Why Working from Home is my Dream Job

Working from Home

 

Now that I look back, I think I would have a particularly hard time going back to work for someone else and having to travel every day to and from work considering I now know what it’s like to work for myself. As a work at home mum I not only love what I do but I love the flexibility, but don’t get me wrong, it’s had it’s challenges! A person that has helped me on my business journey though is Robbie from Miracle Worker Virtual Assistant Solutions, she’s given me the support I’ve needed when I just didn’t have the hours in the day. I asked Robbie to write about her experience as a work at home mum and in particular as a Virtual Assistant. I was a Virtual Assistant once,  before I was struck down with Postnatal Depression and I guess my current business has similarities to a virtual assistant. In this post Robbie shares her experience of how she became a VA and what she believes are the good and bad parts of a VA career. I hope that this post will inspire you to take on the challenge and decide if it’s a career for you.  Take it away Robbie!


 

Why Working from Home is My Dream Job

 

Why did I become a Virtual Assistant?

Four years ago I hadn’t even contemplated working from home. I’ve always been ambitious and quite driven and I had a fantastic job, a terrific husband and four gorgeous kids and everything was “perfect”. Too perfect, it seems, because I caught a bad cold early that year and it got into my right ear and even after the cold symptoms cleared I had ongoing vertigo and nausea and terrible headaches. The vertigo was made worse by any type of motion which made the one and a half hour commute each way to work virtually impossible. I used up my sick leave. Then I used up my annual leave. Eventually I was diagnosed with Vestibular Migraine which basically means that the part of my brain responsible for balance thinks I’m falling over all the time. Medications help to alleviate the symptoms as long as you avoid certain trigger situations. I managed to continue working from home for my employer for about a year through the diagnosis and they were fantastic; but ultimately with no real prospect of a return to the office it was unsustainable in the long-term and I was left with no option but to resign.

Luckily for me at some point in my desperate attempt to work out what on earth I could do to generate an income if I couldn’t commute and probably couldn’t even commit to 9-5 every day in a retail store I came across an advertisement on a parenting site for Virtual Assistant training. I’d never even heard of a Virtual Assistant. The more I learned, the more I realised the role was perfect for me. In fact, since my previous manager was based in Brisbane and I live in Melbourne, I’d actually been working as a VA for the past 5 years without even realising it!

By the time I concluded my employment I was all set up to start fresh in my own VA business the following Monday. Everything was registered, set up, on hand and ready to go.

Work from Home Miracle Worker services

The Pros

Almost two years down the track I have no regrets at all. I absolutely loved my previous job, but I absolutely love my Virtual Assistant business, too. These are what I see as the ultimate benefits of working for yourself:

  • The flexibility of working hours. While you need to be available for your clients, there’s still a lot of flexibility. As long as the required work is completed on time it doesn’t matter if it’s done early in the morning or late at night
  • Availability for my family. I love being able to drive the kids to school and pick them up, get them dinner at a reasonable time, attend special events at school, get to them quickly if they’re sick or injured. Previously I would be stuck in the city and would have to rely on others to do this or it would take at least an hour and a half to get to them.
  • The incredible support network. There’s certainly no reason to feel like you are going it alone. I have been amazed by what a strong and supportive network of Virtual Assistants there are in Australia and indeed the world. There are lots of online groups you can join and I have also found the training and mentoring provided by 121Temps to be one of the best investments I’ve made in my business.
  • The amazing clients. I learn new things from all of my clients. I certainly aim to do all I can to assist them and I hope they learn from me, too. But, if you’re open and interested in people and you get really clear on who your niche market is you will draw your perfect clients to you and you’ll find they are even better than you imagined.
  • The work is so enjoyable. When you love what you do it just doesn’t feel like work. I specialise in Social Media for Big-Picture Entrepreneurs and Authors. On a daily basis I could be working on WordPress Website design, organising content for Twitter, Facebook or Instagram posts, planning a Social Media schedule, writing blog copy, creating blog, post or cover images, conducting training sessions via Skype or webinar, preparing client newsletters, or researching solutions to specific client needs. No two days are ever the same.
Work from Home associates

My omnipresent office associates

The Cons

You probably won’t make it as a VA if:

  • You lack motivation. You really need to believe in yourself and be prepared to plan, set goals and work hard to build your business. Consistency is key. Until the business is making a solid profit you are responsible for everything.
  • You focus on problems, not solutions. When you are a one-person-show you have to be able to get the job done no matter what. You need to be able to think outside the square, show some initiative and keep a smile on your face the whole time.
  • You can’t cope with an irregular payment schedule. For the first year my clients paid me after I’d delivered the service and had 14 days to pay, so sometimes I got paid up to six weeks after I’d done the work. Now I offer a discounted rate and preferred service for a set number of hours per week with up-front payment invoiced fortnightly which is much better for me and works well for my clients as well as it makes it easier for them to budget for. But, it is still more complicated to manage your own finances when you are paid by multiple people on an irregular basis than when you have a nice even amount of money hit your account at the same time every fortnight.

If all of the above has got you excited and you’re still reading then you just might make a perfect Virtual Assistant. Feel free to ask any questions below or come and find me at www.miracleworker.com.au.

