When I left my job right before having my son, I wasn’t exactly sure what my next move was supposed to be. My husband and I were in a fortunate position that allowed me to focus 100% on raising our son. The opportunity to become a stay at home momma was a welcomed breath of fresh air. I’d never not worked a 9-5 job. It was exciting!
However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have separation anxiety from working in general after a few months of being home. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being at home with my son, truly wouldn’t trade it for the world. But there was still something else itching me underneath it all, an inner voice telling me that I should be doing more.
I figured I’d just hadn’t fully disconnected from my previous life as a worker-bee, and that’s OK. I took about another year of going back and forth between whether I wanted to go back into the workforce or not. I finally relaxed into my decision that I could do both! (But it’d be on my terms).
I started doing some research on options out there that would allow me to still be at home without having to compromise the care of my son. With the encouragement of several colleagues, it hit me. I was going to create my own job, even my own business. I was going to become a Virtual Assistant.
What’s great about businesses today is that everything can be done entirely online, virtually anywhere. The trend of running a business virtually versus brick and mortar just keeps increasing too. With that so does the convenience of hiring a freelancer, or virtual assistant. Enter yours truly.
So far, it’s been the best decision I could have made for my family and myself. It has opened a few doors that I didn’t think were possible and has given me the chance to live the balanced life of being at home and scratching the itch of still wanting to work. Don’t get me wrong though, I’d be lying if I didn’t share that this journey has had its ups and downs for sure!
If you’re new to the whole working-from-home scene, creating job opportunities for yourself can be greatly overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure where to start. For me, I had to break it down into a small list to really figure out what it was I wanted to do before acting:
- I wanted to be clear on what I was going to do
- I didn’t want to have to spend a fortune upfront on a personal website
- And, I wanted to be able to interact with clients that were willing to offer referrals to their colleagues for future projects.
To make these happen, I had to break it down even further…
Identify 3 Areas of Strength
Analyzing my past responsibilities and experiences I came up with what I felt were three solid areas of expertise that I could charge under my services. The reason I stuck with three is because I learned early on that if you list anything and everything as services to someone, you sometimes get stuck with very little work, believe it or not. Starting yourself off with three key areas creates a level of expertise that you come to find clients appreciating. Not sure if you have expertise in anything? Let’s create a quick example…let’s say you happened to take photography as a pastime or was savvy at managing your social media accounts. You could turn those into services of developing stock images for a client or scheduling and managing their business accounts!
(The possibilities are endless, but what’s important is to make sure you’re capturing the things that YOU do best – otherwise you’re going to end up getting burned out quick).
Getting Yourself Out There
If you’re on a limited budget, the best methods of getting yourself out there is through your social media accounts and LinkedIn. Facebook allows you to create and connect business pages to your personal profile. Along with that, you can connect directly to your LinkedIn profile too! It doesn’t take special branding to start either. As a matter of fact, I created all my branding within Canva and used my initials for branding on all my platforms. By doing this I’ve been able to keep everything consistent and have even made sure to stick to the same color themes whenever I post to my forums as well.
Once I felt confident in what I created, I started sharing my page with my direct friends and colleagues. It was a little nerve wracking at first, but I soon realized that I had more of a community than I thought, and to my delight several friends and family were all too happy to pass my profile along.
The next thing I did was make sure I was connecting in group and communities of like-minded folks. Either sharing articles with them on similar interests or commenting with helpful tips and advice to any questions they posted in these forums. By taking this route in networking, I’ve been able to organically grow my following and soon had people seeking me out with potential project opportunities.
One of the last things I did to help me get started was sign up for a few freelance sites that constantly posted new projects that I could submit my proposals too. If the client liked what I submitted, we would then negotiate time pay and then dive right in! If you’re considering this, I highly recommend looking into Guru, Flexjobs, UpWork, and even HireMyMom for opportunities. Most of these sites offer free profiles to get started!
If you’re considering this for yourself it’s easy to get anxious when you first put yourself out there. By sharing this my hope is to inspire you. Maybe there’s a mamma out whose been on fence about going back to work, reads this and starts thinking, “I can do that!”
And I say, “You should!” Life’s only limits are truly what we put on ourselves. This is something I’ve realized is doable and the possibilities are endless.
I’d love to hear from our community who has had their own experience with this too – comment below!