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Meet Bobbie Racette: a woman on a mission to revolutionize the personal assistant industry

Bobbie is the Founder and CEO of Virtual Gurus, a Talent as a Service Solution platform that matches its users with the perfect North American Remote Assistant/Freelancer by using matchmaking algorithms.  Recently named Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, Prairies Region at the Startup Canada Awards, Bobbie is a Cree-Metis woman committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She is a natural leader, sharing her passion by mentoring First Nations Youth who have expressed interest in Tech and Business.  

 

My first job ever was… At the age of 16, I got my first job at a Recreation Centre in Regina, Sask as a Youth Coordinator for the after school program.  I remember at the time all my friends were working in fast food chains while I was working 25 hours a week after school with Inner City Youth and Youth At Risk.  

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… Well, that’s the thing, I didn’t decide to be an entrepreneur – it chose me.  Seriously! As silly as that sounds I never in a million years would have thought that I would be an entrepreneur. I was working in Oil & Gas when I started coming up with the idea of Virtual Gurus.  I was laid off in the recession that hit Alberta and decided to just go for it. Here I am today, CEO of a fast-growing marketplace startup. 

My proudest accomplishment is… Just going for it with Virtual Gurus even when I  had no idea what would become of it. I thought it’s either going to work or not work and that I wouldn’t know unless I tried.  I feel most proud when I know that I had absolutely no experience but I did it anyway. I work as a mentor to Indigenous youth and I tell them my story all the time and if I can do it – so can they! 

My boldest move to date was… Moving someone out of their role as we did not have the same vision for the business. It’s easy for visions to go astray when working on a startup and it was important to me to keep as close to the vision as much as possible. I think it was when I did that, that I realized I CAN be a leader! 

I surprise people when I tell them… That I founded Virtual Gurus with $300 to my name and at the time needed to borrow money from my parents just to make rent.  It was a very scary yet humbling experience to pull myself through that. 

My best advice to people starting out in business is… Believe in yourself and the rest will follow.  

My best advice from a mentor was… Do what you do best and rely on others to do their best on the rest.

 

Do what you do best and rely on others to do their best on the rest.

 

I would tell my 20-year old self… You did the best with what you had, thank you for staying true to yourself and being YOU! 

My biggest setback was… Trusting the wrong people when I first launched my business.

I overcame it by… Believing in myself and the vision of the company followed by surrounding myself with people who have a passion for what we do.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur is… Going home, spending time with family and feeling good about what you’ve created. 

If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… Take time to know each and every one of our Remote Workers, what makes them tick?  What are their inspirations? We have far too many amazing remote assistants now, I hardly know any of them.  

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I have my degree in American Sign Language,  my dream since I was young was to work with people who are hearing impaired in more of a creative way such as coming up with different sound communication tools.  

The one thing I wish I knew when starting Virtual Gurus is… Being a Founder is lonely and somewhat depressing. If I could do it all over again, I would definitely surround myself with the amazing support I have now. It’s not something you can or want to do alone, we’re humans we need support. But the satisfaction of when it all comes together definitely makes the emotional rollercoaster worth it. 

I stay inspired by… Knowing that I’m creating jobs, especially when the economy is in a downturn.  

The future excites me because… I’m just getting started!  

My next step is… To keep the focus on the Virtual Gurus’ Technology Roadmap and to keep inspiring people to pursue happiness.