It’s no surprise that the thought of working from home can be a daunting prospect for expectant or new mothers. Perhaps a substantial amount of time has passed since you were in the workforce or maybe starting to work again seems impractical given your daily responsibilities around children – it’s all completely understandable.
One increasingly popular option is to set up as a virtual assistant (VA), basing yourself at home. Here are some key reasons which might help explain the recent VA boom…
- About to go on maternity leave? Did you know that it’s sometimes possible to earn money whilst taking maternity leave as a self-employed person? This is separate to maternity pay from your employer and keeping in touch days. This initial work provides a great platform to launch your VA business from. Do check your employment contract first though – some companies don’t allow work outside of its employment.
- Being a VA allows full control of your own work schedule which for example means you can fit working around the school runs and potentially cut back on nursery sessions. Workload can be managed and controlled to fit around the family. Of course, you will still need to do some work within business hours so it isn’t advisable to remove childcare altogether once running your own VA business, but at least you can minimise what is required. For example, I have a young boy and often work when he is asleep in the evenings and I am always on call via email. This freedom means my son is only at nursery in the afternoons rather than for a full day.
- Being a full time mum can be an almighty change if you are used to being in full time employment – your life suddenly becomes centred around the child and new mums often miss that independence. Having your own business is something just for you and provides the opportunity to do something completely separate from your family alongside caring for them.
- Being a VA allows amazing freedom. We run annual surveys through the Society of Virtual Assistant and the word ‘freedom’ comes up time and time again when we ask what people love most about being a VA.
- Perhaps you’re sick of office politics? Not keen on your boss? Full of ambition but feel held back or under rewarded? Working for yourself is one of the very best ways to take control of your career – free from other people’s limitations. There is no upper pay grade limit or delays for overdue promotions!
- No suits – wear what you like! I wear jeans to the office every day (ok, ok – I’ll admit it, sometimes I wear my pyjamas!)
- Being based at home means there is no commute. I used to sit in traffic for over an hour each way in my last full time job before having children. It used to make me grumpy, irritable – and I was spending a small fortune in fuel! Running your own business means you can use that precious time to do something you love.
- Variety is the spice of life – how true! You never get bored working for a wide variety of clients and as a VA you are constantly learning new skills.
So what are you waiting for? The VA industry is quite unique in the sense that we are all so approachable and friendly to newbies! If you need advice on getting set up just ask. This is not a closed door industry. Our latest survey is now available to download. The information in this insightful document is key to anyone starting out as a VA.
Caroline Wylie is the founder of the Society of Virtual Assistants (SVA), the largest membership organisation for virtual assistants (VA) in the UK. The SVA connects VAs of a certain standard with businesses of all sizes.