How an executive assistant grew her practice by following a clear playbook

The Vik Duggal Workshop aka The Workshop is an offering that is part of DuggalConsulting. Two years ago I started helping friends who wanted to live the consulting lifestyle I had created. I do this through a 2-day offsite specifically dedicated to refining the offer to be sellable immediately after leaving. Some friends take advantage of the ongoing support I provide for six months afterward.

This is my way of taking what I’ve learned creating DuggalConsulting – a business that serves companies ranging from VC-backed technology startups to large companies doing $12B in annual revenue – and by serving my clients to help friends unlock their full potential.

In this case study, I interviewed Ferren Warner from ACE – an executive assistant service that is building a larger business after The Workshop.

Ferren Warner, Founder/CEO, Ace

1. What made you sign up for the workshop?

I knew that my business had a cash flow problem. Honestly, I started the company with my first client being my mom. Yes she was my mom, but as the Chief Medical Officer of the largest public health plan in Southern California transitioning into a consultant traveling 80% of the time.

I thought she was the perfect person for phase one. I think I took for granted that I didn’t have to raise money or bootstrap. I just started doing what I knew best and trusted the rest would go from there.

I quickly realized 15 clients and 10 team members later that I was really in business. Year 1 “proof of concept” was done. And I was headed into Year 2 attempting to up-level everything (team, service, client coverage). I quickly realized to do it well meant a shift in the entire business model…but I didn’t know how to get there.

I was also intrigued. I knew what Vik had done for himself and I saw first hand the success of his hard work (full disclosure he’s a client). I envied the model he was living and breathing. I wanted to learn how to manifest that for myself and my family.

2. What was the most impactful part of the program?

There were so many wonderful parts of the workshop!

(1) I loved the opening and how we were asked to explore answers to a series of prompted questions. My favorite “why are you here?” and “who are you doing this for”. I revisit those questions every, single day. It motivates me beyond words.

(2) crafting our target audience. I can’t believe I had never done this before. I think I was stuck in this “thank god anyone wants this service” mode that I didn’t take time to think through whether I thought they were the ideal client or not. I now have it firmly in my mind who the ideal client is.

(3) Crafting my sales proposition. This was a light bulb shattering moment. When I was finally able to have the words to describe what ACE is meant to be. Not just an on-demand VA service. It’s so much more than that. The value of the service, the ambitious but attainable goal…my mission felt very clear and I am now able to easily identify where my growth opportunities are.

3. What kind of results did you get from the program?

In 30 days I was able to:

– identify my current client base and identify who my ideal clients are, 

– I was able to speak comfortably about the future of the company with existing and new clients, 

– I was able to convert existing clients to the new model, 

– I onboarded new clients, 

– I have made improvements to internal operations with the team and how we function, 

– I brought in $72,000 in the first 45 days and am set up to bring in another $600,000 in the next year.

4. Anything surprise you about the program?

-I was surprised by how emotional I got. What I experienced in that workshop really changed my life. We were talking about everything in the construct of what to do with my business, but the potential it unlocked changed the way I think about my life (and that of my husband and kids). I’m so grateful. Yes, I actually cried at times (outside of the meeting of course).

5. What did you think of the facilitator?

He’s alright 🙂 KIDDING. Vik is incredible! He’s the reason I even came. It was not an insignificant amount of money for me to come, but I didn’t think twice about it. I jumped two feet in because again I’ve seen the outcome of what he’s done for himself and others. I’ve seen his magic. It’s pretty infectious.

6. Who do you think this program is for? 

This program is applicable for almost anyone at any stage of their business journey. I believe it’s for those who are just starting and looking for positioning and value prop support, I believe it’s for those whose businesses grew so quick and organically that they haven’t had time to pause and roadmap (that was me!), I think its for those who are struggling to figure out how to pivot / save their company when they’ve think all options are exhausted… but mostly I think it’s for those who know that life can be exactly what they dream it to be, but need a bit of support putting that into fruition. I feel like I’ve been fortunate to be put in the right place, with the right “support”, at the right time. I’m ready to help others live the richest, most enjoyable, stress-free life they can live. Ace is ready to take off. Let’s do this!