Howard Fox: Welcome everybody to the Success Insight podcast, for my co-host. This is Howard Fox and I want to welcome you on this beautiful first week after the July 4th weekend, and I'm very excited to introduce you to a young lady that I met, actually via one of my close friends and fellow coaches here in the Chicago area. We were talking about what it takes to run a business, and for us, solo entrepreneurs out there, at sometimes can be a little bit of a challenge because there are only so many hours in the day and there's only so many limbs we have that we can type and answer the phone, and we started to talk a little bit about the world of the virtual assistant. And my good friend Amanda, where she was chatting about, she and her husband who run their entrepreneurial practice in financial services were talking to me about their move to Ohio, and how they will most likely be in the need of a virtual assistant out there, and Amanda said you really got to talk to this woman. She really does some amazing things and so who am I to bypass a great opportunity to have a conversation? So I would love to introduce to you to Victoria Murray, she's the owner of Inbox Virtual Assistants. Victoria, welcome to the Success Insight podcast.
Victoria Murray: Thank you. Thank you.
Howard Fox: So Amanda just had glowing things to say about you and I think you probably know each other somewhat virtually at this point. You probably not really doing any work just yet, but you know the virtual assistant world is, it's not unfamiliar to me, but I know there's a lot to it, so I would love to hear a little bit about your story. Tell our audience what're doing?
Victoria Murray: Thank you. Thank you. First of all, thank you for inviting me to come on. I did meet Amanda virtually. It was love at first sound byte.
Victoria Murray: She called me, we chatted, and now I feel like we've known each other forever. I am a virtual assistant. I call myself Act Two. I'm in the second act of my life. I worked in the health insurance industry for over 20 years and the opportunity came for me to separate from the company. And when the door opened, I grabbed my box and I ran, and I have not looked back. I knew that I was too young to totally retire, and I needed to do something because, well, I have bad habits, I like to shop. I like to travel, and I like to make money. So I had to think of what can I do, because, I do not want to go back to Corporate America. I had been released, I was free, I was not going back to a cube farm. I just couldn’t do it.
Howard Fox: What did you do at the in the cube farm? Just a little bit of a tangent there. What were you doing?
Victoria Murray: I helped with the health insurance part of the company. So we sold benefits to small businesses around the Central Ohio area. So I would go out, I would do enrollment meetings, I would explain the benefits to the coworkers if the coworkers had a problem with the claim, I was the first call for help if their HR could not them. And nobody ever calls their insurance agent and says hi, how you doing?
Howard Fox: They call you when they need something.
Victoria Murray: They call you when they need something, and it's normally bad.
Howard Fox: Yeah. So you were working with the small business owners, and then you've got the opportunity. You packed your box, you said goodbye. And what did you do next?
Victoria Murray: Honestly, I turned to God in prayer. I was like, Lord, I don't want to go back to corporate America. I need you to show me what to do.
Howard Fox: Okay.
Victoria Murray: I heard him say as clear as I'm talking to you, use your hands.
Howard Fox: Okay.
Victoria Murray: I want to put words in God's mouth. So I was like, Lord if this is truly you and not me, I need more signs. And they came, they came that next Sunday, my pastor preached a sermon that he pretty much said everybody else would go home. This was between me and Vicky, and everything just fell right in place. I got the name, I put up a LinkedIn page. I got my first client within a week. And I've been on a roll ever since.
Howard Fox: Who am I to question God's will, but I'm curious, how did this inkling about the virtual assistant world or this turn to that space? Is that something that had been maybe on your mind, you'd contemplated it yet came across people? How exactly did that happen?
Victoria Murray: I knew I wanted to use the skills I had, and I knew I had strong admin skills.
Howard Fox: Okay.
Victoria Murray: And so if you go to Google, and you Google anything, you're going to find an answer.
Howard Fox: Right.
Victoria Murray: And I ran across a couple of VA websites, and I'm like, oh, I can do this.
