Virtual Assistant turned entrepreneur Trivinia Barber shares her pathway to scalable growth, why women need to get better at asking for – and receiving – the help they need growing their businesses, and why we all need to have our own personal “guardrails”. Trivinia is founder CEO of PriorityVA, the boutique company matching elite online entrepreneurs like Amy Porterfield and Todd Herman with highly skilled VAs.
Melinda Wittstock: Trivinia, welcome to WINGS.
Trivinia Barber: Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, I’m excited to talk to you too. And I really want to start at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey and that spark that made you think, “Right, this is it. Entrepreneurialism is for me.”
Trivinia Barber: Yeah, so I would tell you that I don’t know necessarily that I had a moment of thinking, “Oh my gosh.” I think I evolved and looked backwards and thought, “I think what I’ve done here is a business.” So it really started, I started working virtually nearly 15 years ago while I was still in corporate, working for a group of anesthesiologists, interestingly enough. And I was working corporate and thinking, “I could do all of this stuff from home. Why do I have to drive 45 minutes, why do I have to pay $8 to park?” I was frustrated, and I would tell my superiors, “I could do this from home.” And nobody really believed it was possible to get things done without sitting in the cubicle.
And when I got pregnant and decided to go on maternity leave, all of a sudden, the idea of Trivinia working from home was on the table. And so they suggested it, and I of course said yes. So I worked at home during my maternity leave and then started working from home a couple of days. So with each successive child, I started working from home more, and that worked for years until we decided to adopt. And that shook up our life and I needed to be home all the time.
And so at that point, I just went ‘all virtual’, never in an office anymore. And then they got bought out by a national organization and they said, “Come on back into the office part time.” And at that point, I’m four years into working in my pajamas, so that was not an option. And I started getting virtual assistant clients on my own, so I was just being a VA serving online entrepreneurs, and I got connected with Michael Hyatt, and served him for several years, and met Amy Porterfield through that and served her actually just up until February of last year. I actually still worked as a virtual assistant.
And people started calling, and people wanted me, and more of my time and I just was running out of time. And that is when I brought on a team to start helping me. And again, like I said at the beginning, I looked back over my shoulder and thought, “Wait, this is a business, because what people are looking for and what they’re wanting from me is, they want someone with integrity that they can trust, that they can know that if I pass you the baton, you’re not going to drop it. And I’m really good at having this spidey sense of who’s a liar and who has the skills that they say they have.” So I really started just putting that to work, to match people with virtual assistants that they could really use to build a team they could trust.
So my business wasn’t this well-thought out thing. It just really happened very organically.
Melinda Wittstock: You know, I think a lot of people from the outside looking in look at entrepreneurs and think that it was all planned. Or folks who are successful make it look really easy, but the truth of the matter for anybody is that there’s lots of sort of organic growth, you really learn along the way. I call them these little fail-forward moments, or you try something that doesn’t work, so you try slightly differently or whatever. In a lot of technology businesses, that’s the case. But often there’s just this organic progression, and I’ve noticed with a lot of women, it coincides with around the time that they have kids, because they don’t have the flexibility in corporate to build a life around their life.
Trivinia Barber: And I think that that’s actually the most beautiful thing that we do within Priority VA, is that we allow … I work with single women too, and men and all that, but I allow moms to really use the skills that they have, contribute to the bottom line of their families, and go to the kindergarten field trip. So it’s not necessarily a choice of, am I going to be a good employee or am I going to be a good mom anymore. It allows them the flexibility to do both, and that is what I think is so absolutely beautiful.
We’ll always be morphing what we do in our business or who we serve or how we deliver that as a service. So you have to get comfortable in the uncomfortable if you’re going to do this entrepreneurial gig. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @Priority_VAClick to tweet
But as far as the growth piece goes and understanding where we’ve created this business, the finish line always keeps moving, and I think that’s something that as women, we can sometimes get frustrated by, is that you never really arrive. All of your policies and procedures are never really done, because things change and things happen, and I think that’s something I’ve had to grow into, is realizing that we’ll always be morphing what we do in our business or who we serve or how we deliver that as a service. So you kind of have to get comfortable in the uncomfortable if you’re going to do this entrepreneurial gig.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s really true, because it’s constant growth and you’re constantly challenging, yes, and your work is never really done. But I found, certainly in my journey… that being an entrepreneur has led to tremendous personal growth… that the two are so intertwined. Has that been your experience as well?
