Hi! My name is Sarah Ratliff. I'm a veteran EA, OBM, writer and editor. With both corporate and freelance experience, if there's one thing I've learned over the course of my life, it's this: every symbiotic relationship starts with knowing oneself first.
To be the best and most effective at my job, it starts with understanding who I am and who my ideal client is. At this stage in my life, I know I can only work with clients who have a conscience and who are motivated to advance humanity. I recognize this puts me out of the running for most jobs, but I'm not interested in most jobs or industries.
In 2007 while based in California and working for biotech giant Amgen, my husband and I decided that we were no longer suited for corporate America. By early 2008, we decided to live on a farm, so we did as any person who wants to buck the system does: we quit our jobs, sold our house and went looking for a place to live. That place was Puerto Rico, which allowed me to really spread my wings!
I found my voice as a writer and decided to complement my new-found love with all that I had learned in the corporate world. I started freelance writing in 2009, and by 2010, I was providing clients with this well-rounded but unusual skillset I possessed. The term OBM wasn't popularized yet:
- Writing and editing
- Marketing, including social media management
- Project management
- Executive assistance
Between my early days as a freelancer and now, I have done some soul-searching into who my ideal client is and have landed on a few insights. I only want to work with people who are doing their part to make a real difference in this chaotic world. Oftentimes (not always), this means marginalized people and/or those who serve marginalized communities and/or nonprofit organizations.
I prefer to work in a few industries, namely:
- Health and natural healing
- Cannabis and psychedelics
- Sustainable agriculture
- Ones that encourage equality and equanimity
I'm a relationship builder who's highly discreet (with or without an NDA). I am comfortable working with people of all ethnicities, religions, cultures, sexual orientations and genders. How you self-identify isn't important to me, what you do and the community you serve is.
Although I am flexible because I am a relationship builder, my preference is for long-term engagements.
As an executive assistant and an online business manager, I look at the business needs and see how best I can assist to ensure my clients are productive, successful and happy. I can do this by protecting their time, adapting to their work and communication styles, and being their eyes and ears.
My goal is always to learn the business holistically. While this takes a little longer than simply learning my role as it relates to my clients, it helps me be more useful and collaborative as I interact with team members, partners (if applicable), vendors and clients. I have found this to be the most productive way to assist my clients.
Because I'm also a writer, both written and oral communication are paramount to me. Whether it's writing an email, an article, copywriting, creating a newsletter or something else, whatever I write and verbalize, reflect on my client, the organization and me.
As for my other life, when I'm not doing everything within my power to make my clients happy and successful, I'm on the farm or at home hanging with my husband and pack of dogs.