Howard Fox: Okay, so you got this, inkling...
Victoria Murray: Divine revelation.
Howard Fox: Divine revelation and you went out there and you put up a shingle. What types of services were you offering and marketing yourself to be able to do for the business owner?
Victoria Murray: When I first started, I was going for low hanging fruit.
Howard Fox: Okay. What are those?
Victoria Murray: Anybody that needed anything done.
Victoria Murray: Okay. I would go to networking events. I would speak to other small business owners. I would listen and if I would hear a pain point, I would find the solution. You know, you can do this, you know, I can do this, you know, together we can do this. And I was able to solve the small pain points and from there I discovered different things. I enjoyed doing certain things. I didn't enjoy so quite so much. So I just started going after the things that I enjoyed and did well, because if you enjoy it, it's not really work.
Howard Fox: So I firmly believe that, and we were just talking about that this morning. People used to be in careers 30- 40 years. They were miserable, but they knew at the end of that career, there was a pension or something that would keep them going, and it doesn't work that way anymore. So whatever we do at the moment, we should be enjoying it. So what were the pieces, the components of this future self that you really enjoyed work, the work you enjoy doing?
Victoria Murray: The part that I enjoy now?
Howard Fox: Yup. What you said earlier, that you had very quickly found here are things I like to do, here are things I don't like to do, and I want to focus on things I like to do, and fair enough, I think that's great. What were some of those things?
Victoria Murray: Anything that I can do without having a lot of contact. For example, I have some clients and all they basically do is they send me their receipts. As they're out and about living life, and they have a work expense. They send me the receipt at the end of the year or once a month, once a quarter. At the end of the year, I send them a spreadsheet. So just reconcile. I don't even reconcile. All I do is document.
Howard Fox: Document. Okay. And what else? In addition to that?
Victoria Murray: I have a few clients that I do Ghost Writing for because I do enjoy writing, so they will give me some topics, some pointers they want me to hit, I'll go to the research and I'll go write their blogs for them.
Howard Fox: Okay.
Victoria Murray: I do social media marketing. I enjoy creating memes, getting that social media interaction going. I enjoy keeping LinkedIn going. I also have some clients, I do cold contacts, I'll do research. I have one client who is a speaker and she's looking for a certain type of opportunity to speak. So I'd go online, I try to find her target market, I find out where they hang out and then I get her in front of them.
Howard Fox: That's very interesting. Actually, two things are interesting to that of helping your clients get in front of, they're all I call ideal clients, which you also mentioned about the writing, like enjoying writing. I was just finishing up a book this past weekend on copywriting, and I think as entrepreneurs, one of the things we struggle with is the quality of our writing. Some of us are very good writers and maybe we wrote a novel or a book or a dissertation or thesis, but when it comes to marketing or writing copy to sell a product or a service, that's a whole different ballgame
Victoria Murray: That’s different.
Howard Fox: So how did you do, did you get any training there, or is this just a gift of helping people with the copywriting on the marketing activity? Because that's important in the entrepreneurial space.
Victoria Murray: It is a gift that I honed with training. I've always enjoyed writing before we had blogs. I loved journaling, and so I fell off a few online courses that would help me tighten up my gifts per se, so that I would be able to use it to help entrepreneurs, help them find that the persona of the target market so that when I'm writing, I'm writing to that persona which will help them attract the people they're trying to attract.
Howard Fox: Now, if a business owner or entrepreneur wanted to take one of these courses, is there anybody’s body of work that most resonated for you, that you would recommend, in addition to hiring you by the way?
Victoria Murray: Hopefully that hire me and I'll do it for you. There's a virtual assistant that I met in Tel Aviv virtually, she sent me to a platform called Udemy.
Howard Fox: Oh sure. Yes, Udemy.
Victoria Murray: And I just go and I read the reviews and if someone has a lot of high reviews, then I'll sign up and take that course.
