You don’t have to lock yourself up in a virtual world when you are working as a virtual assistant. Kelly Rillie’s example is a real inspiration to all of us. We can work, travel, have fun, meet people, and serve the community whilst being productive with our jobs. Thanks for the inspiration, Kelly!
Kelly Rillie is a Virtual Assistant, and a self professed ‘remover of roadblocks’ and has built her business, Your Two Percent, based on a passion for efficiency and effectiveness, people and the human experience, and loves being a curator in the success of businesses and individuals alike. Residing in Brisbane, Australia, Kelly has previously supported high level executives and leadership teams on large scale projects in fast paced environments. Founding Your Two Percent in 2017 has given Kelly the opportunity to explore new avenues and work with driven and passionate individuals and help them forge success in whatever context this is for them.
What is your philosophy behind “Your Two Percent”?
Your Two Percent comes from the notion that two percent is circa 30 minutes of your day and I believe you can achieve almost anything in that time; whether it’s changing your mindset or doing that one thing you have been putting off. I am passionate about efficiency and effectiveness and 30 minutes is all it takes to change direction and kick some major goals.
What is a typical day like for you?
I rise early and will often write a short list of what I need to get done that day and prioritise into urgent and important, and urgent but not important; this sets my tone for the day and ensure I know what I need to do.
After a relaxed breakfast, I’ll usually get a couple of hours of work done before noon. My general work pattern is I work in the morning and the evening as I have clients in varied time zones, so this allows for ease of communication and timings for conference calls if required. I often work from home, which is a Queenslander, not far from the city centre, or at a cafe or the State Library to mix things up.
Depending on schedule, I try to work on a personal passion project for an hour or so during the day to ensure I stay inspired. I like having the flexibility to help others, so some days, I become a nanny for good friends who need a sitter at short notice, or collect people from the airport, it’s really nice having the ability to be available when you choose (within reason).
What do you think are the cornerstones of being an exemplary Executive Virtual Assistant?
For me, being an exemplary Executive Virtual Assistant is all around developing solid relationships built on trust and mutual respect, this base gives you a good grounding to truly understand where your value add is, this also helps, given the fact you don’t work in the same location (in some instances) and you often have little interaction. I see my job as usually needing to be one step ahead of the game and knowing what your client needs before they know they need it. This is usually through a clear understanding of strategy and again comes back trust. You also need to be flexible and adaptable. I have clients from different industries who have competing priorities in their own businesses, so ensuring your systems, processes and the way you work are as streamlined as possible is a bonus.
How do you adapt your services to the ever changing needs of different clients?
I am always learning and see every new project as an adventure and opportunity to learn. I read a lot, books (currently reading Reset by Ellen Pao and The Four by Scott Galloway), also online articles and forums. I listen to a number of podcasts, and I often take online courses and webinars. I get a lot of value from attending networking events, workshops and entrepreneur sessions. I live in a city so we have a number of co-working spaces and meet-up groups that offer a wealth of knowledge.
It’s also nice to get out from behind your computer at times and meet the people you have been connecting with digitally or making new connections, it’s usually through these meetings and your shared experiences that you can keep up with trends. I am however, a big believer in collaboration and I don’t try to be an expert at everything. I like to focus on areas I am passionate about (which is changing), that way, I know I will deliver a great service. I love to recommend other Virtual Assistants who have different niche areas for which I know they will be a better fit.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Can you tell us more about it?
Outside of work, I enjoy all the good things in life, spending time with family and friends, heading to the beach and travel. I just returned to Australia after spending 2 months traveling through Europe. This was an amazing experience, I also worked (at 50% capacity) while I was traveling and it showed me how easy it is to embrace the virtual lifestyle.
I have recently found joy in completing a large physical challenge each year that also raises money for a good cause. For 2017, this was the Oxfam Trailwaker where I walked in a team of four for 100km. It was approximately 9000m elevation in total and we completed it, on no sleep, in just over 34 hours. For 2018, I am looking to complete a Triathlon raising money for Smiling for Smiddy (cancer research) so my spare time will incorporate a fair bit of training. I believe giving back is important and you learn a lot about yourself, the way you work and your barriers through endurance events, they are a great learning and development tool.
Can you tell us a story of when you spoke up and contradicted a boss? How did it impact you and your work?
I don’t think I would consider it contradicting, but more offering another view point. I learnt from a great leader in my professional time as an Executive Virtual Assistant, who would say you need to be ‘comfortable with being uncomfortable’. I am not a confrontational person so having difficult conversations doesn’t come naturally to me, however, I have grown over time to be able to frame conversations in a constructive way.
I also know by not offering a view point, particularly if it’s something I’m passionate about is doing a disservice to both myself and my client. Speaking up has always strengthened my client relationships, I have found an increase in respect as you are willing to voice an opinion and not just agree because they are the client.
What key lesson have you learned from a client that you would like to impart to your fellow VAs?
I work with a number of inspiring clients, and in particular inspiring women who are doing great things in the world and breaking glass ceilings. My one imparting message would be to ‘get out of your own way’. Most of the time, (women in particular) we hold back, because we think our idea isn’t good enough, or the proposal is not perfect, we hold ourselves back by not even taking the step forward in the first place. You will never know if you don’t ask and you will never succeed if you don’t try. I’ve had some great experiences when I’ve taken my own advice, and challenge other people from the Virtual Assistant community to do it too.