In 2009 life brought the opportunity for me to move to Honolulu, Hawaii, from Houston, Texas. (Thank you life! Not many people get to say they lived in paradise!) During that transition, I wanted a new career challenge. I love administration and didn’t want to leave that, but I like to be constantly learning and growing rather than settling into a ‘comfortable’ routine. Precision Admin Solutions, a virtual assistant business, was the result of a year’s research and a lot of hard work.
Life brought another change and another move in 2014, this time to Nashville, Tennessee. Back to the South for me! And, time for another decision: did I still love the challenge of running my own business and was I ready to learn how to work efficiently across time zones? The answer was, and is, a resounding, YES!
The advantage of constantly developing technology is the ability to take care of my clients, no matter my geographic location. My clients get to ‘come along’ with me (sometimes) when I travel and got to ‘move’ to Tennessee as well.
Finding a Virtual Assistant
One of the keys for business owners and entrepreneurs looking for a virtual assistant is not necessarily geographic location. More important than geography is finding a virtual assistant that you connect and communicate with well. And most importantly, do you feel they are trustworthy? Ask questions to find out if your working styles mesh and you feel confident in delegating tasks that you’ve always relied on yourself to complete. An important part of growing a business is recognizing when it’s time to delegate so you can remain focused on your goals.
Look for a partner who understands and agrees with the mission, vision, and goals of your business. Yes, a virtual assistant can complete tasks you assign without that understanding, but with it? They can anticipate your needs, bring new strategies to the table, find new opportunities, and, ultimately, be that much more valuable.
Don’t discount the time difference, completely! This can work in your favor as well as your VA’s! The time difference between Nashville and Honolulu is 4 – 5 hours, depending on Daylight Savings. This means that as my clients are finishing up their day and sending additional requests, yes, I may be asleep; however, when I wake up in the morning, I’m able to complete the work and when my client start’s their day, they are ready to roll with no time delay.
Becoming a Virtual Assistant
I have spoken with, coached, and advised quite a few administrative professionals who were considering becoming or just starting their business. There is an incredible community of assistants that spans the globe who have a heart to help and serve others – even their so-called ‘competition’. I have given help and received help from this community, a wonderful rarity in business today. Virtual assistants overall understand that there are plenty of businesses who need our services and being able to refer a potential client whose needs don’t mesh with our skillset or services always comes back around.
If you are considering becoming a virtual assistant, reach out to the community! We have made mistakes that you can learn from, and you have valuable skills and experience to share as well. There are books, online classes, blogs, forums, RFP (request for proposal) sites, and so much more. When I began my business in 2009, we had some of these resources, but they have grown tremendously since then.
Being a virtual assistant is ideal for those who…
- Move a lot because of your partner’s work, particularly those in the military. (Tip – there are invaluable books and websites with information specific to military spouses.)
- Want to be able to spend time with their children as they are growing up and don’t mind non-traditional work hours in order to enjoy that precious time before it passes.
- Love to travel and don’t have the flexibility to do so with a traditional 9-to-5 career.
- Need a challenge and a position where routine is almost non-existent and each day feels like a new adventure.
The skills you already have are needed in the business to business marketplace. And with a positive attitude of continual learning and a willingness to overcome the challenges of owning your own business, you can definitely do this. And, trust me, we all have challenges.
My biggest hurdle was being shy and introverted from the time I was little. I went from visibly shaking at my first networking meeting (the entire room could see it and hear it!), to leading meetings, giving presentations to large rooms, and finding a balance between being a shy introvert and an outgoing extrovert in business settings. (If I could only learn to be more confident and less shy at parties and more socially focused events!) I just had to push myself through the discomfort and nerves until I grew more and more comfortable. Now, I’m able to give a presentation with little to no warning – and no shaking!
When I attended college, virtual assistance was a footnote in a class about business technology. The industry was just barely making its presence known. Now, more than fifteen years later, anyone who follows business trends knows who we are. We’re pretty awesome and we are there helping others be pretty awesome too.
If you feel that delegating is your next step in business, we would love to speak with you. And, if you’re considering joining this community, we’d love to help!