Trivinia Barber: Absolutely. You know how sometimes people create a word for the year, they’re going to have a word and that’s going to be what they base their whole year on? I’ve never really done that, and because of some events that have happened recently in my life, I’ve realized that my word, I guess, if I’m going to have one, is growth. And whether that’s personal growth or the way that I show up as a mom, or … My husband works with me on my business, so the way that I show up as a CEO and the way I show up at home as a wife.
So I’m growing tremendously all the time, and I think that if you stop growing in your business, your business will fail. Blackberry, hello, that’s a great … They stopped growing, they got comfortable with who they are, and then pretty soon here comes Apple. Or Blockbuster, same thing! There’s so many examples time and time again. And just because we’re female owned businesses doesn’t mean we get a pass. We have to continue to evolve and grow and challenge ourselves, and who we are as well, and I think that can sometimes be hard for some women.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it’s interesting. When I think about what women bring to the table, that is a great advantage as an entrepreneur, but also some of the disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is being a little slow to hire or ask for help. And this of course is the problem that you’re solving, providing and finding and taking the pain and the guesswork out of hiring a VA. But there are so many women who are very slow to get the support that they need. Why is that? Why do we have such a hard time asking for support or hiring so slowly?
Trivinia Barber: I literally, before this podcast interview, got off a call with a potential client of mine, and she has got a massively successful business, a solopreneur business, that she has been running by herself for 23 years.
Melinda Wittstock: Wow.
Trivinia Barber: And she’s making six figures comfortably, but I just kept thinking on the call with her, “Man, how many multiple seven figures could she have been at by now, 23 years into this, had she simply raised her hand and said, ‘I can’t do this alone anymore’?”
I think the biggest barrier to women specifically asking for help is that our business is our baby. We have put a lot of our tears and worry and frustration and creativity and all of that stuff into creating this thing that is our business, and handing that over and trusting someone else to take care of that is hard for us.
And what I try to do in our business is not only teach women and all of our clients, actually, but teach women that it is okay to flex that delegation muscle, just like when you’re going to the gym for the first time after you’ve fallen off the wagon and maybe indulged in too much wine over the holidays or whatever. It hurts when you go back. Well, it hurts when you start to delegate, because there will be spilled milk and there’s going to be problems, and you do have to put in the extra hours to make sure you’re onboarding someone.
And we’ve got to get over that hump, ’cause once you’re over that hump, it’s smooth sailing from there. People will show up. If you encourage and empower and equip your team, they will be all in for you. And I think that’s hard for women to wrap their brain around, because they think they have to be a martyr and they think they have to do all the things. And they will hit a wall, and you will stymie your own growth by holding on so tightly to all those tasks that you think only you can do.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, that’s really true because it’s so easy to fall into ‘overwhelm’, and I very rarely see men in that kind of overwhelm. I’m sure it happens. Maybe they’re just good at not showing it, but they’re very good at just asking for help or delegating.
Trivinia Barber: Yeah, men primarily, in our experience, I have seen clients that as women … How do I say this politely? I’m not very polite, so I’m just going to say it. Women are a lot more challenging to work with, because with want everything on sale. We want a deal, we want to use a coupon. We want to feel like we’re getting the biggest bang for our buck. Whereas men, they just want it done. They just want it handled. They want to know, I can trust you, and pretty much after that trust factor is established, we don’t have to worry about it, whereas a woman is always thinking and second guessing and, “Is this the best use of my time? Is this the best use of my resources?”
And so in order for a female to be successful with outsourcing, I think they have to do a few things. I think they have to truly, truly know what they’re worth, so they understand what that dollar per hour trade is. So if they’re worth $500 an hour, maybe it is definitely worth paying somebody $30 or $40 or $80 an hour to get something done so it frees up their time. I think people, as women, we struggle with that. We don’t even charge what we’re worth most of the time.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, I was thinking about this. Actually, I did an interview on the podcast with Jennifer Hudye, who’s a copywriter. She runs Conscious Copy. And she said that one of the first people that she ever hired was somebody to do all of her domestic things for her. And it made so much sense, but she got all kinds of backchat from her family and friends, who were like, “Who do you think you are? You think you’re so important that you need …” Right?
