Join us for a discussion about starting, growing and expanding your business with special guest and mompreneur, Amber Jones of Versatile Business Assistance.
In this episode, you’ll found out:
•The most critical parts of planning for a business.
•Top tools and tips for entrepreneurs to stay organized.
•How beefing up customer service can put you ahead of the game.
•How to overcome the most challenging thing about mompreneurship.
Connect with Amber:
Danielle Towner (0s): “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” That’s a quote from Napoleon Hill that I thought was so fitting for our guest today, Amber Jones of A. J. Business Solutions.
Amber is helping other businesses execute, organize, and expand through her services. And she’s doing it all while being the heart of her family, as a wife and mom of two. Today, we’ll be sitting down with Amber to discuss business, mompreneurship, and succeeding by helping others. Keep on listening because you’re in for a treat.
Danielle Towner (46s): Welcome back for another episode of Dreamer’s Den Podcast. I’m your host, Danielle Towner, and today we have a guest with us, Amber Jones of A. J. Business Solutions, where her company offers virtual assistance for the overwhelm, project guidance for service expansions, and organizing for new business launches. Today we’re going to be having a conversation all about business and the journey of mompreneurship. Thank you, for joining us, Amber.
Amber (1m 16s): Thank you for having me.
Danielle Towner (1m 18s): Awesome. We’re going to get started and kick it off by learning a little bit more about A. J. Business Solutions. My first question is, what first prompted you to launch A. J. Business Solutions? And what need did you see in the market that made you think, “Well, yeah. This is the right service, the right time, and everything is right with this type of business.”?“
Amber (2m 19s): Well, actually, it was like, “Okay. Let’s just go forward and start the business.” I hadn’t really thought about it before I actually done it. I’ve always liked admin stuff even when I worked a regular nine to five. I started helping friends with different businesses, on the back end always behind the scene.
One day my husband was like, “Maybe, you should make an actual business out of this for yourself.” And I was like, “Will it really work?” But I went for it anyway. I started organizing all my thoughts, which was the easiest part for me, and then putting everything together, what I felt I needed. A little learning came afterwards and a little adding in of different things here and there.
Again, I was new and I was doing this on my own, but after jumping into it, I was thankful that I did. What made me think this is the right time, this is the service people need is because I started seeing a lot of people start businesses—whether it was a service-based business, or whether it was an actual product business, but always had questions.
Amber (3m 2s): I know I had questions when I started mine so I figured, well, I’ll use my love for organization and administration to start helping others where they needed it, and then it just went off from there.
Danielle Towner (3m 18s): That’s awesome. I have a similar story with starting off helping friends and then it just took off from there. It’s so crazy how, like you said, you see the need and then even when you plan out things to a T, plan out things perfectly, you’re always going to have that learning experience to where it’s like, “Okay. I thought it was going to go this way, but now I have to adjust and make some changes.”
Amber (4m 4s): Then you have to think about it. Is there really a right time? You would think it’s a right time, something comes up. Then you think it may be another right time and something comes up. There’ll be times when you just have to literally go into it and work on your own pace.
Danielle Towner (4m 8s): Yeah, just get started. I can tell that you’re passionate about helping others and it’s your mantra on your website and your social media. What makes you so passionate about helping others start and grow their businesses?
Amber (4m 22s): When I stated mine, I just noticed a certain pride and love I had that I was creating something that was now mine. I felt like if I felt that pride and love for something, I would want other people to experience the same thing—whether it’s something real small and they’re only selling one product or if they want to expand and go to e-courses or blogs or whatever they may feel that they need.
Amber (5m 4s): I want to be able to give other people that pride. As well as, knowing someone is growing and able to showcase their talents, I think that that will be a ripple effect. And one person being able to see from what another person’s done, maybe we will have more small businesses getting started that will eventually expand to newer business, bigger business. So it goes back to wanting to keep the businesses within certain communities and doing it that way.
Danielle Towner (6m 11s): I liked that part that you said, it opens doors and opens more opportunities for others because a lot of us, we start off as a side gig or we start off as solopreneurs, but once you reach that capacity, it’s hard to take it to the next step.
Sometimes it’s because of resources, and a lot of times it’s just because you have to find somebody that you can trust and depend on to help you when you reach your capacity. It’s great to have somebody out there who can help you get to that level so that you can expand your team, and like you said, create other opportunities for other people to join your company and for other businesses to collaborate with each other.
And like you said, it just continues to be a ripple effect. That’s awesome. What would you say is the most critical part of planning for a business? I know expansion especially, it takes some strategic planning. What would you say is the most critical part of planning for a business and why?
Amber (6m 43s): I would have to say behind the scenes—processes and procedures of how you actually stay organized. What people don’t see is just as important as what they do see. If behind the scenes is organized, you have not only your paperwork’s in order, but your processes in what order emails go out, you’ll be able to better serve your customers, your clients, there’s better communication, quicker communication.
It’s just the overall better flow of business in general. I really feel customer service is a big deal in any company, no matter how big, how small.
