Ever wondered what it takes to ditch the cubicle and become a full-time girl boss? Our Student Spotlight Series interviews our students who have made the transition from 9-5 to remote CEOs!
From what inspired them to start their own business, their favorite podcasts, go-to morning routine, advice to aspiring girl bosses, and so much more!
Today, we’re sitting down with our student Holly Pulford, Founder of Wanderlust Virtual Solutions! Originally from Ottertail, Minnesota, Holly gives us a glimpse into her girl boss journey…
Q: What type of online business do you own and what services do you offer?
I’m the Founder of Wanderlust Virtual Solutions, a virtual assistance and digital marketing studio that helps elevate women-owned businesses and coaches. I help business owners stay organized and inspired through system setup, project management, marketing support, and tech platforms and systems management.
Q: How did you discover the Bucketlist Bombshells?
One night after an excruciatingly long day at my office job, I read a Forbes article about two women who were working online and traveling full time. I was inspired by their passion yet was a little skeptical at first. I thought, “Could this really be done?”
“Becoming location independent had been a dream of mine for a very long time, but I wasn’t quite sure how to achieve that on my own.”
Being the researcher that I am, I did my due diligence and analyzed the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy as well as the Founders, Cassie and Shay. I was very impressed by the in-depth content of the courses and was extremely inspired by the fact that everything was focused on empowering women.
Q: What inspired you to enroll in the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy?
About a year prior to signing up for the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy, my brother Joshua passed away in a car accident. Going through something like that really forced me to do some pretty intense soul-searching and I was forced to reevaluate my priorities.
“Looking back, I realized that for many years, I made my professional career my ONLY priority.”
Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE working and creating and I’m grateful for everything I have learned professionally along the way.
“Surely, there had to be more to life than being cooped up in a cubicle all day and late at night, working weekends with no travel time and no family time.”
That year, I made a promise to myself that I would do whatever it took to be more location independent. I wanted to be able to have a better work/life balance as well as choose when and how I wanted to work and who I wanted to work with. Most importantly, I needed the flexibility to make my family and travel a priority.
“I found the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy at JUST the right time!”
Q: How have the courses helped you to become an online business owner?
Before taking the courses, I actually made it a point to tell people that I was technology-challenged and avoided anything tech-related like the plague. Once I took the Tech Skills Course, that changed everything for me. With just a little bit of positive guidance, I discovered that I actually had a brain for figuring out tech platforms and systems. The only thing that had been holding me back was my own fear and lack of mentorship.
“The Bucketlist Bombshells Academy helped me in so many ways, but most of all, the courses empowered me to have confidence in my abilities.”
The most beautiful part is that, now, I’m actually helping to empower, encourage, and mentor other women to learn tech and gain the confidence to pursue their dreams to work online.
“I’ve achieved my dream client and role by working as the Tech Skills Course Community Ignitor on the Bucketlist Bombshells Team!”
Q: What type of job were you working in prior to running your own online business?
Prior to running Wanderlust Virtual Solutions, I was working as a full-time Marketing and Events Manager.
Q: How long did it take you to ditch your 9-5, and how much time did you dedicate in order to make it happen?
It took me about a year and a half to ditch my previous job. I was fortunate that my employer understood my need to become location-independent and allowed me to gradually pair down some of my duties and work more remotely for them as time went on. In early 2019, I officially launched Wanderlust Virtual Solutions full time!
“Although I don’t work as an employee for my former employer, he is now one of my clients!”
When I first started the Bucketlist Bombshells Academy, I was working full time. To juggle both work and the courses, I had to practice good time management. So, I used a project manager, time-blocked, and asked for support from my family and friends to hold me accountable.
I found it helped that for two nights a week, I set aside one to two hours after work as well as two to three hours on the weekends to work on the courses.
“I stayed the course, remained dedicated, and the hard work paid off!”
Q: How long was it until you landed your first client online?
I landed my first client almost a week after I finished The Tech Skills Course!
“Within a month after finishing The Work Online & Travel the World Course, I was nearly fully booked!”
Q: What is your process for finding and landing clients online?
I belong to a multitude of Facebook groups that are geared toward subjects that are important to my target or ideal clients. I try to go into these groups a few times a week and build relationships, offer positivity, and provide value to other members.
For me, it’s not about “selling” my services. It’s about building trust, educating, and fostering relationships with people. I find that they always remember me and think of me when they need help!
Q: What has been your biggest setback, and how did you overcome it?
COVID-19 has definitely been my biggest setback. The majority of my clients were in industries that were greatly impacted. As a result, my hours were either reduced or suspended.
