Being a Virtual Assistant Single Mom
I never thought I would ever venture into the world of freelancing and virtual assistance. I’ve always worked inside an office, commute to and fro and be around a whole bunch of office mates for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week – sometimes even more! But life, as we know, has its own way of changing things with just a blink of an eye. Nearly 3 years ago, life gave me a beautiful gift – my precious little Sophia. But being a single mom, it hasn’t always been butterflies and rainbows. There have been quite a couple of challenges along the way. One of these is balancing work and being there for your child. I’m sure a lot of mothers out there can relate to me when I say that raising a toddler can be really tough! I had to make sure that I was giving Sophia the time and attention she needed but at the same time, make a decent living for the both of us. So I did what I thought was the right thing to do. I left my office job and started my freelancing career. Sure, it wasn’t as competitive as my office job, but I got to be with my daughter more. This was more than enough for me.
Working at home is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, and trust in the Lord. Starting out is the biggest struggle. Believe me, this will involve a lot of trial and error but if you just keep going, you’ll definitely get there.
I had to set up my profile on different sites such as Up work, People per Hour, etc. I even enrolled in a freelancing course online to jump start my virtual assistance career. Another thing I had to consider was time. I had to learn how to manage my time, considering I have a toddler who will be around while I work. I had to create a certain “daily schedule” for the both of us. The main reason for me going into freelancing is to spend more time with her, after all.
Finding the Right Job
If you want to be successful with your career as a freelancer, you have to find a job that you are happy with. You have to find the right fit for you. We’ve all heard the saying, “Find a job that you love and you will never work a day in your life”. I was really lucky with my first home-based job. I just loved it! The people, my boss, my team, the work and the support were just amazing. But being a single mom, these weren’t the only things I had to consider. I have a daughter and myself to support. Most home-based jobs don’t offer government benefits such as SSS, Pag-Ibig, PhilHealth and an HMO which for me, were really necessary. The job needed to be as stable as possible, too.
6 Steps to be a Work-at-Home Mom and a Virtual Assistant
As I have mentioned, being a single mom and a freelancer is not as simple as it may seem. Here are a few steps by blogger, Miranda Nahmias, that I’m sure will help.
STEP 1: GET YOUR PARTNER’S SUPPORT
In my case, get my parents’ support. They are basically, my partners when it comes to raising Sophia. My daughter and I live with them, and they really do a lot when it comes to helping me and Sophia out every day. According to Miranda, before you go any further with your work at home ambitions, make sure your partner is on board. Take some time to educate them about what being a virtual assistant is all about, and what kind of work you’ll actually be doing. Another important part of this step is that you will probably need to have some discussion about work/home balance and division of responsibilities. You don’t want your partner to feel resentful that suddenly they have a bunch of new chores added to their to-do list, so it’s important for you to have a conversation with them about everyone’s expectations, and what life will look like after you’ve started your new career as a work at home mom.
STEP 2: FIGURE OUT YOUR TIME MANAGEMENT
I would definitely agree with Miranda on this. One of the most overwhelming parts of becoming a work at home mom is figuring out how to manage your time. Make a list of all the things that need to get done in your household. Like, all of them. Include stuff for the kids, house, and your new virtual assistant stuff. Next, you want to go through and highlight all of the absolutely most important tasks. Stuff that you have to do no matter what. Now, go through and see if there’s anything that can be eliminated. Stuff that maybe you just won’t have time for anymore. Lastly, go through and see what can be delegated or outsourced.
STEP 3: GET ON A RIGID SCHEDULE
According to Miranda, there are four key times that you should be able to get a few hours of uninterrupted work done.
Waking up before the rest of your family is an option to get some work in.
Naptime is gold for a work at home mom. Depending on your kid’s ages you have anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours while they rest, but even if your kids are too old to nap you can implement a “quiet time” where they need to be reading books or playing by themselves.
Bedtime is something else you can utilize as work time for your virtual assistant business. Depending on when your kids go to bed this may be the biggest chunk you have for completing projects.
Lastly, put Dad or your partner in charge of the kids and get out of the house, or send them out on errands while you work. If you can regularly get a few hours of kid-free time you’ll be able to fully concentrate on your work without worrying about when they are going to wake up and need you. Even if they can’t do this regularly, use it every so often if you need to get something big completed!
Of course, every family is different. And you can’t spend every moment working on your business, so make sure you can take some of those times to relax or get other stuff done. Keep in mind that the unexpected occurs. Believe me, it does! When this happens, just look at your schedule and rearrange to make up for the work time that you lost.
STEP 4: CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR UNINTERRUPTED WORK
Sometimes working only when the kids are in bed is just not an option. Figure out a way to occupy the children and get stuff done at the same time. These are a few tips by Miranda you can put into practice as a work at home mom:
- Babywearing/Breastfeeding while working
- Creating a safe play area for your kids
- Schedule calls during nap time
- Save your kids “screen time/TV time” for your work time
- Use a daycare or a babysitter
- Ask your partner to take over
- Schedule play dates
STEP 5: UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S GOING TO BE A JUGGLING ACT
Working from home is a big deal, and so much challenging when someone else determines your schedule. According to Miranda, you might have to wrap your mind around being a little crazy for awhile. When you are just starting out, you will have to put in the extra hours to get your website set up, get training in the programs that your clients need you to use, and actually find clients. So it is safe to count on the first few months being a little mad. Balance is key. Being a work at home mom is intense but so rewarding when you get it right!
STEP 6: GET CLIENTS
These are some ways to get clients according to Miranda – Draw on past experience, work, and hobbies to shape what you want to focus on as a virtual assistant. If you have an interest in an area but not a lot of skill, look into getting some training! Potential clients will be attracted to you when you pitch to them with confidence, so make sure you are working on how you approach people that you want to work for. One of the best ways to find clients is to network on social media.
I hope this has been helpful. Before I end, I just want to say that deciding to become a freelancer has been one of the best decisions in my life! I was just currently employed as a Virtual Medical Assistant with decent pay, government benefits and HMO after a year of employment. Just keep pushing on, and you’ll definitely get there in no time!
If you would like to get started on your freelancing career and need some training, you can visit Filipino Virtual Assistance by Grace Locsin. Coach Grace is just amazing. She has helped me in so many ways, and I know she will be able to do you a lot. You can also check out my social media sites to help give you an idea on how to set up your freelancing career. If you’re a business owner, I would be honored to offer you my services. Let me help you manage your business and take hold of your precious time. You can connect with me through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.