Laurel Thomsen leads a charmed life. For over half of the year she travels the world, giving violin performances across the U.S., Europe, and Canada. She performs in concert halls, at festivals, in living rooms, and once even for the resident ghosts of Western Canada’s oldest theater—frequented by the likes of Charlie Chaplin. The remainder of the year she spends at her home base in Santa Cruz, California, teaching violin lessons, composing music, and plotting her next musical escapade. When asked what’s her secret, Laurel responds without hesitation, “Skype!”
Laurel is part of a growing network of professional consumers who use Skype as an integral tool to connect with potential clients, share their professional service, and supercharge their homegrown businesses.
“I’ve pretty much played violin my whole life—I’ve always wanted to do something creative, but it was just a matter of figuring out how I was going to create a career with music,” says Laurel.
After 13 years of teaching in-person violin lessons, in 2009 Laurel discovered Skype to keep in contact with students who had relocated or moved during the course of her tutelage. She soon began teaching full lessons over Skype and has never looked back.
“Skype is amazing because it’s allowed me to expand my performing career. Prior to teaching on Skype, I felt very limited in how much I could travel and who I could play with because I needed to be home teaching. Now I’m traveling six to eight months out of the year and keeping up with all of my students via Skype. Instead of only having local students, I also now have a worldwide client base, and I get students who I really am already the best fit for. They’ve already found me online and are really excited to take lessons with me. I now have students who are all over the world, in places like Australia, India, and Africa. It’s crazy to think that without Skype we would have never met. I’ve learned a lot more as a musician through the variety and caliber of my students over Skype.”
No stranger to using Skype to expand a growing business, Laurel was also an alpha tester for the brand-new Skype Professional Account Preview app—a new tool specifically designed for professionals like Laurel. Skype Professional Account allows users to create a verifiable professional profile, schedule Skype calls with multiple clients, and manage payments directly through PayPal.
“I found it pretty cool, particularly the calendar features and the ability to integrate with PayPal. I used to go through my calendar manually and count lessons to determine payment, but with Skype Professional Account I was able to do the lesson and the payment in one seamless process. I love having it all in one place,” states Laurel.
Skype Professional Account also enables business owners to take notes directly in the app, allowing for better organization, and most important for a growing business—save time. “I was spending a lot of time after the lessons taking and organizing inventory late into the evening. With Skype Professional Account, it can literally all happen in that lesson with just a few clicks.”
We hope that just like for Laurel’s standout musical career, Skype and now Skype Professional Account can empower individuals to become successful businesses owners, with personal freedom, the right tools, and human connection always at their fingertips.