With my decision to leave my old job behind and stay home with our children, home became mine to manage. Between budget planning, grocery store trips, playdates and enrichment programs, I had a lot of balls to juggle. Like so many households, ours was busy! So when I decided to go back to work, becoming a Virtual Assistant with flexible hours seemed like a natural – and necessary – fit. Nonetheless, the transition from scheduling playdates to scheduling client projects wasn’t easy.
In addition to home, I also had a Home Staging business that I started in 2008, around the time my first child was born. Though it was small, I built the Staging business from the ground up – launched my website and populated a database, networked with Realtors and businesses in the area, and established myself as a trusted partner for those looking to sell their homes. This gave me a valuable, 360-degree perspective on what it’s like to run a small business.
I mention all this because no matter how excited and, in many ways, prepared I was to become a VA, it was still overwhelming. Years in a corporate setting, coupled with my time at home and my Home Staging business, should have left me feeling confident to re-enter the workforce. Instead, I felt intimidated and, well, frightened. So much had changed since I left my office job in 2011!
Though I could still work a spreadsheet and craft an email, I had not really stayed on top of all the latest Google apps and Microsoft Office updates. Not to mention, Skype, LinkedIn, Snapchat and other social media. As a seasoned Project Manager, and now a seasoned Mom, I knew I needed a plan.
So I got to work familiarizing myself with all the latest tools. I had been slowing transitioning into the tech world during the previous year – I got an iphone, created a LinkedIn profile, and started using Gmail regularly – in an attempt to become more tech-savvy. Some things were a natural fit. My iphone could be used to snap pictures at a Staging consultation or to snag a coupon for school supplies. Other things were harder for me; Facebook will just never feel right. But the truth is, knowledge is power. And the more I learned, the more confident I became.
By the time my interview rolled around for my VA position, I was pretty well-versed in all the latest tech tools. I handled the Skype interview with ease (the technical aspect, anyway) and soon felt synergy with my new Mac, even though I had always been a PC user. I transformed a bright and cheery sunroom into the perfect office space, and outfitted it with all the necessary equipment and supplies.
With my new VA position came access to all kinds of useful tools, tips and resources, along with a support team for any technical or logistical issues. I diligently went through all the tutorials, read every form and guide, and set up my computer and office accordingly. Finally, I felt prepared, confident and ready to get started!
With everything in place and my first client booked, I was ready to officially enter the world of Virtual Assistance. The excitement had been building, and I felt confident that my new arrangement would work out just fine. I had no idea that my very first client would have such a tumultuous start! I can’t wait to tell you all about it next time…
Have you made the transition back to work recently after being away from it for awhile? How did you feel about it…overwhelmed, excited, a little bit of both? Tell us about it!
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I really enjoyed reading your article, it resonated with me.
I love to learn new things and since starting my VA business last year, I have a list of new ‘stuff’ that I’m adding to all the time. I am starting to schedule specific time to study these and consistently improve my skill base.
I wish you continued success with your business growth.
Thanks for your reply! I have a list of “stuff” I want to learn, too! Some for work, some for fun. It’s always great to learn a new skill or some new information though, so I look forward to it.
Look for my latest blog soon about an Apple workshop I recently took – it was a great (free!) class, and I’m hoping to take a few more in the upcoming weeks. I just discovered that Apple offers workshops on all their products, so if you have an iPad or iPhone (or happen to work on a Mac), they are definitely worth checking out.
Good luck to you!
That’s good to know Rebekah, thank you. I’m about to move over to an iPhone. I’ve always loved my android phones, but it’s time. I’ll check out your Blog. Thank you for your kind wishes. Jo