Howard Fox: Yeah, that's actually wonderful. I have a Udemy. I mean their courses, they're running sales all the time. It's 10, 20, dollars of course. I mean they're listed at $49, $59 et cetera. But so you actually got some good material out of that. Excellent. Okay. We'll have to check that out because I'm in the need for some copywriting right now for my own work. So we'll have to talk about that as well.
Victoria Murray: Okay.
Howard Fox: So you’re doing the writing and then helping them do some of the calling, getting them and the client in front of their ideal client. What are some of the techniques you use that you have honed while doing that?
Victoria Murray: I am a fan of Google. I don't know how I lived all these years without Google. I don't, I don't know how we made it about the Internet. I like to use Google alerts, and I will put little buzzwords out. Like one of my clients likes to get in front of mothers. Well, most mothers I know go to beauty shops. So I go the beauty shop route. I go to the Hair & Nail Salon route. Anytime I can get in front of a salon owner, I know that I can get my client in front of a lot of women. So I just, the internet, the Google, the Google alerts are my friend.
Howard Fox: That's excellent. Can you share a couple examples? I mean keep the anonymity in place, but can you share a couple of examples of how this work kind of helped your client, and whatever their, whether it was to sign them up as their client or to get them in front of an audience?
Victoria Murray: Absolutely. I can absolutely. There's an organization in Ohio that has chapters all over the United States, and it's an organization of Professional Business Women, and Professional Business Women are also mothers who have children. They have a national conference every year in Florida. So I kind of stalked their page. The first time I saw the call for speakers posted, I got on the phone, I called my client, they have a call for speakers. I've looked back over the previous speakers. They've never had anyone do what you do. With her speaker sheet was already prepared, we got her things together. We put came at it at an angle that would benefit them. This is how we can benefit your organization. We can bring your members something that they've never heard before that's gonna enhance their lives. That organization bought it. She was booked, they paid her room, they paid her hotel, her transportation. She was in
Howard Fox: That's fantastic.
Victoria Murray: An angle that they had never reached heard of before.
Howard Fox: Okay, fantastic. What’s another story you'd like to share?
Victoria Murray: I also like to connect my clients to get their name out. So I do listen to podcasts. If I hear a podcast that's kinda like sounds familiar or like their audience would be someone that one of my clients would like to attract, then I will put those two together. And I've had a couple of clients that have been able to do radio interviews and podcast interviews just to get the name out in new markets.
Howard Fox: Excellent. Earlier on in our conversation you talked about some of the things you like to do, the memes. I call those social quotes on Success Insight Podcast. What does your ideal client look like? I mean, do they look like me. A 50-something male or are they millennials? Females? What do they look like?
Victoria Murray: Human.
Howard Fox: Human? That's good. They breathe.
Victoria Murray: I prefer humans. I really don't target a certain age group or a certain gender. I like speakers, authors, and coaches.
Howard Fox: Speakers, authors, and coaches.
Victoria Murray: Although I will serve anyone who has a need. I like to say, you should do what only you can do, and outsource the rest. That means you're bookkeeping if that means your cold-calling if that means getting your promotional material together, if that means ordering your merchandise, your promotional merchandise, and getting it to the event before you arrive. You should have someone else do that, and you need to focus on what only you can do.
Howard Fox: Excellent. You know, I noticed right above behind you there's a calendar there.
Victoria Murray: Yes.
Howard Fox: So I'm curious, besides the calendar, which everybody should have an effective method or process for using that calendar, but what are the tools that you, besides Google, that you most use to help you succeed in serving your clients?
Victoria Murray: Yes.
Howard Fox: Yes.
Victoria Murray: Because Trello allows me to interact with my clients, and I'm a night person. Three or four o'clock in the morning, I can be up working my client is asleep. I can't call but I can leave a note on Trello and we can follow the conversation without getting lost in someone's inbox.
Howard Fox: Excellent.