Trivinia Barber: Must be nice, right? I’ve heard that so many times.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, all of that, which I think we’re so worried about the way other people perceive us. But when you run the numbers, just like you were saying, what is the value of an entrepreneur working on their business, creating a whole new revenue stream or figuring out some new efficiency or innovating a new product, I’m like, what’s the hourly rate for that? Is that $1,000 an hour? $10,000? When you actually think, what’s the value to your business over time, compared to, oh, let’s see, I’d better do the laundry right now.
Trivinia Barber: Yeah, delegation becomes a no-brainer, and I think that once you get bit by this delegation bug, you start to look at your life a lot differently of, what else could I outsource? What else? How can I outsource my meals? And that could look like something as simple as using an app called Paprika, which, if you don’t use it, oh my gosh, get it. It will make your meal planning a million times easier.
But you start to look at all aspects of your life and say, “How can I spend the 20% of my time with my family that is really going to move the needle in those relationships? How can I make that count?” So what else can I get off my plate here? For us, it was … We hired a nanny to come and help us with … She does laundry. I don’t even know how much I would pay for this joy of not doing laundry. It’s like the best thing ever.
But she helps us when we go out of town. So now it’s, for me and my husband, my husband gets to go travel with me to conferences and events, whereas before it was just me, because my husband had to be at home. But now he can come with me. And so it’s worth it for me to pay X amount of dollars an hour to have our gal Rachel with us to make sure that my kids are taken care of. And you just have to start looking at it differently and seeing …
Here’s another really good example. Upgrading to first class. People think that it’s not worth it or that it’s a luxury, but if I write an amazing piece of content in that two hour flight that then gets me 10 clients, well, guess what? It was well worth maybe a couple hundred dollars extra for that flight. So you have to start looking at it a little bit differently.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. It’s about leverage and at the root of that, of course, is valuing ourselves. And I think a lot of us have that little inner voice, it’s like some sort of fear or limiting belief or something like that, where, I don’t know. We often get in our way. And it’s not like guys don’t have those sorts of things as well, but I think ours manifests slightly differently because we’re so concerned about what other people think about us, and of course, in society, it’s fascinating. All the studies that show when men show up and they’re strong leaders and they’re determined and they’re focused and they delegate and they do all these things, they’re really successful. But when women do it, often women get criticized. Or at least there’s a fear of how we’re going to be perceived by others. And I think even the most successful female entrepreneurs still have that somewhere niggling at them.
Trivinia Barber: No, I would say that my answer to that, and it’s definitely a work in progress for me as well. And you’re familiar with Todd Herman-
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah.
Trivinia Barber: Todd Herman’s program 90-Day Year was really transformational for me as a business owner, because I had so much self-doubt. And I think that a lot of us, even some of the most successful people in the world that are females have self-doubt, and we are so worried about what other people think about us that it definitely affects the way we show up.
And so Todd has this idea that’s called using an alter ego. If you think of Clark Kent being Superman, it’s like what persona do you need to put on, who do you need to become to be able to deal, to be able to show up or be able to play full-out on whatever your field of play is? That’s the words Todd would use.
And it’s hard and it’s super challenging for me. Creating this alter ego persona helps me to be brave when I typically would shrink down. I’m not saying puff up, but to just be brave and to show up in who I know I was created to be instead of feeling like, “Well, who am I?” Who am I to be on this podcast? It’s with Melinda, holy cow, who am I? It’s like, no, okay, alter ego comes on and Trivinia has something to say, and that’s okay.
And I think as women, we all need to be empowering each other to do that. Instead of thinking constantly about competition, we need to be thinking more about community and how we can continue to support one another.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, wow, beautifully said. It’s so true, and I think that often when we look at other women, from the outside we’re seeing their highlight reel, but compared to our … We know all our crap, right? All our own crap. So when we compare ourselves to other women, men, whoever, other entrepreneurs, comparing the totality and all the context of the ups and downs of your life as an entrepreneur up against someone’s highlight reel on Facebook? I mean, it’s-
Trivinia Barber: But I think it’s really important though … I mean, you deal with a lot of high-level entrepreneurs, and if we can encourage them to do anything, it is to be more transparent and to be more real with who we are. Sharing those super low lows and those crazy triumphant highs as well, ’cause when we are doing only that highlight reel of look at the great deal that I made, or look at this stage I’m speaking on, but we didn’t talk about how we had an emergency root canal, we were freaking out that … We never talk about that stuff, and if we’ll be more transparent about all of that mucky, icky stuff that we have to deal with, I think it makes other people feel more inspired that, “Oh, I’m not alone!”
