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Meet Marissa: A Digital Marketing Strategist and E-Commerce Assistant Building Career Growth Through Personal Healing

by | May 29, 2024 | 0 comments

Indira smiling at the camera in front of a city backdrop

Image description: Marissa giving a big smile.

In this student spotlight series, we are highlighting some of our wonderful Virtual Excellence Academy (VEA) members to share their journeys.

All the ups, downs and surprises on the way to building their dream business. Giving you a realistic insight into where this career path can take you and how it can impact multiple areas of your life! Today, we’re interviewing Marissa Price, a highly-skilled Virtual Assistant who joined in the Virtual Excellence Academy in February 2023.

A Charlotte, NC resident now living in Guadalajara, MX, Marissa recognized the needs of women in her community, answering with the launch of Free Black Woman Virtual Solutions and the Job Liberation Virtual Summit. With a focus on healing and sharing knowledge, she’s paving the way for Black entreprenuers to exit toxic work environments and heal from the trauma as she herself did.

Let’s dive in to learn more about her story!

All About Marissa

Hi Marissa! Let’s start with an introduction: who are you, and what do you do?

Hi! My name is Marissa Price. I am a lifelong learner, I am a lover of nature, and I’m a proud nerd! I love to immerse myself in new topics and expand my mind. I also love using the knowledge and expertise I gained in the business world as a financial analyst and economic development social worker to help others live out their dreams! I am now a digital marketing strategist who specializes in creating sales funnels, lead magnets, and landing pages using an authentic, relatable voice so that my clients can reach new heights in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce.

Tell us more about yourself – where you are in the world, and what has you excited about life right now?

I am currently living in Guadalajara, Mexico, which I’m pretty sure has the BEST corn in the world. I relocated to Guadalajara from Charlotte, NC about a year ago now. I’m excited about continuing to grow my business, connecting with other like-minded entrepreneurs along the way, and traveling to new countries and cities! I’m a relatively new international traveler, having traveled abroad from the U.S. for the first time a little less than 2 years ago, and so I’m excited to put this passport to work and explore new places.

What was your work and lifestyle like prior to joining the VEA? What sparked you to make a shift and start this venture to your current field as a Digital Marketing Strategist and E-Commerce Assistant?

Before joining the VEA, I worked in a corporate role that was very detrimental to my health – it was a toxic work environment for many reasons. Coming across Digital Nomad Kit and the VEA was literally like a breath of fresh air because I realized I could take the skills I already had and remove myself from that environment by becoming an entrepreneur. I have a background in researching the specific challenges Black women entrepreneurs in the U.S. face, and so the spark for me happened when I realized I could use this research background to attract my dream clients and also make a difference at the same time.

Let’s talk about your overarching mission! The heart of your work is to help others live a life of purpose and reclaim their inner peace after experiencing the harm of oppressive systems. Can you tell us more about this mission and why it’s so important to you?

Yes, as a social worker, I was formally educated about oppressive systems and how they function, but my real passion for this work is derived from my lived experience growing up in oppressive environments that made me doubt my self-worth and taught me to accept less than I deserve.

As part of healing from a very traumatic work experience, I have been able to reclaim my inner peace by externalizing what I experienced and I now I help others do the same. Oppressive systems work to steal our joy by causing us to feel ashamed about who we are and how we show up in the world. One way we can resist these efforts is by validating ourselves, seeking out safe community, and prioritizing our peace over everything else.

To achieve that mission, apart from your VA business, you’re running a self-titled business in which you work as a healer and educator, offering meditations, consulting, and more. When and how did this journey start for you?

This journey started about the same time I enrolled in the VEA. In fact, one of the questions that I asked Hannah during the live Q&A before I enrolled was if VAs have passion projects that they work on in addition to their client work, and her answer was an enthusiastic YES!

I am a healer at heart. I find so much joy in authentically sharing what I’ve been through to help others on their healing journeys, because I’ve only been able to heal by hearing others bravely share their stories. I hope to offer more group breathwork and meditation sessions in the future.
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You announced your move to Mexico in April 2023, what kind of impact has it had on your life as a black woman to say goodbye to life in the USA?

