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Meet Rachael Davila of Extra Hands!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachael Davila.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rachael. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
First, let me say that I LOVE my job. The best thing I ever did was reach out to a complete stranger and ask what the heck a Virtual Assistant was!

Now, let me back up to my beginning… ever since I can remember, I’ve loved organizing- from kicking my younger sister out of our room so I could deep clean it, to helping my mom, a teacher, with collating packets and grading papers. My family thinks I’m crazy, but walking through the aisles of school supplies and organizing bins is one of my favorite things to do. In college, I discovered stage management while working toward my theater degree in costume design. The stage manager is the administrative assistant for the production.

From creating initial design meeting agendas, taking notes and handling follow-ups, to calling the shots after the producers and director go home after opening night, the Stage manager is the center of the production wheel. I’d found my calling.

After college, working professionally in the theater was fun but incompatible with the needs of my growing family, so I took the skills I learned working with numerous directors, designers, and actors to the non-profit and corporate world. Not as different as you might imagine… the job title and information I worked with changed, but I was still the hub of a wheel and I thrived doing administrative work.

When the large corporate company I worked for downsized, I researched opportunities that would allow me to do the work I loved and have the flexibility my young family needed. I almost went into professional organizing. However, while researching a potential company name, I stumbled onto a website for a Virtual Assistant. Reaching out to the owner, she spent an hour talking to me about the profession and the training program she’d gone through.

On her recommendation, I looked into and signed up for the AssistU 20-week Virtual Training Program. The website and my instructor said the program would change my life and it has in more ways than I can count. From the friends and colleagues I’ve made, to the mindset that other VAs are not my competition- we each have our own unique voice and skills to connect with the right clients for us. Plus it gave me a career that I’ve loved and the ability to support my family both financially and being a work-at-home mom who can volunteer and be there when they get home from school.

In June 2005, I became a business owner and have never looked back. There are many reasons to love what I do, but the best part is my ability to chose the clients who are a good fit for me and need the kind of work I thrive doing.

Since opening my doors, I have worked with amazing business owners from all kinds of industries, some I knew well while others were completely new to me. Over the years, I’ve learned so much on this amazing journey, one I’m grateful to still be on.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, far from it. At first, working from home was a huge change. I’m a complete extrovert, so working alone was a little overwhelming at first. Networking events helped get me out the house and around people, but I found it difficult explaining the concept of virtual assistance.

When I started 13 years ago, no one knew what a virtual assistant was. Now, most people know the term VA, but associate it with overseas, cheap labor. As I’ve been trained, a VA is not a cheaper alternative to hiring an employee, rather she is a partner for her clients offering expertise and knowledge that promote both businesses equally.

It’s hard being a business owner. Not only do you need to work *in* your business, you have to work *on* your business. It’s easy to do what I love – client work. It’s not so easy to go after a client who doesn’t pay your invoice, or market and network to plan ahead for replacing a client when he leaves or pivoting when your niche industry shifts.

Still, I wouldn’t change any rock I stumbled on along the way. Each one taught me so much about what I want in a client and the kind of business I want to run.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Extra Hands! – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
When I first started, I mainly worked with promotional products multi-line reps.

Traveling salesmen who needed a central point of contact because they were on the road all the time. Growing up in the industry, I knew all the terminology. That industry has changed, and I’ve shifted to working with coaches.

I’m not limiting my clientele to coaches, but I love working with women entrepreneurs who have a vision for their business and need someone to help them implement it.

My gift is taking big ideas and breaking them down into bite-size, achievable pieces. Most of my clients have been happiest “on-stage” while I love doing the “backstage” work- creating social media memes, scheduling posts, creating materials for workshops or email marketing, scheduling, etc… the paperwork and mundane tasks that most clients don’t like doing.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Currently, my plan for my business is to add a few more amazing clients. Each project my clients give me teaches me something new, so I hope there will be many more learning opportunities in my future.

Personally, I’m getting back to writing. When I’m not busy working or doing family things, I write romance novels. I have many started manuscripts but nothing ready for publication. My goal is to get at least one of them ready for submission.

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Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Espie

    August 19, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Rachael is a jewel among women, a great listener and a wonderful friend.

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