Ask me 12 months ago if I’d be running my own business and servicing a range of fantastic and extremely smart business people as clients – I would have said never in a million years. But 6 months ago the stars/universe/or little old me, without even knowing, suddenly made that happen.
I started my first full-time job as an administrative assistant the day after I finished high school. I won’t say how long ago that was, let’s go with 10+ years now. Since that day, I’ve worked in a myriad of industries in varying administrative capacities – real estate, hospitality, events, marketing, sales, local government, construction, consulting, tertiary education, health insurance, and more. Some of those roles were permanent full-time, some as a temp, some while I was studying at university. Through that whole period I always went with what was drummed into me by my parents growing up, work hard for an employer and save your money.
But it’s interesting how life and a turn of events can completely shake that foundation and change your life for the better.
Almost three years ago, in the span of a month, I had the triple whammy of life events – my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I was made redundant from my long term permanent Office Manager role, and found out I was pregnant with my first child. Yep, you read correctly, what a hat-trick! The following two years were a blur of temp roles, pregnancy hormones and caring for my dying father. Through all the muddle and the mess I was well and truly on autopilot, doing what I could in areas of my life that I could control. It was 18 months ago that my father sadly passed away, and with the death of a parent and a 3-month-old newborn - dealing with both ends of the lifecycle - I stopped in my tracks and really started to prioritize what was important in my life.
From that point I reverted to career me
Those few years had drained all of our savings, and as a new Mum finding work was nearly impossible with the availability of childcare and roles that would allow flexibility. I spent a good 9 months searching for a job and doing temp admin work to help my husband with the financial burden he had taken upon his own shoulders. I was witnessing a theme within working as a temp where my skills were being underutilized and I even had an agency tell me to work slower on one assignment so that they would receive two day’s worth of commission instead of one - because I had completed the tasks required of me sooner than they had liked. This was a huge red flag for me - I thought surely there is a much more cost effective way for businesses to obtain adhoc admin support than going through recruitment agencies. Shortly after this, I made a chance connection through a networking group with my now first client who ran her own business, and upon meeting for coffee she said my skill-set was being wasted in the temp pool and asked me to come into her business as a contractor and assist with administration tasks and implementing processes for her current team.
It was this one act of belief in my skills that catapulted me into becoming a Virtual Assistant
Once I started my engagement with my first client I started looking around on the internet because it was a massive lightbulb moment that there must be a demand or a better way of working for employees with transferrable skills. After spending so many years working within corporate environments the concept had never even occurred to me, because you are kept at your desk day after day doing the same things for the same people. Working as a virtual assistant has opened my eyes and my thirst for knowledge in technology and processes in ways that I haven’t craved since I was at university. Not to mention the versatility and flexibility as a working Mum. There are days where my little man is at daycare but the days he isn’t I’m able to log in at night after he has gone to bed and do some work. And it’s these times at night that I get into zone out and become that career Mum that I crave without even leaving the comfort of my home office.
For anyone out there in the corporate land who are feeling dejected and are wondering whether there’s more to life than sitting at the same desk day in day out and are craving to spread their wings, I say if you have the skills and the willpower, then do it. Sometimes I wish I had done it much earlier and set the groundwork while I was still working full-time but in hindsight I would never have done it if I didn’t have the swift shake up in my world that I had.
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