Picture the scene. I’m seventeen years old, it’s around a quarter to nine in the morning and I’m on a commuter bus on my way to work. It’s one of my very first jobs out of school, I work from nine to five thirty every day in a huge airless room at a faceless call centre in a massive building with hundreds of other people. As I look out of the window, the bus passes a tree in the park… and it suddenly hits me.
At quarter to nine tomorrow morning I’ll be on this bus, with these people, passing this tree in this park. And it will be the same the day after that, and the week after that, and the month after that.
I see it stretched out ahead of me in one horrifying, stomach-churning vision.
I’d love to be able to tell you that I walked into my manager’s office and slapped down my letter of resignation that very same day, but I didn’t.
I stayed in that boring job which turned into another boring job and then another and another for over 20 years.
Because I’d been brought up with the same view of working as you have, and it goes like this:
You work like a dog Monday to Friday, take your holiday when someone says you can, prop up lazy and incompetent colleagues, the management don’t appreciate your hard work and loyalty, and you try to fit your ‘real life’ into the gaps even though you’re shattered and have 1000 other things to do.
This continues until your mid-sixties when you’re ‘rewarded’ with a meagre financial payment as compensation for giving up the best part of your life for something that brought you no personal satisfaction… and that’s if you even make it to retirement.
But there are no rules anymore and it doesn’t have to be this way.
There’s a saying I love: “the days are long but the years are short” and as long as you can pay your rent and eat, you can use your skills to work however you like, wherever you like and for whomever you like.
Millions of people work this way so there is absolutely no reason why you can’t too – and I think you know that otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.
And one of those ways is to become a Virtual Assistant.
Some of the reasons being a VA is freakin’ awesome:
You can work when you want
From being able to spend more time with your kids to looking after elderly family members, working for yourself means you can organise your day to fit around the life you have or the type of life you want to create.
You still need to make time to do the work (you are running a business after all), but you’re the one who gets to decide what your day looks like.
You only want to work evenings because you don’t have childcare during the day? Great – then go find clients who fit the bill. Or maybe you’re fed up paying for expensive flexible childcare and want to spend that time with your kids. Awesome – then market for clients whose work you can do during the school day.
Many VAs have a working life exactly like this.
You can work where you want
The key here is in the word ‘virtual’. I’ve worked from locations all around the world because all I need is my laptop and an Internet connection. So if you’re looking for a location independent or digital nomad lifestyle, virtual assistance fits the bill perfectly.
You get to use your brain
Spending all day in an office and not getting to think for yourself is incredibly boring, and it’s particularly galling (not to mention wasteful) if you’ve spent a lot of time and money getting an education.
Well I’m happy to tell you that working for yourself is a constantly evolving journey that requires you to think for yourself in many creative ways.
There’s a reason it’s called ‘working for yourself’. When you break down than sentence, you can see it means that all the work you put in is ultimately for YOU.
Putting in a hard day’s graft and not being appreciated can be completely demoralising. I’ve had many jobs where my loyalty and commitment have gone completely unrewarded and I’ve had neither a pay rise nor a thank you.
Oh, and office politics are also a thing of the past!
You feel like you’re really living
Yes it’s hard work – of course it’s hard work and you’ll probably work more hours than you did in employment. But it’s worth it because you’re the one in control. And even though that’s a little scary at first, it feels like you’re finally living a full life.
Because you only get one life and it’s speeding by.
Freelancing is not for everyone and should not be seen as easy money for doing a bit of admin now and then. It is a serious career choice and you need to be fully committed to it.
However, it is well and truly worth it.
My goal is to not only help you set up and run a successful Virtual Assistant business, but to also think and act like a business owner. Because once you can do that, you can do anything.
* If you think being a VA might be for you, then read my blog post on HOW to become a Virtual Assistant.
* Watch some existing VAs tell you what it’s like to work for yourself and what they love about being their own boss.
* Sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar to get a free download on what tools you need (and don’t need) to be a VA and let me walk you through your freelance journey.
* Join a supportive community of like-minded people from all over the world by joining the VA Handbookers Facebook group.
* Grab your post-it notes and marker pens – we ride at dawn!