Do What You Love to Love What You Do
My name is Chantel, I am a Personal Assistant and Safety Manager by profession. I have been trying to balance two full time positions. One would say that I have spent the last 29 years doing what I like and not what I LOVE! Does this sound familiar to you?
Well as little as 4 years ago I was forced into making a life altering decision. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a crippling disease which affects several people, If left untreated, one is in agony 24 hours of every day.
So, as I mentioned I was forced for health reasons into making a change in my working style, my working environment and the duration of a typical work day for me. My work day was literally halved so to speak, so that I could rest in the afternoons to recuperate from the effects of working a 5-hour day. I ended up trying to do the two full time positions mentioned previously, in half the amount of time.
That work life balance conundrum
This worked well initially, however slowly but surely, I began to feel the pressure of trying to balance my new lifestyle with my work load. I fell behind in my work, which wasn’t like me and I started having guilty feelings about my lack of completing any task to the full. I forced myself to rest in the afternoons. This was no easy task, as my style is one of being in control and completing tasks, being efficient and meeting deadlines.
I slowly became bored with my own company. One can only watch so many episodes of series so to speak and because of the type of person I am, I decided to do a little admin work in the afternoons, both for my morning job and as a Virtual Assistant for one or two small companies. This took place some 2 years ago that I decided to change this path in my life.
The bottom line is becoming a Virtua Assistant was the best move of my life. I could manage my time and work around my illness restrictions. I began having faith in myself again. Working in such a positive and encouraging environment.
I got a taste of what my working life should be like, ie doing what I love. In my “afternoons” I continued to grow as a person. I started to feel my old self again, I felt inspired.
One would say that it is very confusing doing two similar “jobs” and having two totally opposite results. One being, miserable and sad and the other inspiring and uplifting.
After some time, I realised that, doing what I LOVE, helped me with my chronic disease. I started by being able to cut down on my medication and also was able to start exercising again. I felt alive and well.
Old habits seem to die hard
During the course of the next few months, I fell back into my bad routine and put myself under huge amounts of pressure again. I once again tried taking on too much, and I wasn’t feeling appreciated for my expertise.
I became distant and withdrawn by the fact that I was so unhappy. The choice was clear, I had to make a change. One cannot continue doing what one is doing an expecting a different result so to speak.
I there and then, some 6 weeks ago, after the dark place I had been in, decided that I was the master of my destiny, I was the ONLY one that could make a difference in MY life.
Do what you love
I chose to “do what I LOVE”!!
Since making this very tough and life altering decision, I have finally begun to see the light in my darkest days. I felt that there was hope. I felt that I was worth something.
My last words to you are, “Do What You LOVE, in order to LOVE What You Do!”
VA CONNECT has a team of Virtual Assistants just waiting to be of service to you, to lighten your load! To FREE up some of your time!
As my greatest role model this is who I aspire to be
This blog was the most challenging things I have ever had to write about. How does one put into words how one really feels about one’s mother without sounding like fake news!
Celebrating inspirational woman in your life
The object of this blog was to celebrate an inspirational woman in your life. One of the most important women in my life is my mother. In my eyes, she is everything I strive to be. A lady, beautiful both inside and out and an example to any woman who wants to be known for her grace, her beauty, compassion and love of life. This is the woman that I am blessed and proud to call my mom. Having always been very close I never knew anything other than a relationship with no secrets and but where giggles and laughter ring through the air, even when times have been tough and relationships have been strained.
Growing up, my mother always told me that women are resilient and can do anything they put their minds to, purely because they are women. This has always been tucked away in the back of my mind and it makes me push myself harder to prove myself and make her proud. In her eyes, I have always been perfect! When times get tough and I find myself struggling, I close my eyes and think “I can do this, I do not need anyone and I will get through this simply because I am a woman, my mother’s child”.
Lessons to be learned
My mother always told me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that people need to look past the exterior and look inside the soul of the person to know what type of person they truly are. I have prided myself in making sure that I see the person not just the outside. A lesson taught to me by a very wise woman.
I get very emotional writing about my mother as I do not know how to accurately express what she means to me. I have always been sublimely confident in her love. There have been times in my life when I was reminded of her sacrifices so that her family could have, of her silent tears and heartaches that she kept from the world to make sure that she provided a happy, secure and loving home to nurture her family.
The role of a mother
Being a mother is a job that one takes very seriously. Despite the tremendous responsibility that it carries, the love and joy that is brings must never be forgotten. No matter the age you are, you will always be your mother’s child. They say that when one is born the most important bond that is formed, is the one between mother and child, a bond that is formed for life, it will mould you into the person you will become. Well, I think that I hit the jackpot I have been truly blessed to call her my mother and my best friend. I love you ma!