Amber (7m 24s): And if you’re not together behind the scenes, your customer service is going to pay for it. Just making sure what people don’t see is in order, and I think that’s something that you can always be working on.
Even if you don’t have any active clients or if business is slow because of a certain time of the year, you can still be developing and building your business. That way, when you do have that busy time or when you do have this next big client, you’ve already got yourself together on the back end.
Danielle Towner (8m 1s): Yes, customer service. That’s a very critical thing and I don’t think people realize how critical it is even when you’re growing and you are making the money. Some people forget about that, and all it takes is another person to do that thing better than you and you’ll be falling again.
Amber (8m 23s): Yeah. People always say that people don’t buy necessarily from the company, they buy from the person. Knowing that you as a person has a good image for your business will take you a longer way, I feel, than the product itself.
Danielle Towner (8m 45s): Absolutely. They say who they know, like, and trust.
Amber (-): Yes.
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All right. A little side note: if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably saw a story from me recently where I shared a photo of me completing my application for my absentee ballot. I’m staying home as much as possible and keeping and mine safe, but I do understand that my vote and my voice matters, especially at critical times like these.
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Danielle Towner (10m 16s): That’s a tip about the back end and the actual human part of the business itself. Now, what about the tools? What are a few of your top tips and tools for businesses to stay organized?
Amber (11m 31s): It depends on the type of person, whether these tools can be digital or old-fashioned paper and pencil. I actually use digital tools as well as I write things down. May not be the neatest, but it’s there. The reason I feel that it’s important to have somewhere to write something down is because our mind is always going.
Even if it’s not the right time in our business for a certain aspect to be added, it’s still something that may work later. A simple tip of just writing everything down, putting your thoughts on paper, putting it in a folder somewhere. That way, later, when you’re ready for it or ready to expand, then you have those ideas from maybe two, three years ago that are still there because you got it out of your head and didn’t just focus on, “Well, I can remember it.” Again, we’re all human.
Things happen. We forget, we remember at the wrong time, or whatever the case may be, but we’re in a society where we can take notes on our phones. We can old-fashion scribble notes. Everything is connected from our laptops, to our iPads, to our phones so we have the privilege of being able to have that information down.
Amber (12m 12s): When it comes to actual digital software, one of my go-tos is Trello. It’s a project management software that helps me keep everything organized, and I love it.
Danielle Towner (-): That’s my go-to.
Amber (13m 7s): It’s a guy’s hand. A friend introduced it to me and I’m able to keep my business organized, as well as my processes and procedures, as well I have them for my client, for us to share information back and forth. So each client gets a different board and goes through that way.
Same thing for planners. Calendars whether it’s a digital or a paper is good to have for each client or for yourself and client. That way, everything can be all together and not overlap. For me, if I don’t write everything down, whether it’s a date in a calendar or a to-do list task; it can all start just getting overwhelmed, it can get lost.
Amber (13m 53s): Being able to just manage everything is a plus for me. Another tool that I use is some type of scheduling software. There’s many different types you can use. Some of them connect to your website or connect to social media, but having that availability for people to get in contact with you without you having to make every single phone call.
Calling back and forth to try to schedule when so many people are busy can get overwhelming, so having that place where you can just send someone to a web page and they can book an appointment with you, it makes life so much easier. It’s simplified.
Danielle Towner (13m 56s): It is like a personal assistant within itself. Amber (14m 3s): Yes. We’re working smarter not harder. It just simplifies a lot of processes.
Danielle Towner (14m 7s): Yeah. Now, I do a combination of old-fashioned pen and paper, and Trello and Evernote for taking notes. Up until this year, I wasn’t using pen and paper, but when I started working with another business coach, she would have you drawing diagrams and drawing all these arrows, and I am like, “Okay. I can’t type this out though.”
Amber (14m 31s): That’s one thing that I started doing is drawing diagrams. I can be on the phone with a client, and they were like, “Well, I don’t know what you need to know to help me.” So I was like, “Just start talking, I’ll write it all down. Arrows here, arrows there, and then I’ll organize it and put it together here.”
They don’t realize that sometimes you just need to talk it out, and if you just need to talk it out, then pen and paper is the easiest way to just put everything out there as long as you follow up with things later. In the end, it all works together.
Danielle Towner (15m 17s): Right. Just get it out of your head. Sometimes you have to hear it yourself too.
Amber (15m 21s): Yes.
Danielle Towner (15m 47s): For me, I was pretty good. Like you said, you’re human and you’re not going to be able to remember everything. I was pretty good at it up until I had a baby. Then it’s like I have to be responsible for a whole other human keeping up with your schedule, it’s life, it’s not a chance. So I put everything somewhere that l can get back to. Now, speaking of responsibilities, what is the most challenging part of being a mompreneur, and how have you overcome this?
Amber (15m 57s): I would say the most challenging part is having enough time in a day to get everything done. I’m the mom of two, I’m a wife, and now a business owner. When I initially started, I was like, “How in the world am I going to get everything done that I put on my to do list?”
