Why I became a Virtual Assistant
I’m constantly meeting new wonderful people who want to set themselves up as Virtual Assistants. Their inspirations and stories are so varied and fascinating and I absolutely love it.
And even though it’s easy to work out that I’ve been in the industry for a while, I realise not everyone knows how I got here. So I thought I’d share a little insight.
When I was a teenager, I decided I wanted to work with people with disabilities or people living in poverty. I’ve always been about trying to bring support to others wherever possible. Never did I think I’d end up doing what I do now. After studying for a short while at Deakin University (University was NOT for me) I spent a few years working in the disability sector running activities for kids with disabilities and the frail aged. I also spent a few months living in Kenya working on small projects to help locals. At this time, working completely online, supporting women working from home, never crossed my mind. The main things I saw happening online were the rising social media platforms – all for social connections at that time, not for business – and basic websites.
It was when my Dad suggested I offer my natural administrative skills to small business owners like himself that I discovered there was a small online community of Virtual Assistants, offering admin, transcription and design work all from home – running their own businesses. I thought this would be a great side-gig and started setting myself up.
It was a slow start, as these things often are. So many business owners didn’t understand remote work so they weren’t too keen to have someone helping them from anyone other than their own premises – but many of them couldn’t afford to hire staff to do this.
There were some people however, who embraced the online support world. And it’s because of them that the VA industry was able to start growing. Obviously the women (and yes, it’s mainly women) who were offering the support were vital, but without clients who accepted this mode of support, we wouldn’t be where we are today either. Not long later, I quit my job which had become increasingly stressful, and focused all of my attention on my business.
Over the years my fledgling business turned into a completely different ‘monster’ – a gorgeous monster. A network of amazing VAs all supporting each other through the many challenges that are running an online support type business. I realised a few years in that it didn’t matter what field I was in – for me it was always going to be about supporting others and empowering others in any way I can.
I added children to the mix and discovered a whole new concept of business/life balance. I’ve changed direction in my business many times. But it’s always been about support.
The women I now work with have so many challenges to face. From raising a family, supporting children with special needs, juggling jobs, family and their new business, battling through depression to create their own type of freedom, having their own physical conditions or limitations, to escaping toxic workplaces. They power on. Not every day. But enough days to keep moving forward. They keep picking themselves up when things get tough, and they pick each other up too.
I’ve had more days than I can remember where I’ve felt like giving up. Felt it was too hard or that I wasn’t good enough. But like the women around me who inspire me daily, I pick myself up and keep going. And that’s why I do what I do. Because together we can achieve anything. We are pretty damn awesome when we come together and build each other up.
How did you end up becoming a VA? What inspired you?