It has had a HUGE impact. I always say that moving to another country in NO way solves all of your problems (in fact, a lot of past traumatic memories will pop up the more time and space you have to reflect), but not having to deal with the daily microaggressions has felt like a weight lifted off my chest.

My creativity has come back to life being out of the U.S., which has allowed me to dream up new digital offerings, pursue new collaborations, and really imagine all the possibilities that exist.

Aside from moving abroad, how has working as a remote freelancer changed your life? Have there been specific benefits that the lifestyle has afforded you?

Working as a remote freelancer has provided me with the ability to travel abroad and create my own schedule without having to ask anyone for permission, which has been life-changing! I’ve realized how restricting my life was before this transition (having to ask someone to take a vacation, having to wake up at a certain time, having to work with people who were not aligned with my values, etc.) and I am so grateful for the freedom I’m able to access now as a freelancer. I finally have control over my own life now, and that feels amazing.

What are three values that you hold onto both in business and in your personal life?

  • Care – I am committed to my clients’ well-being and holistic success. I lean into empathy when interacting with clients and always make it a point to emphasize that their wellness is the priority.
  • Ease – I reject hustle culture and prefer to work at an efficient but natural pace. Naps during the day are a MUST!
  • Community – The work I’m doing is connected to a much larger mission to share knowledge with Black women entrepreneurs so that we can grow our businesses, collaborate with one another, and ultimately THRIVE together as business leaders.

Are you ready…

… for BIG change?

A Journey to Success

At Free Black Woman Virtual Solutions, you focus on supporting Black women and gender-diverse digital creators with various skills ranging from admin to consulting. How did you decide on your current service stack, and which ‘offline’ work experiences did you find yourself transferring to the online space?

It has been a journey (one that is still evolving) to decide on my service stack. I started off by offering a little bit of everything, and then began to realize that a lot of the things that I was good at, I didn’t actually like to do. As I’ve gained real-life experience over the past year, I’ve realized that I really like digital marketing and e-commerce in general, so I’ve pivoted my services in that direction. I also love business automation and will begin offering services in that area in the coming months.

All of the skills that I gained in the business world, I’ve been able to transfer to the online space, from email drafting, to revenue optimization, to client communication. We really have so many skills that we don’t even realize, which is why doing a skills inventory is so helpful!

Since taking the 5 Day VA Challenge, what was the timeline of your journey? When did you debut as a VA, when did you land your first client, and when did you reach an income that fully sustained your lifestyle?

I started the 5 Day VA Challenge in February 2023, before I resigned from my full-time job. I officially debuted as a VA in March 2023 after I resigned, I landed my first client in April 2023, and I reached an income that fully sustained my lifestyle in October 2023.
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Image description: Marissa smiling for the camera, chin resting on her hand, a pair of reading glasses on her face.

You’ve reached many milestones in your journey, but were there any moments that you were especially proud of? And what goals or future developments do you have planned for the future of your business?

One of the moments I’m most proud of is learning how to build a sales funnel by teaching myself through reading articles and watching YouTube videos. I was so excited when I saw revenue flowing in, and I realized I had gained a highly valuable skill.

I’m also proud of launching Free Black Women Entrepreneurs, my online community supporting aspiring online business owners that my friend and fellow VA, Quinn Edwards, helps me manage! The members of this community are so inspiring, and they have encouraged me to keep going when the natural ups and downs of entrepreneurship feel like they’re too much. They are EVERYTHING. I’m so lucky to be in community with them.

I am planning on offering the service of business automation using tools like Zapier because I think this is really the future of online business – low-touch, high-impact. It would be a dream to collaborate with Quinn so that we can attract new clients together and grow a team of VAs who support Black women entrepreneurs.

Every success story has its bumps in the road. Since you started this journey, what was your biggest “failure” or something you wish you had done differently in hindsight? How did you overcome it?

I took on a contract role early on in my business (this was not a VA client) that also ended up being a toxic work situation. Interestingly, it was in the same industry that my previous toxic job was in. When I spoke up about things I was seeing at this organization that didn’t feel right, the person I was working for took that feedback personally and attempted to withhold my wages after I resigned from the role. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have even pursued a contract role in the same industry and instead directed my energy towards attracting VA clients – one of the benefits of VA work relationships is that you are paid up front for the work you do.

