Who is Vickie J?
Born and raised in Dallas, I am an entrepreneur, fitness trainer, and a sales manager at a data storage migration company. I started my sales career at a fintech company after graduating from New York University – I was drawn to the profession because I discovered in college that I liked connecting people and helping folks collaborate on projects.
After six years of the hustle in the Big Apple, I returned home to Dallas recently to be closer to family and with the hopes of starting a meditation studio (although this fell through) with my business Venus Crystal, which I had started as a side hustle in July 2020.
With the e-commerce business I started during the pandemic, Venus Crystal, I was looking for a way to create community and promote healing practices that were helpful to those experiencing the stress from the pandemic, and life in general! Through all my ventures, I am always looking to help people in meaningful ways.
Tell us more about your role in Cirrus Data Solutions Inc.
As a regional sales manager for Cirrus Data, I am responsible for all projects at our company within the US South, which includes TOLA (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Alabama), New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida.
Cirrus Data Solutions offers both an appliance-based and software-based solution for data center migration, from on-premise datacenter refreshes or relocations, to moving into the hybrid cloud. Our patented technology is able to migrate block data 4-6x faster than AWS and Azure tools with zero downtime. I handle outreach and delivery on projects through our channel partners, since our technology is normally sold through partners only, usually as a part of a data storage contract.
What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?
The most difficult part of the job at Cirrus Data is making sure that we’re identifying new opportunities at the right time – since our block data migration services are normally sold as a larger data storage deal for an end user, it’s important that I am consistent when it comes to following up with our channel partners and nurturing those relationships across this industry.
I enjoy my role at this company due to the vast range of responsibilities that I have – not only am I generating new leads and projects, but contributing to sales enablement and marketing as well. Taking the reins when it comes to our go-to-market strategies and developing new strategic partnerships for Cirrus Data allows me to grow in my abilities as a sales director and as a marketer, plus when it comes to cloud computing and the world of data storage, there is constantly new knowledge and technical expertise that I am gaining. Currently, I am working on certifications across Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure.
Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?
I am glad that I decided to pursue my passions by joining the tech industry and consistently pursuing entrepreneurial projects, so there is nothing that I would ultimately want to change about my path so far (although if I had considered grad school as an option right after undergrad, I may have ended up going to law school and becoming a lawyer!). Beginning my career and starting businesses in New York City allowed me to gain a wide breadth of experience in various industries over the years – from big data/AI, to corporate travel, to recruiting, and e-commerce.
Venus Crystal was the second business that I managed to scale to six figures (I had first started a business at the age of 13 in Dallas coaching swim lessons and offering private tutoring, which generated over $11,000 per month) within just three weeks of launching. Growing Venus Crystal over two years presented valuable lessons I now leverage as a go-to-market business consultant for startup owners.
What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?
As a regional sales manager at Cirrus Data and scaling my own business ventures, it’s essential to establish workflows and multiple channels to generate and nurture leads.
For subscriber based platforms and B2C consumer brands that I consult with, I also emphasize automation around fulfillment. The less manual work you are doing on the sales and marketing, the better. It’s important to always map out the full customer journey and make sure that you are creating a top notch customer experience every step of the way.
I delegate and hire virtual assistants as needed as someone who is a solo entrepreneur, although in the future I want to prioritize building a strong founding team around business ideas that I want to pursue.
What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?
I decided to close down Venus Crystal after two years, since the pandemic made larger scale fulfillment more difficult – there were many packages that ended up being lost or damaged, as well as supply chain issues.. Though I firmly believe in the power of meditation and various healing modalities, ultimately I did not see the business as being a long term fit.
Currently, I am focused on my role at Cirrus Data. The pandemic does not affect the data storage industry since every company has a data center! On the side, I do provide resume writing and fitness coaching services here and there, mostly to people within my network.
Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.
There is a whole suite of tools that I think are must haves for any entrepreneurs:
— Notion and Zapier for all workflows and project management;
— Canva/Figma/Dribble for social media and brand assets;
— Squarespace/Wix for your website (know which platforms work best for your industry. For ecommerce – use a multichannel approach, work with other retailers, and always thoroughly research an online marketplace before joining);
— Webflow or Clickfunnels for webpages;
— Stripe/Square/Bolt for payments;
— Mailchimp/Substack for newsletters and marketing;
— Ahrefs for SEO;
— (Optional) Landbot for a landing page chatbot
Hubspot for CRM.
What books do you have on your nightstand?
I love reading books written by Asian female authors, and I hope to publish my own book someday. Right now I am reading “Be Not Afraid of Love” by Mimi Zhu, who is a Chinese-Australian writer based in Brooklyn. Her first book is an incredible memoir recounting her healing journey through painful life experiences. She is also a huge fan of bell hooks, a prominent feminist author who was popular in the 90s and early 2000s, so I appreciate the parallels that she draws between her own personal journey and the principles surrounding self love and relationships that bell hooks wrote about.
I also have been reading a memoir called “The Baddest B*tch in the Room” by Sophia Chang, who is a Korean-Canadian woman also based out of New York City. Sophia Chang is well known for managing A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, and several members of the Wu-Tang Clan, and as someone who is a huge fan of hip hop and used to write music in my spare time, her journey in the music industry truly fascinates me.