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Audio digitally transcribed by Otter.ai
Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.
Russ Johns 0:18
It's beautiful day for a beautiful day. and say hi to everyone in the room today. We have an amazing collection of individuals here doing some great work and I wanted to share them with you, and Toya, thank you so much for bringing your Soultiful group to the party. Why don't you start us off by telling us a little bit about what you are doing and your intent and why we're here today.
Toya Glenn 0:50
Absolutely, thank you so much, Russ, we really appreciate it Glad to be here. Oh, this is the Soultiful crew. And the Soultiful crew is comprised of virtual assistants throughout the country that got together via a Facebook group that we're part of that's full of women of color that are virtual assistants. And so, Russ, we co work like throughout the week, we co work, we work to get on zoom, and we work together on various projects. And what we were noticing, especially at the start of COVID, is that some of our comrades will come on, and literally have panic attacks, like during the co working session. And, you know, just the same bouts of depression and just a lot of different mental health situations that I'm not equipped to deal with. But these are sisters, like we're there for them. And so I will literally wake up in the morning, and the thought has rocked my stomach, like what can I do? You know, what can I do to help? What is there to do? You know, I'm not a mental health professional, but I'm a sister and I care what can we do. And so that's why our show was birthed out of at least one hour out of the week, they can come on and listen to us and we share. You know, we have conversations about things that are relevant for people that are stuck in the house, you know, working at home,
Russ Johns 2:10
That's a beautiful thing. I really, I applaud you for your efforts and gratitude for all of the work that you do, because I have people in my life that helped me do things and much the appreciation that I have for them is immense. And for you, everyone in the room today, doing virtual work and helping others and sometimes just being available to listen is a gift. So let's go around the room and introduce everyone. Toya, do you want to introduce part of your group? everybody in the group? Hopefully everybody's here and and able to participant.
Toya Glenn 2:55
Yeah, so Nakia tell us about yourself, sis.
Nakia Whittaker-Woody 2:58
Really. And I am a part of Soultiful. I also own my own virtual assistant business called kiss virtual services. I also work full time in the facility maintenance industry. So you know, I'm on break right now. So that's Nakia.
Russ Johns 3:24
Who do you help?
Nakia Whittaker-Woody 3:26
I help mental health professionals.
Russ Johns 3:28
Okay. Because that gives us the type of assistance that you provide. You know, it's really important for us to understand because maybe somebody might want to reach out and say, Hey, I need some assistance. So share that when we go around the room. Who's next to you?
Toya Glenn 3:49
Toya. Toya power.
Latoya Williams 3:51
Hi, guys. My name is Latoya. I am also a virtual assistant. I have my own own business called Ayotal services. My industry is the beauty industry. So I help beauty professional find more freedom and flexibility.
Toya Glenn 4:09
Russ Johns 4:12
Janet Jack 4:13
Good morning, everyone. I am Janet. I am the owner of KSS solutions. We meet your resolutions to the demands of the entrepreneur. And I work with entertainment professionals.
Toya Glenn 4:27
Awesome. And I am Latoya and I like to help business owners build know like and trust via social media via live stream. And particularly that's fun helping them with their live streams. And I work with people who are helping folks with mind, body and spirit. So therapists like to work with you, coaches, those type of folks. Ministers.
Russ Johns 4:52
Yeah, absolutely. Well, yes. You know, one of the things that I think a thread between all of you and probably some of the things that came together was the virtual assistants. And that has been a huge opportunity, especially growing I think in 2020. Because, you know, there's a lot of people that may not necessarily be in a situation where they can hire full time employees. So how have you seen it? or How long have you been doing this work individually? I mean, what's the range? Everybody has been doing this about the same amount of time? Or is it a wide range of dates and times? Tell us a little bit? Well,
Janet Jack 5:34
Well, no, Russ. For me, I joined the virtual professional industry, due to when COVID came in, I lost my job earlier this year. So in the interim of trying to figure out what was going on, whether I'd be rehired, of course, I had to plan for the future. And I love customer service. My background is in entertainment, but I don't mind us providing assistance with admin, administrative work or scheduling things of that sort. And now I've added social media to my profile. So I'm just recently new into it.
