We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly, how does your business help the community or world?
As a Virtual Assistant, I support business owners and entrepreneurs with the administrative, creative and technical aspects of their business, which allows my clients to focus not only on growth opportunities for their business but also on achieving professional goals. I started Cornerstone Virtual Assistance to offer clients a creative option to build a collaborative long-term professional relationship with a virtual assistant that supports the foundation of their business without being limited by geography. One of the differences between a virtual assistant and a “traditional” administrative assistant is that I work *with* my clients, not *for* my clients. We are two business owners who are forming a professional collaboration to provide the opportunity for each of us to focus on our strengths and expertise to produce great results and help ensure that projects are being completed and ideas are being implemented. The virtual assistant industry is also a great way for business owners and entrepreneurs to receive assistance in their business as they are only paying for the time to complete projects. They are not having to pay for vacation time, health or insurance benefits, 401k plans, office space or equipment, etc., since virtual assistants are business owners, not employees. When challenges occur in the economy or what we have been experiencing with the effects of COVID-19, virtual assistance allows business owners and entrepreneurs to continuing receiving assistance as the work is conducted virtually and having to provide traditional benefits are not a part of the work agreement. Due to COVID-19, we have been able to experience to an even greater degree the power of operating virtually and how we may continue to create a “new normal” and keep momentum for our businesses moving forward.
Can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
As a former high school English teacher, I have always had a love of books and reading. When I was starting my business, I was given a copy of The EMyth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, which offered helpful insights and highlights for entrepreneurs understanding the difference between working on your business versus working in your business. Having never owned a business before, I appreciated learning how to help ensure I incorporated thinking like a business owner in my professional decisions. I also discovered Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day by Gina Trapani, which made me realize that since I decided to specialize in technical projects and online resources for my business, I could also share my knowledge and expertise through writing my own book, just as Gina did.
There is never a time I am without a book, whether it be reading for business or pleasure. I have to read a few chapters from a book every evening before going to sleep.
(Can you tell I love books?)
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
As each client will have various business needs, I work with each client to determine what tasks and projects Cornerstone Virtual Assistance may handle for his/her business. I specialize in working with coaches (executive, leadership, life, etc.) and authors to manage technical, creative and administrative projects for their businesses and books. When I first started my business, I quickly learned that one of the main areas people were wanting assistance was with technical projects and services (ex: website creation and maintenance, online newsletters, autoresponders, online shopping carts, etc.) I made the decision to begin learning about different technical services and online resources. As my business grew and I began getting more word of mouth referrals, I am proud to have earned the title of “Geek Girl” as potential and current clients know that I work to find solutions when needed, I manage their technical needs and they have a comfort level in expressing their nervousness about not understanding technology and asking me for help. Many of my clients have also shared that my method and approach of teaching or giving tutorials create a comfortable environment for learning, which makes them feel more at ease in approaching new services for their business.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
During my childhood, the opportunity to attend ten different schools and to live in all four quadrants of the United States allowed me to meet people from various backgrounds and cultures enabling me to strengthen my appreciation for the unique perspectives we each possess. Colorado is the state I have lived in the longest. My best friend lives in Colorado, so she already knows great spots to visit and hang out! If I had a relative/friend visiting, I would recommend they take advantage of our over 300 days of sunshine a year and visit some outdoor attractions, such as Red Rocks, Garden of the Gods, and Mt. Evans. Larimer Square and Union Station offer great options for eating and drinking. I would encourage them to soak up the environment and enjoy the friendly, relaxed vibe.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am very fortunate to have the love and support of many people. First and foremost, my husband always encourages me and helps me to be successful in any way he can. His love and support mean everything to me. My parents have also supported me in my professional pursuits and taught me to work hard and be proud of what I have achieved for myself. AssistU gave me the confidence in being a business owner and guidance to form a business that works well for me. When my clients share with me how the work I conduct for them helps them achieve their goals and what a difference it makes in their lives, I feel that I am doing the work I am meant to do. In addition, Judith Briles, The Book Shepherd, has been a friend and colleague for many years who has provided me with wonderful opportunities to teach, work with authors and be a part of a supportive author community.
Pictures by Ashlee Bratton