Meet Wild Web Woman Sandra Lewis! Sandra is the founder of Boldly, a premium virtual business support company with team members across North America and Europe. Sandra and her team help founders and executives provide skilled, trusted remote talent to do work including: executive admin, marketing, project management, bookkeeping, social media management and more.
Meet Sandra Lewis!
What inspired you to launch your web-based business? Back in 2009, my husband and I moved our family from the US to the UK and so with it, came a change in my career. After working a very intense and consuming job for 22+ years in NYC, I wanted to find a way to continue to have a rewarding career without the stress of a commute, office politics and an all-around exhausting experience! At the time, freelance was on the rise so I decided to give it a try. I started helping a few entrepreneurs on a virtual and contractual basis with HR consultancy and project management and soon my clients started referring their friends for my services. I soon started noticing how hard it was for successful business owners and entrepreneurs to find and train skilled and reliable talent who would work on a flexible basis without breaking the bank. I set myself to provide a durable solution and that’s how Boldly was born! In 2012, we became an official incorporated business.
How has your previous employment experience aided you professionally? I have always been passionate about providing support to a great cause, and helping others grow, develop, succeed – and making a difference in the world. When I was in my twenties I worked for a not for profit and learned a great deal about service and conscious living. When I transitioned to the for-profit world, I carried the belief with me that no matter what work you do – it has to be meaningful and ultimately it has to be beneficial. And so when I founded Boldly I worked hard to instill those same values and that sense of purpose in our work.
Do you weave your values into your business? Definitely! First off, we hire a team who share our core values and beliefs. A team who is passionate about doing good, seeing others succeed, and making a difference. A team who has years of experience in their field of specialty and who live to provide a service that’s beyond the norm.
Once you have a team that shares your values, you are on your way to create a business that breathes and lives these values. It then becomes somewhat effortless to rally around shared causes and ideas, and to get on the same page with initiatives and modes of operations.
Bottom line is – a business is made up of its people.
What is the best part about being a web-based businesswoman? For me, there is no greater reward than to be able to offer hundreds of professionals seeking a flexible and remote career the opportunity to earn a living doing what they love and what they excel at. Many of our team are mothers, military spouses, expats, etc. that have extensive experience in their field of specialty and that really need this lifestyle to thrive in their careers.
What is the most challenging part of being a web-based businesswoman? I think there is still some stigma around working remotely, and some people are still somewhat condescending about the notion of “virtual work”. My team still often gets the famous “do you do anything all day?” question just because they work from their home office!
At Boldly, we are on a mission to shatter that concept by providing excellence in the virtual workspace and showing the world that working on a virtual and flex basis requires a great level of skill and professional aptitude if done well. In fact, we believe that remote work will only continue to rise as businesses start recognizing the immense benefits to employers, and the increase in productivity that this concept affords.
For me, there is no greater reward than to be able to offer hundreds of professionals seeking a flexible and remote career the opportunity to earn a living doing what they love and what they excel at.
What is your favorite way to unplug from work? I love walking my dogs! We take long walks in the countryside and I get to breathe in the fresh air and watch them play. Animals are so selfless, enthusiastic and loving. It’s the best “me time” ever!
What are some of your proudest accomplishments? Boldly was honored to be recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur 360™ List, the most comprehensive analysis of private companies in America. That was pretty epic and we couldn’t have been more proud!
I was also proud to have this recent article written on Forbes about how our company sees being a mom or a military spouse an asset, and not a deterrent. I’m happy we’re changing the game for women who want to have steady careers and haven’t been able to find them in the past.
What three web tools can you not live without? All of the Google apps, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar and Google docs – a must have for any remote team in order to collaborate!
I also love Slack, I use it to communicate with our core team daily.
I use Grammarly so I don’t have to consistently proofread all of my communications – it does that work for me so everything, even down to emails, remain professional.
What helps you increase your productivity the most? I try my best to stick to a routine as much as possible! I think it’s the key to productivity, and lends to consistent professional results.
And of course, the freedom of working when I am most productive has increased my productivity! We are not all morning people – so why insist on a 9am start if you can double your productivity when working at a different time during the day?
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date? I tend to push when I want something to get done. I have learnt over the years that there is a time for everything and while it’s imperative to have a vision, and to keep focused on the goal – sometimes things take longer to manifest! I used to be much more pushy than I am now! 🙂
Where’s your favorite place to work from? My home office. Right now, there are herds of sheep outside my window, I love watching them go about their day!
How do you make your home a productive space to work? I have a dedicated office space that ensures I have a dedicated space to get work done. It’s a requirement for our team to have a dedicated space to work free of distractions, and a testament to how serious we take our job.
What is the #1 piece of advice would you give to someone who’s aspiring to run a web-based business and be a Wild Web Woman? I wrote a piece on Medium recently titled, “Two Words That Make You A Better Founder” about how I wasn’t always good at staying positive but found ways to develop that over time – perhaps others will find it helpful!
My top tips (I have to put 2!) for others looking to run a web-based business to be successful are:
- Keen attention to detail. To build something big you need to start with something small.
- Know your limitations. You can’t do it alone so by knowing what you don’t know, you can assemble a great team!
Thank you, Sandra!