The results of the VA Survey 2020 showed that 30.9% of respondents work with their children at home. 41.4% of total participants advised that they moved into a self-employed VA role after having children, and 73.7% advised that ‘flexibility in working hours’ was one of the most important determining factors for launching a virtual assistant business.
Not every VA business is set up around children, but many VAs find that the flexibility of working for themselves makes it easier to split time between commitments and responsibilities that fall outside of work (and which are more challenging to manage in a full time, permanent employed role).
Whether you have another self-employed, employed or voluntary position, care for loved ones, or have animals that require extensive care and exercise, VA roles can fit in well with your non-VA responsibilities. As the owner of your own business, you can set your working hours and switch your out-of-office and voicemail on as soon as those hours are done. However, though it would be fabulous to work a couple of hours a day and earn enough to pay all your bills, that isn’t always do-able. If you want to work part-time, but have fixed living expenses (as well as business expenses like insurance, professional memberships, software costs, etc.), it’s important to carefully consider the amount you need to take home to keep your business financially viable and your stress levels low(ish!).
As a mother and a VA I can say that it is definitely possible to run a VA business around other responsibilities BUT that life isn’t all always Insta-perfect. With the Covid-19 lockdown closing schools and withdrawing all potential for support with childcare (for non-keyworkers), I have to admit that 2020 has been incredibly challenging; juggling home-schooling alongside a consistent workload has meant numerous late nights and early mornings to try and tackle a never-decreasing to-do list. I do count myself incredibly lucky that my work hasn’t been negatively impacted by the financial uncertainty, and that I have been able to spend quality time with my family, but I have been reminded of the fact that life as a VA when you have other commitments and responsibilities is a little bit like being a plate spinner on ‘The Generation Game’ or in a circus: sooner or later, despite your very best efforts to keep momentum with everything, a plate falls. More often than not, this tends to be the plate that represents yourself and ‘burnout’.
So, if you are considering starting a VA business around long-term (and time consuming) personal responsibilities, please, please make sure that you factor in your own health and wellbeing into your routine. It’s all too easy to put everything and everyone else first and find that your physical and mental health pays the price. Just remember, many of the VAs in our VA Hub and membership community are in the same boat as you, so if you have any questions about balancing life and VA work, feel free to ask! I’m sure many would be more than happy to share their experiences and help you to avoid some of the pitfalls that they may have experienced by overcommitting to various responsibilities.