Emerald Storm is the founder, owner, and CEO of Emerald Virtual Assistance. Her commitment to excellence and attention to detail has made her, and her company, a driving force in the world of virtual assistance. Beloved by both her clients and her team, Emerald is forever innovating ways to help make her clients’ lives easier, while tirelessly seeking to provide thriving careers for her VAs. Recently, Emerald sat down and opened up about starting her business, her dreams for EVA, and the hurdles she’s had to face being a female indigenous entrepreneur. Let’s take a look.
When did you start EVA and why did you go into business?
I started EVA in 2016 after the virtual assistant company I worked for went out of business overnight. All of my clients still needed support and asked me to continue working with them. I took a couple of days to consider everything because I had never planned on starting my own business. With the encouragement of my husband and clients I took the plunge, and Emerald Virtual Assistance was born!
How or why did you originally become a VA?
I originally became a VA because I needed a job where I could work from home and be there when my son got off the bus. I’d worked in office/clerical work pretty much my entire working life so it was a great opportunity to use my skills, help people and still be home for my kiddo.
Looking back now, what would you tell your younger self? Any encouragement? Cautions?
My younger self was pretty ambitious, focused, and energetic, which are all needed to get a business off the ground. I would encourage her to do a better job taking care of her body, mind, and spirit. Starting a business can be all-encompassing, and it’s easy to forget to move your body, drink lots of water, and eat regular meals. I don’t really believe in work/life balance but I do believe that you should be purposeful and mindful in scheduling breaks and time to nourish your whole being.
Have you run into any snags or benefits of running your business as a woman? An indigenous woman? Any advice for future women business owners?
As a woman, I think the biggest thing is learning to take up space in the room. Speak up in meetings, advocate for yourself, and trust that little voice inside when you sense something is off. As an indigenous entrepreneur, my biggest struggle has been finding community. It’s an ongoing process, and I am still actively searching for opportunities to connect.
What would you tell any hopeful entrepreneurs just starting out?
Prepare yourself and your family for the massive amount of time and energy needed to start your business. Schedule time to rest and time with your family. Treat that time as sacrosanct! It’s an easy slide into looking up and realizing that a week has gone by since you called your mom or had a proper meal with your partner.
How has being the owner of a virtual assistant business enriched your life?
This is such a great question! Two things come immediately to mind. One, I get to meet incredibly passionate people every day and learn from them as they become our clients and virtual assistants. Two, I love to learn, and being an entrepreneur means that you are constantly growing and learning as you business does. The skills I have today in this season of my business are not the ones I’ll need as we move into the next season, so I’ve always got my head in the books preparing for what comes next.
Do you have a personal mantra when it comes to your work? What are you most passionate about?
Done is better than perfect! If you’re always working towards perfection, it can paralyze your ability to ship and get things out the door.
I’m most passionate about creating circles of economic opportunity for our team and community by growing EVA. I’m also quite passionate and nerdy about time management, saving our clients time and helping them in any way possible.
What’s the best compliment a client has ever given you?
It’s the best feeling in the world when a client asks about something I’ve taken care of, and I can hear that audible sigh of relief that it’s been handled. Other than that, the one that comes to mind is “your work keeps me and others productive and organized—your coordination has likely led to tons of hires, partnerships, and millions in investments (and countless hours of sanity for the leadership team).” Such a great feeling to know that my work makes a tangible difference.
What are you most proud of with/at/about EVA?
I’m most proud of my team. We have an incredible group of people at EVA who are hard-working, love to learn new things, and have a heart of service for our clients and fellow teammates. More than that, we are actively creating a new workplace paradigm where you can bring your whole self to work, everyone is seen and appreciated, and Sunday scaries are a thing of the past.
Tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do for fun? What are your favorite ways to spend a lazy day? Any hobbies? Skills? Favorite foods?
I love camping, playing in the ocean (or any water really), gardening, pretty much anything that gets me outside. For a lazy day, I want soft comfy pjs, the house to be cold enough to need to snuggle under a cozy blanket, a cuppa tea, and The Hobbit playing in the background while I read a new murder mystery series or work on a puzzle. I think gardening qualifies as a hobby. I also love to bake, make jam, and am learning how to use the smoker I got for Christmas. My favorite food is smoked brisket, Texas style. Pretty much the only thing I miss about living in Texas is the BBQ!!
Thank you, Emerald!