Monday, April 18, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Ann Brown of Virtual Admins Plus/ Fan Page Custom Designs

I am so happy to share my interview with Ann Brown of Virtual Admins Plus with you today.  If you are a mom entrepreneur like me, you are learning how important social media sites, like Facebook is for your business.  With limited marketing budgets you are always on the lookout for ways to draw in business and reach your target audience.  With Ann's help, she can create a customized Facebook Fan Page, that will help draw in business and keep fans and customers coming back to your fan page to stay up-to-date on product updates, news, coupons and much more.  Take a look at her website to see examples of fan pages she has created for other businesses.

In addition to customized Facebook fan pages, Ann also offers virtual administrative services.  She offers support with social media, website design, online marketing, video and audio editing, article submission and graphic designs.  So, if you are looking for virtual help in order to get your business of the ground or take it to the next step, let Ann help you succeed.

Ann has graciously offered Inspired by Savannah readers $25 off a Facebook Fan Page design.  Simply use coupon code "MOMMY" at checkout to enjoy this savings!

And, now here is my Spotlight on Mommy interview with Ann Brown.  Enjoy!

Name:  Ann Brown
Company Name/Product/Service:  Virtual Admins Plus / Fan Page Custom Designs
Company Location:  Cleveland, OH
Company Website: /
Facebook URL: and
Twitter Handle: @ AnnBrown
Age of Company:  6 years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: "If you really want to do it, you'll find a way.  If not, you'll find an excuse."
Favorite Book:  Anything by Tony Robbins

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.:

I'm one of the most honest and positive people you'll ever meet!  I absolutely love balancing several things at one time - a skill that is truly perfected as a mother.  I work from my home, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Being able to earn a living and being available for my 15-year old son anytime, anywhere is such a blessing!  When I'm not working, I enjoy curling up on the couch with a good book, beating my son in bowling on the Wii, or cooking a delicious dinner for a bunch of friends on a Saturday night.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?:

Several years ago, I was working a job for a national company and along with most of the sales force across the country, my position was eliminated.  It was my 3rd downsize in four years; I knew I had to do something different.  I started a business in which I'd take existing websites and redesign them, and I focused mainly on the real estate community.  Over time, that grew into my now-full-time virtual assistant business, and I've expanded to more than Realtors and to having clients all over the U.S. and several in the U.K.  Last year, I branched out to include, because the world of social media is an ever-growing segment of business, and I am able to provide a much-needed service.

What is a typical work day like?: 

I'm usually up between 5AM and 5:30AM; I've said many times that I'm like the Army - I get more done by 9AM than most people do all day!  I'm at my computer or on the phone with clients for most of my day.  My day ends at 5PM; at 5:01PM, it's family time.  If my phone rings after that, even my son knows it and says "Don't answer that, Mom.  You're closed."  lol  I'm so happy that he knows that HE is more important, yet he respects what I do.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?: 

One of the hardest things was the uncertainty of it all.  When I first started, I was making 50-100 phone calls a day just to get 3-4 appointments a week.  It was hard not to get discouraged; yet, I always knew in the back of my mind that "this was it."  I wouldn't allow myself to have an "out."  That is, I never thought "if this doesn't work out, I can always go back to ____."  I just never thought that my business WOULDN'T be successful.  I think that's a big mistake for women going into business today - they give themselves an out.  I don't think you can do that.  You have to work every day towards success and not towards an escape.

What did you do in your past work life?:

My first job was selling shoes, and since then, I've always been in sales and marketing.  I owned my own weight-loss centers when I was 20, so I got a taste of being in business for myself at a very young age. (Oh, if I could go back and do it again with what I know now...!)  Prior to being a virtual assistant, I worked as an area sales manager for six local hotels and also for

What have been some of your major successes?:

I've always wanted to do writing, and as a virtual assistant, I've been able to segway into some writing opportunities.  One of those is that I've been a regular writer/contributor to the national organization of the Women's Council of REALTORS for the last four year.  I've also been a speaker at their national convention in Washington, DC, which was a real honor.

On a personal note, I've been able to publish my first children's book, Farm Grandma and the Dancing Pitchfork, with book #2 coming out this year.

What have been some of your major challenges?:

Anyone who's in business for themselves knows there are lean months!  The major challenge has been - in those slow times, when clients leave, etc. - to stay positive and moving forward.  I remember many years ago, I was in negotiation with a major real estate company to redesign their agent's websites.  I met with the president several times, and if they did the deal, I was going to have the business of over 700 agents.  I met, I negotiated, I gave them a good deal - and just when it looked like they were going to hire me, they hired someone else, in-house, and at half of my rate.  I was so disappointed, but looking back now, it seems like such a nothing-issue.  It taught me that no matter how bad things look, one day, it won't even matter.  So true!

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?:

Well, the obvious - the bills!  :-)  The best thing about working for yourself is that on those impossible days, I can walk away.  I get out of the office, go get a latte, talk a walk - I know that tomorrow things will look better and most likely, BE better.  I know that something good is always around the next corner - and that keeps me motivated to move towards the future.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?:

My son is 15, so he knows and understands a little more that I have to work.  I've always been honest with him about work, and I think he knows that I enjoy it, but also that it's something I have to do.  In balancing family and business, I've always put family first.  I think that my clients respect me more, because they know this.  I remember when my dad died two years ago, my clients pretty much all said, "Work can wait; be with your family."  Someone in business told me once, "Your customers don't want to know that you're on vacation; they want you to be THERE."  Well, I don't agree.  I think by NOT answering my phone after 5PM because I'm with my son lets my clients know what kind of business owner I really am.  So basically, my son comes first and gets my time and attention when he needs it.  I guess that's an advantage to running a business with a home office - I'm always here.  I think if you put the important things in life first, the rest falls into place much easier.  

What is next for your business?:

I'm launching the National Association of Christian Virtual Assistants!  It's very exciting, because it will be the first organization to help train, motivate, and inspire other VA's who want to partner with Christian business owners and fellow Christian VA's. 

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?:

Starting by deciding what you want.  Once you decide that, figure out WHY you want it.  The "why" is much more important than the "what."  The "why" is what's going to drive you forward towards success.  When I started out, the "why" was that I wanted to be home with my son AND be able to pay the bills...two very important "why's."  I think we get caught up in wanting "stuff" or wanting a business, but we don't focus on why we want it.  If you can figure out what that is, put a plan together, and do something each and every day towards that goal, you will find success.

1 comment :

  1. This is good info! Where else can if find out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work.

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