Carrie Wulf: Former Full-Time Mom And Volunteer Now Featured In Forbes Magazine

become a freelancer become a virtual assistant carrie wulf forbes magazine kathy gougenhour virtual expert training wulfden professional services May 25, 2023

When asked to describe “what she does” in her very successful company, Wulfden Professional Solutions, Carrie Wulf’s response reveals a glimpse of the wit and wisdom that make clients immediately comfortable with this CEO. “I’m down and nerdy with numbers and operations,” she says. 

In addition to being an exceptional play-on-words, this “job description” is an accurate explanation of her skills and her “don’t take yourself too seriously” attitude. However, make no mistake, Wulf is very, very good at providing her clients with a high-level analysis of where their business is going—what’s right and what might be wrong. She knows how to turn data into a business narrative they can use.

“My brain is just wired for logistics and operations,” she said. “Fortunately, with a little help from my friends and colleagues at Virtual Experts® training, I found my niche and formed my own company. This is something I would never have imagined a few years ago.” 

Starting Job: Wife, Mother & Volunteer

In many ways, Carrie Wulf is the archetype of how wives and mothers possess the same DNA as highly successful entrepreneurs. Both groups have relentless work ethics, off-the-charts intelligence, and they relish solving problems. A snapshot of Wulf’s personal story shows how the foundation for her business success began long before she hung out her professional “open for business” shingle. 

“My husband and I have been together for 27 years and married for 25 of those,” Carrie said. “We were both from a small town in Kansas and became high school sweethearts after he graduated. We have three children, all girls, with our last daughter still at home and scheduled to graduate high school in 2024. We also have two granddaughters and a brand-new baby grandson. He’s the first boy in our family, so we're very excited about that. Grammy and Opa love to spoil them!

“My educational background is in early childhood education. However, I've never used or relied on that degree to build or run my business. Interestingly, none of my clients have ever asked me if I have a degree, and, quite frankly, it has not mattered to them if I have a degree or not. What matters to them is whether I can do the work they need and deliver the results I am promising.

“Our youngest daughter is on the autism spectrum, and because of my early childhood education, I realized she was not meeting her milestones. After seeing a mountain of government healthcare red tape pile up and countless evaluations, we were given the “Autism Spectrum” diagnosis. At that point, I chose to no longer work outside of the home because I wanted to make sure that she got all the intervention, assistance, and help that she needed. We wanted to give her the best chance at having a life that would be as normal as what is possible for her.

“My husband was an active-duty soldier, and I made it my mission to volunteer on post wherever we were stationed. That's when I became a full-time volunteer. While the kids were at school, I volunteered for nonprofits on the posts where we were stationed, sat on a board of directors, and was president of the PTO where my girls went to school. After my husband retired from active-duty service, I retired from volunteer work, and I didn’t realize how much free time I was going to have. Suddenly I found myself with nothing to do.”

Financial Security Was a Motivator

Individuals make the decision to leave an existing situation—either a dead-end job or volunteer work—for many different reasons. One of the primary reasons for this is to build financial security. This is what motivated Carrie.

“I knew I wanted to help my family financially,” she said. “Once my kids were older, I started looking for ways to help the family financially. Unfortunately, at this point, I developed health issues that made it physically impossible or incredibly difficult to work outside the home. So, I began looking for things that I could do from home.

“I did venture down the ‘rabbit hole’ of multi-level marketing companies and discovered it was not for me. However, in that process, I started doing projects virtually for people I had met in MLM groups online. It was through one of those clients that I began learning about virtual assistants (VA). I thought, ‘Surely that's not a real thing! Do people really pay for that?’ 

“I did some research (always down and nerdy!) and found that it was, in fact, a real thing. With great enthusiasm, I started trying to build a virtual assistant business on my own. I was able to get a couple of clients from MLM contacts and began helping them out and doing just some general admin things for those ladies. I found it was challenging to grow this type of business.

“One of my clients sent me a Facebook ad for Virtual Experts® training and suggested I investigate the program. Kathy Goughenour looked like my kind of person! I was already researching how to become a VA, and this lady is giving a free webinar. The little voice in my brain said, “If the webinar sucks, all I've lost is a couple of hours of my time, but if what she's telling me is really good, then I might be ONTO something!

“I watched Kathy's webinar, and within the first 10 minutes, I knew this was my kind of ‘tribe.’ I went from watching that first free webinar to having a breakthrough session call within 48 hours, and by the end of that week, I had signed up for the full program.

“I had been trying to build this company on my own, but I couldn’t convince anybody to pay me more than $11 to $15 an hour. I KNEW that my value was more than that, but I could not get them to pay me.  Kathy's program really opened my eyes to what being a virtual assistant is and how to recognize and accept your value and your worth.”

Sometimes, having someone who really believes in you changes everything. Just ask Carrie. 

“That sentence and sentiment from Kathy really struck a chord with me,” she said. “Why? Because, as an adult, I had never been told that. Here is this woman, a thousand miles away from where I was, looking me in the eye through my computer screen and telling me that. For me, it was really moving because I thought if this lady can believe in me, then so could I.

“I also learned that I just need to trust the process. Kathy made it clear that I needed to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. She reminded me that I needed to start reaching out of my comfort zone because if I didn't reach outside that “circle of comfort,” I was never going to grow, and my business was never going to grow. I just had to take a deep breath and trust in her process. You know what? It works.

“I learned to just do it. Scary progress is better than perfection. This is something I have struggled with my entire life. I grew up being told that ‘if you're not going to do it right, then don't do it at all. It must be perfect!’ I have learned that sometimes you must get that ‘sloppy copy’ out of your head and onto paper so that you can refine it and tweak it and make it into something incredible.

“I also learned that there are women out there who support each other and lift each other as they are building their businesses. Having that type of a support network was very different for me. Previously, all my support networks were part of the military, and I was the head of those networks. I didn't have people supporting me. That's where Kathy stepped in. She has given me the guidance, mentorship, and support that I have needed to build this business and lead the life that I want to lead.”

This seems to be working for Carrie. At least the editors at Forbes magazine seem to think so. She and her virtual business were featured in this internationally respected business magazine. Click here for that feature story.

It Takes a Community

Many people make the tough decision to become a freelancer or virtual assistant and, after dealing with the daily challenges — finding and getting business, for example — decide this is not for them. And they quit. What is it about the Virtual Expert® training that helps someone get through the problems and come out on the other side as a successful business owner?

Carrie offers this opinion: “I think it has to do with the community you surround yourself with. If any of our VE colleagues are stuck on some issue, we encourage them to reach out to the community. The coaches in this program are really good about connecting people with similar situations. They have a good handle on others who have dealt with the same problem. Without this individual coaching, I don’t think I would have adjusted to the challenges. This is the biggest thing that sets the Virtual Expert® program apart from every other training program.”

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