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.
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.
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