The Admin and Beyond virtual assistance business model was developed in 2006 by mother-daughter team, Cynthia Ioriatti and Victoria Andersen.
In 2006, the business community was just beginning to be plagued by re-structuring, down-sizing, and business closures. We were caught in the grip of what would become one of the worst economic periods of our time. As always, we were determined to pull together to work through the challenges, so we combined our skills and years of experience to create Admin and Beyond, a strong but flexible organization that could withstand the winds of change…and the winds did roar.
Like so many new business owners, we started with a concept, a bootstrap budget, and hope. As we tried to decide on a name for our firm, we carefully considered not only what we were that day, but what we would become down the road. We had to start conservatively, there was no doubt about that, but there was potential to grow into so much more than virtual assistants.
What we didn’t know was exactly where the doors of opportunity would lead us. In those first few years, we really stretched the boundaries of what we considered “Beyond” trying to figure it all out. Some lessons were learned the hard (and expensive) way.
But, we persisted.
People were not always supportive, in fact, some called us crazy for starting a business that was, at the time, one of the first of its kind. Membership organizations that should have been part of our support system denied us access saying that our business model didn’t fit neatly into their definition of virtual assistance.
Trendsetting is not always glamorous. Still, we persisted.
Life threw us some curve balls and mind-numbing personal challenges along the way.
We braced ourselves and continued on.
Over time, we found our niche and entrepreneurs became our main focus. We love the enthusiasm new business owners bring with them. Many of them, however, did not survive the first year. While statistically, this should have come as no surprise to us, it was demoralizing to see the rise and fall of so many. It felt as if each one took a piece of us with them.
We would pause to take a long hard look at our own business health and then move forward, but not always unscathed.
Eventually, we identified and defined this issue as: Accidental Entrepreneurship – The condition in which a person starts a business in an attempt to generate quick income, or “do what they love doing”, without taking into consideration that success is rarely instant and it almost always requires doing stuff you’re not so in love with doing. This unfortunate misalignment of priorities and pursuits can cause a business to veer off course leading to dysfunction and desperation…ending in disappointment.
We constantly grapple with how to respond to entrepreneur needs and failure rates. We are after all, in the business of providing business solutions. The solutions to these issues, however, go much deeper than filling skill-related gaps and lifting task-related burdens off the shoulders of over-extended entrepreneurs.
Initially, we shared some of our infrastructure secrets to help others reinforce their own strategies. We later expanded to include annual planning meetings and weekly status calls to keep goals on track. We now create fully customized support plans for our clients’ unique business needs.
These strategies have not totally eliminated the number of businesses who come to us with high enthusiasm and short life spans, entrepreneurship is simply not for everyone, but it has definitely improved things… and we are not done strategizing by a long shot.
We are relentlessly compelled and inspired to:
- Get to the root cause of core business challenges
- Provide solutions for those challenges, wherever possible
- Listen and provide guidance (and sometimes the voice of reason)
- Walk side-by-side with clients to help them climb their personal mountains
- Partner with consultants and organizations who are dedicated to doing the same
Success is no accident. It takes grit, innovative planning, and resiliency. If we can attribute our own sustainability to anything specific, it would be that we always plan to succeed, we know we can count on one partner to push (and sometimes pull kicking and screaming) the other through the challenges. We listen, respond, and always stay true to ourselves and our mission.
We are sincerely grateful to all of those who have shared the journey, through the thick and the thin. It is a joy to work alongside such dedicated and talented individuals. We start each day energized with the knowledge that the next leg of the journey will bring even more exciting opportunities.
Here’s to turning all those concepts into realities!
Managing PartnerTags: admin and beyond, business support, coaching, consulting, entrepreneurs, virtual assistant