Russ Johns 6:15
Okay.So you actually got involved in this type of work as a result of being displaced in your regular employment. And the entertainment industry has really taken a hit, you know, events and activities and the movie theaters are really hurting right now. So, I mean, it's really hard and applaud you and your efforts for getting out there, and making a transition and continuing to improve your skills and grow and expand. So, you know, I just, I have to give you a shout out for that. Because that's been a change. And I'm sure that's another skill in your portfolio. Right?
Janet Jack 7:02
That is correct. That is correct.
Russ Johns 7:05
Yeah. So what about...? Go ahead.
Toya Glenn 7:12
Go ahead, sis.
Latoya Williams 7:14
Okay. So, um, I started off on customer service as well, but I grew to hate the phone. I started back in 2016, and on the phones for myself, in my LLC, but then meeting these young ladies found out that oh, I don't have to be on the phone. Thank you, Jesus. So they were very encouraging and helped me transition. I got other skills under my belt. So now, I'm doing business strategy. I do social media. And I also I love WooCommerce, which is the e commerce, extension of WordPress. So, love it.
Russ Johns 8:03
So when you say you love WooCommerce, do you program it? Or you do in WordPress?
Latoya Williams 8:09
Yes, because I work in the beauty industry, a lot of them love to create their online boutiques, they sell in hair, they're selling makeup and all of these things, but they need a website to do that. So I personally go to the help get those products up there and get them looking pretty get those descriptions in there. That's, that's something I like to do.
Russ Johns 8:36
So that's the secret sauce that, you know, not everybody has. So that's amazing. So how long have you been doing that?
Latoya Williams 8:44
That, um, I started earlier this year round was that March-ish. Well, March-ish. I quit my call service job back in November, before I figured out what I was going to do next. I just couldn't take it any more.
Russ Johns 9:03
So it's just like I'm not gonna call anymore. Okay, very cool. Very cool. So if you need any kind of WooCommerce you know, you know who to contact, who to reach out to.
Nakia Whittaker-Woody 9:17
Okay, I guess I'm going next. I have been in the virtual assistant industry for three years. Me and Toya, created a virtual assistant group. And we've had a group for two years and we're all members of the group. So we've been cultivating and inspiring, aspiring virtual assistants for two years. And this year, we decided we were gonna have a conference. So next year, we are going to have a virtual assistant conference. So we're just growing leaps and bounds over here.
Russ Johns 9:51
Toya Glenn 9:51
I guess me and Nakia are the OG's over here. Right, you know. So Russ, I know about four months ago, I was fired from my job because of COVID. And I've been working doing social media for a company for about 11 years. And I'm so grateful that I started my business a couple years ago because I had something to not only fall back on but you know, expand. And so this is a great industry, you all get into people, businesses need a lot of help, and they're trying to see how to figure out how to get their businesses online, still, you know, mental health professionals are looking or that industry in general are looking for telehealth people to help them get their telehealth stuff set up. So reach out to us if you if you want to be a VA, we're more than happy to help you. Our website is vaslearning.com, and we'll share it in the comments. But um, but yes, I've been doing it a few years. And due to COVID, I've transitioned to do more of the live stream production, which is so fun. OMG and I'm learning so much from Russ. So I can be like awesome, like him.
Russ Johns 11:01
Well, and just full transparency we met through the stream yard community. Yeah. And you know, Dan, and Geige are so inviting. And Marisa has been on the show. And, you know, we, LT and a few others have been on the #PirateBroadcast™ And the fact that everyone in this room right now has an opportunity to improve and grow their skills in a way that allow you to have freedom. And I think that's the bigger thing is, you know, the flexibility and the ability to, you know, do the kind of work that you love, or you enjoy more than being on a phone, right? Or so it's really about how can we design our life to be the life that we enjoy every day we wake up, we're excited. Excuse me. And it's nice to be able to jump on a call like this and have a conversation with amazing people. So that's what I love about the online world and digital and where we are right now. Are you the only one, Toya, that is involved in live streaming at all, or any anyone else is involved in live streaming?
