An Interview With Virtual Assistant & Graphic Designer Laura Rike
Hello everyone, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Rike. Laura is a virtual assistant, graphic designer, photographer and a mom! I know many of you are wondering how you could work from home. I’m sure you’ll find Laura’s answers very inspiring. If you have any questions for me or Laura please leave them as a comment. (P.S. Find out how you can get the training you need to work from home as a virtual assistant. Learn all about my ebook towards the bottom of this post.)
1. Laura, thanks so much for your willingness to share what you do with my audience. Many people, especially stay at home moms are looking for jobs like we both have working from home. I know I really enjoy running my own business and working from home as a social media manager.
How did you get started working as a virtual assistant?
It started out just as an internship to be honest. I was laid off from my job and so being a single mom I decided to take the time off as a way to “jump start” my career by working as an intern at a few places simultaneously. From there I got virtually hired on from 2 of my 3 internships and then it just kind of clicked that I would be able to work from home and be there for my son at the same time!
2. What are your tips for growing your client base?
Honestly social media platforms and blogging! Almost all of my clients have come from some form of social media communications! The next best thing to social media would have to be referrals! Customer referrals are the most honest source of new business. There are lots of different viral marketing tools and tactics that can help you get customers to refer other customers to your company, and who better than a satisfied client to be talking about your services!
3. How do you use social media to connect to your clients?
I do a number of different things. The main thing I do is post tips on how they can improve what they are already doing! I also search keywords on social media and “join in” on the conversation that may have already been started, with a topic that I specialize in.
4. Do you work from a home office or a special place in your home? How do you stay organized?
I stay organized a few different ways, which I would definitely suggest to anyone working from home!
- I maintain regular hours
- I keep a dedicated office area & computer to separate my personal life from my professional one
- I keep in frequent contact with all of my colleagues to ensure they know I am available and I am “work-focused”
- I Define what I am going to accomplish that day
- I use a desktop app call Freshbooks for invoicing and to record how much of my time was spent on certain projects for certain clients
- I communicate if I will be out of the office or unavailable for a certain amount of time and when I will be back.
- And last but not least I politely remind my clients that my services and working from home WORK! I do this by sending emails about projects completed early, or just by building the clients trust and confidence about the tasks that I complete for them.
5. How does being a mom effect or enhance your ability to work from home? Any tips for parents who work from home?
I have set up a room in my house specifically for my office, so that if someone were to be home during the day they know that is a “No go zone”. My son is now in school full time so the house is pretty quiet during the day, and gives me the ability to be a mom and work from home!
Few tips for parents who work from home:
- If you still have children at home with you while you are working from home I would suggest creating a schedule. It’s important to line up your day carefully, with set “office” hours. How many hours do you hope to work that day? When will you return calls? What can you accomplish while your son or daughter is coloring in the next room? You’ll get more done if you work smarter, not harder.
- Definitely capitalize on nap time. It’s one chunk of the day when you can generally expect to be able to plug away without interruption (at least not from your child). Whether your kid sleeps for one hour or three, use this time to finish assignments that require your complete focus and concentration.
- Finally avoid over scheduling yourself or your children. Many of today’s parents and children are over scheduled. Parents need to learn to say no to outside responsibilities and to scheduling more than two extracurricular activities for their kids. Living a hectic, frantic life is no fun for parents or children. Prioritizing helps you find more time to enjoy your life.
6. What kind of services do you offer? How did you narrow down exactly what you would offer to your clients?
- Graphic design
- Customer Service
- Email Newsletter
- Email Communications
- Event Management
- Social media
- Internet Marketing
- Marketing Materials
- Market Research
- Press/Media Management
- Trade Shows
- Web design and Maintenance
These are the services I love to do on a daily basis so that is how I came up with the list to offer to my clients. These services are what I went to school for and got a double major double minor!
7. Laura do you have any favorite mentors or coaches you follow to encourage you as you grow your business?
Kimberly Errigo (EssentialCoachingServices.com)! She has been an amazing mentor in making my transformational shift to what I love doing with my life!
8. Do you have any favorite apps you use to run your business?
Freshbooks – Invoicing & time management
Wunderlist – Keeps track of tasks for each client and due dates
9. What would you say to the person who is reading this interview dreaming of working from home?
Don’t give up on your dream. Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith and do what makes you happy! Favorite quote of mine: “Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.” – Unknown
Don’t strive to get as many clients as you can right away. Gain trust in the few and show them why they can’t continue doing business without you. There is where you will find success!
10. One of the services you provide is making custom graphics for your clients. Can you tell us about this service?
Absolutely! I love graphic design. It is my passion. Offering creative solutions to solve business problems is what I do best. My clients come to me with a business problem they are struggling with and I partner with them to develop exciting and flexible marketing collaterals that build brand awareness, promote product benefits, enhance the product’s professional appearance, and in turn contribute to sustain ROI for their business. This cannot be done without graphic design! Design is finding new solutions towards creativity in an ordinary situation. The success of creative thinking, and my purpose is to develop solutions that are inviting and interesting but also mirror the client’s core values and mission.
I am all about quotes so another favorite of mine is: “Design is directed toward human beings. To design is to solve human problems by identifying them and executing the best solution.” Ivan Chermayeff, contemporary designer. I like to think of myself as a problem solver through my design work. I also keep my design work on the cheaper side of things because I know how hard it is to balance wants and needs in a business. Most people think of custom design work as a want – but really it is a need if you want to take your business to the next level! Learn more about Laura at Laura Rike Design.
Have you often wondered how you could work from home or receive the training you need to become a social media manager or a virtual assistant? If these thoughts have crossed your mind you need to read my ebook,
Working From Home As A Virtual Assistant: Real opportunities for people who are serious about working from home. Learn more about it here!
Social Media Help 4 U is a virtually based company that helps busy business owners save time by managing and amplifying their social media online presence. Carol and her team manage social media accounts. They assist their clients in building their online presence, engagement and connections with like minded people, customers and clients. Contact her today!