Anastacia Brice is an American entrepreneur, business coach, and best known as the pioneer of the Virtual Assistance profession. She is the founder and Chief Visionary Officer of AssistU, a Baltimore, Maryland-based organization committed to training, coaching, supporting, and certifying Virtual Assistants, and making referrals to the clients who want to work with them.
History and philosophy
In 1992, Brice moved out of a brick-and-mortar business to establish a home-based business, providing travel planning and executive assistance. She subsequently began to formulate her vision of an archetypal administrative assistant; one who would work virtually using all available internet and more "usual" office technologies and who could, by virtue of the interwebs, work with clients who could be down the street or across the world.
In 1996, she became involved with Coach U, first as Virtual Assistant to then owner, Thomas J. Leonard, and shortly afterward, as student, learning to coach women to have and live deeply authentic lives.
In early '97, an article was published about her work as a Virtual Assistant in The Secretary (now Office Pro magazine), the trade publication of the International Association of Administrative Professionals . As Brice tells the story, hundreds of women contacted her to ask her how they, too, could use their existing administrative skills to work for themselves, and that's when Brice knew the Virtual Assistance profession could be viable, and that there was a need for an organization to provide training to those who wanted it.
In the Spring of '97, Brice formalized the Virtual Assistance profession by creating AssistU–-the first organization of any kind, anywhere for Virtual Assistants, also known as VAs. It was designed to provide everything a new Virtual Assistant could need, including training, coaching, ongoing support through the life cycle of business, certification, community, and referrals to the members of the public who wanted to work with VAs.
Brice's Virtual Training Program, a live, 20-week, intensive virtual training program that was offered from 1997-2011, contained more than 900 original pages of training content, and was delivered via teleclass so that it could be available to anyone anywhere there was a phone. It incorporated a feminine business model created by Brice which held at its core solid business-building principles, as well as inclusive support, team work, cooperation, collaboration, intuition, and a view to the long-term best interests of everyone involved. Central to Brice's work is the thought that competition doesn't exist for VAs because, with the relationship being centric to the success of the work, who a VA is matters as much if not more than what the VA can do (tasks). Nearly 1,000 people (mostly women) started new businesses following the training.
Through AssistU, Brice offers graduates of the VTP two levels of certification, ongoing support and online community, and a referral service where they can be referred to prospective clients.
In 2011, Brice revamped the training to offer it as a self-study program, designed to meet the ever changing needs and preferred styles of adult learners. That program is called Virtual Basics. In early 2012, Brice added a mentoring component to the Virtual Basics program for those who want to work at their own pace, yet want focused, expert support. That program is called the Virtual Mentoring Program.
Brice continues to train VAs and coach women in various fields, with the focus of helping them have work that thrills them, and that contributes to their leading high-quality lives.
Contributions and acknowledgments
Brice was awarded the (VACOC) InnoVAtive Award in 2006 and 2007 for her pioneering work and leadership in the field. She was also named the first recipient of the Thomas Leonard International Virtual Assistant of Distinction Award (2006), but was disqualified when she was unable to be present for the award ceremony.
In 2002, Brice was nominated for Fast Company's Fast 50.
Brice is a past member of the Board of Directors of Women's U.
A frequent guest on talk radio shows such as Hayhouse Radio and Lifestyle CEO Internet Radio Show, Brice and AssistU have also been featured on MSNBC© and , and written about in numerous on-line and print publications such as Time Magazine, the LA Times, Inc. Magazine, BusinessWeek, Changing Course.com, Woman's Day, Entrepreneur, and The Wall Street Journal.
Her work with AssistU and on behalf of the Virtual Assistance profession has been written about in more than a dozen books, including The New York Times Best Selling, Take Time for Your Life, and The 4-Hour Workweek (1st ed.).
Brice writes the small business blog, Virtual Moxie and heartily believes in the power of social media to connect people globally. In 2008, she was voted to the "Top 50 Tweeple to Follow " list, and in 2009, AssistU was a finalist in two categories (the only finalist in multiple categories) for the "Shorty Awards.