Victoria Murray: So I love Trello. The second thing that I love, and I'm not getting paid by these organizations by-the-way, is Dubsado. I don’t know if you're familiar with Dubsado, it's a new one. Dubsado is a newer platform I got on when they had very little functionality, and every week they roll out something new and I love it. What I love about Dubsado was that it rolls a lot of functions into one. Whereas before I had Freshbooks to collect my invoices. I had Docusign to sign my contracts. I had Calendly for my calendar. Now I can do all these things through Dubsado.
Howard Fox: How do you spell that?
Victoria Murray: D-U-B-S-A-D-O.
Howard Fox: So we'll put links to Dubsado, to Trello, on the notes from today's podcast. So everybody who is listening can go check it out. Trello I know, one of my colleagues uses a tool called Pipedrive. It's an addition to Trello. So you've got the cards, and then it's more of a CRM tool.
Victoria Murray: A CRM tool.
Howard Fox: I think tools like that are phenomenal but you have to use them. You can't just, a lot of them you get the 30-day, 14-day trial, but, and then life takes it off. Yeah.
Victoria Murray: Go ahead and pay for the paid product, learn how to use it, use all the functionality. And I'm glad you mentioned CRM, because I do offer CRM management, and I can build sales funnels.
Howard Fox: Oh, excellent. Excellent. So you're like a gift to the entrepreneur and the business coach. I have a client right now who has a workshop coming up in a couple of months. We’re just finishing up their LinkedIn profile, so I helped rewrite that for them, but then teach them how to find their ideal clients on LinkedIn and then get them interested in who will want to attend.
Victoria Murray: I love LinkedIn.
Howard Fox: Oh, linkedin is...
Victoria Murray: Oh, linkedin is...
Howard Fox: Life. I love it. Let me ask you a question. So you've been doing this for how many years now?
Victoria Murray: 4 years.
Howard Fox: 4 years. And looking back to the Vicky, the Victoria Murray 4 years ago to who’s sitting, talking, and chatting with me today, what's changed in your life?
Victoria Murray: I'm a different person. When you leave the plan..., I don't wanna say plantation, but the cube farm where you know, you are not going to get that same amount of money every 2 weeks. It makes you learn to do things like open your mouth and speak, and let people know who you are and what you are capable of. So 4 years ago when I went to a networking event, I would take my business cards and I would just stand there and wait for someone to come speak to me. Now I look to see the boldest, brightest face in the room and I'm going straight there, and I'm going to stay near you, because as people flock to you, there's going to be overflow and I'm going to be there to catch it.
Howard Fox: That is wonderful. So I have to ask this question. Have you ever taken a personality assessment like the DiSC or Myers-Briggs, or True Colors?
Victoria Murray: I have years ago through my employer, and in all honesty, I really didn't pay attention to it because it was through my employer and I knew that my manager was just going to get brownie points from her manager. So I'm like, okay, I'm gonna play this game for you and go on. But I would love to do one with the new Vicki. I really would.
Howard Fox: I'll tell you we should talk about it afterwards. We'll set you up with the Everything DISC. What you are sharing just now is an issue with individuals who have lost their jobs. And in the old days, this was 10 years ago, maybe even sooner, people lost their jobs and they'd call somebody up and say, Hey, I'm looking for a job and they'd get a job. In this day and age, that doesn't happen anymore and the ability to network, whether it's virtually on LinkedIn or in person, going to networking events. is critical. And so personality, which is kind of like driving me to mention this, is some of us are really good at it. Some of us are very at ease being the center of attention, or gravitating to the person who's the center of attention. Some people as you shared, are sitting in the back of the room with the stack business cards in her hand, and when they leave this they've got the same stack. And somehow you've made this shift to say, I gotta, I gotta move, because if I don't move it's not going to be good for business. And I applaud. I think I would love more folks that were in transition, learning how to effectively network because you have different personalities. I have different challenges when it comes to it but we'll set you up with an Everything DISC assessment afterwards, and we'll take a look and see what your personality is. Now, I'm trying to think what it could be, but I'm not going to take any guesses right now. That would be bad form and I could be wrong, and I don't like to be wrong. I have to ask a couple of final questions before we sign off. And I know you mentioned you have a gift for the folks that are listening to the podcast. Also, want to get the best way for our audience to contact you if they have a need for VA services. Where do you see yourself going or being, in whether it's a year from now, 5 years from now, it's that old corporate? What's your five-year goal, what's your 10-year goal? But do you have an idea of where is Victoria Murray going to be in 5 years, 10 years?
