Banke Adebayo Is Fostering Wellbeing For Women Through Her ‘DiVAA’ App.

Banke Adebayo is the Founder and CEO of Anne Ruth Marie, an ed-tech platform for virtual assistants, Banke Adebayo is on a mission to create an empowering ecosystem for women who want to run successful B2B businesses or agencies from home. She offers innovative programs and products, such as the DiVAA app, that connect visionaries with the expert virtual support they need.

She is also the lead techie at A-List Tech LLC, a no-code tech agency that specializes in tech solutions for online business owners and coaches. Banke believes that no-code technology and automation are the keys to unlocking the full potential of women and eradicating the feminization of poverty. She is a published author, a mentor, a speaker, and an acoustic guitar player who loves to explore new horizons. She is more than a leader, she is visionary, an accelerator for positive change, a mentor, and a creative soul.

In this inspiring interview with us, she shares her dreams and aspirations for the Anne Ruth Marie App.

Can you tell us more about yourself and what inspired you to create Anne Ruth Marie and the DiVAA app?

When I suddenly found myself homebound and slowly recovering from my second c-section in 11 months, ill and quite broke as I had been pregnant for the better part of 2 years, I was at the precipice of depression as I watched my hard-earned self-esteem and sense of self-worth go down the drain because I was financially dependent on those around me. A situation I wasn’t very comfortable with. 

I am a serial entrepreneur who launched her first business when she was 13. By 18, I had call cards for my business. I was constantly trading my skills for money and loosing my financial independence put a dent in my self esteem. After a particular event when I had to ask for money to get sanitary towels, I set up this pity party where I cried as much as I could. But when I was done, I got a pen and a paper and drew a table. 

I listed out the issues in my life at that time that I couldn’t control – my bad health, prem baby, being homebound on one side of the table and on the other I wrote the things I could control – my mindset, my skills and earning power. I just needed to find something that I could do from the comfort of my home harnessing the skills I had at that time.

I began to research and that’s how I found virtual assistance and I launched in 2017 offering social media management services and overnight, my income increased and I was rescued from depression because I leveraged social media and had skills that were considered important by business owners. Important enough to be willing to hire me even though we could not physically.

When I was approached to teach virtual assistance, I jumped at it because I finally had a chance to share about the powerful unconventional career that I had launched into and how so many women can become financially independent too. It became a driving force to make as much information and content available for people who were aspiring to launch. This was chiefly because finding relevant information to get started was pretty difficult for me especially relevant information for my location ( West Africa). I wanted to remove that obstacle to facilitate easy access to information for others coming after me.

Coaching new and aspiring virtual assistants brought me in contact with women from all works of life, and I saw that we all had different needs/challenges  from each other where our. These women needed more than information, they needed a community, mentoring, resources and opportunities.  Anne Ruth Marie was created to build an ecosystem that catered to the total wellbeing & empowerment of women through Virtual Assistance, No Code Technology & Self Leadership.

With our understanding of Virtual Assistance as a tech powered business and the importance of self leadership in business success, our over aching objective as a company is to restore the dignity and self-worth of women who are currently unable to earn a living or are not financially independent by making training, resources, and information available and to provide a platform where they can be hired, so that they can be financially independent in every sense of the word. 

We are also creating opportunities for women who are looking for avenues to pivot from 9to5 to owning their own service based businesses to do so with as much support as possible.

In 2021, we launched the fully functional EdTech platform that currently hosts our courses, programs & community of women from different parts of the world. With our aim to provide an ecosystem that fully caters to Virtual Assistants and our deep understanding of the challenges of the industry, chief of which is finding paying clients, we created DiVAA which is set to be the connector between expert virtual assistants and the visionaries who need them.

Our intention is to provide one more platform that increases the visibility of virtual assistants and promotes them in the most powerful way as we have data that affirms visionaries and business owners have now identified Virtual Assistants as a credible source of expert support for their expressions and are constantly seeking them out. Our goal is to leverage technology while  creating a solution to known challenges of both the visionaries and the virtual assistants.

What motivated you to focus on empowering women in particular, and how do you see technology playing a role in that empowerment?

I didn’t set out to empower women, at  the time I started to coach, I just wanted to share the wonderful discovery I had made about virtual assistance and how I was able to become financially independent earning my first 6 figure month within the first six months of launching.

What this did instead was to open my eyes to the plight of other women, those who wanted to be financially independent but lacked agency and personal governance required to get result, those who genuinely didn’t know what to do, those who went after what they wanted and committed to the process of growth, a whole cocktail of women and it ignited in me a desire to create solutions that will encourage these women to rise up and harness the opportunities that technology and social media has made available to them.

Virtual Assistance is one of the most tech powered businesses that I know – it is how we find clients, get on a call, connect with prospects, request and get paid, carry out our services. We literally do all of these without a single paper trail, we are fully tech powered and so any woman who is a Virtual Assistant can actually consider leveraging No Code Technology..

It is also important to note that technological advancement is what made virtual assistance possible in the first place and with every technological advancement, the scope of services that a virtual assistant can offer evolves. It is impossible to offer virtual assistant services without technology, so it is literally impossible to create an impactful solution that is not tech based especially if it will be accessed remotely.

