Of late, I've had quite a lot of people, both potential clients, and business associates ask me the question "Why did you become a Virtual Assistant, what made you start your business"?
It's a question that at first, I would be hesitant to answer, but I can now share it with ease.
The idea of starting my Virtual Assistant business began nearly 5 years ago, when my daughter Sophia was born. Becoming a mother definitely changed my whole perspective on life, work, career, you name it. So I had started plotting in my head what I could do that would allow me to be a mum first and foremost, but also still have a career doing what I love most, and what I had been doing since the age of 16.
So I started researching about becoming a Virtual Assistant - I knew there was a need for them in the business world, but didn't see much happening in the industry at the time, and before I knew it I was back at work when my daughter was only 18 weeks old. I felt like the worst mother in the world, leaving my 4 month old at 4am in the morning, gone for 12 hour days at work, coming home and spending all but 1-2 hours with her, before putting her to bed so that I could do it all again the next day.
There were days and nights I literally cried for hours on end. I was missing her milestones like her first steps, her first words, and what mother wants to miss a child's most important milestones? Not me, but guess what I was. And I can say, that to this day, I still beat myself up about it.
So life went on, I kept working away and 2 1/2 years later, I was pregnant again, with my now 20 month old son Jack. I immediately told myself that I was not going to let myself be back at work as quickly as I had done with Sophia. I learnt my lesson. So I put in to have 12 months away from work. How we would manage financially, I didn't quite know, but I was adamant.
My son was born in March of 2015, and things were going great, until, at 8 weeks old, I rushed my son, almost lifeless into Campbelltown Hospital at 1.38am, not knowing what was wrong with him. The nurses took one look at him and took him off me and ran, hitting panic buttons on the walls. I ran behind and saw his bed surrounded by countless nurses & doctors in the pediatric emergency ward.
Now I'll be honest, I was a blubbering mess, because I didn't know what was happening to my son. He was struggling to breathe, and within 10 minutes, he was hooked up to so many machines that I almost didn't recognise him. One of the nurses told me, that had I been 10 minutes later, well the outcome would have been very different.
So, there I stayed for over a week in the Pediatrics Ward, while he battled RSV and bordered on Pneumonia. Whilst we were in there however, this was when reality hit me that I had to worry about my family first before anything else. I started planning the business; nothing things down like what i needed to be earning to make a full time career out of it, what I needed to do in order to get the business seen, planning was key, and in my most vulnerable time, I felt stronger than ever knowing that this would give me the chance to be a mum and never miss my kids milestones again.
On the 10th of June 2015, my business was registered. My website went live a few days later. I started advertising, I made sure I was found on Google. Friends of mine already in business helped by spreading the word, and I got myself out there in the public for people to know who I was. By the end of the month I had 2 clients, but knew I needed to have more than 2 to get the business where it needs to be.
I did some volunteer work for one of my now paying clients, handling one of her social media pages and growing her audience. I changed things up, because in business you need to be on the front foot at all times, and I decided to do some video advertising. It paid off big time. My first video advertisement secured me my first ongoing client, followed 2 days later by the next. I was starting to see my efforts rewarded. In June 2016 I resigned from my job of over 7 years (only 4 months after returning from my 12 months of Maternity Leave) to put myself in to the business full time.
As at November 2016, I now have 14 clients on my books, a part time assistant in the business and the future is looking bright. What's the most important thing out of all this though, I don't miss anything for my kids now. My business as a Virtual Assistant now fits in with my life, and being able to tell my kids yes I'll be there for them is the most rewarding thing of all.
What do I want you to take from reading this? It's possible to create the lifestyle you want for yourself, and it's especially rewarding when you do so facing some of the toughest challenges in your life. Don't give up on your dreams, pursue them, because you never know where they may lead you.