When people ask what I “do”, I tell them I run my own business from home. The natural follow-up question is “Oh, what kind of business?” To which I respond, I run a business as a Virtual Assistant (or VA). Cue quizzical expression I usually go on to say that I provide administrative support to online business owners…or at least that is the nutshell definition I offer.
2023 UPDATE: I just celebrated my 4th bizaversary. These days I’ve niched into providing practice management support to therapists in private practice. It’s been an amazing journey that has continued to support myself and my family in building the life I only dreamt was possible. I am about 3 weeks away from giving birth to our second baby and am so excited to be able to continue to grow our family without having to choose between financial consistency, professional development and raising my babies.
To be completely transparent, I had never heard of VA prior to 2019. It wasn’t until a friend of mine posted on Facebook about how much she loved working from home and I inquired about what she did that I began my journey into the world of VAs and online businesses. As my friend described the work she did AND shared that she was able to do this work for a COMPETITIVE WAGE with LITTLE OVERHEAD while RAISING HER BABIES at home I began to hinge on every word she said.
You see, at the time, I was about 7 months pregnant and working for a major retail coffee shop. I knew that 4:00 AM shifts, managing a team of 20+ people, and waking up to nurse a baby during the night was just not the combination that was going to create the life I wanted professionally or personally. I had spent months preparing for a four-month maternity leave and was confident that I needed to pursue a different path professionally following my leave. I also knew that I did not want to send my child to daycare for 40 hours a week (for all those mamas who do, I support you – this was just not the right choice for me). Yet, when my husband would ask what I wanted to do nothing really excited me. I am not one of those people who wants to work just for the sake of an income. I need my work to carry some sort of meaning and purpose and as the birth of my first baby approached I also knew that I needed a career that would allow me to prioritize my family without repercussions or guilt.
After hearing my friend’s story, becoming a VA seemed like the best of everything I wanted and needed – a flexible schedule, the ability to stay home with my baby, and an income stream that could meet our family’s financial needs on a part-time schedule. Even more, I could continue to develop myself professionally. Through my diversified work experience over the past couple of decades I’d gained a unique skill set that never quite fit into any job description I’d come across. Yet, as a VA, I could build a business around this skill set, focusing on the WORK I LOVE DOING while using my STRENGTHS. It really seemed like an all around WIN.
The only hiccup was that I never considered myself an entrepreneur and had no idea how to start or manage my own business. I talked about my concerns and hesitations with my friend and, as it turns out, there are people who’ve gone before me and paved the way for budding entrepreneurs like myself. In fact, my friend had gone through a course that walked her through setting up her VA business step-by-step. I wouldn’t need to do hours of research online or navigate my way through the entrepreneurial forest without a map. Someone had already done that work for me and was willing to share all of her knowledge and expertise so I could get my business up and running within a matter of weeks.
My friend introduced me to Abbey Ashley, the Virtual Savvy, and her course called The Savvy System. I downloaded Abbey’s VA Checklist, joined her free Facebook group for VAs and soaked in all I could from her and her resources. I loved her vibe and the way she broke everything down into easy, manageable steps. Most of all, I felt like Abbey and her team were my biggest cheerleaders and the community I was becoming a part of was supportive and so knowledgeable! I was hooked! I took the plunge and signed up for The Savvy System.
Ba-da-bing – fast forward one year…I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl and, with the support of The Savvy System course and community, I launched my business while I was on maternity leave. Within one month I had my first client and within three months I had earned back my investment in The Savvy System and had built a PROFITABLE, SUSTAINABLE business. One year later, my business is BOOKED OUT and FLOURISHING! I love the work I do, I have clients I adore working with, and I get to enjoy days at home playing with my baby. It turns out I also love being an entrepreneur and building a VA business gives me so much room to dream about how I want to grow my business as my baby grows. I entered into all of this thinking that this was a great option while my baby was at home but it turns out that IT’S JUST A GREAT OPTION ALL AROUND!
This is our home-based “coworking space”
Do you have the entrepreneur itch? Are you a mama looking to bring in income while you stay home with your babies? Do you have a skillset that you’d like to build a business around? Leave a comment or connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. I’d love to help you start building the life you want and a business you love through becoming a VA!
Vanessa Anne Lawson
June 23, 2020