An Interview With Darla Schmalzried

How would your career advance if you were able to work anywhere across the country without having to pick up your life and move there? That’s one of the reasons why we started The Workflow Academy — to give people in rural areas the chance to learn new skills and work for larger companies that don’t exist there. This is the story of Darla Schmalzried, and how we were able to help her learn Zoho’s programs and work for a company that offered better opportunities for career growth than anything in her rural town.

3 min read

We’re Not [Limited to Working] in Kansas Anymore
Unless you’re working in agriculture, well-paying jobs are few and far between in rural Kansas. So as soon as remote jobs became more widely available, Darla knew that was her opportunity to work for someone somewhere else without having to relocate. Her training with The Workflow Academy allowed her to make it happen.

A Wearer of Many Hats
Before she got involved with The Workflow Academy, Darla had a few “career pivots” as she likes to call them. She was a paralegal at a law firm until her boss retired. After that, she worked for a small business as an oil and gas landman (determining who owns real estate and oil rights, and contacting them to lease the land). Those owners also retired, leading her back to the drawing board and to The Workflow Academy.

Getting Started
Darla first learned about The Workflow Academy while taking courses for remote work through Utah State University. Peter Fuller, The Workflow Academy creator, hosted a seminar about the program and things you could accomplish using Zoho. Working on a digital marketing certification course at the time, Darla kept The Workflow Academy in the back of her mind. Once she received her certification, Darla reached out to Peter, who put her in contact with an apprenticeship. This allowed her to learn the ins and outs of Zoho while being sponsored by a company employer. (Spoiler alert: She’s still working with them!) Being able to help a company with a real-life project to be implemented where she would be working one day was exciting.

Where Is She Now?
While Darla is physically still in Kansas, she’s able to work fully remote at a company based out of Utah! She started with Summit Venture Studio (SVS) as an apprentice while working on The Workflow Academy courses, and they hired her as their Zoho expert once her training was complete. This start-up studio provides creative software solutions for different companies. She uses what she learned at The Workflow Academy to manage Zoho operations for SVS, as well as for each of its portfolio companies. Her duties include establishing contact lists and sending out email newsletters for each of her clients.

Her Favorite Zoho Programs
Darla has many responsibilities for each portfolio company, so she uses a variety of Zoho programs that best fit their needs. Some of her most commonly used programs are campaigns, which allow her to send email marketing newsletters for each of her clients, and analytics, which ties in all of the applications in one spot.

Her Favorite Part of What She’s Doing Now
Besides being able to have better career opportunities while still living in rural Kansas, Darla enjoys working with her colleagues. Before starting at Summit Venture Studios, she ‘d never worked for a company with more than two people. So having four main people in the corporation and a team of 15 college students is a nice change.

Advice to Future Zoho Developers/Admins
Darla recommends using the one-on-one mentorship that comes from The Workflow Academy. She said it is a huge help when trying to fully understand Zoho’s learning curve, and having someone show you the ropes makes the whole process so much easier. She also suggests looking back at the videos if something comes up that you haven’t learned yet or need a refresher on.

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