Valerie Riley is the founder of the personal assistant service and app LifeSquire. LifeSquire specializes in matching you with your perfect assistant, whether in office or at home. Find and follow LifeSquire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or lifesquire.com.
AM: What brought you to make your service and app, LifeSquire?
VALERIE: Living in Dallas, I took a job as a personal assistant, mainly to pay the bills, but I quickly discovered a calling of sorts: I really enjoyed serving people and liked the idea of marrying old-fashioned customer service to modern technology.
When my job ended after seven years, I decided to branch out and start a service closely modeled on the job I had held. After six years of owning and growing LifeSquire, my team and I decided to launch the LifeSquire app. Originally, our intent was to white label it and sell it on a subscription-based model to other home-based service providers (like housecleaners, landscapers, etc.).
We’ve now pivoted from that vision and are currently working on launching an updated version of our original idea, available to anyone managing a support role (executive assistants, nannies, full-time personal assistants, or even home healthcare providers).
AM: What makes LifeSquire different from other personal assistant or gig economy apps available in the market?
VALERIE: The biggest differentiator is that our team is comprised of only W2 employees, whether they work for us full or part-time. Most gig economy business models offer contract employment, where there isn’t as much oversight in the work being done, as well as not as much upfront vetting of the worker. The other big difference is this business was started by a former assistant (me), and our management team is built on former assistants only. We understand the role our team is fulfilling inherently well.
AM: Like you said, most gig economy apps categorize their workers as independent contractors, but LifeSquire actually employs assistants. Does that make a difference for the employees and end consumer?
VALERIE: When we are in client consultation, we are often asked if our team are employees or contractors. We create a level of trust almost instantly by saying that our employees are covered by our insurance and bond and (best of all) managed by us. That trust is worth the extra expense of having our own employees.
AM: For every category of gig economy service, there is a handful of apps that on paper appear to do the same thing. What advice would you give to brands to differentiate themselves and gain consumer loyalty?
VALERIE: There are a few things that LifeSquire does to retain our clients. First, we believe in brand consistency. We want our message to be the same across all platforms, even down to how our assistants present themselves to our clients. Second, we also believe that going above and beyond is the expectation, which creates loyalty from our clients. And our best approach to creating customer loyalty is to create employee loyalty first. If we treat our team like they are our best client, they, in turn, will treat our clients well.
AM: How do you retain talent and keep the talent that keeps your clients coming back?
VALERIE: We spend the majority of our budget and efforts retaining our talent. I believe you are only as strong as your weakest employee, and that our team is human before they are our employees. We take great pride in caring for the full person and create a safe environment where they can grow into the best versions of themselves while employed at LifeSquire.
To read more about branding gig economy apps, read the full discussion article that inspired the interview.