Victoria Murray: I know exactly where I'm going to be in 5 years. In a beach somewhere five-year, with a drink in my head. Haha
Howard Fox: That's mine by the way. I want the beauty of what you do, Victoria. The beauty of a lot of what I do, is we can do it anywhere in the world anywhere.
Victoria Murray: I have been in Paris, France and working for my clients for an hour or two and when I got done, I was out touring the city.
Howard Fox: I'm, like envious of you, because I want to be on the beach. I want my adult beverage. I can't, I don't drink that much anymore because I'm on a Keto Diet. But I buy ice tea but just the idea of doing it from an outdoor cafe and you know, the Greek isles but I get that. I get that.
Victoria Murray: It's a wonderful thing. But back to your original question, I want to say that I was blessed to be a blessing, and I have learned the ability to get out, to speak, to network, to reach out to people who are in need. My dream from my businesses to be able to bring in business and then hire contractors, parents who need a part time chat but don't have childcare, something that they can do in the evening after their children are home or in the bed, or quiet for the evening. So that is my goal to build this business that I'm able to, I don't want to say employees, because they're going to be contractors, be able to enable those who need the extra income, but don't have the ability to leave their homes in the evening. The ability to earn that extra income by using their skills that they already have or teaching them.
Howard Fox: Most definitely. You probably have heard the term side-hustle and I mean that's what my LinkedIn work originally used to be was a side-hustle and then it became a significant part of the work that I do. And I think that's wonderful, and it's not only giving back, it's making a difference in people's lives and giving them an opportunity to you can do more. You can stay home, take care of your kids and make some decent money at the same time.
Victoria Murray: Money exactly, exactly. Especially for, as I'm saying, I was a single parent and for single parents, it's difficult to work a 40-hour week job and if you don't have enough coming in, you need that part-time job. But if you have to pay childcare, that negates that money. So you're not really ahead.
Howard Fox: There's some other stories that we go into, but even folks that are on disability or the other, there are still things that they can do from the comfort of their home. I mean there is a downside to working from home. You have to remember to get up, walk-up.
Victoria Murray: Socialization.
Howard Fox: Yeah and get out the door. Luckily there's this great bakery, coffee shop one block away and I'll just go right after our call here. I want to go over there and have a cup of tea and just relax, and just do some reading and some prep work. But we've got to remember to get up. And speaking of that, what is one piece of advice that you would give, whether it's someone like you, or has a vision for doing what you do, or maybe it's a vision for the entrepreneur or somebody like you know, another coach, could be somebody like me. What would be a piece of advice you would give them or me about running my business or doing what you do?
Victoria Murray: Getting started. I would say don't let the start stop you.
Howard Fox: Don't let the start stop me.
Victoria Murray: So many people want to do something, they have an idea, they see a need. My bishop always says, find a need and fill it and you'll never go hungry. So many people see it need, know they have the ability, but there's that fear-factor of getting up and actually putting pen to paper and walking it out.
Howard Fox: Fantastic.
Victoria Murray: Don't let the start stop you. If you see the need, you know you have the ability, do what you need to do to make it happen.
Howard Fox: Excellent. I think that's a perfect note to kind of wind down today's Success Insight podcast. We've been speaking to Victoria Murray, she's the owner of Inbox Virtual Assistants. Victoria, what is the best way for folks to learn more about you and your work?