Because this all came at once, I was really put in a position to re-evaluate my business and my goals. I realized that by seeking out quality over quantity, it actually led me to find more ideal new clients that I feel stable with and can grow with.
“By having the time to reflect, it led me to have the space and mentality to land my dream client, the Bucketlist Bombshells!”
Q: What’s the most challenging part about running your online business?
For me, the most challenging part of running an online business is remembering to always maintain my boundaries and mindset. Ultimately, that helps me to be happier and better at my work.
Imposter Syndrome is also another big challenge. I have to check myself and remember not to let fear take over. That way, I believe in my abilities and have the courage to step into the unknown. That is the only way to become better and really grow!
Q: Looking back on your online business journey, what is something that you’re most proud of?
I’m most proud of the fact that I am completely location independent and can work from anywhere. This has been a dream of mine for a very long time.
I get to choose when I want to be with my family, travel, or take days off. I answer only to the quality of work that I provide my clients… and that’s it!
Q: If you could speak to your past self, what piece of advice would you give her?
I would tell my past self to not let fear, the comparison game, or waiting for everything to be perfect stop you from just going for it or believing in the abilities that are UNIQUELY you!
In the beginning, I held myself back because I was scared to start. I often compared my business to others (which just made me even more fearful) and I kept putting off my launch until I thought everything was perfect.
“It really doesn’t matter if you are new. You have more skills to bring to the table than the clients that will hire you. That’s why they need you.”
Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is unique and has something special to bring to the table.
Q: How do you stay inspired and motivated to run your online business?
I stay inspired by meditating and setting my intentions every morning when I wake up. I set small goals for myself each day, and when I need to take time for myself, I do it… and I don’t feel guilty for it.
“When my emotional and physical health are good, I’m more productive and efficient in my work.”
Q: Tell us what a “day in the life” looks like for you now that you’re running your own online business!
Well for starters, I rarely set an alarm. I’ve structured my time so that I can wake up naturally. I can’t tell you what a difference this makes for me! Waking up without pressure automatically sets me in a positive mood. If my body needs rest, I take it. It’s so empowering to know that I have the ability to do that now that I work for myself.
Once I wake up, I meditate and take time for myself. I go through my to-do list and re-evaluate my priorities. It’s only then that I even take a peek at my emails.
I work a few hours in the morning, take a nice break for “me time” in the afternoon, and then do a few more hours of work. Depending upon my workload, sometimes my days are long and sometimes they are shorter.
“The beauty is that I CHOOSE my own work schedule.”
Q: What’s the best part about being your own boss?
The best part about being my own boss is feeling empowered to spend my work time the way I want. I don’t start or end the day hating my job. I wake up every day looking forward to my work and end every day knowing that I did my best for my clients.
“It’s so empowering to know that my work means something!”
Q: What do you love most about the work you do and the clients you work with?
I’ve always had a “helper” personality and love helping others. I feel great when I can make something easier for someone, put a smile on their face, or be encouraging.
I use my talents to do this through empathy and also my great skills in problem solving and organization.
Q: What is your favorite destination to work remotely from?
Although it is always exciting to be able to work from wherever I am traveling, overall, I LOVE being able to work from my own home. I feel so comfortable and just me when I am in my own environment. I don’t have to put makeup on and I can’t tell you how awesome it is to wear my slippers and pj’s whenever I want!
Q: What’re your favorite business tools that you’d recommend to other girl bosses? Why do you love them?
I can’t live without Asana, Google Drive, or Trello. Organization in running your own business or helping clients is key. I couldn’t do this without any of these tools!
Asana is the project management tool I use to keep my clients organized and have a place where we can share ideas and deliverables.
Trello is the project management tool I use for my day-to-day life and for my business ideas. I have all of my recipes, shopping lists, business goals, and checklists in Trello.
Google Drive is what I use for pretty much everything else, including my social media content calendar.
Q: What is one of your favorite business books that you would recommend to another girl boss and why do you love it?
I absolutely love Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Whenever I need to feel inspired and get out of my creative ruts, this book really does it for me!
Q: What’s your go-to favorite podcast that you’d recommend to other girl bosses?
My go-to podcast is Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert!
Following up on the inspiration and guidance of her book, Big Magic, this podcast talks about life, travel, and business in a way that is inspiring and geared towards girl bosses.
Q: What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring Bucketlist Bombshells?
JUST START! Don’t let fear, the comparison game, or the feeling that everything needs to be perfect hinder your progress. Otherwise, you will never reach your goals.
When I was first starting out, it took me a long time to realize that you don’t have to have everything ready and perfect to start or launch.