First, I want to give credit that God has guided our family into this path and helped us through this journey. We couldn’t have made it to this point without His help and timing in our lives. Looking back through our journey I can really see how He has led us here, even though I may not have seen it as we were going through it.
Secondly, while it was our desire to get to the point where I would not have to work outside of the home, by no means do I think that is right for every family. Only you know what is right for you and your family.
And third, if you’re not interested in our longish personal journey story below but are still interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant, the best tip I can give you is to first read The Bootstrap VA. This is the book I read that taught me everything I needed to know about starting my Virtual Assistant business.
(Note: I do receive a commission if you purchase the book or bundle through my link, but even if you don’t purchase through my links here I still highly suggest you check out The Bootstrap VA if you are interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant.)
On To Our Story…
On To Our Story…
I’m not exactly when I knew I wanted to stay at home, but I know we began to discuss the possibility early in our marriage. The Hubby and I agreed that if it worked out financially that I would stay home, even if we didn’t have children. When I was working, many of the lovely ladies I worked with declared that there was no way they would be able to stay at home and that they would be far too bored if they tried. I never felt that way. I always knew I would have more that I wanted to do than I would ever have time for even if I did give up the day job.
In 2008 my husband had a major medical issue and was hospitalized in the ICU for a week. Praise God, he came out of that situation okay against the odds. That was a major event in our lives that changed us both in many ways. One of those ways was that my husband felt led to consider a career change. Later he decided to proceed with this career change and go back to school to become a nurse.
We both decided that it was best for him to quit his job and focus on getting through the first stage of nursing school as quickly as possible. We had savings built up and I was given a nice opportunity at my job to work overtime hours which padded our income during our first round of nursing school.
In November of 2012, I discovered and read The Bootstrap VA. I read the entire book during one sick day when I stuck on the couch feeling awful. Earlier that year I has served as a public relations coordinator for a start up volunteer organization (that closed later that year) and had been considering doing some similar work on the side since I enjoyed it so much. [Note: I began as a marketing VA company, but later transitioned to focusing on administrative tasks since I found those tasks better served my target clients.] My hope was that I could make a little extra money as my husband went back for his second nursing degree and that maybe, possibly I could grow the business to help supplement our income if I was able to stay at home down the road. The Bootstrap VA helped give me the knowledge and confidence that I really could start my own business. I gave it a lot of consideration, thought, and planning through November and December of that year and took the plunge in January 2013.
When I first started my business I contacted a few small business owners that I admired and inquired to see if they would be interested in allowing me to do an internship with them. I offered a set number of hours for free in exchange for a testimonial at the end if they liked my work. While this technique is debated in some Virtual Assistant communities, I felt it was a great choice for me. Interning allowed me to give Virtual Assisting a try with little commitment so that I could make sure it worked for my schedule and that I liked it well enough to go ahead with developing my company. It also allowed those small business owners to give having a Virtual Assistant a try without a big commitment and while I did not expect it, everyone I interned with became paid clients. I’ve always been a big believer in internships and on-the-job learning opportunities, so this was a perfect solution for me.
Over the next two years I dedicated a considerable amount of time building and growing my business while working my full time day job. I don’t traditionally advertise and get my new clients from word of mouth mentions (which I am always so grateful for!). While I’m not getting rich off of my business, I do make enough to generously pad our finances and I am able to control the time and what hours I spend working. And most of all, I love what I do and the clients I work for. I consider that a success!
When we found out we were expecting Little One in November of 2014, we knew the ultimate goal was for me to quit my day job and work solely on my Virtual Assistant business so that I could stay at home with our little girl. We began working a rough game plan on how we would manage that financially and praying about it. However, even at the point I went on maternity leave we thought that I would need to continue to work for 3-6 months after our little girl was born (we both decided to stay at our jobs at that time so that we could keep our insurance and maternity/paternity benefits for her arrival).
Thankfully, timing worked out perfectly after baby girl arrived and my husband was able to move to a new position which had a pay rate that reflected his education and experience. At the same time there were some major changes at my day job while I was on maternity leave and it was perfect timing for me to exit the company. I gave my two week notice on my first day back from maternity leave and thanks to banked vacation days I only worked a week at my day job. That week was so challenging from a mommy and family perspective and it made me that much more thankful that I am able to stay at home.
As I said, I don’t currently make a ton from Virtual Assisting and since this type of work can vary from month to month, it’s important to me that we can meet monthly expenses without this income. My income helps to keep our savings stocked and allows us to have a little wiggle room in our budget.
Thanks to the nature of Virtual Assisting, I’m able to create my own schedule based on my family’s needs for the day (different clients have different needs and some need dedicated times for their assistants – your experience may vary). We are blessed to have my mom offer to watch baby girl when I need dedicated time to work and I usually take her up on the offer 1 – 3 days a week depending on my workload that week. I also find pockets of time to work before baby girl gets up for the day, during nap time, and when the Hubby is home. I don’t work consistently during all of those times, just as needed.
If you’re thinking about starting a Virtual Assisting business, I definitely suggest you give it a try. Get The Bootstrap VA and read about the ins and outs of Virtual Assisting. Contact a couple of business owners and see if you can do an internship with them to see if it is right for you (be sure to specify the terms of the agreement up front!). If it works for you, dive in and grow your business – join Virtual Assisting communities, connect with business owners, and grow your skills.
If you have questions about Virtual Assisting, please leave me a comment below. I’ll try my best to answer any questions you may have!