If I struggle with the fact that I was in a car accident recently, and it shook me to my core, shook me. And I ended up writing this big, long post on Facebook about it, and I was talking about how we all have to have guard rails in our lives, ’cause basically a guard rail is what saved my life or I would have went into oncoming traffic and literally have been killed, ’cause I was hit by a semi pretty hard, going 70 miles an hour.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, I read your post, Trivinia, and-
Trivinia Barber: Thank you.
Melinda Wittstock: -I was kind of trembling, because I’d had a similar thing myself. And I just so appreciated that you wrote with such honesty and it was just so transparent and so real and so moving. And I think you helped so many other people.
Trivinia Barber: Yeah, and that’s the thing about it, Melinda. Because I got messages, I got phone calls, I got private messages on Facebook, and one stood out to me. A lady that I very much respect in this online digital space, and she said, “I cannot tell you how much this meant to me right now. I need to call my son because my son needs some guard rails and I’ve been ignoring it.” And it turned into some thing that, she’s going to help him with whatever issue it is, and I didn’t pry and I didn’t ask. But it’s like, how can me being vulnerable about getting hit by a semi potentially end up saving her son’s life that might be circling the drain making bad choices?
Instead of looking at other women as the enemy think about saving people that pain of not knowing what they’re meant to do. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @Priority_VAClick to tweet
And so we have to force ourselves to be raw and to be vulnerable, and we don’t have to air all of our dirty laundry. There’s got to be a balance here. But in those moments where we can really show up and take a hard lesson that we’ve learned and share that with people, I think that we’re doing ourselves a service, but man, the ripple effect of that … That can change generations, and I just feel a responsibility to do that and I think other women should too.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, I can’t agree with you more. And it’s why I do this podcast right there, because I think often as entrepreneurs, and especially if we’re doing things like working from home, or things like that. It’s so easy to get isolated very, very quickly. And it’s important to be able to share with each other and be able to have people that you can be vulnerable with, but also people who will act as those guard rails. Like, be able to tell you honestly when you’re … going in the wrong direction or you’re not spotting an opportunity right in front of you and things like that. So having those people around …
I think in a way, I was thinking my reaction to your post about guard rails was very much, who are the people who are the guard rails in your life or in your business, and what roles do they play and how does that work and are you open to hearing from them? And obviously, it’s interesting. You have to be open to hearing it.
Trivinia Barber: Yeah, ’cause I think it’s easy to surround ourselves with “yes” people; people that are going to agree with you. Like, uh-huh, that’s a great idea. It’s harder to surround yourself with people that have conflicting opinions or belief systems. So I’m a Christian, and typically you would assume that I would just have a ton of Christian friends, and I do, but I have atheist friends, I have friends that are Buddhists and stuff, because man, the perspective that they bring to my life? I had a Jewish friend tell me one time, probably one of the most poignant things anyone has ever told me, and it was just a blind spot for me, that I was completely ignoring because I had tunnel vision. And she sort of pulled the veil off and was like, “Trivinia, hey, dork. I need you to pay attention because there’s a whole other group of people out here that you’re missing.”
And I think it’s important for us to do that. If you’re straight, hang out with some lesbians. Just, all of those different things, and be sure that you’re surrounding yourself with people that are going to challenge you, because in that challenge, I think we find probably the most personal growth that we can have as humans. But there’s a ton of professional growth that can happen there too, because another thing that … I’m touting Todd a lot, I just love the guy, but Todd says too, if you’re going through the airport, instead of … Maybe you pick up People Magazine. Why don’t you pick up a cycling magazine and see what’s happening in the cycling world, and is there something that’s happening in the cycling space that you can adapt and use in your health and wellness, fitness coaching business?
So it’s like, get a different perspective in any way we can, and you’ll grow and you might find a money deal in there somewhere. So it’s pretty interesting.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s really great advice. And so when we think back to the car accident, I mean, my god. Thank god you’re fine. It just sounded harrowing and terrifying, and there are of course knock on effects when you have a brush like that with, honestly, with death. It makes you think what’s important in your life. And so how have things changed for you since?
