This is part of our series highlighting businesses that have been operating for two years or less. In this article Tricia Prues shares her experiences and insights since starting her business.
How did your business get started?
I’ve lived a majority of my life with the proverbial mental red pen. I was the grammar witch—the go-to gal when classmates needed a little help with their papers (don’t worry, I didn’t do their work for them; I just helped out). I was the one who took the lead in writing, editing, formatting, and citing papers for group projects in school. I knew publishing manuals like the back of my hand. My coworkers came to me for help with their applications for promotions and scholarships.
As I entered college, I had a passion for social work, so I went on to obtain my master’s degree and began working in healthcare. I loved my job; at the same time, I wanted to be home with my kiddos, and I knew there was something more I was called to do.
After serving as a life coach for a period of time, a dear friend called me out. She said I was a born editor. It’s in my blood.
So here I am! I thankful to earn a living doing what I was born to do—what God gifted me to do. I also started doing virtual assistant work in fall of 2018, and that is growing like crazy!
Who do you serve and why?
I work with writers, coaches, and small-business owners to help them with their writing and editing needs. I help take the load off of their plate so they can do what they do best—what they’re passionate about. I also offer virtual assistant services, helping with blog and website management, email marketing, social media, and those other itty bitty things that drive people nuts—so they don’t have to do them! I tell them to leave the hair pulling to me; I’ve got it covered.
What makes your business different?
Fun! I’ve found my energetic and fun-loving personality to be one of my greatest assets as an entrepreneur. People gravitate toward individuals who clearly are having fun, love what they are doing, and love serving others. I also value integrity beyond anything else. If I make a commitment, I keep it. If I make a mistake, I own it, and I do what I can to remedy the situation and put steps in place to ensure future success. I go above and beyond to make my clients happy and to provide excellent work.
What obstacles did you have to overcome in order to start your business?
The friend that pointed out to me that I am a born editor seemed to be perplexed that I hadn’t been utilizing my skills up until then.
So why hadn’t I been doing editing? After all, as far back as I can remember I had been the grammar b**ch (or witch, or wench, or nazi…people have different words for it), so why wasn’t I getting paid for it?
My reasoning was so simple and misinformed that it is almost embarrassing:
I thought to be an editor I had to get an English degree and work for a newspaper.
Not kidding. Talk about a limiting mindset!
Now, this may not be a very far-fetched reason for some people, especially the English degree part. Others read that and think, “DUHHHHHHHHHHH!”
Here is what I love about having gotten into the entrepreneurial space: My eyes have been opened to the amazing possibilities out there. I don’t need an English degree to do what God has gifted me to do. I don’t need to work for a newspaper. (Good grief that sounds miserable. Much love to my newspaper peeps out there, but man, that would NOT be my jam.)
So here I am, a year in, full force into freelance editing and virtual assistant work—finally putting my ever-present mental red pen to good use!
What has been the most rewarding experience for you since starting your business?
Most rewarding for me has been the excitement of happy clients. To know that I am helping their dreams become reality is priceless to me. (I’m getting chills as I write this!)
I have a client I do ghostwriting for, among other things. She sends me ideas, and I make them into a post, embracing her voice and putting it on paper. When she got my first posts, she said, “These are wonderful!!! I absolutely love how you write from my ideas!!! You are a Godsend!!”
I was walking on cloud nine! More recently, in reviewing social media posts I had created, she said, “Everything looks EXCELLENT!!! I am thrilled! Overjoyed and so needed to see this!! You are making this vision and dream of mine happen!!!”
Seriously, I’m in heaven!! The words of affirmation I get from clients drive me and motivate me to continue doing excellent work. I love it.
What has been the biggest mistake/lesson you’ve learned?
My biggest lesson so far is to chill! I overthink and get so, so worked up. Most of the time, things turn out to be not nearly as big of a deal as I think they are. I worry about people being upset with me when I make a mistake and worry about having a horribly awkward and upsetting conversation—but it has yet to happen! I am doing good work, with integrity, and it shows. If I make a mistake, it’s just that—a mistake. People know I always mean well and want to serve well.
If you could do it all over again, what one thing would you do differently, and why?
You know, I have such a hard time with these questions. Because if I could do it all over again, maybe I’d go straight into editing. But I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I hadn’t spent three years “fruitlessly” pursuing coaching, I wouldn’t have developed the skills and relationships (relationships!!!) that are now leading to paid work. Those blood-red tax returns? #worthit