Yeah, yeah – I hear what you are saying, but no, this isn’t a one-sided, happy-clappy, sun-shiny story about my business or why this job is better than that job. Of course there are positives and negatives with everything in life, especially when it comes to our careers. Over the years I’ve discovered the trick is to try and find something that ensures there are a few more pro’s on the list than cons. The first step for me was to clearly establish my ‘non-negotiable’ workday needs; low and behold, topping my list was flexibility. (Not the bendy yoga kind, but the kind that makes it ok for you to attend a midday swimming lesson with your child without feeling like you are letting your boss/colleagues/clients down). I love flexibility. So much so that I have built a business based on the ability to be flexible. Being able to work from anywhere for both our clients, and for us, you can understand why flexibility is one of our core values.
More and more, Flexibility!
Virtual Assistants is the second VA business I have owned. Subsequently I have been fortunate enough to be able to take the learning and all the best bits from the first company and create something even more streamlined, efficient and (here’s that word again), flexible! At present I’ve got a fantastic, talented team of eight Virtual Assistants that contract to the company. They simply let me know their availability (hours/days) and when a client comes on board that matches their skills, personality, and availability, a match is made. This means we don’t have to be tied to our desks Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. It also means we just need to put the hours in when it suits our client AND when it suits us. That is a definite pro!
So aside from being able to work barefoot, and not paying a fortune for transport, parking, and lunches every day, what are some of the other pluses of working as a VA? Well, I get to pick and choose my clients depending on our/their availability and requirements are. Because we are also able to take on clients from anywhere in New Zealand (or the world), we get the opportunity to work with some awesome businesses and are able to employ our agility and adaptability to cover almost any administrative, bookkeeping and design task our clients might need assistance with. Casting your net that wide is a great way to get your name out there and thus far, we have not been short of referrals for work!
Every Hour Counts
Before I have you rushing off to hand in your resignation to your nine-to-five, or thinking that being a VA is a bit of a cushy gig, let me explain a few things that ensure we are kept on our toes. We promise we all do work extremely hard! We have too because our clients pay us by the hour, and each hour needs to be carefully accounted for. You don’t work - you don’t get paid. Simple as that. In saying that, the feeling you get for billing what you believe you are actually worth goes such a long way to building up your self-worth and skill confidence. Often when working in isolation as a VA, self-belief can be something you wrestle with, so once you find it; you start to carve out a niche and draw in clients that are seeking the exact set of skills you possess.
To be the right fit for a VA role, you MUST be self-disciplined. You need to be able to focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by housework, children, partners, pets, noise, and knocks at the door. You need to be able to work in isolation. When you are physically working by yourself with no direct contact with people all day, things can get a tad challenging. You are your own boss, there is no one to bounce ideas off, or ask a quick question, and there is no one looking over your shoulder making sure you are doing everything right or meeting your deadlines. You have to set your own goals and make sure you are keeping on track. Here at Virtual Assistants, we do our best to conquer the lonely factor by using video chat and online messaging programs within the team, going out for team meals and drinks, and attending networking functions together.
It’s For Me
So yes, the lifestyle of a VA isn’t for everyone. If it is for you, honestly you’ll never turn back. I’ve never been happier, more relaxed, or more in-touch with what’s going on in my business. I absolutely love the lifestyle it allows me to enjoy with my family. Most importantly, it works for our clients so they love it too!
Learn more about Terri and her company by visiting their website!