Trust yourself and don’t be afraid to take risks. Failure is a critical part of getting to success.
Gwendolyn L. Young is the founder and owner of Your Virtual Admin Expert and Executive Director of Seed of Hope Foundation. She received her Master of Art Degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University and graduated Cum Laude in undergrad from DeVry University.
Gwendolyn is increasingly in-demand as an adminstrative expert, workshop facilitator, and mentor. She is the author of Governing in Excellence, co-author of “20 Tips to Building a Strong Mother/Daughter Bond,” and co-author on several other collaboration works.
She has been honored as one of the Influential Women in Business by the Daily Herald Business Ledger in partnership with the National Association of Women Business Owners – Chicago Chapter and the Women’s Innovation Network, received the Elizabeth Timpton’s Girls Mentoring Award for her work in the community by Passages Alternative Living, Inc. and was one of twenty emerging leaders in the US selected as the receipient of the 2012 Judith O’Connor Scholar Award for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders by BoardSource.
Her influence and imnpact on both businesses and communities is a testament of her love for people, community, and spreading hope.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea for my business came from an illness. Six years ago I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and had to come off my corporate job where I had been for 15 years working in various administrative and operation leadership positions. During recovery, I wanted to find a way that I could still do what I love without having to sacrifice my health. I did not want to choose between work and health and so my business was birthed. I quickly realized all the knowledge, skills, and information I had learned in the corporate sector could easily be transferred to the virtual space.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day for me starts around 8:30am where I walk about 5 feet to my home office. I start the day with meditation and prayer, followed by light exercise and a hot cup of green tea before it all kicks off. My typical day consists of about 2-3 hours of client calls, followed by project work, and doing quality assurance of my team’s work.
I make the day productive because I always ensure that I have everything I need readily available before I get started, I map out my goals every Sunday night so everything I need to accomplish is already written out, and I use my project management system for everything so that I stay organized.
How do you bring ideas to life?
For me, bringing ideas to life requires brainstorming and masterminding with my accountability partners followed by a time of complete solitude. I spend a weekend away each quarter, locked in a hotel room, to focus solely on business goals, ideas, and thoughts.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The evolution of social media excites me because I love how technology can expand your business to places and people you wouldn’t otherwise get to know or meet.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The one habit that makes me more productive as an entrepreneur is that I use a system and process for managing my day to day operations and I’m religious about protecting my time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to trust yourself and don’t be afraid to take risks. Failure is a critical part of getting to success. I would also say don’t be too hard on yourself, no one is ever going to be perfect.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That you can control who you fall in love with.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The one thing I do over and over is implement systems and re-evaluate them every year and keep what’s working and toss what’s not.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The strategy that has been most effective for me growing my business is being consistent with the type of service I provide, being 100% invested in my client’s business, and being clear on the type of people I work with before I say yes to any contract.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest failure I had was not being clear on what I needed before I started to hire people to work with me. I overcame this by drafting clear role descriptions and outcomes, requesting personality tests to give me an idea of how individuals work, communicate and perceive information, and doing trial projects before committing to anything long-term.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Create a proprietary method for how you do what you do.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spent $100 recently on books because as an entreprenuer we have to always be learning and growing so we can lead our companies accordingly.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Teamwork Projects – I use it for everything; messages, project management, time tracking, file management, task completion, and calendar.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber because it gives you insights into how Franchises are able to grow and how to apply those lessons to your small business. This book helped me see the difference between working in my business and working on my business.
What is your favorite quote?
“No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another.” — Joseph Addison
- Systems and processes will help you accomplish so much more in your business and faster than you would without them.
- In order to be more productive each day, start it with a plan
- Don’t be afraid to make the investment in things you need (i.e. hiring a team, purchasing books, software, etc.).
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.