A story of hope for new Virtual Assistants who set up just before Covid 19 hit. (well, any freelancers really!)
Just before the world locked down for COVID-19 I jacked my ‘safe and secure’ 9-5 and decided to go full throttle with my desire to become a Virtual Assistant full time.
I’d not taken the plunge previously, because I was scared and hoped I could build a part time business, working evenings and weekends, while working full time. It is possible, but it is hard when you don’t ‘need’ to be really making it happen. There were other reasons too, but that is another story.
My aim was to build it enough to be able to go down to 4 days a week in my day job, to give me a little more work life balance and generally help me feel more content with life. We are only here once after all. I didn’t intend to leave my job at that point.
For about a year, I had been feeling very unhappy in my 9-5, and many said I was being bullied, it did feel like bullying to me! It broke me to the point I cried when I got home, and I had to leave to save my mental health and self-esteem.
I had nothing behind me other than the support of my family and friends, fear of failure, determination and Catherine Gladwyn’s amazing Virtual Assistant mentoring.
Of course, when COVID-19 hit the country I thought ‘this is it, I’m doomed, I am going to be broke and lose my home.’ I felt stupid for jumping at what was probably the worst time to ever happen to the world. I wasn’t blessed with a crystal ball. Had I been, I might still be in that job, and not working towards my own success as I am now. Please note….I still have a Looooong way to go.
The week after I left, I was given the opportunity to reconsider my resignation. Any sensible person would have probably snapped off the hand of the person offering that ‘opportunity’, but not me, the thought of going back to that office made me feel sick, and my heart race. A really, heavy, tight feeling hit my stomach and throat. I offered to help virtually until Covid was over and they could recruit but ultimately, I couldn’t face working for them permanently. We couldn’t come to an agreement, so my resignation was final.
I was a bag of nerves wondering if I had made the right decision, but Catherine reassured me that, although it wouldn’t happen overnight, if I work hard with my marketing and get lots of other essential things in place for my business, it will happen.
She has been incredibly supportive, and I followed her advice, sometimes later than planned, but I followed it. She made me accountable, she understands life gets in the way sometimes, but the accountability really made a difference.
Fast forward 8 weeks and I can’t believe what’s happened.
Tuesday and Wednesday this week I had utter madness with enquiries, in fact I signed up four new clients in those 24 hours!!! I cannot BELIEVE it!! It doesn’t amount to lots of hours yet, but I can now pay my very basic living expenses, so I won’t lose my house. RESULT!!!!
All but one are people who I already knew through face to face networking, though one was a fellow Tough Mudder team member in a race 10 years ago, the other one was a recommendation, who rang not knowing what a VA really does, and after 10 minutes signed up. I also had a chat with a lady who had come to me as the result of a guest blog I wrote about outsourcing, she may need me in the future.
The others were initial face to face introductions, but I connected with them on LinkedIn, so I think that helped them remember me.
The comments have been, ‘You know those services you keep talking about on LinkedIn? Well we need them’, ‘I have seen you working really hard on LinkedIn and I like that‘, ‘You kept in touch gently, without being pushy’.
I felt like I was doing a lot of chatting rubbish on LinkedIn and it was pointless, but people were obviously looking and taking note without me knowing, as Catherine told me they would! …then they all rang at the same time!! I was in a meeting with one and two others rang!!! It was that mad, so all I can say, to those who are worried right now, is keep going, keep marketing yourself and people will come, it has taken about 8 weeks for this to happen to me.
If you set up as a VA follow Catherine’s advice, she really is the VA GURU, and is great at giving your head a wobble when you need it. She has been the best investment I have made in my business.
If it can happen for me, it can happen for you.
If you are considering being a VA, or have started and feel overwhelmed, take a look at award winning author, Catherine, she will steer you in the right direction. (that is Catherine Gladwyn, not me, by the way! 😊)