Trivinia Barber: So a few things. I am … This is so weird, but I’m an event junkie. I love to go to events; I’m massively energized by people. And what I did was I went through my calendar and thought, “Where do I really want to be spending my time?” When I was dealing with the state troopers and stuff after the car accident, [inaudible 00:23:07 environment and all that stuff, and everyone just kept saying, “Are you okay? Are you?” And I was in such shock, like, I had no idea if I was okay but I was just like, “I think so.” And I just kept saying over and over again, “I just have four kids I want to get home to.”
So when I started … I came home and as the weeks have gone on since this accident, I’m like, “Wow, I’m going to be gone almost the entire month of March. I’m not going to see those four kids that I was dying to get home to that night.” And so I just started cutting things out. And think, “Do I have to go to this event? Is this really going to get me where I want to go and help me reach my goals?”
And so I started … I backed out on a couple of things that I had previously committed to because it’s just not the best way that I can show up for my family. So that’s one thing, is to really take into consideration your calendar. We want … It’s fun to be full and be busy, we all tout that: “I’m so busy!” And it’s exciting. But I want to be less busy.
So that was one thing, and I think that the next thing is really that idea of ‘the who’, who is around you. For me, I hired another team member to really just up the relationship ante in our business, and so she’s going to manage a lot of our relationships for us, because it’s probably the most important thing that we do. And I realize I can’t do it all by myself, and so I hired somebody else to help me with that piece.
So it’s probably the two biggest things, just identifying how I want to live my life and who I want to be spending the time with and really, it needs to be my four daughters, so. And my husband: I can’t forget him.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s interesting when you mention, Trivinia, the word “time”, because one of the things that I learned maybe a little bit later in my life than I would have liked to have, is how valuable time actually is, because you never get it back. You can lose money; you can make it again. Or if you lose a team member, you can find another team member. But time is gone. So it makes you really think, doesn’t it, about how you are living your life and what your priorities are.
Trivinia Barber: Well, I think it’s that whole idea. I think there was that famous professor that did the experiment with the jar and putting the big rocks in first. And then the little pebbles and then the sand and then the water and all that. And it will all fit if you put the big rocks in first. And so I think we all need to step back, especially as moms, as females, as women in this space, and ensure that we’re putting in those big rocks first.
I remember first working with a client, and she had said that she wanted to take a month off in the year, and I was like, “Okay, great, let’s plan your calendar.” And I was like, “Okay, what month are we going to take off?” And she kept pushing it off. First we got to do this launch, and then we got to do this, and then, oh, I’ve got this. And so I just let her go on for half an hour, and at the end of that time, her whole year was full, and she’s like, “See, I can’t take it off. It’s impossible, I can’t.”
And so I was like, “All right. Here we go. New piece of paper, we’re going to scrap this all over again.” And I made her do it my way. The things that she ended up getting rid of were those inconsequential things that really weren’t going to move the needle in her life or her business anyway. And she still got to take her month off.
And so it’s like, put those silly big rocks in first, and take care of those priorities for you. People have asked me repeatedly, in a nutshell, “What do you sell, Trivinia?” And I’m like, “I sell time.” Are you kidding me? I sell time, because I want entrepreneurs to be able to get their time back, to leverage their time, to spend their time in their area of expertise instead of fumbling around with how to upload a video on YouTube. Stop it. Do what you were created to do and use your time wisely.
And so it’s really important that … I’m shocked that it literally took me getting hit by a semi to be able to, in a nutshell, understand really more so what I was created to do, and how to explain the idea and the concept of this whole guard rail idea, and relate it so easily to my business. It was so weird to me that a lot of people commented that, “I can’t believe you were able to get that reflection so soon after your car accident,” or whatever. And I literally was trying to go to sleep one night, the night after the car accident, and I couldn’t fall asleep. And I was like, “I just got to write this, ’cause it’s just in my grain and I need to write it out.”
And the idea is brilliant. That if we will put guard rails in, and maybe that guard rail is the big rock of honoring your time, and take care of those things that are most important to us first, the rest of it will … You end up building a year around what’s important to you, not building a year around what’s important to everyone else.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s just so beautifully said. It reminds me, though. I was talking to another entrepreneur on this podcast a couple days ago, and she was talking about very early on in her career when she kind of hit a wall. And she got her first executive coach who said, “What do you want?” And she couldn’t think of what it was she wanted.
Trivinia Barber: Wow.
