CSG alum starts business while attending Willamette University
Sarah Sole

Camryn Pickworth ’17 during her junior year in college in 2020 launched the First Pick VA Group, a virtual assistant agency offering training and mentorship to freelancers before connecting them with clients. 

Looking for a way to earn money during her sophomore year in college, Camryn Pickworth ’17 discovered the freelance marketplace and quickly found that working as a virtual assistant (VA) was more lucrative and fulfilling than waitressing and retail work, which she had done all through high school.

Pickworth, 23, was also good at what she did. So good, in fact, that her clients began asking her to help them find other VAs similar to her in quality, skill, and reliability. Because of this, she realized she could do more than just freelance work—she could start her own business. 

In 2020, she launched the First Pick VA Group, a virtual assistant agency that offers training and mentorship to freelancers before connecting them with clients. The First Pick VA Group is currently comprised of a small core team of virtual assistants as well as a referral network available for clients in search of more specialized skills. Over the next three years, she hopes to expand her team to as many as 50 virtual assistants. 

“We’ve been very, very fortunate to have a positive reaction,” Pickworth said. 

The agency’s virtual assistants take on many admin-based tasks, such as email communications, scheduling, light project management, and general research. The First Pick VA Group works with entrepreneurs as well as small- to midsize businesses. 

When a new freelancer joins Pickworth’s team, they spend one month onboarding before working with their first client. During this period, they learn how to engage with clients and receive mentorship as they hone their skills. Pickworth is actively seeking to create a more ethical marketplace for her freelancers and clients by providing both a safe and healthy team and work environment for her freelancers as well as reliability and easy recruiting for her clients. 

Pickworth’s experience starting a business has helped shape her vision for her future. She works closely with clients as an organizational strategist and wants to continue looking for entrepreneurial opportunities while branching into business consulting. 

Pickworth said she wants young people, especially women, to understand what she has learned: Entrepreneurship is an alternative to a traditional career for those willing to take the risk, and it can enable people to pursue professional and personal goals they might not have imagined possible otherwise. 

“As a young girl, it doesn’t always feel like it, but you can create your own career path—you don’t have to follow what has been laid out before you,” she said. “If the system isn’t working for you, create a new system.” 

To learn more about Pickworth’s business, visit firstpickva.com.

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