Laura Licursi is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants, a virtual assistant agency that helps attorneys, professionals, and small business owners go from busy to productive by helping them delegate work that is keeping them working IN their business instead of ON their business. After leaving corporate america, Laura worked from home as a Virtual Assistant for almost 20 years before starting EVA in 2015 with a vision to empower people to live a life that is rewarding and fun. Laura lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, 3 children and 2 dogs.
- CEO Hack: Writing my goals and affirmations every morning
- CEO Nugget: Stay the course
- CEO Defined: Servant leadership
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 00:29
Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I've lower the Kersey of elite virtual assistants Laura, it's awesome to have you on the show.
Laura Licursi 00:39
Thanks, Gresh. I'm so glad to be here.
Gresham Harkless 00:41
No problem are super, super excited to have you on as well. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Laura so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Laura is the founder of elite virtual assistants, a virtual assistant agency that helps attorneys professionals and small business owners go from busy to productive by helping them delegate work that is keeping them from working in their business instead of working on their business. After leaving corporate America, Laura worked from home as a virtual assistant for almost 20 years before starting Eva in 2015. With a vision to empower people to live a life that is rewarding and fun. Laurie lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, three children and two dogs. Laura, are you ready to speak to the IMC Oh community?
Laura Licursi 01:23
I am. Yes.
Gresham Harkless 01:25
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So let's do it. And before and then and one day to kick everything off and hear a little bit more on how you got started. What I call your CEO story would like to get started with the business.
Laura Licursi 01:35
Yeah, sure. So like I said, you kind of wrapped it up a little bit in my bio, but I left corporate America in 1997. Always the whole time, though, that I was working always I always knew that I wanted to have my own business at some time. But I left because I had my daughter, and I wanted to stay home. And so I started working remotely. And I mean, this was even before Google came out. So that tells you how long ago that was. And I actually recently found out the word virtual assistant wasn't coined a phrase until 1996. So right on, like, I know, right? out there. But yeah, so I did that. And you know, I loved it, because it gave me flexibility. I worked ahead ended up having a couple more kids after that. And I did that all the way up till 2015. And then I just decided I was really ready to take that leap from, you know, being the worker to kind of being a leader. And then elite virtual assistants was born in 2015. And we've been growing steadily ever since.
Gresham Harkless 02:39
Nice. I absolutely love that. And I love the progression cuz I think so many times, people might just be hearing your story now. Just think that, you know, you woke up and Eva was born. But in reality, it sounds like it was a process and you really refining got better with your skills and your leadership, as you mentioned, and now you're able to kind of lead a phenomenal agency.
Laura Licursi 02:57
Right, right. And I think, you know, it is important, there's something to be said for kind of working in the trenches, and then being able to grow from there. Because I didn't just come into it from this is what I think people need, like, I came into this type of business, like, I know what clients need, because I did work for them myself for all those years. And I figured out what worked and didn't work. And that's kind of what helped us, you know, come up with processes and systems to make sure that their relationship is, you know, is solid.
Gresham Harkless 03:30
Yeah, absolutely. I think so many times, I always say that about entrepreneurship, I always felt like at the heart and soul of it is all about solving problems. And I think a lot of times we get wrapped into innovation, creating this new service, or this new toy, or whatever it might be, but and lose sight of the problem that we're solving. So I love that you talked about, you know, working in the trenches, being able to see know, this is what people need, and you're able to kind of provide that solution for them.
Laura Licursi 03:55
Right, right. Yeah, you're right. Because as entrepreneurs, we're just visionaries too. You know, we just, you see everything and you want to tackle everything. But yeah, you got to be able to start start from one spot.
Gresham Harkless 04:06
Yeah, absolutely. So I know you help out many of these entrepreneurs and business owners with your services. Could you drill down a little bit deeper? Tell us a little bit more on what you do to help support them and how exactly that that goes?
Laura Licursi 04:18
Yeah, so a really big part of our client base as attorneys. So we do a lot of a lot of work for attorneys, we have legal assistance that we would pair with them do we things like client intake, you know, helping with document prep, court filings, things like that. We also do a lot of executive assistant work, you know, that could be anything from calendar management to well, pre COVID it was travel, travel arrangements, that hasn't been quite as much So this year, but like expense reporting, you know, all of that general admin type work. And then we also do digital marketing for you know, just about any industry but you know, a lot of social media management, content creation, scheduling. You know, graphic design, things like that.
