Many people have told me that they thought they needed to get an office or have a ‘proper’ desk set up before they could be a freelancer so I want to show you that this is complete and utter nonsense! Virtual Assistants can work from anywhere they like and you shouldn’t let the lack of an office prevent you from setting up your own business.
What my desks look like
Day to day I usually work from home. I live in a second floor (top) one-bed flat and wander from the bedroom into the living room around half 7ish and stay there for most of the day. I do try to get out for at least one walk around my local park, but if I’m honest I usually spend most of my day holed up in this room!
This is my main desk:
Nothing impressive as you can see. I have pretty good light, I’m near the Internet router, and I can reach any stationery I may need such as pens, my calculator etc.
This is where I’m sitting in the videos you see on YouTube.
Actually the monitor is very new and for quite a long time I just had the laptop on the stand. But when I started to get headaches earlier this year, my Chiropractor and Doctor told me to get a monitor and a bluetooth mouse and keyboard which solved the problem as I had been cricking my neck by sticking my head forwards towards the small screen.
But basically it’s just somewhere to sit so I can get on with my job.
One of the best things about working at my dining table though is seeing the Autumn leaves fly off the trees outside and watching the snowflakes fall – on the rare occasions it does actually snow in Brighton of course!
This is my other desk:
My living room is quite big with one small window and two massive ones which makes it very hard to heat. It’s sunny in the morning but can be a bit cold and gloomy later in the day so I often move to my kitchen which is smaller but much brighter.
I once showed another freelancer a photo of this kitchen workspace once and she said “but where is all your stuff?!”. She was absolutely dumbfounded that I don’t need anything to get on with my work.
All I (we) need is a laptop (and even then it’s not top of the range and only cost about £500), a strong Internet connection and a mobile phone.
Hence the name ‘Virtual’ Assistant!
Again, you can see that this is nothing special. It’s just a small table in a sunny spot where I can sit, plug my laptop in and get on with some work. It’s much easier to heat this room and I even have a small glitterball hanging in the window to make working even more fun.
Other places I work:
Seeing as I am virtual I do try to mix it up a bit and work away from home at least one day a week even if it’s just a local cafe.
I write blog posts, draft newsletters, read up on social media and new things I’m interested in, plan ahead and generally do non-client things. The VA Handbook is my main line of work now (I had no idea this would be so when I started writing it!) so I had to reduce my client work in order to be able to write content and courses for you guys.
I have also worked whilst on holiday abroad.
I’ve worked on client tasks whilst in Vegas, the South of France, Verona, Rome, Zurich, Austin, Oman, The Hague, Spain, and the Canary Islands. I love that I can travel and work at the same time as long as I plan my day and manage expectations.
With modern technology it isn’t at all difficult and, although I’m not a Digital Nomad, I have a similar business model and made the conscious decision to set my business up to work this way from the start.
My first ‘desk’ was actually my lap on the sofa. There was no desk at the house I lived in when I became a VA, so I just opened my laptop and got on with it.
No client cares where you work from. They just want the job doing.
So if you’re waiting for everything to be ‘proper’ or ‘perfect’ before you become a VA then don’t. It’s just a delaying tactic and will end up being another reason (excuse) why you don’t set up your own business.
Just offer some services, get some clients, do the work wherever you can/want and then invoice for it. That’s all freelancing actually is.