Tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey.
I’ve only had four jobs in my 48 years on this earth; babysitting, picking sweet corn, working in the office products industry, and running my successful virtual assistant and freelance writing business. Pretty amazing in a world where some people change jobs like they change socks!
I worked in the office products industry for 30 years, yup, I said thirty. I started when I was 16 and worked for two different companies in 15 year stints. For the longest time, I loved my job and loved sales. But soon I noticed the challenge was draining away and going to work wasn’t fun or exciting anymore. Right around my 43rd birthday, I had this epiphany moment of, “is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?”
The answer was a resounding no. I felt a strong need to try something new for the “second half of my life” because … well … life is an adventure, right? Writing was something I had always loved and blogging gave me a thrill and freedom in writing that I had never experienced. Social media ran a close second and was also something that fascinated me. The problem was I just didn’t know how to make a living doing those things. Then one day I mentioned my dilemma to an acquaintance and she immediately piped up and said “You want to be a Virtual Assistant.” I have to admit, I’d never even so much as heard of a VA much less thought of myself as one. But, once I had that word … that title of Virtual Assistant, I very quickly discovered where to go for support, training, skills and even clients. It was the piece of the puzzle I needed.
What did you do before launching your business?
If you are referring to “business prep,” there were several things I did that I am grateful for:
- I talked to other work at home moms to get their thoughts and ideas.
- I research my industry (virtual assistance) and learned everything I could, took tons of courses and did my best to fill my head with the knowledge I thought I might need on this new journey.
- I made a plan, worked my plan and even had an end date in mind to leave my full-time job.
- I tested the waters by juggling a handful of clients along with my full-time job just to make sure that being a work at home woman was something I truly wanted to do.
How are you growing your business?
I am a firm believer in the fact that, as work at home women, we should never stop prospecting for new clients. You could be lose-your-mind busy, but you still need to prospect for new clients and customers continually. Clients flake out and disappear, have a serious crisis in their lives and need to pause doing business with you, close their business unexpectedly, or even pass away. Trust me, I know. I have had had “all of the above” happen. But I survived and I did so because I am always putting out feelers and connecting with people.
Just as with every business, you need to have goals and I certainly have mine. I am the first to admit that because I get so busy “doing” for others, my business doesn’t always gets the attention it deserves. But I know I need to make the time to market myself and be seen in order for my business to continue to grow. I guest post when I can, work social media like a mad woman and never stop thinking of innovative ways to grow my biz.
What services do you offer?
My main bread-and-butter has always been virtual assistant services in the field of writing, blogging and social media. But within these last 6 months, my business has really shifted towards the writing aspect of things which, quite honestly, I am thrilled about. When I am writing, I am not only at my happiest, but almost at my most confident as well.
I have been writing a ton of magazine articles (HERLIFE Magazine-Central Valley, CA) and I have also been doing quite a bit of website content creation work, rewriting web content for companies and creating bios and About Pages for individuals and businesses. I really, really enjoy that type of work because I love the challenge of learning about a business or person, gathering that information and then weaving it into an effective story that captures who they are and what they do.
How would you rate your success?
They say you are your own worst critic, but I am very proud of what I have achieved and where I am in life. In the three years I have been in business, I have grown in profitability every year. I am right at that tipping point of really needing to hire help, but not quite sure I can afford to do that yet. Onward and upward, baby!
What advice would you give to a new business owner?
Do your homework, learn as much as you can and never stop growing. Don’t sell yourself short (know your worth and stick to your guns) and never stop prospecting for new clients. Always make sure family is first and believe in your own success.
As a mom of two, how do you manage your family time and your business time?
Ahh, the ‘work/life balance,” that is the million dollar question, isn’t it? (As in: if I had the answer, someone would pay me a million dollars for it!). I think as work at home women, we all need to define our work hours and adhere to them to the best of our ability. Yes, life happens and there will be times you need to adjust your work hours, but that is the beauty of being your own boss, right? I like to think of my business as “living my life on my own terms.” It’s not flawless and it’s certainly not pretty sometimes, but it’s a way of life and making a living that I can determine and dictate. I don’t think I could ever give up.
As for working from home, your family needs to be on board as well and everyone not only needs to know your work hour boundaries, but respect them as well. My kids are old enough to understand that Mom’s work=income so they are pretty good about giving me time and space to work … most of the time. Summers are trickier when they are off school but my hubby helps out and we make it work.
Connect with Becky at Frantic Mommy …
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