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Exploring Life & Business with Barbara Nelson of Beacon Virtual Assistants

Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara Nelson.

Hi Barbara, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in the military and my dad was deployed often when we were kids. We were expected to help my mom keep the house clean, put away groceries, helping with cooking and cleaning. We weren’t allowed too much idle time.

When I started working as a teenager, I was every owner or manager’s dream employee because I would get done with my work and look for more to do to keep me busy until it was time to go home. I very rapidly became to “go-to” person when the owners or managers needed something done.

As I continued on through young adulthood, I started to see the disconnect between management and employees. It was at this time that I also realized it seemed to be a universal problem that stretched across many different (if not all, then definitely most) industries.

In 2009, I decided to open Beacon Virtual Assistants and in 2016 I was working full-time at it after receiving a contract with the state of Missouri.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The biggest challenge, in the beginning, was finding clients. Like any other new business, the first few years were scary and I fumbled through a lot of what I was doing. It’s hard to start and grow a business when you only know a small group of people.

In time, I realized that I had to get involved with other like-minded people and joined the Cottleville/Weldon Spring Chamber, O’FALLON All Stars Networking Group, and No. 9 Networking group. I became pretty active in these groups and they all helped me to grow through word-of-mouth advertising. I needed to develop relationships with people before they could/would refer me.

I’ve since found that the biggest challenge in growing your business is staying organized with your SOPs, being willing to delegate, and remembering to take time for self-care.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I am a virtual assistant with a small agency. I assist small business owners in completing their non-profitable processes (data entry, bookkeeping, correspondence, social media management, etc.) so that they can focus on working and growing their businesses. I take care of all of those items that keep the owner/manager tied to the desk instead of out in the community.

My team bonds with our customers as if they are family. We not only help them with their business work, but we also grieve their losses and celebrate their victories right alongside them. It is very refreshing to have a culture of inclusion and love within my organization.

My proudest moments were when my partner, Mark Miles, and I were awarded a state contract and when we brought on other virtual assistants which started our agency. We carry the idea that we will help you, even if we can’t do the work ourselves. In other words, if there is something outside our scope of expertise, I will either bring on a VA that has that expertise, or I will refer you out to someone who I know can do it and will take good care of you.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
As much as I appear extroverted because I’m in the community and involved in events around town, I am truly an introvert. My favorite thing to do is spend time at home with close friends and family and my pups.

My dogs do therapy work with a non-profit organization, Dogs on Duty and I have found that the work is just as rewarding for me as it is for them.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Mike Winslow Photography

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