have now continued implementing our process and procedures with all the clients we onboard. We have grown to over 20 assistants in our agency and thanks to the amazing referrals we continue to receive from our current client roster, our demand to grow our team hasn’t slowed down in 2022.
Even though I never imagined running an Agency, I couldn’t imagine Virtually Brooks any other way. Our team of assistants has created such incredible bond & synergy, that I feel grateful to be where we are today. I believe the key to success has been leading by example, setting clear expectations (for both the assistants & our clients) but recognizing that this company is no longer about serving my needs and desire to be a solopreneur. Instead, it’s to serve a community of Assistants who desire to provide for themselves while working a remote & flexible job and in doing so we’re helping grow and support small businesses.
Elizabeth, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
Virtually Brooks LLC is a Virtual Assistant Agency. We provide Executive Administrative Services to C-suite professionals. Though we are open to working with established business owners in most industries, we have found our niche to be Estate Planning Attorneys, Bookkeepers, CPAs, Tax Strategies, Private Wealth Advisors, and Business Coaches.
We commonly provide services such as general executive administration, calendar management, email/inbox management, customer service-related tasks, and services, invoicing and finance-related items, reporting, data-related projects, and workflow management pertaining to specific processes and procedures. We also handle social media and client & customer engagement strategies.
We uphold a corporate standard look and feel while working remotely costing the client a fraction of the fee of an employee with the full benefit of having a part or full-time assistant.
Alright – let’s talk about marketing or sales – do you have any fun stories about a risk you’ve taken or something else exciting on the sales and marketing side?
All it takes is one person or one moment to truly create change and impact your business. For Virtually Brooks, that one person was Alisa Hoggatt. Alisa is an Estate Planning Attorney out of Texas and we connected in the winter of 2020. I knew I loved her outgoing personality from the first meeting we had on Zoom. As we brainstormed on the various tasks that Virtually Brooks could take off her to-do list, our team grew with confidence that we would be able to provide added value to her business. We established what assistants would be primarily working with her and her paralegal. She started off with our smallest retainer package unsure if and how she would gain momentum but all along she had high hopes of crushing audacious goals. Not only did she do just that but she flew her Virtually Brooks Assistant out for a spa retreat weekend to celebrate such a successful year together. She has not only grown from one of our smallest clients to one of our largest retained clients but meanwhile, she has been one of our biggest referral sources. If not by her directly, by others she’s referred who have shared referrals and connections to Virtually Brooks. While she took a chance on us, we not only learned and returned excellent service but it gave our team the opportunity to learn a program that we now market and use for most new clients that we onboard. She was the first client to introduce our team to CLIO a program commonly used among other Attorneys. Alisa has been the person I owe the most generous amount of gratitude to because she continues to be a supporter, a client, and the ultimate picture of the BNI motto: Giver Gain.
Where do you think you get most of your clients from?
Our best source for retaining new clients is referrals from existing clients. We have been fortunate that the rapport and impact we have made with current clients have been shared with their center of influence, friends, and colleagues thus them making introductions to Virtually Brooks. Small business owners often get brought down by the mundane tasks, the time-consuming projects that are necessary to keep business moving forward, and oftentimes don’t have enough capacity to grow to the next level without adding additional support. But by doing that there is always that tug and pull between the ability to grow takes money and in order to make more money, you need more bandwidth. By being introduced to an agency like Virtually Brooks, we provide your business with affordable solutions that provide you the ability to grow at a more manageable rate. Many attorneys and business owners have found that it is more cost-effective to onboard an experienced Virtual Assistant than to hire a full-time employee. By contracting a VA, you save time & money while being able to bring your attention to the income-producing tasks, knowing that your VA is handling the mundane yet necessary tasks.