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Lisa Riggi, who launched LHR Administrative Services six years ago as a hands-on secretarial and bookkeeping company, has transitioned to surrogate cheerleader, psychologist, clergywoman and life coach.
Riggi, 48, owns the administrative services business that now includes the Coaches VA, an Internet virtual assistant. She is a licensed facilitator through the Identity and Destiny program.
"I have kind of a dual role," she says, "helping people find their God-given purpose as well as working as a virtual assistant focusing on people that are executives and that all the money in the world can't answer all the questions in your life."
Riggi had 30 years of executive assistant and secretarial experience when she started LHR Administrative Services in 2006. That side of her business provides typing, QuickBooks accounting, mail services, data entry and email services.
"I've always been a secretary," she says. "I've worked from junior secretary, starting out at the Xerox Corp. back in 1981, all the way up to being an executive assistant to a vice president."
Riggi also has experience in human resources, training and development, financial planning, real estate and working with higher education in its sale of software for financial aid and human resources, she says.
The transition to the Coaches VA came in 2009. Riggi helps provide marketing strategies and client services online.
Last spring, Riggi completed a seven-step online course in eight weeks with Identity and Destiny, a Christian-based program that aims to help individuals discover who they are and what they were born to do.
Riggi works out of an office in her home, where she also provides care for her elderly parents, after moving from a separate office last year with a part-time assistant. She now contracts some work to other virtual assistants.
"It allows me the flexibility to be available to my family, to care for my parents in the home," she says of her home office. "I've been able to afford to stay home and provide for my family as well as take care of people."
She declines to say how much money she makes.
"I'm carrying six clients," Riggi says. "Some of those vary from part-time to as-needed contract work. I enjoy my set hours every month with certain people because you get to know their business more.
"Just as much as they interview me for a job before we start a business relationship, I look at them because I have to buy into their business. I need to be just as excited every day about their business as they are."
She is looking for additional clients, albeit selectively.
"People say, 'Let's have a 30-minute conversation,'" Riggi says. "I was on the phone the other day with a woman for an hour and a half. She was out of Maine. I gave her some suggestions because you have virtual assistants, you have online business managers.
"She really needed someone who could orchestrate talking to her website designer, her editor, her event planner ..., someone that could orchestrate all those. It's just a matter of sitting down and finding out what their needs are."
Riggi, like many small-business owners, has been affected by the sluggish economy.
"Over the summer was very quiet," she says. "This was the first summer that I really noticed it. But things have kind of ramped up and other doors have opened. It's riding that roller coaster."
Small Business is a weekly feature focusing on entrepreneurs. Send suggestions for future Small Business stories to Associate Editor Smriti Jacob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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