NAME: Laura Hilmi
INSTAGRAM HANDLE: @laura_hilmi
JOB TITLE: Virtual Assistant Extraordinaire
MOVED TO THE UAE IN: 2007
Laura works as a Virtual Assistant, VA Coach and Mentor to other women who are setting up their VA business. She has recently founded Your Virtual Assistant, a VA agency to support businesses in Dubai and help other Virtual Assistants get work.
Laura moved to Dubai in 2007 working as a PA in a Real Estate firm. She then got married in 2008 and had her eldest daughter later that year. She was only 25 so hadn’t had the time to establish herself in a particular career that she would return to so she became a full time stay at home Mum, a term she hates and left her feeling unfulfilled.
A few years later and now with 3 children in tow Laura started working remotely doing Admin for a local company based here in Dubai but with offices in London and Singapore. She had flexibility and didn’t have to compromise family or home life and could still travel. Before long she realised that rather than being an employee, she could do this for other clients as well and after a bit of research she discovered the concept of a Virtual Assistant - someone providing support to their clients remotely doing a variety of tasks.
Laura began coaching and mentoring other women as she wanted to make a difference and prove that there are flexible work options, and you don’t have to give up on your dreams or compromise. This then grew into her latest venture – her VA Agency. Staying true to her ideals of flexible and remote working and ‘having it all’ Your Virtual Assistant is a group of talented and experienced professionals offering a comprehensive range of support functions to business owners. Laura is providing support to businesses and other VA’s – all whilst being able to take time for her family - just sadly not much travel at the moment (thanks COVID).
What does her day look like..
4:55AM: Wake up – I really struggle with waking up in the morning but need to be up and about before the girls to give us the best start to the morning. Ill have a quick glance over my emails to see if anything urgent has come in over-night. Supporting clients globally means that at times issues can crop up at all hours so it’s important for me to be aware as soon as possible.
5:00 – 6:00AM: Breakfast chaos and general mayhem sorting the girls out. We leave at 6:00am most days as my girls are super sporty so do lots of early morning sports practices.
6:00am – 7:15AM: School Drop offs – with 2 schools and crazy traffic it takes a while to get everyone dropped off but once I’ve dropped the girls off my day starts properly with a coffee in the car I listen to a podcast or audiobook and drive either to the gym or to client meetings. I’m really bad at making time for myself so am making a huge effort this year to make that time which means time put to one side for the gym.
9:00AM – 12:00PM: This is mostly client meetings, client work either directly or liaising with team members and overseeing projects. Throughout the week I also take coaching calls with mentoring clients and follow up with them holding them accountable for their progress.
12:00PM: I will generally grab a quick lunch and do a little bit of mindset or self-development work, adding this into my week has brough a huge shift for he better with how I approach life in general.
13:30PM: The school run, and Mum Taxi starts. Again, with children all over the place doing countless activities, the afternoons can be a jumble of driving, dropping off, answering emails, and taking calls on the run. I am fortunate to have a driver helping me with all of this but it’s still a huge logistical task to ensure that everyone is in the right place at the right time.
17:30PM: Dinner time – We try and eat together as a family most nights, sometimes there are family members coming and going at odd times but whoever else is in the house will sit in the kitchen and we eat together. It’s important to me to take that time and be together as it rings true to my ideals of family and flexibility.
19:00PM I’ll have a check of emails and WhatsApp’s and clear out anything that didn’t get dealt with earlier in the day. I will also look at my planner and look at everything that has been achieved – so rather than a To Do list it’s a ‘done’ list. Again this is a great tip for mindset as you are acknowledging what you have achieved throughout the day. I will also plan the following day and see if anything specific needs to be accounted for.
Later in the evening I will watch a bit of Netflix with my husband and do an online language lesson before bed.