Cherokee Office of Economic Development · Cherokee by Choice.

Coffee Helps You Thrive

September 6, 2018

“Two things every business owner wants for their business: to make money and to make more money. The issue is that there is not an easy or affordable way for a startup to hire top talent and scale the business, nor do they have the resources to hire someone full time. Thrive Virtual Assistance connects startups and entrepreneurs with global talent for a fraction of the cost,” said Marianna Velozo, the VP of Operations at Thrive Virtual Assistance, as she introduced her startup to the 1 Million Cups Cherokee audience.

“Thrive is an outsource business development company, and we help startups and entrepreneurs utilize global talent by focusing on services such as sales, marketing, and administration.”

The startup has provided sales and marketing service for the past three years but recently made a pivot into outsourcing talent when the demand for these services outgrew Thrive’s capability. The first iteration of Thrive catered to real estate agents and managing their social media pages. Over time, the team identified a need for talent in the startup industry and shifted the business model to outsourcing talent and providing company support and lead generation services.

Thrive hires, trains, and manages the virtual assistants so the headache of outsourcing talent is off of the startups’ shoulders. A monthly summary and daily recaps help monitor quality control and keep track of activities completed during the work shift. After signing up for the service, interested clients would go through an onboarding process so that Thrive can better understand the business and target the needs. Thrive then provides a few options for candidates for the client to interview and make the final decision, and then Thrive connects the two teams together and manages the new hire for the client.

A key part of 1MC Cherokee’s purpose and culture is for the audience to be active participants in the presentation and engage with the entrepreneur in providing feedback and insight into the business model. During the Q&A, an audience member expressed concern that Thrive may not be different enough from Fiverr, a well-known freelance marketplace.

“Fiverr is used for a particular project such as editing a video. Thrive wants to be the company that you go to when you are looking for a team member. Fiverr is also more of a marketplace; they are what they put in their profile, you don’t know their background or if they are really qualified. Thrive completes the vetting process for you so you know that the new team member is a good fit and is qualified to do what you want them to do,” explained Velozo. “Thrive does not make the connection and then leave the relationship, we are here walking with you to make sure our virtual assistant is providing a good service.”

Another participant provided feedback about a specific service the startup offered, “I don’t know any entrepreneur who isn’t a control freak about sales. I don’t see your target audience using Thrive to allow a third party to make sales for them, but I do see them using Thrive for lead generation.” Velozo recognized the value of the feedback immediately, “I agree with you. We excel at lead generation, which is appointment setting and filling your calendar. There is no better person to sell your company than you. In hearing your feedback, we may just change the term from sales to lead generation.”

When asked about how the 1MC Cherokee community could help Thrive excel, Velozo thanked the audience for the supportive feedback and asked that the community share Thrive Virtual Assistance to anyone who may have a need to hire an employee but lacks the resources to do so. 

1MC is a free, bi-weekly program developed by the Kauffman Foundation that helps build startup communities nationwide.

To learn more about 1MC or if you are interested in being a presenter, please visit the website to be directed to the application.

If you missed the event you can still access all the fun! All of the 1MC Cherokee events will be live streamed and recorded. So, pour yourself a cup of coffee and check out the presentation here:

1MC Cherokee will meet again at the Ball Ground Burger Bus on September 19th from 9-10 am and will feature Kara of Southern Oak Provisions.