One of the focus of our trainings at Anne Ruth Marie is both to teach & leverage No Code Technology. It was a no brainer to backup our teachings on the wonders of No Code Technology by building a mobile app without a line of code. It was a proud moment to have been able to do this.

Can you elaborate on the key features of the DiVAA app and how it differentiates itself in the market?

One of our main focus with DiVAA is the connetion between visionaries and expert virtual support. To highlight this we have an optimized feed for experts based on our knowledge of the best way for Virtual Assistants to promote their services and the must have marketing assets.

On DiVAA, they will have the opportunity to promote their services and their skills, share a robust portfolio and testimonials that establishes their credibility to prospective clients.

They will also be able to share the promotional posts that they create on the app on their social media platforms if need be and it will be an adequate substitute for a webpage.

The dedicated expert feed will also give clients the opportunity to go through a list of virtual assistants, narrow down their search by location, expertise and so on to find suitable support.

At Anne Ruth Marie, we value both personal and professional development and users of the DiVAA App will be able to signup for virtual assistant related courses and resources while logged into the appllication.

How did you ensure the safety and security of users while developing the app, and what measures are in place for 24/7 support?

The App does not require a lot of personal information. What we require is that standard that can be accessed on their social media profiles and websites. 

We do however use a secure data source to host any user information shared with us as we prioritize the privacy of our users. We have also created 2 major forms of support, emailchat support which is available 24/7 and a call center which is available between the hours of 9am WAT to 9pm WAT. We are working on offering 24/7 call center support in the coming months.

The DiVAA app covers a wide range of services. How did you determine which services to include, and do you see the scope expanding in the future?

The DiVAA App offers just one major service, providing a platform for both virtual assistants and visionaries to meet. The current addition of the profession development is an added feature to support the growth of Virtual Assistants on the app.

With future updates, we will still retain our focus but will definitely improve on how we carryout this service. It is worthy of note though that the virtual assistants who will use DiVAA will offer a wide range of services but this has no effect on the app itself.

What challenges did you face in launching and growing Anne Ruth Marie and the DiVAA app, and how did you overcome them?

One of the major things that we wanted to do with this app was to put the knowledge we teach to realtime  use by designing this app from start to finish without writing a line of code. This was challenging because we had to come up with quite a few unconventional solutions in order to be able to create the custom features we needed.

It was gratifying to troubleshoot and create work arounds that has eventually delivered our mobile application into our hands. It definitely was a teaching and strengthening session for me as the Product Manager and Designer on this project.

With Anne Ruth Marie though, our main challenge has been with women understanding and viewing virtual assistance as a viable career path. To counter this, we have consistently highlighted the pros of virtual assistance every chance that we get. From highlighting successful virtual assistants to media posts and webinars, we are focused on changing the negative stereotype so that women who need to step into this career can become aware and emboldened to do so. 

How do you address the potential concerns or skepticism around virtual assistance, especially for those who may be new to the concept?

It is not news that Virtual Assistance is still relatively new on this side of the equator and as with new or not so popular trends or businesses, there is still a lot of misunderstanding. In my 6+ years as a virtual assistant, 4+ years coaching, I have seen my fair share of skepticism about the viability of Virtual Assistance as a career path. 

I’ve been on the receiving end of rude and condescending attitudes from those who scorned me because I was “just” a VA and people outside of the community who felt the term Virtual Assistance was synonymous with admin services and anything outside of that was untrue.

In the first few months, it really got to me but because i was coming from a strong corporate background and I had run businesses for years prior to my launch, I knew that no one could put a label on what I can or cannot do without my consent especially if the concept was derogatory.

So I learned pretty quickly the power of positioning and how it affects the way you are addressed by your clients and peers alike. Being properly positioned from the beginning sets the tone for the rest of your client relationship.

I knew for a fact that Virtual Assistance is a viable career path for 4 major reasons. We make LEGITIMATE & REPLICABLE money leveraging skills that we have & offer services to REAL people. There is ample opportunity to grow your income substantially whenever you’re qualified to. You can always make the switch from virtual assistant to agency owner or a total pivot to a different industry if you so choose. Your professional growth directly affects your income. One thing I know is certain, no one can thumb their noses at results and premium skills and most of the impression people have about the industry stems from their interactions with less than competent Virtual Assistants.

This has fuelled my purpose in creating a community of well packaged, professional and skilled Virtual assistants believing that with this, the narrative is bound to change for the better. 

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those looking to enter the tech and edtech spaces?

Be willing to get the skills that you need to help you grow and excel.  I have seen too many people seek growth and success with mediocre skills and that in itself is worrisome.

Your skills ( hard & soft) are important and will pave the way for growth and success. And to your skills add tenacity and doggedness that comes from self efficacy. Believe against all odds your ability and certainity to succeed.

And finally, never leave God out of all your doings and your plannings, He is all knowing for a reason, You’d make less mistakes if you let him in on your activities.

Are there specific lessons or insights you’ve gained along the way that you believe would be valuable for others in the industry?

I have learnt the power of perseverance and a commitment to execution. A lot of virtual assistants and service providers lack the patience to wait on results. It seems that everyone wants to get their desired goals immediately they embark on their journeys. There is a gestational period that must be experienced. Other go after the next “strategy” that works without actually executing or implementing what they’ve been taught. So they have nothing to finetune and build on and their frustration grows.


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