About the Publisher

My Professional Journey From Piano Teacher to Biological Control Research Assistant to Federal Procurement Policy Analyst to Yoga Studio Owner to Website Designer to Publisher of Northern Virginia Business Reviews

Yvonne Herbst Publisher Northern Virginia Business ReviewsLike most new college graduates, I had big dreams for my life.

Having earned a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland in College Park, and some experience doing news reporting for the college newspaper and the Prince George’s (Maryland) Journal, I wanted to land a job with the Washington Post, where I envisioned myself rubbing shoulders with important newsworthy people and writing in-depth personality profiles about those people.

I imagined myself making a 6-figure income and having the means to travel the world, see new places and meet more interesting people.

But I had no clue how to get from where I was … to where I wanted to be.

So, like most new college graduates — feeling like a deer in the headlights, with no career roadmap and an urgent need to be able to pay my rent and put food on the table — I took the first paying job I could find — as a secretary with Mathematica Policy Research, a Washington DC consulting firm.

And, like many new college graduates, I soon found myself stuck in a 9-5 entry level job that I could have qualified for without a college degree … and no clue how to leverage the position I was in to move up in the world and achieve my dreams.

Years before, my parents surprised me with a piano for Christmas. I had never given any thought to wanting to learn to play the piano or become a musician, but it seemed I was going to learn, whether I wanted to or not.

And so I began piano lessons with Mrs. Eleanor Slorf in Riverside, California — whom I impressed by passing out on the piano bench at my very first lesson.

From that inauspicious beginning lesson, I became sufficiently proficient over the ensuing 8 years that I was able to take on a few piano students of my own by the time I was 15.

I made extra money tutoring French to a college student and working summers in the Biological Control research laboratory at the University of California Riverside campus, where I was tasked with counting the number of eggs that Heliothis moths laid on paper towels. (Don’t ask me why.)

When it came time to go to college and declare a major, my mother persuaded me to major in music — because I had already shown an aptitude for the piano and a music degree would be more “practical” than an English degree because it would better equip me for a post-college career as a piano teacher.

The flaw in this thinking was that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life teaching piano to kids. I wanted to read and analyze thought-provoking literature and travel the world and meet interesting people and write about them.

And so, in my junior year, I switched majors to journalism .. the “practical” alternative to an English degree.

After a year and a half at Mathematica Policy Research, I landed a job and a nice pay raise as a legal secretary with a Washington, DC law firm. The attorney I worked with recognized that I was overqualified to be working as a legal secretary, and recommended that I apply for a position as Executive Assistant to his wife, Beverly, who was then serving as the Executive Director for the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, the American Car Rental Association and the National Beverage Dispensing Equipment Association.

As Beverly’s Executive Assistant, I was finally able to use the skills I’d learned in college by writing and editing various trade association newsletters.

Months later, Beverly suggested I apply for an opening as the Executive Director of a small association of government contractors, the Coalition for Common Sense in Government Procurement (an organization that later changed its name to Coalition for Government Procurement. I was hired for that position and spent the next 6 years from 1983-1989 managing the Coalition, analyzing and writing about federal procurement policies that affected our members, and organizing conferences and networking events for our members.

In 1990, I took the leap into the world of freelancing and began working for several clients at a time, providing government procurement policy analysis and writing and editing for several Washington DC organizations.

I also married my husband. We had 2 children and since my husband was making a decent income as a GSA Contracting Consultant, I stopped working for a few years to focus on raising our children. I was tired of reading the Federal Register and trying to translate Federal Acquisition Regulations into common sense language that business people could understand and I wanted a change in my life.

I had been taking yoga for a few years at the Health Advantage Yoga Centerin Herndon, Virginia, and when it dawned on me that 1,000 students a week were enrolled in their classes I decided that teaching yoga could be a viable business opportunity. So I enrolled in their yoga teacher training program and began teaching yoga through a local gym in 1999.

After developing a large enough clientele for my yoga classes, I leased a small room where I could continue teaching yoga under my own business name.

As a yoga studio owner, I realized I needed a website where people could find our yoga class schedule and enroll in classes.

I knew nothing about how to build a website, but I found a mentor online who taught me how to create my own website using the WordPress content management system and how to get that website indexed in Google so people could find me online. Having my own website and knowing how to optimize it for local search results helped more people find me online and helped me grow my business.
I loved teaching yoga. I loved meeting new people and I loved hearing how yoga helped them feel better and move through their lives with ease.

But in 2005, my commercial lease was due for renewal and my landlord was raising the rates. I decided not to commit to another 5-year lease and began teaching as an independent contractor through the local hospital’s wellness program.

I also began thinking about other ways I could make money working from home so I could strike a satisfying balance between motherhood and work, while doing something I loved.

That’s when I began offering my services as a website designer for local businesses.

I’ve been earning a living developing websites and providing digital marketing services ever since. As my children have grown older and developed their own talents in video production and video editing, I have brought them in as needed to produce marketing videos for clients as well.

Northern Virginia Business Reviews allows me to combine my love of meeting new people and writing about them, with the digital marketing expertise I’ve developed over the past 10 years.

My goal is to connect Northern Virginia residents who are actively looking for and in need of various services with reputable and trustworthy local businesses that can provide those services to them.