Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily LaRusch.
Emily, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I needed to line up several home services and had a very short window of time to make phone calls on my break at work. I was appalled as I called contractor after contractor at how many didn’t answer. I wondered how these people managed to stay in business with such poor service. Over the next few days, I couldn’t stop thinking about these contractors and I realized there was a business to be made in supporting small companies.
I thought I had done market research before moving forward with my big idea, but the truth is, I didn’t know industry terms for this business when I searched so I didn’t find many results. Within a few months of opening, I had learned a lot of the telephone answering service jargon and began to conduct more market research. I was devastated. I found companies very similar to my concept and we’ve even been accused of being wanna be’s because of the similar traits between Betties and another company.
Truth be told, my ignorance is the best thing that could have happened to me. If I had seen our competitors beforehand, I would have told myself it’s already being done and not given the business idea another thought. But, now I had a problem. There was already at least one fantastic service in existence that was doing what we were doing so how could I make us stand apart? I needed to pivot the business to take us out of the race against the many other companies just like ours.
Over the next three years, I found that my local one-man operations I set out to help, didn’t value our high-end service the same way I thought they would. I sat down with my team and asked them which client they loved serving the most and why. Across the board, our attorney clients were favorites. They value our service, they love that we do a little more than a traditional answering service by scheduling appointments and processing payments and they also wanted a higher end service to represent their firm.
We set to work rebuilding our website and even creating a podcast all designed just for lawyers. We have hired paralegals and criminal justice graduates and also created our own proprietary Legal Secretarial Training Program. Being very clear about who we serve has helped us to carve out a unique niche within this $2 billion dollar industry.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My initial business plan projections are laughable. Sure, on an Excel file, the lines are shooting up and to the right, but the reality was I didn’t know how to market the company. The first two years didn’t turn profits and it wasn’t until the third year that I could take a paycheck. Going from being the breadwinner for my family to having little to no income was extremely humbling and challenging.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Back Office Betties story. Tell us more about the business.
Our team of virtual receptionists is the voice of law firms across the US and Canada. We answer phones, schedule appointments, provide translation services and process payments for lawyers.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe that you make your own luck. There have been a lot of serendipitous moments, but they usually occurred after periods of meditation and reflection. I also will not keep any team members who are not equally positive.
December was extremely slow for us and I had hired several team members to staff up for a large new client. The client ended up pulling out and hiring in-house and I was left with the payroll burden. When I was down, one of my team members kept telling me abundance runs through us. He repeated this for a few days on end and we had two clients out of the blue call-up to prepay for an annual subscription which carried us through the month! It’s things like this that happen all the time. You can call it luck, I call it attitude and expectation.
- Plans start at $189
- Address: 7047 E Greenway Parkway, Suite 250
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
- Website: www.BackOfficeBetties.com
- Phone: 800-958-8591
- Email: HiBettie@BackOfficeBetties.com
- Instagram: HiBettie@BackOfficeBetties.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/backofficebetties/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/callbetties?lang=en