Member Spotlight: Erica Davis
Founder/CEO of Annie Admin
Annie Admin is a Texas-based team of virtual assistants who are passionate about serving business owners across the nation.
Can you please introduce yourself and your business and the date it was founded?
My name is Erica Davis. I am the Founder of Annie Admin. My company was founded in Fort Worth, Texas. We officially launched in December of 2014.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I was speaking to clients in my previous career in banking and they would constantly bring up the issues they were facing in maintaining administrative support. As I listened, I realized that I didn’t necessarily have to stay in this role for the rest of my life and that I could probably help them more effectively. This is the underlying thought behind creating Annie Admin.
How has your identity impacted your journey so far?
I think that, definitely, with my background and upbringing, it helps me see it through. It can be very isolating at times because often, you’re in it by yourself. For the most part, outside of cohorts like Founders First or similar programs, it’s a solitary journey. So I believe that my experience and background help me keep going every day, even when I feel like giving up. I keep pushing through and strive to reach the finish line.
Can you share any challenges you have faced as a business owner and how you have overcome them?
Like many during the pandemic, even though we are a virtual company, we were shocked to discover that we weren’t truly virtual before. Our entire team used to be physically present with each other every day until the pandemic hit. Overnight, we had to figure out how to transition into a virtual company because everyone had to work from home. Additionally, our team consists entirely of females, many of whom have children. Suddenly, their kids were at home, attending online classes, while they were trying to work, answer phones, and take care of clients. Now our team is completely remote, even though they are located in the Dallas Fort Worth area. We operate fully virtually. This change was significant because I had never hired someone without meeting them in person. We expanded during the pandemic, which meant working with people I had never met face-to-face. It was an interesting experience, figuring out the quirks and challenges that came with it. Unfortunately, that year we made several bad hires because I didn’t make the best decisions. However, I learned a lot about streamlining the hiring process and finding effective ways to assess people’s performance and fit for our company, even without in-person interactions. I’m grateful for the lessons learned and how we managed to survive initially. Eventually, we returned to expansion mode, and I’m quite happy with the progress we have made.
Can you share an example of how the Founders First accelerator program supported you in discovering new avenues for growth?
I really enjoyed the structure of the Founders First program because I knew that each day I would walk away with something impactful for my decision-making process as an entrepreneur. I have participated in longer programs before, but they often had more fluff. Founders First, on the other hand, got right to the meat of what we needed to know and how to take action. The one-on-one sessions with my coach were particularly amazing. They were tailored specifically to my business and my needs, rather than being more general. Additionally, the additional coaching calls after the Bootcamp were incredibly impactful. It was during those calls that I had the opportunity to delve deep into my own world and identify what needed to change. The key to success was simply listening, implementing, and putting it all together. Overall, I would say that the coaching sessions were by far the most impactful part of the program.
Can you offer any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting their business journey?
My advice to anyone on their journey is to first understand the market they’re trying to serve. For us, we could have made faster progress if we had initially focused on our target audience and avoided getting distracted. Additionally, it’s important to have a goal that is bigger than yourself, something that gives you a strong reason for pursuing this path. There will be days when you question why you got involved in this and whether you should have stuck with your old life. Having a vision that extends beyond personal gains, such as just money and taking care of your family, will help you keep pushing forward. It’s also beneficial to connect with other business owners who are on the same journey or further along than you. Find a cohort or a business owners’ networking group where you can engage with people who have already experienced similar challenges. It’s normal to feel frustrated when communicating with friends and family who don’t understand the entrepreneurial journey, but it’s not their fault—it’s just not their path. By connecting with others on a similar journey, you can share your experiences and find support. They don’t have to be in the same industry; everyone faces similar issues, whether they’re running a startup or a $10 million company. I’ve discovered that getting plugged into such networks sooner rather than later is highly beneficial.