Meet Denise Riches
#FierceFriday is a weekly feature on Everything’s Coming Up Rosie (ecurosie) – celebrating all the incredibly inspiring and kick-ass women out there! With that, I am excited to share this week’s interview with Virtual Assistant (VA), Denise Riches and is the author of Smores and Sundresses.
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Let’s Get Started!
Denise Riches resides in Stoney Creek, Ontario with her husband Devin, and their two sons, Tyler and Caleb. When not writing or helping clients, she enjoys spending her downtime with family and friends. Netflix, chocolate and white wine make for a great evening.
In this week’s interview, some of the highlights are; how she juggles being a virtual assistant, blogger, and her personal life, how she started her entrepreneurial journey, and why it’s important that women help one another and much more!
Share Your Story Denise
Denise, Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
In a nutshell, I had worked in retail for almost 15 years when I had had enough of the rat race. I began looking at work-from-home options in January of 2016 and by February, I had scored my first virtual job while undergoing a VA training course offered by Alyssa Avant. As I became more comfortable, I began branching out to other VA groups and found The VA Handbook. Joanne Munro has been an inspiration, and her no-nonsense attitude has been both refreshing and good for business. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those two terrific ladies.
What is your blog’s name and what is it about?
I have two blogs, one of which I started in September of 2015 (Smores and Sundresses). I love writing and wanted a creative outlet, and decided to share stories about my family, and camping hacks/tips. Sometimes, I use it to write on other topics and share recipes, but it basically a mish-mash of whatever I’m feeling.
My other blog is an add-on for my VA business, and I enjoy writing for it as well, even though it takes a bit more research as I don’t want to mislead any potential clients with bad info.
As a virtual assistant, describe a typical day for you.
It all depends on my 1-year-old nephew! Lol I babysit my brother’s son for a few hours every day so it depends on his mood. I check my emails, and answer any inquiries about my services, and email my welcome package to potential clients who’ve asked for it. Then I look for emails from clients who need tasks done. I make sure I understand the task before I begin, messaging them if I need any clarification. If it’s all good to go, I start my timer and get right to work, stopping here and there, depending on my nephew’s needs. I’m lucky that my clients are understanding, especially when it comes to Skype calls and there’s a kid’s show playing in the background! Usually after lunch, my nephew is picked up and I can really focus on my tasks, until 3 p.m. when I walk over to my youngest son’s school and pick him up. Depending on the workload, I might continue to work for another hour, but if it’s not busy, I’ll do some research for upcoming blog articles and market myself on social media.
Random question. What’s on your nightstand?
A bedside lamp, some hand lotion and my phone charging cord.
What are your ambitions for your virtual assistant business? Is it different from your blog ‘Smores and Sundresses’?
Interesting question… I’m a behind-the-scenes kind of person. I thrive by doing the legwork on projects and letting someone else shine. Being a VA is definitely my cup of tea because that’s what it’s all about! Until some major changes took place at my old job, this was how I worked there too, but it was time to move on when the dynamics of the work environment changed. At any rate, I want to provide my clients with someone they can trust, someone who meets deadlines and cares about the quality of work as much as they do.
For my personal blog, it’s a lot about sharing personal experiences, some recipes and again, in the camping niche: helping others. If I can impart my wisdom (from years of experience) to others, I’m happy!
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
It can be tough, on top of being a caregiver and mom, but I find that using one general calendar for everything is a big help. I love Google Calendar because my oldest son and my husband can check it at a glance no matter where they are. I also like to do what’s called a “brain-dump” where before bed, I write down everything that’s on my mind to do. You have no idea how much better I sleep knowing that it’s all on paper! This helps me stay focused, and it feels great to check those items off the next day.
What has been your biggest struggle as a home-based business owner and blogger?
My biggest struggle is probably figuring out the best way to market myself and keep my name out there. I don’t want to make people sick of seeing my name but at the same time, I need to be visible and accessible. It’s a careful formula and I’m never sure if it’s enough or too much.
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?
In five years I hope to be earning a decent passive income from digital products that I’ve created, and growing my business to include a team of VAs. I still want to be helping others.
What has been your biggest achievement(s) on Smores and Sundresses and your VA business?
Hands down, meeting so many great people! It started with my personal blog and just continues daily as I rub virtual shoulders with all kinds of great people. The best is being able to help those who have helped me in the past, so keeping those connections alive has been worthwhile.
What is your best advice to women who are looking to work from home?
Don’t get so stuck in your 9-5 that you can’t see a way out. I spent over half my retail career complaining and doing nothing to help my situation. When I left my job three days after my 15th work anniversary, people’s jaws dropped. No one thought I’d ever leave. If you’re unhappy with your life or job, no one else is going to help you out of the situation your in. You have to take those steps YOURSELF. Make a plan, ask questions, get help from others who are doing what you want to do and get your butt moving. It’s absolutely scary but you never know what you can do until you try. People are ALWAYS happy to share their “getting started” story, so ask someone who’s been there!
Fill in the blank. Happiness is?
Sitting in front of a campfire with my husband, our two boys and my parents (they live far away so it’s always a treat to meet them when we camp) and talking the night away. There is no better quality family time for us than camping together.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I think it’s extremely important for women to help one another. We’ve gotten to be so competitive and there’s really no need. Sure, anyone can get to the top by stepping on everyone else, but it’s when we help one another along that we really shine. It’s good for our souls to help each other. We need each other, often more than we realize.
Where can we find you? (blog link and links to any social media)
Personal blog: www.smoresandsundresses.ca
VA website: www.deniseriches.ca
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