Where To Start When You Are New To The VA World
The Wonderful World of Virtual Assistants
So, let’s talk about the wonderful world of virtual assistant-dom. It truly is a wonderful thing to be a virtual assistant, to be able to have the flexibility you need, for whatever reason, and get paid a fairly decent wage and then to top it all off you get a vast amount of experience and learn new things every day.
However, one is not simply going to fall down the proverbial ‘virtual assistant rabbit hole’, it is something which requires some effort on your part and in this blog I will attempt to give you some tips and tricks in order to find your tribe!
I Want to be a Virtual Assistant, What Now?
Okay, so you have decided that you want to try your hand at virtual assistance as a career but you haven’t the foggiest where to start – let’s start with these things:
- What is your experience? – So anything that you have done previously in terms of work, or even what you may have studied and so forth
- What are your strengths? – Now, just because you may have done something as a job previously that does not automatically make it a strength. A strength would be something you do really well but also enjoy doing well. This article by Gary Vaynerchuk about how to find your strengths may be beneficial and helpful.
- What are you hoping to achieve from becoming a virtual assistant? – When you make that decision to become a VA there must be a reason you are deciding to go down this path. What is it? Do you want flexibility? Are you perhaps unable to go out to work due to illness and so forth? Do you want to work around your kids?
These, amongst others, are all factors to look at when you first decide on this journey.
This video is also a great resource with some very interesting insight.
The next step would then be to look at either marketing your specialities to a client base. Once you know what you are good at and what you enjoy doing you can then research business owners and the like to whom you could market your services.
LindkedIn is a great source for this – if you do not have a LinkedIn profile, why not? And if not, go get one.
Now marketing is not everyone’s forte, which is fine, then what you can do is look out for subcontracting positions. Apply to virtual assistant companies and market yourself to them with what you know and what you can offer them.
Never be too greedy when it comes to the moola either, make sure you are open about what you would like as a salary but also make sure you are flexible and happy to negotiate, after all you are trying to get your foot in the door not take over the whole company straight away!
I Have Done The Leg Work – What More Do I Need?
What you need now is to do the work and do it to your very best ability. Whatever you do not know you need to go and find out and teach yourself. Google is a wonderful thing, you literally have the world at your fingertips.
Use your spare time to upskill yourself, learn new ways to do things, communicate effectively with your clients.
Learn from your mistakes and do not be afraid to admit when you do not know something.
Besides the emotional and human things you need once you secure your client/s you will also do well to get yourself familiarized with various resources such as the below:
- Trello – An excellent task manager where you can keep track of tasks allocated and completed as well as communicate with the client/s.
- Slack – A brilliant communication tool
- Udemy – For upskilling at a very reasonable rate
These are just some of the resources you can look at using and getting to know which will help you and your client work more efficiently together and also allow you to gain some knowledge.
In conclusion I can say this – The world of VA is an exciting and rewarding one. If you are willing to put in the time and effort to learn and even start at the bottom with things like basic data entry and research projects you can grow so much, and your skill set will develop exponentially as every client is different and what they need from you on a daily, weekly and monthly basis is ever changing and diverse.
For me personally I find VA work challenging and that is what I love about it. The bigger the challenge the more exciting it is for me!
So, write a list, be honest with yourself about what you want, what you can and can’t do and when you are going to start – jump in at the deep end!
Happy VA’ing and good luck in your search!
This Female Entrepreneur Inspired me the most. This is why.
Where it all started
I remember watching this female entrepreneur back in the day when I had DSTV and was prepared to pay the exorbitant subscription fee for the drivel bestowed upon us. This lady featured in a doccie entitled ‘The Secret Millionaire’ and from the moment the opening credits began, I just knew this was one tough, go getter woman. I was most pleased to watch her in action on another BBC show ‘Dragons Den’ a few years later.
The female entrepreneur I am referring to is none other than the interminable Ms Hilary Devey. So intrigued was I, I purchased her biography ‘Bold as Brass, My Story’.
The life of Hilary Devey
Ms Devey certainly didn’t start life with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth. In fact, she didn’t even have a plastic one. She was born into a regular English family and her folks earned their living working in and managing pubs in her home town of Bolton in the UK. There were times when her folks were successful in what they were doing and at other times, not so much. Her folks faced bankruptcy on several occasions and thus moved around the UK extensively in search of employment opportunities. None of this stopped the young Hilary in her pursuit of success though. These obstacles toughened her up and she vowed at the age of seven she would never sit on a cold floor again. Ever.
Ms Devey was a bright child at school and had a flair for the numbers game from an early age. Having to pull her weight at the various pubs her folks managed and lived in, she quickly became adept at pulling pints and learnt how to haggle. These traits would put her in good stead later in life. Upon completing school aged sixteen, Hilary served for a short while in the Women’s Royal Air Force, in air traffic control and the supply accounts department. Her accounting skills were honed, and the lessons learnt in the WRAF ensured she would never be blindsided in business.