Melinda Wittstock: And it’s interesting that this is actually much more commonplace than you would think, because we all grow up with these ideas of who we are put into our heads, first by our parents and schoolteachers and peers, and then we have all the societal should’s, who you should be, what you should do. You got the glossy magazines and social media and all of that, and by the time … It’s so easy to lose sight of what your true purpose actually is, or just never really be in touch with it.
And yet to succeed as an entrepreneur, it’s one of the things that you really do have to figure out, because if you are doing a business that fits in perfect alignment with really who you are and what your superpowers actually are, that business is going to be in flow. It’s going to be so much easier to grow and scale and succeed. It’s going to be so much more joyous; it’s going to be … As the leader, you’re going to be a lot more infectious about attracting people to that mission. There’s so many knock on effects from actually getting into alignment with that, and it’s shocking to me how even in my own life and in so many other entrepreneurs, and everyone’s lives, how difficult that actually is to do.
Trivinia Barber: Yeah. And I think that some people think that those people that know what they were created to do, or they know their purpose, that somehow they’re exceptional, that they have a little extra something that we don’t have, ’cause maybe we’re not sure. And so I think that if we all invest … Back to the word time again … But if we’ll invest the time to get quiet and sit with ourselves to figure out what we were created to do or hire that coach or get around that other group of entrepreneurs that are willing to go deep and have that ugly conversation with you … If we’ll spend that time on the front end, it will tenfold pay off, and it’ll save … I think you and I can speak from experience. You’ve been at this a long time. And if you would’ve figured this out year two of being an entrepreneur, it would’ve totally changed everything for you.
And so again, I’m so into pouring into other entrepreneurs and us helping each other as females in a community, instead of looking at other women as the enemy, because if I can help somebody skip a couple of the nasty falls that I’ve had in growing this business, then man, that is such a great feeling and I get such a big smile on my face to think about saving people that pain of not knowing what you’re created to do. Oh, man, it’s just painful to think that people miss out on sometimes decades of their life wondering what they were meant to do.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my. This really is my why, and also to really catalyze that environment where women, all of us, really step up to help each other. Whether it’s even just sharing those vulnerable moments, and it’s okay, we all have these, or just giving each other tips and hacks. Or at the point of technology entrepreneurs who struggle for finance, just writing each other checks. Right?
It’s really funny, actually, on that score, because there’s all this research that shows that women who are very, very wealthy are much more likely to write a philanthropic check to a charity, which is awesome, than they are to invest in a woman or a business that’s even a social good, like evolved enterprise business, that has a philanthropic aspect and they could get a return from it, and yet they’re much less likely to invest than just to give.
Trivinia Barber: That is so interesting, I had not heard that and I think it’s indicative of our nature to sort of be looking over our shoulder and seeing other women as competition. So I have always said, I want to make a lot of money so I can give a lot of money away. And I have, but this is a great challenge for me too, because I have typically done a lot of my giving or the check-writing stuff in that more philanthropic vein and not in an investment vein, so that is a great, great challenge for me. I will definitely be stewing on this a little bit, how I can pour into other businesses too, instead of just charities.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes, right, ’cause I set my intention around this podcast. One of the intentions was that i wanted to be on a position over the course of the next 10 years to invest in at least 100 female founded and run businesses. And then my mentor challenged me, like, “You know, Melinda, you’ve got to put a number on it. What’s your number? You need to have a number, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything.” So I said, $10 million.
Trivinia Barber: Awesome.
Melinda Wittstock: So in setting that intention, I have to earn enough to be able to support that obviously, right? But I will, because I feel comfortable in not so much for money’s sake, but money as leverage to be able to do good in the world. And I really do want to walk my talk on this, so I’m excited about it. And when I said it, I just got these little Goosebumps on my neck, like, I’m going to be writing checks for these women. And then it’s like, widen out to this further mission, really tied to evolved enterprise and being able to help women in developing countries, where a lot of companies source products from.
So I think we can do amazing things, and I think women are uniquely placed to solve a lot of the world’s most intractable problems. We just need to keep thinking big, right?
Trivinia Barber: Yeah. I think that’s … I just have to point out this, because I think that not a lot of people are tackling that conversation, Melinda, so that’s really important. That you’re almost setting the bar of, all right, I’m in for this amount of money for this many years of this many women. What are you going to do? It’s almost a challenge to the rest of us to say, here’s how I’m going to show up and here’s how I’m going to invest in you guys and all these other women. What are you going to do, women?
