Student Success Story: Mallory Underwood

Happy International Women’s Day! For this month’s Student Success Story, we’re featuring yet another amazing solopreneur working hard to built a career around their life (not the other way around).

We’re publishing these interviews because we want to feature people who took Gina’s 30 Days or Less courses and actually got serious about working on their freelance career. Every story in the series is a little bit different from the others, but there are always little nuggets of wisdom to take away.

Today’s guest, Mallory, is as positive as they come. She is inspired by people going out and making their purpose a lifestyle because of the vulnerability, courage and resilience this takes. And by following her passion and putting herself and her business out there, she has joined the ranks of those she admires.

Take it away, Mallory!

Name: Mallory Harte Underwood

Website: hartewood.com

Course enrollment date: July 28, 2017

Business launch date: September 10, 2017

Date hired by first client: November 27, 2017

Hours worked per week: 15

Average monthly income: $2,500

Top three services: Customer service, Project management/Operations, and Email marketing management

Hi, Mallory! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a 30-something mother of two little souls and a wife to one not-so-little soul. I love travel and wine, books and wine, human connection and wine … pretty much anything with wine. I also enjoy yoga and an active, “raw” lifestyle.

What about your business?

I believe human connection is one of the pillars of happiness in both personal and professional settings. I also believe quality customer experiences are the key to creating and fostering those connections.

Exceptional interactions with clients should challenge the status quo and become the norm. This goes for those we work with as well as the customers we engage with on their behalf.

I applaud and am inspired by those going out and making their purpose a lifestyle. It takes vulnerability, courage and resilience, and these are all truly admirable traits.

I’m striving to work with entrepreneurs and small businesses who share those beliefs by supporting them with my virtual assistant services.

A fun fact about my business name – Hartewood is a combination of my maiden name (Harte) and my married name (Underwood).

How did you decide to start freelancing online?

I was already working from home for a large, national nonprofit, and I knew I could never go back to an office setting even though I had good experiences in those environments.

I didn’t want to give up the work-from-home perks and upset the culture it had created for my little family. But, I had a constant tug on my soul telling me there was something else to pour my energy into.

After a lot of ideas and time, I came upon Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistance Success, and I knew I had found my “what”. I immediately started implementing the steps to build my business one-by-one.

If you’re still not sure what virtual assistant services you can offer, we’ve put together a list of over 150 services that webpreneurs need help with.

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And how long did it take you to earn your course investment back?

I got paid for a two-week trial which ended up covering the cost of the course (even though that client didn’t end up hiring me – ha!). That was three and a half months after I bought the course.

What was your biggest fear before you started your business?

Getting clients! I was confident I could build the business and do the work but actually getting clients was my fear (and still is if I’m being honest). I didn’t want to invest my time and energy into something and tell my entire network about it just to have it fail.

But, here is what I figured out. I would do whatever it took to make it work, so if I failed, it would be a sign to alter my path a little.

Instead of worrying about being perfect, I choose to put on my brave hat and just put it out there. It’s amazing the support I have received so far, and I believe opportunities will continue to open themselves up as I continue to pour into my business.

What was the most challenging part about getting started?

Simply finding the time to work on the business was my biggest challenge. I was working full time, had two small kids, a husband, and a home to keep up on. Plus, it was over the holidays!

How did you overcome this lack of time?

I carved out a few hours every night after the kids went to bed, and my husband gave me a few hours or more on the weekends, and little by little things got done. I also used my time wisely over the holidays when I was off from my 9-5 and while I had family around to hang with the babes.

What has been your biggest success since you’ve started?

I have landed four ongoing clients in three months! Two are on a retainer, and one has potential to get to that point in the near future.

Can you tell us about your highest paying project?

I’m on a monthly retainer for 20 hours a month serving in two roles for one client.

I’m handling customer experiences (think hospitality for onboarding and offboarding clients), and systems management (billing, invoicing, system backups, etc.). This client is very organized and uses Teamwork for her entire team, so it was an easy transition to work with her. She is a dream client … if only I could clone her 😉

What are you working on right now?

Since I recently left my full-time job, my goal is to double my hours and take my business up to 30 hours a week of consistent work.

What are you looking forward to most over the next 12 months?

Managing my own schedule!

I plan to pick up my son in the fall once he starts school and not have to put him in aftercare.

I know when I travel to visit family for a few weeks at a time this summer that I don’t have to hide away in an office from 9-5 but can manage my workload appropriately. If a kid gets sick, I don’t stress about sick days and PTO.

All of it! I am ready.

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Mallory!

Mallory is a wife, a mommy to a little boy and girl, a believer in the power of human connection, an avid read-for-fun enthusiast, a wino with wanderlust, and now a business owner. She was born and raised in Michigan, met her Canadian husband in Western Australia, has lived in five states as a adult, has visited 14 countries, and has ventured across the U.S. and Canada. She spent 12 years working in the nonprofit sector before leaving to pursue Hartewood Professionals full-time and has a public relations major and a journalism minor to back up her experience. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram.

7 thoughts on “Student Success Story: Mallory Underwood”

  1. A really inspirational story, I love how Mallory has worked to build her business while working full-time and raising a family. And I can really identify with the fear of not having any clients. Wishing her luck now she’s full-time working for herself, no doubt she will do amazingly well.

  2. Thank you, Gina, for your guidance with your course, and for featuring me in this success story. It has already been an exciting ride, and I can’t WAIT to see where this leads. Applause to you for helping me get started!

  3. Yay, Mallory! You are an inspiration and I’m a fellow Michigander living in Kalamazoo (but not a WMU grad, haha!) Thank you for sharing your story and giving me the encouragement I needed to keep moving on my VA journey.

    • Hi Mary Lou, we don’t promote companies, per se. But we do offer suggestions of niches you could specialize in and services you could offer.

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