How she become an inspiration
Fast forward to 1996 when Pall-Ex, a palletized freight network was launched. Ms Devey chose a testosterone dominated industry to make her mark. And mark it she did! Pall-Ex has annual revenues of £59.947 million. The splendours of success had their foibles though and there were many sacrifices made. According to Ms Devey’s biography, the hardest work she’s ever done is pull her son from the grips of heroin addiction. Marriage has also not been her forté as she is twice divorced and suffered a stroke that almost killed her.
Ms Devey is tough as nails and one of a kind. She is famous for her straight-talking but genuinely warm force of nature. Ultimately though, she is a survivor and her story, told with complete honesty, is as inspirational as the woman herself.
Good on you Hils!
Celebrating the Women in your Life in honour of Women’s Month
Honouring the women in our lives this August month
The dictionary describes the word “August” as consecrated respected and impressive. Words like distinguished, respected, eminent, hallowed, esteemed and honoured are also found in the synonyms. Is it not then fitting that this be the month to honour women, their achievements and the important role that they have played and continue to play in our lives.
From that very first breath, women have been playing a major role in our lives, feeding, nurturing and comforting us as infants, expanding the role as we grow older into moulding, mentoring and nourishing our minds. As little ones, our mothers are our first “turn to” mechanism, the bonded cord being tightest during that times. As we grow and develop, it stretches to allow us the space to become our own little person. Hitting the teenage years, we start to twist, turn and yank at that cord, fighting for our independence with childish abandon, yet she still holds on gently, guiding and walking the mire with us during those tempestuous years, never far away and always ready to step in when needed and all the while holding herself back as she watches us grow, mature and take our place in the world.
Women Leadership within the family
And how much of that do we really see. How much of her struggles, heartaches, frustrations, all her sacrifices, wisdom and guidance is apparent to us. She is the one that balances work, life, family, society and a myriad of other things all at the same time, like a never-ending ebb and flow twirling and rolling into itself over and over. And what do we see – we see Mom. The one who is just there. The constant figure that we don’t give a thought to having challenges or feelings. Until we truly grow up and mature. Sometimes it takes a life-altering incident that makes us take stock and really see and appreciate, and sometimes it is becoming a mother yourself that unravels the same threads and the penny drops into place that not only her, but your grandmother. her mother and so on back for generations, where the same things have been taking place, and the real appreciation of what she did for you starts to grow and you feel her strength and quiet influence deep within your being.
Women create a supportive circle
Some may say “that is not what I experienced” but if we look deep into ourselves we will find the one that gave these things to us. The one that was there even in the background silently watching and being that strength for us, waiting for her recognition with the resilience and tenacity that women hold, even though we felt it not to be so at the time.
So whether it be your birthmother, your grandmother, a substitute or a mentor that you have taken into that role, take the time to feel their strength and the love and nurturing that they have given to you. Honour their sacrifices and celebrate their joy. After all, a little piece of them lives on in you.
Why dressing for Success can create the right mindset
I’m sure almost everyone would agree that one of the big perks of working from home is that no specific dress code applies. If you feel like working in your pyjamas all day, no one is stopping you. It’s your choice, but does it have an impact on your productivity? Sorry guys and gals, but research has shown that it actually does. The author of The Golden Apple: Redefining Work-Life Balance for a Diverse Workforce says that work clothes do impact you on a business and a personal level. It is also important to set boundaries between working hours and personal time. When the official work day is over, it’s best to change out of the business attire otherwise you could feel like work never ends.
Self discipline and how you dress does pay off
A few years back I worked half day for an elderly man who was a magazine publisher and worked from home. Every morning when I arrived at his home office, he was dressed in formal office wear. I asked him why he bothered. His answer was that if he were to dress casually, he would be more inclined to first wander around his garden and play with his dog than get to the office and before he’d realise it, most of the morning would have gone by and he’d have achieved very little. He only worked mornings, accomplishing what he had set out to do and then changed into casual wear and spent the afternoons playing golf, meeting up with other retired friends or pottering around in his garden.
I had a mentor once that set her goal to be a millionaire before she turned thirty, which she did achieve. She started out working from home in her garage. Every morning she would get dressed up in her working attire complete with heels and handbag and be in her garage office by 9am sharp.
Gaining respect and being taken seriously
What impression do you give those around you? Do you look like you take your business seriously? I experienced this first hand with family members. When you look like a frumpy mum, that is pretty much how everyone is going to treat you. Step up your game by dressing to match your business and see the difference in the attitude of those around you.
Dress up to resist multi-tasking
When working from home it is easy to get caught up in exhausting multi-tasking. When wearing your sweats it’s easy to dash from your desk to the washing machine, desk to the wash line… and so on. If you were dressed for work, you would be less inclined to do some of these things. Agreeably, there are the benefits to multi-tasking, but it can also affect your overall performance.
If dressing up every day really doesn’t appeal to you, throw in a casual day or two into your week. You are the boss after all so you get to choose. 😉