 

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

IBOT

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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23 Comments

  1. February 24, 2015 / 10:01 am

    This definitely sounds very interesting. It’s not an avenue I have considered and while I don’t have the time to take this type of work on right now, it’s something I will keep in mind for the future. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • February 24, 2015 / 10:58 am

      Thank you Erika. Working from home is becoming increasingly popular as awareness increases and the huge variety of different skills that fall under the umbrella of Virtual Assistant are realised. While initially I was thinking I’d be working in the capacity of an Executive Assistant I have found my niche specialisation in Social Media and Author’s Assistance and it is really very easy to turn whatever you are passionate about into your career and have it fit in with your family. The flexibility is so great when you have a family and need to achieve the balance that some 9-5 jobs just can’t provide. Don’t hesitate to follow me up if you ever have any questions.

      • February 24, 2015 / 12:14 pm

        Thanks Robbie, I made the decision to leave my full time job in the middle of last year as it wasn’t providing the work-life balance that my family needed. I have since set up a freelance writing business and launched my blog which I am really enjoying. Baby #3 is also due next month which makes for some very interesting times! However, VA work sounds very interesting. I’ll definitely check out your website and will be in touch in the future if I have any questions.

        • February 25, 2015 / 9:18 am

          It sounds like you are doing an amazing job, Erika. I look forward to reading about the safe arrival of #3.

  2. February 24, 2015 / 1:47 pm

    This is something I would love to get into.. Working from home is the best of both worlds! Will get in touch

    • February 25, 2015 / 9:19 am

      Can’t wait to hear from you, Mandy.

  3. February 24, 2015 / 1:58 pm

    I’ve wondered if VAing is my way out of my nearly 3 hours per day commute. I certainly have the skills after working in nearly every type of organisation there is.

    • February 25, 2015 / 9:26 am

      With your writing skills, Vanessa, you could probably focus on copywriting and editing or something along those lines and make a killing of it. There are lots of great training courses available to get you set up for business. The Australian Writer’s Centre has just launched a new one which looks great and is very reasonably priced. I used my 15 hours of commuting to get a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, but if it’s just wasted time it’s awful. Contact me if you want encouragement or have questions. You can do it!

      • March 7, 2015 / 8:33 pm

        Thank you so much Robbie. I will look into the AWC course and I may take you up on the offer to contact you 🙂

  4. Natalie @ Our Parallel Connect
    February 24, 2015 / 4:32 pm

    This would be perfect for me too, but I am too exhausted to try anything new at the moment. Love all the pros though.

    • February 25, 2015 / 9:28 am

      You know where to find me when you’re ready Natalie. 😉 And take care of yourself, too. Those gorgeous kids need you.

  5. February 24, 2015 / 4:33 pm

    I love working from home too. When there was first talk of redundancies in my department nearly two years ago, I was initially worried, and then realised Hey! Here’s my lucky break! I didn’t even know how I was going to generate an income when I put up my hand for a redundancy, but now I sell Norwex (online and in person) which I LOVE – it is exactly the right industry for me because I am so passionate about it – and I also LOVE all the other things you said – setting my own hours, working around my family’s needs, no commute, not even having to put on “work clothes” most days! Love it 🙂

    • February 25, 2015 / 9:35 am

      Yay Kirsten! I’m so glad you related to my comments. I know some people just love being able to “work in their PJs” or without a bra or whatever it is that makes them most comfortable. I tend to find I work better if I “dress for the job” – but that’s probably because I’m a bit OCD/hyper-organised. Certainly the dress-standard isn’t consistently “corporate” anymore. I’m so glad you’re loving working from home. Like you I probably wouldn’t have made the change without the push, but I can’t imagine going back now.

  6. February 24, 2015 / 5:49 pm

    The big plus is you get to have your fur babies at work with you. I would love that. How adorable is the one on the left? They’re both cute but the black pug?? is irresistible. I’d have him/her in a heartbeat. We almost wrote about the same thing this week! Your post is much more informative though 🙂

    • February 25, 2015 / 9:42 am

      Hi Pinky. Sometimes I think it was all Marli Mops big plan to have me as a WAHM. I actually got him just over four years ago and so from the time he arrived I just spent more and more time at home. Black pugs are inherently evil ninjas and they get whatever they want. Don’t be fooled by the big eyes, floppy ears and curly tail. ROFL. Seriously, he’s my “favourite child” (don’t tell the human kids). Oh, and you can’t have him.

  7. Sophie Allen
    February 25, 2015 / 1:30 pm

    Sounds so flexible, would be perfect for many blogging Mummies I bet. #teamIBOT

  8. February 25, 2015 / 1:34 pm

    It does sound interesting.
    I would love to work at home in the future. I’m studying at the moment to be able to do that.

    • February 26, 2015 / 12:30 pm

      Yay for you Jess. Being “more than a little crazy” definitely helps. 😉

  9. February 26, 2015 / 12:46 pm

    There are new positions opening up in the world all the time isn’t there. I never even considered the possibilty of being a VA so this was very interesting.

  10. Storm McManus
    February 26, 2015 / 1:25 pm

    Great post Robbie! The work/life balance is so rewarding when you have the option of working from home. I also like how honest you are in your cons section – working as a virtual assistant isn’t for everyone and it isn’t easy. But all the hard work pays off in the end 🙂 Huzzah for the VA life (and for fur babies to keep us company)! x

  11. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
    February 28, 2015 / 5:34 pm

    I love this post. I would find it really difficult going back to working for someone too. I have absolutely loved working from home the last 6 months. Fingers crossed it can stay that way!!!