Allison has made the right decision — leaving her nine-to-five job to become a Virtual Assistant, in exchange for more flexibility and comfort. At times, our full-time job takes a toll on us, and usually leaves us too tired to attend to the more important things in life at the end of the day. It’s great to know Allison is now able to spend more time with her family and friends!
Allison Larson is a Freelance Graphic Designer and Virtual Assistant. She resides in Wisconsin with her handsome hubby, sweet daughter and two energetic pups.
How did you get into Digital works and design? What inspired you to take that venture?
My formal education is in graphic design (Bachelor’s Degree). After college, I had dabbled somewhat in freelance graphic design, but had never taken it too seriously. I reached a point where I felt I had hit the ceiling with what I could earn in my 9-5 office job, and realized I needed to get serious about freelancing as the earning potential was much higher.
What is a typical day like for you?
I start my day out nice and easy. I LOVE having the ability to have a slow morning and eat a great breakfast every day without rushing. I spend quality time with my two-year-old daughter right away, and then usually work for an hour or two. I usually plan something during the rest of the day, whether it be a coffee or play date, grocery shopping, etc. I work a few more hours during my daughter’s afternoon nap and then spend the evening with my family. I am currently working part-time, so I love being able to fit in my hours where they work for me.
As someone who has excellent graphic design skills, have you ever experienced creative burnout? How did you deal with it?
Most definitely! I have experienced creative burnout when I was working with some challenging clients who had a hard time communicating what they were really looking for with their project. I dealt with it by getting smarter about my approach with them. I reached out to some friends in the field and picked their brains on how they deal with similar situations. It caused me to revamp my initial questionnaire when getting started with a new client, which has prevented similar burnout going forward.
How does being a work-at-home-mom affect your personal life? How has it affected your family?
Being a WAHM has affected my personal life in that I am much more available to spend time with friends than I was when I was working outside of my home. Every single week, I am able to schedule time with those who mean the most to me. That flexibility is invaluable! It has affected my family obviously financially, which is a tremendous blessing.
How do you adapt your services to the ever changing needs of different clients?
Research, research, research! With the internet at our fingertips, one would be hard-pressed to find something they cannot learn about online! When I have a new challenge that is a bit outside of my comfort zone, I immediately start reading up on how I can do that particular service better.
What do you think are the most common errors virtual assistants commit when trying to advertise and sell themselves to clients?
The most common error I see in virtual assistants is lack of confidence when trying to advertise and sell themselves. In order for someone to have 100% confidence in hiring you, you need to let them know that you are the absolute best person for the job! This is the approach I use with all new clients. I do not apply for jobs if they are not interesting to me, or if they are too far outside of my skill set. By applying to jobs that are in my skill set, I am able to have total confidence when selling my services to a client.
What key lesson have you learned from a client that you would like to impart to your fellow VAs?
Treat everyone with utmost respect. I am currently working with a client who is the kindest, most encouraging and warmest person I have ever worked with. She has taught me a lot about how a little encouragement and positive feedback can go a long way when interacting with anyone!