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Q & A with John McKenna – CEO, Owner Peachtree Virtual Assistants

We thought we would ask John, CEO and our leader here at Peachtree for some insights
he learned as a business owner. We asked him three questions that touched on some of
the most important topics for business owners- inspiration, challenges, and achieving
work life balance.

What inspired you to start a business? Do you still feel the same way?
I cannot say that I ever had any life changing epiphany to start a business, but it was always in
the back of my mind as something that I wanted to do. I was very lucky to have some great jobs
with amazing organizations. When I parted ways with my last company, I was at a fork in the
road. I had several offers to take the easy path of going to work for competitors in a similar role
or I could branch off on my own. I knew in my heart that if I did not start something on my own at
that time, I probably would not ever do it. That scared me so I took the leap. Looking back, it
was a huge and daunting leap, and I may not have done it if I had known ahead of time how
hard it was. What I now know though is nothing great ever happens from taking the easy path
and doing this on my own has been the greatest professional experience of my life. I would
encourage anyone that is thinking about it to take that leap. Things will be hard. You will have a
lot of set backs and failures but hard work and a clear vision tends to be a remedy for almost
anything you will face.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when starting your business, and how did
you overcome them?
When I started my business in 2019, there was not much of a plan. Starting a business was
something that I had always wanted to do but I never really mapped out how I was going to do it
and just kind of threw myself into it. Looking back, I wish I had been more strategic and
formulated a better plan. In most cases, you need to be prepared to go for an extended amount
of time without revenue coming in and to make personal investments to get the business up and
running. This is one of the main barriers of entry that keeps most people from starting a
business. I was fairly certain that I had a business model that could work and just needed to
focus on the execution. My biggest challenge was getting all the systems and vendors set up. I
did not have a clear road map for this and honestly just kind of did it on the fly. I was a one man
show so I was wearing every hat which really held me back from focusing on revenue
generating activities. If I were to do it over again, I would certainly have used a service like
Peachtree VA. This would have allowed me to delegate tasks to someone that was more
efficient than I was while concentrating on the things that I do best.

How do you maintain a work-life balance as a small business owner?

At the beginning, there was not a great work life balance which comes with the territory when
starting a business. When I started The Emerald Group, I had two small children with a third
one on the way. Not an ideal time to do such a thing but I was at a place in my life where I knew
I would never do it if I did not pull the trigger then. I started the business in 2019 and then Covid
happened in early 2020. This was actually a blessing for me because it gave me more time with
the family as the world and business slowed down a bit. As we were moving on from Covid I
developed a solid stream of revenue and was able to hire more employees. This gave me the
ability to delegate more responsibility and structure my days the right way. Now my days are
very regimented, and I try to be home by a certain time each day to make sure that I am present
with my wife and young family. It is a constant balancing act that never goes exactly as planned,
but that is okay.

Want to know more about Peachtree VA, and our custom created system that uses
Method Matching to pair you with a Virtual Assistant based on skills and company culture?

Visit our website and schedule your no obligation phone call with our Director of
Business Development team to see why a Peachtree VA can be your secret weapon for success.