I overcame this setback with the help of the DNK community. I was able to share my story in the Facebook community and gain valuable guidance, as well as support and acknowledgement that this situation was, in fact, horrible and unfair. That meant so much to me and I’m still so grateful.

As a healer, what are some of your favorite practices for maintaining well-being during times of stress or overwhelm to keep yourself and your businesses on track?

I love breathwork for maintaining your well-being. Just taking a few deep breaths can really have a huge impact on your nervous system.

I also like taking a walk and stepping away from my laptop when I feel overwhelmed. As a recovering overachiever, I have to constantly remind myself that the work will still be there when I get back.

I find the simple things work best to help me maintain my well-being: spending time in nature, getting some sunlight, drinking water, and playing with my lovely dog, Kofi

Behind the Scenes & Beyond

What does an average week at Free Black Woman Virtual Solutions look like for you? How do you balance two businesses, a YouTube channel, And other virtual events and products?

The start and end of the week is usually the busiest for me when it comes to VA tasks. During the middle of the week, I have more time to focus on dreaming up content for my YouTube channel, scheduling guests, and creating other digital offerings.

I try to find balance by allowing things to flow instead of forcing things to be a certain way. I am learning how to honor my energy levels and unlearning the idea that I have to exhibit the same level of productivity every day (shout out to the Nap Ministry). I have also been unlearning perfectionism and have been experimenting with ideas for virtual events and seeing what lands with my target audience.

When it comes to running your business, what are some of your favorite tools of the trade?

  • I love ConvertKit for email management
  • Canva for creating marketing materials
  • QuickBooks for invoicing
  • Trello for project management
  • Zapier for automating business processes
  • OneNote for keeping track of my conversations with clients

I really like tools that are free or low-cost (there are so many out there!) to keep startup costs low, and I also appreciate if they are easy to learn and fun to use. User experience is very important to me, so I like business tools that spark joy.

As part of your mission to share knowledge, you started a YouTube channel connecting and interviewing with prominent black creators and entrepreneurs. What have been some of The most valuable gems you’ve picked up throughout this journey on YouTube?

As an introvert, it’s still so surprising to me that I have a YouTube channel 😀, but there have been so many gems that my guests have shared – my jaw drops at least once during every interview. I have learned how to trust my intuition, how to price adequately for my services, and how to begin healing from childhood trauma, all from my YouTube guests. I am so grateful for everything they’ve shared so generously.

Image description: Marissa smiling softly in front of a backdrop of green trees, sunlight beaming down on her curly hair.

What’s one piece of advice that you’d share with others who are looking to achieve that great escape, be it from toxic work environments or oppressive systems in the countries they reside in?

Trust yourself and what you feel. A lot of us have been taught to gaslight ourselves about what we’re seeing, feeling, and experiencing in oppressive systems on a day-to-day basis, but the more that you can lean into trusting your instincts and boldly centering yourself, your body, mind, and soul will thank you.

Wildcard question! What was your best purchase in the last year?

I miss Target SO much now that I’m living outside of the U.S., so I have to say my best purchase in the last year was a pair of distressed jeans I bought at Target during my recent trip back home. There’s just something special about Target! I haven’t found any store that compares yet.

Thank you Marissa for sharing your inspirational story with us, we’re proud to see how you’ve thrived in your career. With slighty more than a year as a member of the VEA, it’s incredible to see just how much has changed for you. We’re blown away by the many projects you seamlessly juggle, and your commitment to helping others escape the toxic environments holding them back.

Connect with Marissa

Where can people follow you?

Youtube: @mpricemsw
Instagram: @mpricemsw
Instagram: @freeblackwomanva
LinkedIn:
Marissa Price, MSW

Author: Alicia R. Thomas
Passionate about art and creative expression from a young age, DNK's writer and graphic design coach Alicia R. Thomas (ARThomas) has been creating art pieces professionally since 2005. As a brand designer, she fuses her passions for art, design, music, photography, and writing to help entrepreneurs and content creators build unique and authentic brands with powerful and cohesive messaging.

But, how?

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