Toya Glenn 12:25
Well, I'm definitely in the process of teaching people these things because it's awesome. So yeah, they're learning, they're learning. I can't keep it to myself, Russ.
Russ Johns 12:36
Yeah, can't keep it to your....me, neither. I mean, I'm expanding, I'm growing. So I'll be knocking on your door any time. We need to share these things.
Janet Jack 12:48
There are other components that we also assist her with in the live stream. So if there's additional, like handling your comments or booking your guests, as you grow, then you add on the additional entities to help you fill the void. And that's where we come in on different sectors.
Toya Glenn 13:07
Preach, Janet. Preach. Amen.
Russ Johns 13:10
Yes, yes. There's so many, well think about booking guests and think about the process that everyone went through today, or, you know, whenever you signed up, and how that went through and Tracie, the producer of the show, she kind of...
Toya Glenn 13:26
Russ Johns 13:27
Yeah, I love Tracy, and she's really amazing. So it's nice to be able to have all of these pieces of the puzzle involved and engaged in what you're doing and kind of start seeing it because there's a lot of parts that need to be in place. So what are some of the things that have surprised everyone in the group in the last year about yourself, or what you've learned? Or the journey itself? What were some things that have surprised you in the last year as far as VA and in this industry?
Toya Glenn 14:04
Okay, I'll go first guys. So, um, VA in this industry, I think when I got started, I just felt like I have to learn some skills, and then find some people who need my skills, and that's it. But recently, we hired a mindset coach. And it was surprising to me just how much he really opened my mind, opened all of our minds of the possibilities. You know, there's a certain rate that we all kind of thought we could charge and all that type of thing. There's a certain things that we thought we could do. But the mindset coach helped us to really get out of the box and just really see the possibilities. So I'm amazed and I'm grateful for our mindset coach Hailey, Hailey Thomas.
Janet Jack 14:49
I think for me because I normally work behind the scenes. I'm the person who likes the phone. I like talking to people and I was more the administrative aspect. So I really did work behind the scenes, the booking, the scheduling, etc. 2 things I've come to love, social media, because I guess I was always in social media with what I was doing, I didn't get the flexibility to voice my own through my social media. So I've come to love creating graphic creating pose automation. And then the second thing is, now I've come full stream from behind the camera to in front of the camera. So that's another pleasure, people always used to tell me, you should be on radio, you should talk. And now because I like taking care of people behind the scenes. And so now I'm enjoying that side of it. So that other entity, just broadening my horizon and my skills.
Toya Glenn 15:51
And we're grateful, Janet. You have to be censored sometimes, but we're grateful.
Janet Jack 15:58
Russ, we'll talk about that off-air.
Russ Johns 16:04
You know, it's so fun to watch you all because I just I see that there's this...there's this companionship and all of a support system that you guys are involved in, created along the journey. So it's really great to see everybody come together. And that just brings me happiness, because it's really, as an entrepreneur, sometimes it's very lonely. Like we started out, Toya, there's a certain amount of mental health energy that goes into this, because it's like, am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough? Who do I need to reach out to next? Where do I need to go for, you know, some more work? How do I do this? How do I do that? And there's so many questions that we have. And then we start getting in the self doubt or the, you know, the identity crisis of am I doing what I need to do? And, so having a mindset coach or having somebody give you a new perspective is so important. And having somebody to say, Hey, I'm really struggling today. Can you give me some love? And it's really important that we we bring together as a community. So is that something that you've helped each other out with at different times?
Nakia Whittaker-Woody 17:22
I can definitely speak to that. I personally have bipolar and ADHD. And, um, when COVID happened, and we had to go home to work, I lost my team at work. And so it was very hard for me to function and manage. But, you know, having my team here, I was able to still show up at coworking and perform the way I needed to perform at work, even though I was missing my team. And, and having some depression issues and things like that. This team helped me to stay focused and do things I need to do in my business.