Gresham Harkless 05:02
Nice. Yeah, definitely love that. And I love that part about, you know, when I was reading your bio, as you were, you were saying I think so many times we have our zone of genius thing that we do really, really well. But because of the things that we may not be as excited about doing, sometimes kind of get in the way of us being a zone of genius and being able to serve, so it kind of sounds like you, I guess, partner, to some degree with these business owner, these organizations, as attorneys, or, you know, CEOs or executives to be able to be in the place that they can make the most impact while they're able to kind of take on those other aspects.
Laura Licursi 05:35
Right, right. And you know, who, you know, really, when we're working with attorneys is really where I see that so much. Because they, you know, one of the attorneys actually told me when I went to law school, they told me, you know, they taught me how to be an attorney, not how to be a business owner. And you know, that's a, that's a huge difference. And so you see, so many of them doing, you know, so many administrative tasks. And, you know, they have that mindset that they just need to be doing it all, because they can do it all. And, you know, you just think of how much more productive you can be and how much you can grow your practice if you're getting rid of those little admin tasks, and you're working on the clients, right? Like, what's really bringing in the money?
Gresham Harkless 06:17
Yeah, and I think there's a quote that, that goes, like, just because you can do everything doesn't mean you should do everything. Exactly. And I think, especially with attorneys, and those high kind of hourly, I guess, services or service providers, a lot of times when you take that time that you spend, and you put it against your hourly, you start to really put things in perspective on maybe I should be spending my time here that because that can really help, you know, drive the business even more.
Laura Licursi 06:41
Right, right. And like, like you mentioned to there are those things too, that we just don't really like doing, but there are things that are necessary, and then when those things fall by the wayside? They're not getting done. So yeah, it really does just kind of keep kind of a well oiled machine going, you know, for people.
Gresham Harkless 06:58
Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes that could be a reflection upon you, when those things fall by the wayside, no matter how well you know, you do exactly what you're doing. And so, I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce, and this could be for yourself personally, or your business or combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart of machinic?
Laura Licursi 07:17
You know, I think for us, it's just the approach that we take, basically, on everything that we do, we, you know, we focus so much around not only the processes that we know, work to make a relationship, strong and successful with our clients, but the support that we give our virtual assistants also, because I think, you know, starting from the inside and building out with your team is definitely what, it's just the difference between good companies and those that, you know, maybe maybe just don't make it. So we put a lot behind our RV, as you know, we have training, we do lots of you know, meetings, and even though we're virtual and all over the country, we really try to foster you know, that that culture of togetherness, and you know, a supportive community. And, you know, we start by paying them one of the highest highest rates in the industry, you know, when they come to us. So, I think that, you know, that helps us not only attract really good talent, but it helps us retain them as well.
Gresham Harkless 08:25
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that, I think it's saying, good degrade, they talk a lot about getting the right, but so to speak in the right seats, and I think you better retain pieces. So huge, because obviously when you get people in the right seats, doing the right things, and they understand and they create that that kind of culture and that training that you all do, you want to make sure that you keep them in, and I think that's something that a lot of organizations kind of, you know, lose sight of having that, I guess, opportunity where you have somebody great, and then they leave and then you're doing it all and all over and over again, and the kind of level of loss efficiency that can come from that.
Laura Licursi 09:01
Gresham Harkless 09:04
Awesome. And so I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Laura Licursi 09:15
Yeah, so I don't really know if this is a hack, but what I do every day is I write my goals and my affirmations out every morning. And for me, that just helps keep me focused and grounded. And you know, what I'm concentrating on for the day, what my you know what my big goal is, and I read over those affirmations all throughout the day. It just helps keep me on track. And focused.
Gresham Harkless 09:41
Yeah, I think that's a phenomenal hack. Because I think so many times, especially in business, there's so many things that are moving and they're happening that we can often lose sight of what we're doing and why we're even doing it to some degree. So I think if you make it a point to do that every day and so write that down, which I think it's statistics say that it increases likelihood of it happening when you're able to write down your goals, right? Yeah, those actions, while it seems small really builds up into really phenomenal things.
Laura Licursi 10:08
Yeah, I agree. Yeah, it takes like five minutes, but it's definitely worth it. It really does help keep your eye on the ball.
Gresham Harkless 10:15
Yeah, it's funny you say that because I have a lot of my goals that I write on my bathroom mirror so that they're more exactly. It is so powerful, because sometimes we you know, even if we don't write it down all the time, but we're always around it, and it's always there. And it starts to create that, that mindset towards that, because you always know what's there.
Laura Licursi 10:39
Right? Yeah, that's funny that you said that sometimes I think I'm crazy. I'm just writing.
Gresham Harkless 10:45
No, you're not crazy at all. It's funny, I was just talking with my girlfriend, actually. And I was like, oh, man, there has to be something that you can write in the shower, because that's where all the best ideas happen, or you won't actually lose them. So right in line with you. So now what it asks you for what I call a SEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, it might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.
