In this Small Business Spotlight, we’re happy to feature Eunice Joshua Clarke, owner of The Executive Advantage Virtual, a business consulting, development and team solutions company. Keep reading to find out her keys to success over the past 6 years.
What does your company do?
We are a business consulting and team solutions firm that supports companies in business development, operations, infrastructure, systems, procedures and back office. ?
What made you want to be an entrepreneur?
The drive to help others success. Most of my career, I was and continue to love working with people and their goals for business success. There is an alarming statistic that says of the more than 400,000 business that are created in the U.S. each year, less than half survive within five years or less. That statistic motivates me to change the odds to the favor of entrepreneurs, which includes myself.
Why did you choose your business?
When I first arrived in L.A., I knew I was a pretty good singer but not phenomenal. Since I wanted to stay in L.A., a friend of mine said that if you want to survive, learn how to type! Administrative work was just for food and shelter; never long term…or so I thought. After working for business owners and executives for over five years, and got better at typing (went from typing 20 wpm badly to 80+ wpm within a year). I also realized that I’m really good at management, organization, infrastructure and systems. From there, I moved my way up to administrative services manager and assistant to the dean for a major university. Soon after, I wanted to build my own business again, but this time with a wealth of knowledge and a skillset that would allow me to develop strategies and tools that would help business owners run their businesses better. It also allows my creative side to be fully utilized by working with CEO’s who need leadership and team training, structure in their own businesses and planning for long-term growth. I enjoy what I do.
What prepared you for entrepreneurship?
Working hard and not saying my day was done unless the work was completed, no matter how long it took. I worked in fast food restaurants, sold printed art door-to-door, was a telemarketer, and even produced an environmental newsletter through new software that only paid $6.00 per hour. After learning every aspect of the editing software, I cut my time in getting the work completed from 12 to 2½ hours per issue. Perseverance definitely played a major role in helping me succeed as an entrepreneur.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
There are two things: First, working with an engineering firm. With the tools of business consulting, development and administrative services, my company helped to take their business from a $67,000 in annual revenues to over $700,000 two and a half years later. Second, my business went from a little over $6,000 in first year’s revenues and very little in referral business to a six-figure business in less than four years.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur?
For me, it has been creating and building my own business; the freedom to set my own time as I need to in order to make time for myself and family, and not answering to anyone but myself.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur?
Many, including initially not having the right team to take my business to the next levels. I remedied that by creating a more efficient screening process for both professionals who work for us and clients that fit our business model and we can support and work with well.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently? The screening process for hiring new professionals. I hired and terminated quite a few people who weren’t ready to work for top-level business owners or C+ level professionals. The processing system is now a lot more thorough and efficient.
How can others get started in this business? To start your business well, be ready to work hard, never give up and avoid naysayers. The rest is easier than the three things I first pointed out. Next, pick the kind of business you want to start. Next, do all your research, including price, products and/or services offered. Choose your business name, apply for your DBA (Doing Business As form), get the other items needed (website built, business cards, open social media accounts) and start. When I first started my business, I wanted to make sure I had enough info and training to be an excellent business owner. But you are wasting time if you are waiting to become ready or perfect or whatever you may be waiting for. Introduce yourself to others, talk about what you do, and people who need your products or services will want to know more. Don’t wait, just start.
Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs? I offer three quick suggestions: (1) start a business that allows you to do something you really enjoy doing; (2) go with your gut more often than not; and (3) be willing to listen a lot more than respond or react. Continue to be a student and learn everyday through either training, having a mentor or reading articles and information about things that can help you become a better entrepreneur.
Need these services for your business? Contact The Executive Advantage Virtual today.
Eunice Joshua Clarke is Principal and CEO of The Executive Advantage Virtual, small business consulting and office management firm that supports companies in business development, infrastructure, systems, processes and back office support. With over 25 years of professional experience as a consultant, administrator, office manager and writer, Eunice decided to create the company, which was born from an idea she had many years ago. After speaking with employers who complained about contractors and employees being unreliable and not professional, Eunice wanted to do something to help repair the industry’s reputation by creating a high-quality remote business consulting and administrative services firm. Eunice and her team have the expertise and business solutions necessary to be a supportive, professional partner to companies. More information about The Executive Advantage Virtual can be found on her website: www.execadvantagevirtual.com.