Russ Johns 18:01
Latoya Williams 18:02
I can speak to that. Because, remember when Toya said there was some sisters coming on here having panic attacks? I was one of them. Yes, yes, yes. Um, I have really bad anxiety. Um, so there were some times where I just couldn't take it anymore, you know, which is one of the reasons why I ended up having to get off the phones, because it was just a little too much. I'm more of a one on one type person. I don't want to talk to the world all at one time, you know, so it was being with these ladies, they've helped me get through a lot of those hurdles. They've actually been very, very encouraging. I've even stepped out of, you know, comfort zones, and got myself you know, back out there, you know, so it has helped me tremendously, I will say, I get to bounce ideas off of them, I get to...one thing that I can say that I have discovered that I'm starting to like is collaborations. We had a whole month theme of October, it being collaborations. And so we just really went hard on trying to find projects to work on together. And I have grown to absolutely love that. Because it's a different atmosphere when you're both working on the same goal, and you're still trying to get, you know, trying to get the client to take care of and I love that and I look forward to doing more of those. So I might start incorporating that as a whole of my whole businesses that's a little more enjoyable.
Janet Jack 19:38
When I joined in Russ, my world was spiraling. I had just recently lost my mother. My dad wasn't well, and then I lost my job of 20 something years. So you can imagine devastation and confusion and hurt that had inside. So at the same time, you're trying to seek employment because you still have to stay afloat for your responsibilities. And so when I came in, I had all those pressures or mounts on top of me. And slowly but surely these young ladies helped me to encourage me and build me up and gave me confidence. And then they were here during the birth of my grandbaby. So they were my support system, um, to see that I was once in a depression. And now I'm in a state of joy. They have been there with me through those transitions.
Russ Johns 20:42
Well, I can't say enough about, you know, a mastermind or accountability partner. And, you know, we got a couple of people in the room here. Here's Tracie, I just want to say good morning pirates.
Toya Glenn 20:58
Hi Tracie! We love you.
Russ Johns 20:57
Thank you. Angie is the one that introduced me to Tracie and got us connected. So having a network is so absolutely critical. So I just want to make sure that everybody understands that having people and then Darlene out of Florida silverfox talks, she said, Hello, everyone. And then Liz Lawless. Nothing like positive accountability partners. Absolutely. 100% Thank you so much, Liz. Darlene, welcome. Mental health is so important. We need more voices for awareness. And so thank you for speaking up and sharing that information. Because I know my life has been impacted and there's so many lives that have been impacted by mental health and you know, we just have to make sure that we stick together and lift each other up and not...you know, there's so many things that if you listen to the news, it's the, you know, the world is gonna end this weekend, you know, it's like, yeah, tomorrow. And it's like, why would we want to do that? Why would we want to do that when we can lift each other up and have an amazing day, an amazing week? And just continue to grow. So what are some of the things that....talk a little bit about soulful and what your intention is for developing this, this amazing concept?
Janet Jack 21:08
Well, our intention is to whether at home environment or even that mean, we focus on there, because that's where it started, but now we've been give to other audiences, is just to get them through their day while giving them informative information in regards to different topics, entertainment, I mean, we've had such diverse conversations as from the vaccine to relationships. So the thing, though, you're at home, you're still experiencing everyday life. And we're just trying to provide information and entertainment to get you through those days in those weeks.
Russ Johns 23:24
Yeah, yeah. empathy, compassion, you know, some of those things that we need to kind of use every day to continue our, our journey, right?
Janet Jack 23:35
That is true. Because when you're at home, I mean, sometimes you get so involved in your business. And you know, for those that have children, they may be teaching the kids, tending to because now everything is right in the four corners. So sometimes you need a relief for yourself, man or woman or child on the team. So we're here to kind of give you that relief.
Russ Johns 23:56
Fantastic. So I'm curious, is there an opportunity where everybody in this group gets to work on projects together? I mean, is there an opportunity or is it just a support system?
Nakia Whittaker-Woody 24:12
No, we all work together. My and Toya have a business together, as well. So me and Toya have a business that we partner in. We have a group that we partner in and collaborate with these two, as well.
Toya Glenn 24:28
So, Russ, trust has been built and we've seen each other's work. So whenever I can, I build in enough money in my project, so I can add these guys on so we can work together. I'm always trying to work with these ladies.
Russ Johns 24:40
Oh, fantastic. I love that.
Toya Glenn 24:41
Absolutely. Yes, yes, yes.