Laura Licursi 11:12
That's a tough one, because there's so many, but I would really say you just have to, you have to stay the course. I there's it's so easy to get distracted, or to get deflated. Or to be over elated, I think you know, you really just have to stay the course, as you know, just being an entrepreneur in general is it's being that big picture person, it's really easy sometimes to lose that initial focus. Or if things aren't going as well as you think they should, or, you know, whatever, whatever the reason is, I think it's just important, stay the course be true to yourself. And for what your you know, mission and vision is.
Gresham Harkless 11:57
Yeah, that's extremely powerful. And I think because of the rollercoaster ride of running a business, and like we mentioned, like all those different things that you have to manage, sometimes, you know, you can get really high. And you can lose sight of those kind of habits you had, or things that you did on a regular basis in order to have you experienced that high. But also when those lows happen, you can also lose sight of that as well, too. So the consistency is so big, but we have to kind of master ourselves, so to speak, in order to share that we're consistently doing that.
Laura Licursi 12:25
Right? Exactly like you said, because you you are doing something on a consistent basis to get you to that high. And then when you're there you stop. Yeah, because you get in a comfort zone, you get comfortable. You're like, Oh, I got here, but then the bottom falls out like COVID, for example. Yeah. I mean, you never know. You can't, you know, you can't plan certain things. So
Gresham Harkless 12:47
yeah, absolutely. Yeah, you have to be really focused on the the actions that you're taking, kind of sometimes we can get caught in the external we can have those highs and like, okay, I made us I don't need to do anything anymore, as you said, but in reality, you never know what's coming around the corner.
Laura Licursi 13:01
I know. It's crazy. But yes, so slow and steady wins.
Gresham Harkless 13:07
Yes, so steady and consistent for sure. So now what it asks you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO, and we're all gonna have different, quote, unquote, CEOs on the show, so lower, which has been a co mean to you?
Laura Licursi 13:20
Well, I don't want this to sound cliche, but I am a big believer in servant leadership. I think, you know, when you're running a company, you are serving your clients, you're serving your team or your employees. And I think having that mindset and taking it, not having to focus on yourself as much as you have the focus on the big picture and everybody that's involved in it. I think that, you know, again, sometimes it's just easy to lose that throughout the course of time and life in business. And so it's always being there and being able to serve those you know, that needed and that that that's why you're actually there. That's why you started right, you started for a reason. And typically it is it's to serve something whether it's a service or serve somebody a product are good. And it's just always you know, keeping that in mind and having that be your driving force.
Gresham Harkless 14:19
Yeah, absolutely love that. And that's why I love how that ties into you know, your your hack and how you're constantly writing or remembering your goals and your aspirations and what you do. Because I think if you remember your why what you're doing, everything starts to kind of flow from there, but with the hustle and bustle of, you know, running a business so often we can kind of lose sight of that or even get discouraged to some degree with things you know, happen. But when we understand that why and we understand as you said, kind of working internally, whether we talking about our organization ourselves, it starts to really see the fruits when you start to kind of master internally and then kind of work out where they from there.
Laura Licursi 14:56
Right, right. Exactly. Awesome.
Gresham Harkless 14:59
Awesome. Awesome. Well I truly appreciate that and I appreciate your time even more, what I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things your team are working on.
Laura Licursi 15:14
Yeah, well, thank you, I really enjoyed being on here and for the opportunity to talk to you, I've listened to your podcast, so it's great, but you know, I've got to be a guest on here. And, you know, I guess it's really just just believe in yourself, you know, and, and, like I said, stay true to yourself, I think that's probably just the biggest, the biggest point that I can get across, because that'll always, you know, carry you through. If you, you know, would like to reach out to me, you can always email me, my email is Laura at elite virtual assist.com. You can also contact me through our website, which is elite virtual assist.com.
Gresham Harkless 15:54
Awesome, awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much. Again, Laura, we will have the links and information in the show notes. And I truly appreciate that reminder, it's it's can sometimes be a lonely road and running and starting a business. And I think you want to try to increase that self confidence and remind ourselves and believe in ourselves with the actions that we take because sometimes it's a road that can be unchartered, and we need to have the belief in ourselves in order to make that happen. So appreciate you for doing that. Appreciate you for reminding us of that even more, and I hope you have a great rest of the day.
Thank you for listening to the IMC o podcast powered by Blue 16 Media Tune in next time and visit us at I am ceo.co I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five star rating grab CEO gear at WWW dot sceeto gear.co. This has been the mF CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listeningy
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