We had the good fortune of connecting with Tabatha Dandridge and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tabatha, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Pivoting has been the single most important decision I have made that contributes to success in both my personal and business lives. Being able to embrace a mindset that says ‘it’s ok to shift’ is crucial. Pivoting does not mean I have failed or abandoned my goals; instead, It means I am learning and examining the current situation from a fresh perspective. It does not necessarily mean I do a complete shift or change, but rather take the necessary steps to determine the best course of action regardless of how different it might look from my original thoughts or plans. I have learned that this is vital to my overall growth professionally and personally. The last two years have taught us that pivoting can be the difference between losing the fight and winning the battle. Life can come at you fast and learning what works and what doesn’t is essential, especially when it comes to business as industry needs change rapidly. I believe that, in order to succeed, one must be open to change and not be afraid to become a sophomore again at learning.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Dandridge Office Solutions provides virtual assisting services to entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, mompreneurs (all preneurs, lol!) and small businesses, and I am the Founder and CEO of this company. What is a virtual assistant you might ask? A virtual assistant is simply an assistant that works remotely providing administrative, creative or technical support services. I help entrepreneurs and small businesses to maximize their time by taking sometimes tedious yet meaningful tasks off their plate. This allows them time to focus on growth and income generating projects.
Starting a business venture isn’t easy but one of the most significant lessons I’ve learned is to pivot when you encounter challenges. It is vital for your business, as industry needs and client needs can change. Listening to the pain points or challenges of your target audience is also key. The ability to create a solution through implementing systems that work for them is crucial. Can they respond to emails? Yes! Can I respond to emails? Yes! Will it free up their time if I reply to those emails? YES! One of the most challenging things I’ve noticed in this industry is getting entrepreneur’s to delegate. They are so used to wearing all the hats. It’s totally understandable as their businesses are their babies if you will. They want to nurture them, give them the utmost care, protect them and see them grow, so letting go can be a challenge for them. So it is incredibly valuable to me that they recognize me as an asset to their company; an investment in the growth and longevity of their brand and a way to meet their overall company goals. Not only is learning to pivot and listening crutial, being able to place a face with a name can be comforting and helps with building trust. I love the personal touch that brings to my business. You get to actually build a working relationship with me and in many ways I become a part of your team.
I am most excited about serving. I enjoy giving my time and learning new processes and systems as my overall goal is to help simplify your life! After-all we started our own businesses with the intention of not being chained to a desk. Through my business, I am able to serve entrepreneurs and small businesses by alleviating some of the day to day pressures of business ownership. Thus giving them back their time and allowing them to focus on the most relevant tasks in their day. Whether it be typing a document, scouting locations, or simply offering a word of encouragement, I enjoy going the extra mile to build confidence and trust with my clients. As I take on those cumbersome, time consuming yet necessary task it allows clients to spend time with family, take that much needed vacation or be the face of their brand and be confident the work is getting done. Helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams is incredibly rewarding and this is my way of being a part of something much larger than myself.
Virtual assisting has given me the opportunity to put my 25+ years of experience in the administrative field to use. That experience allows me to not only realize my own dream of business ownership, but also to help others achieve theirs. When I reflect on my entrepreneurial journey, one of the things I had always dreamed of was a business I could run from anywhere. After I left my job, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. Prior to leaving, I had told a coworker I would start my own business once I left this job; I wouldn’t go get another job. While I was lying on the couch planning my next move, the idea of being a virtual assistant came to me. As I pondered that idea, I realized it met my dream of being able to work from anywhere. I then took the time to research virtual assisting and its sustainability in the marketplace, took a course, developed an action plan and I implement that plan daily. As a result, I am carving out a place for myself in this industry.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are a lot of awesome things to do in Virginia. Depending on the time of year the visit happens, some activities may differ, but in general, we would spend the first night catching up. We would visit Baker’s Crust for breakfast one morning and Mosiac for lunch the next. After that, we would have dinner at the Hard Shell. Seeing as I love museums, I think we would visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Then, we will head to Carytown for some shopping, stopping in for a bite at Carytown’s Burger & Fries along the way.
If it’s a nice summer day, we might drive down to Virginia Beach and spend the day there. On a fall day, we might consider taking a drive to the Charlottesville apple orchards or Scenic View in Afton Virginia to take in it’s beautiful breathtaking views. Summer brings some really cool festivals, so we’d definitely catch some sunshine and enjoy the outdoors. The trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Shyndigz for desert and wine.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There have been a few people who have provided encouragement, support, and mentoring, however, prior to mentioning any of them, I must acknowledge God, who keeps, promotes, guides and equips me.
Tressie Hunt – her influence on me will never be forgotten. Due to her, I was finally able to take the leap from research and planning to starting my very first business. She gave me an assignment: I was supposed to write down the steps necessary to open my own handbag business. Each day, I had to do one thing from the list. Through that advice, I eventually began selling handbags. I still employ that method to this day.
Ifedayo Greenway – About fifteen years ago, I met her through a mutual friend as we drove from Virginia to Georgia for a conference. I didn’t know our paths would cross again, but we reconnected a few years ago through that same mutual friend. Her mentorship has been invaluable. I’m grateful for her every day.
Michelle Hicks thanks for being a great listener and encourager.
Brittney Dandridge-Marshall – This young lady (who happens to be my daughter) is the most precious gift ever. Just being a witness to her drive and determination motivates me daily. She is a tremendous support and encourager, the one I run my ideas by, have meaningful conversations with and when life gets hectic, act silly with. She brings me such joy. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the rest of my loving family: Brittney, Devin, Angela, Ebony and my parents – David & Lorraine Smith. I love ya’ll to life!
Finally, here are a few resources I’ve found helpful over the past few years. They have offered fresh perspectives, accountability, motivation, introspection, and wisdom. Toure Roberts’ Wholeness, Yvonne Oriji’s Bamboozled by Jesus & Gary John Bishop’s Unfu*K Yourself. There is also an insightful course by Sandra Parker called Mindset Matters.
Check them out, you can thank me later.
Other: Email: Hello@DandridgeOfficeSolutions.com