My Journey as a Virtual Assistant by Debbie Phillips

So, it was January and the big boss was in a strange mood – rushing around the office and picking on people for the smallest things. We were wondering what was up and then the announcement came out, “I’m thinking of restructuring the support department – we don’t need so many support staff anymore!” And that is how we heard we were being retrenched due to operational requirements…oh no, what was I going to do? It took me three months to find this position and I would have to go out into the marketplace and look for a job all over again.

When I spoke to my husband about it, he said “Why not contact that company we saw an article about in a magazine, something about Virtual Assistants – they would be amazing to work with.” So, I googled VA in South Africa and found VA Connect. And that was the beginning of great things!

At first, I didn’t see the opportunity as a partnership – I thought I would be working for an employer like I had done my whole life, but then it started dawning on me that I could really start my own business! I was excited and nervous at the same time but decided the time was right to use all my skills and experience gained over a 20-year career in administration and office support to work for myself.

Being a VA really is having the best of both worlds. You get to do what your passion is and what you love doing, but now you can have your own business and decide how to structure your days, weeks and months. I have been a VA for 5 months and I can say that so far it has been exciting, challenging and rewarding all in one!

Having the chance to work in a variety of different industries and sectors while working with many types of owners and bosses is stimulating and fun at the same time. You get to apply skills that you haven’t used in years and, at the same time, learn about things you have never done before – I love it.

In the past, there have been times where I have felt I was stagnating as an admin professional because the job can be monotonous and boring, but not working as a VA – you never know what you are going to be asked to assist with and there a few surprises along the way too!

Although I do miss working in an office with colleagues, I am really a lot more effective working virtually and there is also the bonus of no travel time. I used to spend up to 3 hours a day travelling to and from the office – what a waste of time! And besides, I do have virtual colleagues now and we can communicate on our virtual channel whenever we want to.

So, looking back at my first few months as a VA I can say I am very happy I took the leap of faith and look forward to learning much more!

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