I always used to say this with foster parents, people would be complaining about LGBTQ people being to adopt. And I’d be like, okay, well, Christians, stop it until you’re going to step up and adopt all the kids, let’s shut up. And so it’s sort of putting your money where your mouth is. I’m doing something similar right now with … I work with a non-profit organization called Defy Ventures, and it goes into prisons and helps people who are incarcerated who, when they get out, they can’t get jobs. But they can start businesses. And so it helps them do things like that.
And I’ve often asked people, “Would you hire someone who was formerly incarcerated?” And I have always said yes that I would. And now literally this week, I have an opportunity to hire an formerly incarcerated female, and I’m like, “It’s time to put my money where my mouth is. Am I really going to walk this out, or am I just going to be a talking head about how great this is to do this?” And so I love the challenge, and I just have to thank you for putting that out there for us to follow in your footsteps.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, that means a lot to me. I think the more we do that, the more abundance we create, too, because I think at the root of all that weird female competition is scarcity, which is fear. It’s just the idea that there’s not enough oxygen around for everyone, and I really want to demonstrate by this podcast … Every day, I interview several women a day. I’ve been publishing about four or five a week, and all of us in total … There’s such abundance. There’s so many amazing women doing so many amazing things but you would never know it, you know?
Trivinia Barber: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah.
Trivinia Barber: ‘Cause we play small! It’s time to stop playing small, come on! I love it, that you’ve just created such a platform for us to lift each other up and to rise together and make a lot of change in this world. And that’s what I love about you, and you are definitely one of the epitomes of evolved enterprise. You get it in a way that a lot of people don’t, because it hasn’t even been brought up as an option for them. And so you’re sort of shining a light on this, of, “Hey guys, this is an opinion too. This is how we can show up in business and make a massive impact.” I am just so impressed with you, so.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, thank you so much! Thank you. So it’s so interesting, when I mentor women who want to be entrepreneurs and a lot of them think that they have to start with a non-profit, and in many cases, it’s motivated by a really great thing. They want to do something really that is evolved enterprise, for social good, that they’re motivated that way in entrepreneurship. But I will say, well, why not make money at the same time?
Trivinia Barber: Yeah, yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And it tends to uncover a lot of limiting beliefs around money, or that sense where we don’t value ourselves. And a lot of us have those weird issues around money, and so trying to get women to think about new business models where you can do social good and make money and, like you said, the more money you make, the more money you can give away.
Trivinia Barber: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And that’s so important.
Trivinia Barber: And it’s so fun. You guys, it’s so fun. That’s what I think is the beauty of all of it. If we put our heads down collectively and we think of what are the most unique, amazing ways that we can make a ton of money so that we can help a ton of people, yeah. It doesn’t have to be non-profit. It doesn’t have to be that we don’t have … We give all of our money away, or we do all of these things, and so we live in scarcity. We eat nothing but ramen noodles so that we can help other people. No. You can have a filet mignon too. It’s okay, and that’s something that I’ve had to learn, and probably … There’s a book that I read a long, long time ago, it’s called Thou Shall Prosper. And it was the biggest thing for me to understand how making money wasn’t a problem. If I really wanted to do the work … I’m a Christian, so if I really wanted to do the work of what the Bible says I should be doing, then I had to make money.
And so putting things like that, resources in people’s hands to cut out the noise … Okay, here’s your stumbling block with making money. Go read this book, let’s work through that problem. I think we have to be able to give those types of things and resources to each other as women so that we can stop it with the lame excuses and let’s get on with changing the world, okay? That kind of stuff.
Melinda Wittstock: So beautifully said, oh my goodness. I’m enjoying our conversation so much, Trivinia.
Trivinia Barber: Thanks.
Melinda Wittstock: And so for all the women listening, that most surely need a VA, or need to hire someone or whatever, how can they get in touch with you?
Trivinia Barber: So they can find me online at priorityva.com, or I got really lucky and all my social handles are @trivinia, so that’s kind of cool. And yeah, just connect with me. I’d love to see, first and foremost, how we can support each other and if there’s anything I can do to help elevate your businesses, I would love to do that. And if I can help you get back some of your time, I’d love to do that as well.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s awesome. Well, we all need more time for sure. Thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Trivinia Barber: Thanks, take care.