Working from home is a dream for many moms like me. It allows us to achieve our financial goals without having to leave home. However, as great as it is, I've still experienced many ups and downs finding my groove in this new career! Here's a little insight into my journey:
For me personally, this was a huge attraction. I have an 8-year old, a 6-year-old and a toddler--all of whom are going to school. Becoming a VA with a more flexible schedule allows me more time to work on the kids' homework, do the chores and cook meals for my family, even moreso because I don’t have to commute to work. I used to waste 3-4 hours every day sitting on the bus going to and from work, hours which I could've spent doing the laundry or writing an article!
I've been a VA for many years now and I've handled all sorts of clients from different industries all over the world. My first client was a real estate guru in Sydney. As a Virtual Assistant, my tasks included writing content for websites, offline marketing materials, creating graphics and handling social media. It was a challenge because I have zero knowledge in real estate, much less the Australian property market. My best friend, from then til now, is Google.
After that I had a string of different clients from different industries - a real estate client from the US, a local marketing company and a business process outsourcing company. Right now I’m working for Strategic Online, a digital marketing company based in Sydney. I work with an amazing group of online marketers to deliver the most effective digital marketing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses in Australia. It’s rewarding work, and on my terms!
Being a virtual assistant has given me opportunities to develop my skills and learn new ones necessary to complete the job. Aside from content marketing, I’ve learned email marketing, SEO, social media management, graphic design, video marketing and real estate marketing. I also learned how to use different online tools to make my work more efficient.
And The Down’s
Despite the many advantages, working from home is NOT for everyone. Over the years, I've realised that having a home-based job takes a lot of dedication. First, you need to deliver. Most clients don't have tracking tools and they have no way of knowing what you're working on. It is our responsibility as a remote employee to give regular updates and ensure that deadlines are met.
Next, you need to have a quiet and comfortable working environment. Imagine how awkward it would be to hear crying kids or barking dogs during a client call. There was a time when I had to hold my baby while having a call. I just made sure that the mic was on mute when I'm not speaking. It was terribly stressful and I definitely don’t recommend it!
Third, you have to communicate. You have to understand what the clients need and how you will deliver it to them. There are clients who will send you tasks with no instructions and there are those who don’t send tasks at all, expecting you to know what you have to do. In these cases, don’t be afraid to ask or clarify what the client wants you to do.
Most importantly, your family members should be aware of your set up. Luckily, I have a very supportive family who understands the nature of my work and gives me all the help (and quiet) that I need.
Think It’s Right For You?
So if you're looking to switch to a VA career, think carefully first. Is it right for you? Ask other VAs and join support groups to help you get set up. And best of luck!