Melissa and I met through an Inc Startup Community this past year. Her genuine nature and story are magnetic. Her story is one of embracing the lemons of pain and loss and turning them into lemonade that you bottle and sell. She has used her skills and talents to build a platform to help others do the same. I am confident you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have. She has a thoughtful perspective on life and excels at storytelling. With her drive to help others in her field, she is virtually unstoppable.
Melissa Smith, Virtual Assistant Matchmaker and Trainer | Remote Work Consultant
Melissa is a Virtual Assistant Matchmaker, VA Trainer, Remote Work Consultant and author. She has been featured in CareerBuilder, Spark Hire, The Muse, Thinkific, and Woman’s World. Melissa’s mother served as an administrative professional for over 40 years and was a role model of service, support, and leadership. Professional assistants are the glue that allow those they serve to reach their goals and dreams, according to Melissa. They lift off the burdens of operational tasks so they can do what they do best.
As a VA Trainer, she trains Virtual Assistants to be the best and most sought-after virtual assistants on the market. She has developed tools to help VAs start and grow successful businesses, and she shares those tools in her books, online courses, and consulting services. As a VA Matchmaker she has great insight into what clients want, need, and are willing to pay. After becoming location independent, traveling to 16 countries in 12 months in 2017 while running her business, she was sought out as a Remote Work Consultant. Melissa consults with individuals looking for remote work, as well as those in need of better hiring and management of their remote teams.
Where’s your favorite place in the world and why?
So far, Belgrade, Serbia. I’ve traveled to 24 countries since overcoming my fear of flying and getting my passport in 2015. Serbia has this really gritty vibe but is also so welcoming. Each time I entered a café or restaurant I felt like I was walking into someone’s home. When I visited last, I had been away from home for nine months. I had just left Croatia and didn’t think I could possibly enjoy any place as much. That was the year I was traveling the world and blogging about the experience. I compared each city I visited to a man you might date. Belgrade represented the man who made you forget the reason you said you would never get married again. For me, Belgrade not only checked every possible box, but there was the definite “it” factor.
What are you passionate about?
Family. There is not a single decision I make without thinking about how it will affect my family. I come from a very large extended family. My dad was 10 of 14 kids, and my mom is the youngest of six. Three of my grandparents died while my parents were still teenagers, so I think they always appreciated the importance of time and how short life can really be. While my work is definitely a driving force and something I live and breathe if at the end of my life my family can’t say I was a good mother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, or friend then I wouldn’t have lived a full life. One of the greatest compliments that my family gives me is they know no matter where in the world I am, they can count on me.
What’s the last thing you watched on TV? How was it?
Well, I don’t actually watch TV. However, I do have Netflix on my laptop, and I watched “Knock Down The House”. It was incredible! I was binge-watching at the time, so I had watched Brené Brown’s “Call to Courage” first because everyone seemed to be talking about it. Of course, it was everything everyone said it was. That’s the pre-work though. The exercise before the fight. Before you actually enter the ring. It’s Rocky running on the beach. Knock Down The House was Rocky I, II, and III rolled into one! Those women were called to courage and acted on it. I was so proud of all of them!
What’s the craziest or funniest thing you’ve ever done?
I’m a very calculated risk taker, so I wouldn’t say that I’ve done anything crazy although my family might disagree. I would say I talk to strangers and because of that crazy things happen. I took a trip to the Monaco Grand Prix, which was the trip I said I would take if I ever got over my fear of flying, and a few days before the race, I visited the Hotel de Paris.
While in the lobby I heard an American woman on the phone clearly having an issue with her event. My heart went out to her because I’ve been there. I walked over and asked if there was anything I could do to help. She invited me to this really exclusive party! With a gas shortage and strike, she needed seat fillers. The next night I got to attend one of the most exclusive pre-parties for the Grand Prix with diplomats, heads of state, opera singers, artists, and other performers. That was definitely a crazy night!
What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
The coolest thing I’m working on now is the Association of Virtual Assistants. I’ve been dreaming of this for years, so there are moments when all of sudden I just have to stop and take it in. I’m in shock this is really happening. There is still much work to do but because it’s all brand new, even though I’ve been dreaming and planning for years, it’s really cool to keep putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Being ignored. It’s worse than rejection. I do not like bad or rude service either. Someone being paid to do a job, should do it well. Making someone feel like a nuisance is appalling to me. Also, it pains me to see people being mistreated. Everybody is somebody.
If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Cobalt Blue. I fell in love with Yves Klein’s work when I visited the Museum of Modern Art in Nice, France. It is such a bold and powerful color and sparks emotion.
What’s your favorite way to get inspired?
Running in a new city. I have a hard time turning off my mind and running in a new city has a way of clearing the cobwebs. When I don’t have a familiar route and need to pay attention, I can’t help but notice things I wouldn’t otherwise. It forces me to think about things differently and inspires me to see familiar things from a new perspective.
What makes you laugh the hardest?
My daughter. She is so witty and has the best one-liners. No one makes me laugh as hard as she does. The best part is you never know when it’s coming.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield.
After spending most of my life suffering from a fear of flying and anxiety attacks this quote speaks volumes to me.
Interview conducted by Anna Sirmeyer