Victoria Murray: I have a website, www.inboxva.com. That's the best way. I'm also on Facebook - Inbox VA. I'm also on LinkedIn. Victoria F. Murray. I'm on Instagram - Inbox VA. I'm on Twitter - Inbox VA.
Howard Fox: I love the consistency by-the-way. Cause you know your brand Inbox VA is your brand, and you're consistent about it. So I applaud you for that one.
Victoria Murray: So you can find me anywhere. You can send me an email. My email address is email@example.com.
Howard Fox: Excellent.
Victoria Murray: And I'm always available.
Howard Fox: Perfect. Now you mentioned when we got started today that you had a gift for the folks that will be listening to the podcast. So would love for you to share it.
Victoria Murray: Yes. Most people who have never heard of a VA or don't know where to get started with the VA have delegation issues. I've discovered that. So as I always say, do what only you can do, and delegate the rest, but they're not sure what they should outsource. So I have a planner that I've put together that will help you navigate your day to see what you should really be doing and what items you could really be outsourcing to me.
Howard Fox: Fantastic. Why I have no doubt that your success is out there, it actually is there today, right now and just your energy and how you light up talking about this topic. And for the folks that really say, well this is the podcast, how can you see her lighting up? We are on video, but you will never see, but you're going to hear our voices, and I want you to just watch Victoria talk about the work that she's doing and the impact she's having on others. I mean, it's there. So Victoria, thank you so much for spending part of your afternoon with us and look forward to learning more about you and your work. If we can ever be of assistance to you, please let us know. And by all means, I think I actually got a client that I want to introduce you to so it's a win-win today.
Victoria Murray: I love referrals and when I run across people, I have no problem with giving referrals. Even if I run across a person that needs a virtual assistant and I know I cannot do what they handle, I have many friends, and I will do a warm transfer to someone who can best serve you. I have no problem doing that.
Howard Fox: Fantastic. It's something we learned even in the coaching profession. We can't do it all. So it’s a huge network and we collaborate and we find good people to collaborate with and that's how we all succeed. So all boats rise when the tide comes in. That's my motto.
Victoria Murray: Yes. All boats rise. I love that.
Howard Fox: So everybody, this has been the Success Insight podcast. We've been chatting again with Victoria Murray, owner of the Inbox Virtual Assistants. We hope you will check her out at InboxVA.com and once again for my co-host, Randy Ford. This is Howard Fox. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, go out there and have a phenomenal day.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?
Victoria Murray is the owner of Inbox Virtual Assistants. Victoria fills a profound need in the entrepreneurial community. Too many small business owners spend more time working in their business than they were able to spend in the perfection of their craft. Inbox VA was born to fill that need. Inbox Virtual Assistants handle the back office side of your business, leaving you more time to grow your business and increase your revenue. Here are the links to some of the tools that Victoria recommended during our podcast:
Dubsado - https://dubsado.com
Trello - https://trello.com/en-US
Victoria invites you to visit her and learn more about her work at https://inboxva.com.
Howard Fox is the President of Fox Coaching, Inc. and the Founder of the SuccessInSight Podcast. Howard is inspired by great leaders, no matter where they are in the organization or on their personal and professional development journey. Howard works with Business Owners and their teams to learn to lead and to work and thrive together. Howard invites you to visit him at https://foxcoaching.com.
Randy Ford is the Founder of First Story Strategies. For more than two decades, Randy has been using storytelling as the basis for his work as a communications strategist, writer, editor, journalist, political strategist, media relations professional and events specialist. Randy invites you to visit him at https://firststorystrategies.com.
The SuccessInSight Podcast can be found at https://successinsightpodcast.com
Dubsado - https://dubsado.com
Trello - https://trello.com/en-US
Victoria invites you to visit her and learn more about her work at https://inboxva.com.