Every person that has started their own business has a story of how they got there. Usually you can find it on their “About” page but you know that is only a snippet of the entire story.
Why I became a Virtual Assistant is probably radically different from a parent who wants to earn some income while staying home with their children. But in our VA world, generally most people chose to go this route because of flexibility. The amount of flexibility depends on the structure of your business. I most likely have less than others because I offer a lot of Executive Assistant work, which requires email answered generally within a few hours.
I became a Virtual Assistant when I came upon the realization that most of the work I did for my executives was virtual…the difference was, they were always virtual and traveling whereas I was stuck in the office constantly. It didn’t make any sense to me. What was the point of coming into the office when they were rarely there and always on the road? I knew I was a good, reliable worker and could be trusted to complete my work regardless of if I was physically present in an office.
Alas, corporate America does not always view it the same way. Don’t get me wrong – many businesses are offering more and more flexibility with work from home days as part of a package, or at least the option to work from home if there is inclement weather (last winter, I felt like my husband was constantly working at home with me while we faced a barrage of snowstorms in Boston). While it’s a flexible option, I noticed it’s not very, well, “flexible” for lack of a better word.
When I came upon my realization that I could do everything I do in my job, but from home, I started researching “work from home Executive Assistant job”. They exist, but not in the flexible way I wanted. You still had to be by your computer for eight hours a day and the pressure was still there to show that you were constantly available within those eight hours.
I had my a-ha moment when I realized that in order to get the ability to do what I want when I want, I can’t be beholden to someone else. That is, I can’t work for someone else because they had a certain set of expectations.
While I had been searching for these work from home jobs, I kept running into the position of a Virtual Assistant. I read more and more on it and it seemed to be where I wanted to go with my career.
There was just one problem – I had to find my own clients and create my own income. It would no longer be handed over to me by an employer. At first I was turned off. But the more I sat on it and the more I mulled it over in my head, I decided to take a chance. I figured I’d give it a shot and the worst that could happen would be I decided it wasn’t for me and go on working for someone else.
I’m not saying it came easily, but it worked out in the end. I know I’m motivated enough to get work done on my own without anyone breathing down my shoulder but I also wanted the ability to run out the door and go Christmas shopping for 4 hours if I wanted to (yes, I’ve done that). I wanted to do what I wanted without having to ask anyone for permission. If my dog is sick, I want to take him to the vet and not worry about having to take time off from work.
In a nutshell, the reason I became a Virtual Assistant was because I wanted to feel more free than what corporate America provided. I didn’t want to work around their schedule, I wanted to work around my schedule.
I asked other VA’s why they decided to take a trek down this career path, and here are some answers I received:
“Having worked for CEOs, MDs and Boards for the last nine years, I felt that becoming a VA was the next logical step in my career. I knew that it would challenge me in a different way to being an employed PA and that was exciting! It also meant that I would get the opportunity to work with a wide range of businesses and personalities, which would keep the day interesting and varied.” -Joanne Manville, www.joannemanville.co.uk
“I read an article in a local business news journal and researched it for a couple of years. I was laid off and took the plunge. I just keep growing and learning and love being a VA.” -Denise Whiteley, www.denicewhiteley.com
“I became a VA because I wanted to move to South Africa and have the flexibility, in general, to travel without always having to find a new job in a new place.” -Terae De Cou, www.eterae.com
“I became a VA because I was tired of the 9-5. I wanted to travel more and wanted the flexibility. Plus, I plan to move out of the country in a few years.” -Karen Mills
“When I was starting as a VA, five years ago, it’s just because I know I’m an internet ninja so doing online stuff for others will be a piece of cake and then I get paid. But now I kinda like the idea that I am becoming of help to these small business owners, it gives me joy to be able to sometimes come up of a solution for their business problems as well.” -Rambo Ruiz
“[I get to] utilize the many skills I have acquired through the years that I can’t at a regular job, have ownership of my destiny and to have control of my financial life, to have freedom of my work schedule, and the type of work I take on, to have a steady stream of income when I finally do retire and know that I don’t need to rely on just my retirement fund, have something I am passionate about doing.” -Nanette Thelemaque
“I became a virtual assistant because I finally realized no matter how hard I worked, or how much education I invested in for myself, my worth was predetermined by another. That didn’t sit well with me.” -Mendy Y. Butler, www.mendybutler.com
“I became a VA after the death of a family member. I realized that there was no way I could cope working in a 9-5 environment in my initial stages of grief. So, my business was born! One of the other reasons I created my business was because at the time, I wanted to move out of the country as I couldn’t afford to live in the Bay Area by myself on the income my business was generating. Soooo, I took the plunge and I am now a #digitalnomad living abroad in Baja California. Being a VA allows me to travel and work – no matter where I am!” -Monica Aguilar, www.missmonicaaguilar.com
If you started your own business, tell me why!
Want to know more about working with a dependable Virtual Assistant? Check me out at www.dependableva.com.