But it was something that I had to make work. We have the same hours in the day as everyone else and other people seem to get it done so why can’t I? It was just a matter of prioritizing, seeing what can be done today, what can be done tomorrow? My husband often reminds me that it’s not the end of the world if something gets put off until tomorrow.
Amber (16m 46s): A part of my to-do list I know that if I do put something off until tomorrow, it needs to go at the top of that list. Still prioritizing and still making sure everything stays organized, but don’t worry if everything couldn’t get done and just try to figure out next time. What happened one day may not be just organized the next day.
Just giving myself grace of knowing every day is not going to be the same, figure out what’s the best plan. Sometimes I find myself after everyone is going to sleep, staying up, and that’s one of the benefits of me having a service-based business, where I can work behind the scenes for different people as long as everything is done.
Amber (17m 35s): Sometimes that work may get to happen at night, sometimes it may need to happen during the day, it all depends on what that task is. Understanding that every day is not going to be the same, and don’t work so much that you take away from that family time because it’s just as important as running your business.
Danielle Towner (18m 16s): Right. I think that’s what a lot of us have to come to realize and stop beating ourselves up about. Like you said, if we fall short or we miss something on our to-do list or just not thinking about the fact that things are going to happen.
Amber (18m 16s): Yes.
Danielle Towner (18m 16s): No matter how you have it drawn out in your head, it may not happen that way that day, but the next day may be different. That’s what a lot of us have to come to realize. What you said about having a service-based business, the flexibility of it is the beautiful part of it, and one of the whole perks of being a business owner is being able to move things around as need be.
Amber (18m 44s): Yes., making your own schedule.
Danielle Towner (18m 49s): How much about your business do your kids get to observe, and what do you think they learn from what they see?
Amber (18m 56s): Well, I have a three-year-old son and a six year old daughter. My daughter is more aware, of course, of what’s going on. I would say she gets to see me do pretty much everything, except for if I have a consultation, whether it’s video or on the phone, just because it goes a little easier when kids aren’t around.
When it comes to whether I’m sending emails, designing something for someone, updating a website, or just helping them plan out their life, I like her to be able to ask questions if she has them. She likes to come sit under me and say, “Okay.
Amber (19m 39s): Are you working on your business or are you working on your client’s business?” And being able to explain to her the difference of how I work my business and how I help other people work theirs. She’s learning that a lot of things can be done from home and still help people because, of course, being home has looked a little different since the whole pandemic, but also knowing that I can help, I have an opinion. Anytime I’m doing stuff, she’s really into anything fancy.
Amber (20m 19s): If I’m designing something, I ask her how it looks. And her getting to tell me if something is pretty or she likes the colors, then I think it’s teaching her that she can have input on things no matter how young she is, and now she’s looking forward to when she can start her own business. Just instilling in them young that, “Okay. This is a possibility when you get to an age where you show more interest in it.”
Danielle Towner (20m 51s): Yeah. That’s great. Like you said, she’s being able to put in her input and like you said, it’s clicking with it l`ike, if there’s something that I want to do and something that I’m good at, and then I can turn it into my own thing.
Amber (21m 5s): Yes. She loves shoes so she talks a lot about designing shoes. We’ll see if she still has interest in that later.
Danielle Towner (21m 16s): Yeah. Well, I might be one of her biggest customers. How can entrepreneurs reach out to you for help?
Amber (21m 26s): I do have both Facebook and Instagram where I try to respond to messages on there, but sometimes it’s not the best way. I also have a business email address, email@example.com where it’s a little easier to keep everything flowing. As well as if something does come through on social media, which the name on both is A. J. Business Solution, then I’m able to answer it. It’s just, again, not as quickly.
Danielle Towner (22m 1s): I get it. I had to turn my notifications off on social media because I’m like, “I can’t stop every time somebody does something on social media.”
Amber (22m 9s): It also gets a little easier because sometimes the questions that are often asked, we have them answered on websites, which is another important reason to have a place organized, where people can go to receive information without you always having to respond to quick messages here, quick messages there. Streamlining as much as possible is a gift.
Danielle Towner (22m 40s): Right. You guys hear it, people, and that is the reason why, even if you start with that landing page, you eventually need a website and you need some Q&As down on there. I’m not the only one-
Amber (22m 53s): Yes. Because some of the questions may be right there in black and white. It lessens the messages definitely.
Danielle Towner (23m 2s): Right. Right. Well, it has been a pleasure learning about your business, and learning about different ways to streamline those processes and to stay organized in your business. Thank you, for coming on and it’s been great learning a little bit more about how you run things.
Guys out there, if you have any questions for her or for me, then there is a record button if you’re listening from Anchor, and you can press that record button, and ask your questions. If you’re listening from my website, you can pop in the comments and ask your questions. If you’re looking for assistance with your business, with growing, starting, or expanding, then be sure to reach out to Amber on her email, she said that’s the best way.
Danielle Towner (23m 48s): Other than that, come back and join in with me next week for more discussions about business and marketing, and as I always close, dream until your dream comes true.