Montgomery entrepreneur turns his penchant for productivity into a virtual business
Accelerators: This monthly series highlights local people of color chasing their business dreams and leading the way for others. These are the stories of entrepreneurs, pioneers and risk takers that pave the way for the new Montgomery.
Ashley Jackson prides itself on your inability to get things done.
For the 33-year-old entrepreneur, a cluttered email inbox or calendar full of events is an opportunity, not a nuisance.
Jackson is the owner of JAMM Resources, a virtual assistant company that she launched in 2017 after recognizing that she could monetize her penchant for productivity and turn it into a lucrative and flexible career.
She offers a range of services to businesses and individuals who cannot do everything on their own, much like a traditional administrative assistant would; accounting, customer service, communications and social media management – the list goes on – except that she does it all from her home office.
Her clients range from lawyers and graphic designers to small businesses who send calls directly to her phone or connect through an answering service.
âI see a problem, I find a solution, and I fix it,â Jackson said. “That’s what I do.”
Four years ago, she didn’t know anything about the virtual assistant industry. Now, every time she drives north on Interstate 85, she searches for a large complex of brick buildings that she dreams of someday filling with employees.
It is a vision that some could not have imagined 15 years ago. Jackson dropped out of Jefferson Davis High School in 2006 after a series of suspensions. She said that when she was a teenager she struggled with unresolved emotions about her father that caused her to act in school.
âIt’s not about how you start; it’s about how you end up. I had my GED, and it was literally the best thing that ever happened to me. I went to the army and learned all these skills which were directly transferred to my professional life, âshe said.
In the military, Jackson worked in human resources, handling sensitive personal files and helping members apply for insurance and marriage licenses, among other necessities.
JAMM allows Jackson to work remotely, which came in handy when COVID-19 hit, as well as setting his own hours and pay. Another advantage was that there was little or no start-up capital required.
As a married mother of two, she said freedom is priceless, which is why the entrepreneur started mentoring people, especially single mothers, looking to join the industry about a year ago. . Jackson has been there and knows the fight. This large office complex she dreams of would have an entire floor dedicated to childcare.
Some have wondered why Jackson would offer to train potential competitors.
“If I know something, why not teach it to someone else?” This is who I am. I don’t mind sharing the knowledge I have so people can create better lives for themselves, âshe said.
Jackson sees JAMM as a resource center and plans to offer a structured course in the future that describes the ins and outs of the industry for those who need help starting their business.
One piece of advice she frequently offers is to create a business plan. If she had had one when she first started, it would have allowed her efforts to stay focused on the laser instead of the wide ones. Jackson said that at first everyone looked like a customer to her.
Another invaluable lesson was financial management.
âDon’t mix your personal money with your business money. I didn’t pay myself and I used my business bank account for personal purchases. Once I quit I was able to watch my business account grow.
Although most of Jackson’s interactions with her clients are by phone or email, she said they have become like family to her. Most of the new business inquiries she receives come from personal referrals.
âFor me, it all comes down to customer service. I try to treat every business like mine, âshe said.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Safiya Charles at (334) 240-0121 or [email protected]