Russ Johns 24:49
Well, I will introduce you to some of the people on my team and make sure that we have connections so when we need additional assistance in live streaming, stuff that goes along with that, then we can actually do some work together. Right?
Toya Glenn 25:04
So that'd be awesome.
Russ Johns 25:10
So I have to ask you is, say next year, things open up and you know, employment comes back. Are you going to continue doing the remote assistance VA project? Are you gonna migrate out of that? Or what's your feeling right now? I mean, having freedom over...
Toya Glenn 25:31
Yeah, Russ, that's the word right there... freedom. I'm free. And I'm going to stay free.
Nakia Whittaker-Woody 25:37
I enjoy my job, in addition to enjoying my business, so I still work because I want to, and I still have my business because I want to. I love what I do and it just translates to both.
Russ Johns 25:51
Oh, that's fantastic. I love that.
Janet Jack 25:53
I think I would still work in entertainment. But I think this time, I wouldn't be necessarily an employee, I will transition to a contractor. Because I love what I do. I'm putting stages together, you know. So I'm truly still involved in that and I really enjoyed that sector. So I would probably go back in some formal aspect in my career, but as a contractor, not necessarily as an employee, if the Lord sees fit.
Russ Johns 26:27
Toya Glenn 26:30
What about you, Russ? Would you ever go to like, would you ever do that? Go back to a regular type job situation?
Russ Johns 26:38
No, no. I'm officially unemployable, and I haven't worked for anyone as an employee for over a decade.
Toya Glenn 26:53
That's awesome. Awesome. We're gonna get there, Toya.
Latoya Williams 26:58
Russ Johns 27:02
So I, yeah, I love what I do. I love helping others. I love the process. I love the strategy behind figuring out what can we do to gain some attention and some focus on what your business is, and how we can actually engage in what's taking place. And I have to tell you, you know, for all of the challenges, you know, I lost my dad this year, I broke my hip I, you know, I've had different circumstances that haven't been ideal. However, overall, 2020 for my business has been one of the best years in recent years. I mean, it's been good. And it's because more people are changing what they're doing. They're thinking about different things they're reflecting on, how do I shift my business and my tension. And a lot of that has to do with live streaming, and the ability and the opportunity to actually get your word out. And there's a lot of people thinking about that. Looking forward to that. And I think 2021, especially for the live streaming industry, I think that's going to do nothing but grow, based from what I've seen so far. So we're excited about it, right, Toya?
Toya Glenn 28:22
Russ Johns 28:25
So what can we share with everyone today, like a life lesson that we can drop a nugget of knowledge and really share some nuggets of knowledge here today with... we go, I love seeing compassion, silverfox talks says. Compassion is key for me. Seek empathy. And I love seeing women of color spreading love and support. Yes, absolutely. Hiett, hello, y'all, fantastic guests. So you got a shout out there.
Toya Glenn 29:07
You're fantastic, too, sis.
Russ Johns 29:10
Yes, yeah. Mental health is so important. We need more voices for awareness. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. I really have to say it's been a wonderful time having each and every one of you here. And I look forward to making the connection and where do people find you? How do you want people to connect with you going forward from this?
Toya Glenn 29:35
Latoya Williams 29:39
Soultiful is our podcast and our YouTube channel. So you definitely can find us there. We live stream every Tuesday at 4pm. 4pm Eastern Standard Time.
Toya Glenn 30:04
And when you go to check us out today, we're on today live. And like, we expressed, it's so important to have community accountability, and empathy, love. And I hope and pray that you'll find your group of brothers and sisters, because they just had the lack of was there someone there for you? And always check on your strong friend, please check on your strong friend in the season. Because you don't know what they're going through.
Russ Johns 30:35
Absolutely. Thank you so much, everyone. Go ahead.
Latoya Williams 30:41
One thing I would say is every doctor needs a doctor. So while you're helping everyone else, help yourself as well.
Toya Glenn 30:47
Russ Johns 30:49
I love that. I love that. Well, thank you ladies, I really appreciate you and thank you for sharing your gifts and your message and your kindness and, as always, everyone, #Kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and and I want you to #enjoytheday.
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