Blog Posts

Virtual Assistant Work

Virtual Assistant Work

Every few months a fellow coaches’ wife asks about streams of income other than direct sales and I pull out my blog post Top Jobs for Coaches’ Wives.

The more moves you have under your belt the more challenge it becomes to find a job. Employeers see those resumes and regardless of how qualified you are, they aren’t sure how long you will stick around. That is why working as Virtual Assistant is an ideal job for a coaches’ wife.

But, not all VA opportunities are equal. If you are considering pursuing a career as a Virtual Assistant there are a few things to consider just as how to market yourself, what certifications may be helpful, and which industries you are best capable of serving.

The Benefits of Virtual Work

The biggest benefit of virtual work for me is that I have the ability to flex my hours. I’m been blessed to connect with amazing clients who trust I will complete my work by the deadlines they request, but I’m also going to take off Tuesday mornings for BSF.

The other thing I love about virtual work is that every minute I am working is work. When I was an administrative assistant at a small college the summers were absolutely miserable. There was absolutely nothing to do for 7 hours a day and all I wanted to do was go home and clean my house. I hated that my job felt like a waste of time.

Speaking of cleaning my house, I love that in between tasks I can hop up and switch a load of laundry or get dinner started. I’m home in case our boys miss the bus, have a day off school, or are aren’t feeling well. I can even do a Walmart Grocery pick up run in the middle of the day without it impacting my “office hours”.

I can work in yoga pants, squeeze in a mid-day workout if I sleep in, and almost always pause to video chat with my nieces for a few minutes. Doctors appointments aren’t that big of a deal either.

Essentially, everything that frustrated me and added stress to our family with working in an office setting is eliminated by working virtually.

The Challenges of Virual Work

Most VA’s are 1099 contractors meaning they don’t have paid vacation days. While we are able to flex our time, extended vacations may mean going without pay.

Virtual work requires a lot of additional communication. It’s important to make sure your clients know that you are working. Additionally, since you are likely on contracts with specific hour alotments, it’s important to understand the details of a project before you work on in incorrectly and waste both time and money.

There are always new ways to do things, and often virtual work includes finding the balance between convenience and cost. While it may seem more cost effective to have newsletters printed, hand stuffed and mailed, when you combine the cost of the work plus materials it may be better to outsource the project. It often falls the VA to assess these tasks and help the client make informed decisions.

Many times a VA becomes the catch all. Especially when working for small companies the line between work and personal will blur. A VA may find themselves booking vacation reservations and work travel on the same day.

As a company grows the VA must be willing to expand their roll and learn new things.

Finding Clients

So, how do you find clients? There are companies that outsource VA’s and there are many Virtual Assistants who work on their own. If you are just starting out, I encourage you to consider working with a company that will match you with clients for a few reasons. First, the client will be vetted for you, so you will know that you will be paid for your work. Second, if an issue arises you have someone to back you up and work through the conflict.

Once you have a handle on things, don’t be afraid to network and go out on your own. For one thing, you will have the opportunity to negotiate your contract and can include your preferred hourly rate.

Resources

My two favorite resources for learning about Virtual Assistants are VA Elevated and Belay Solutions both are ones I’m personally familiar with so I trust the content is accurate. There are plenty of others out there, but I encourage you not to pay for anything.

If you are choosing to go the freelancing direction is may be necessary to pay to join a group at some point, but not at first. Learn about the industry, build up your resume, see what you can do for free.

Moving and Church Traditions

Moving and Church Traditions

We were watching the evening news when all of a sudden we remembered it was Ash Wednesday. A commentator was still wearing his ashes as he went about his work. But at some point in the day, he took time out of his day to participate in a religious practice.

My next thought was one I admit I’ve had more than once, does our current church have an Ash Wednesday service?

Since marrying we’ve attended several different churches. Some were non-denominational. One was First Christian, another Free Methodist. We’ve attended Baptist churches, Church of God, and Vineyard.

Each church has its own traditions and services they do and do not incorporate into their yearly schedules. For families who have spent years in those churches, they build family traditions around those traditions. But, for our family, we are always playing catch up.

If we do happen to hear the announcements and attend a special service such as Ash Wednesday, Easter or Christmas we are still often just as lost as first-time attendees figuring out where to sit and whether our kids are supposed to stay with us or head to their regular spaces.

Communion is another religious practice we find ourselves fumbling through the first few months with every move. Is the bread/cracker gluten free? Do we take both the sacraments together? When they say “on your own” does that mean right away or after a time of prayer?

I felt a twinge of guilt when Ash Wednesday passed without much of an acknowledgement from our household, but that guilt didn’t come from ignoring a family tradition or depriving our boys from an experience at church.

That twinge of guilt was the awarness that this is one more thing to add to the list of experiences that are not consistent for our kids. Moving means finding new churches in new communities.

While it is true people switch churches all the time without moving, these transitions mostly happen on the family’s terms and timing. When you move to a new community you are not guaranteed you will have the same denominational choices to visit let alone settle into for new church homes.

Especially in small towns, you worship where you can, which means going along with the church’s philosophy about how often to serve communion and when to do so as well as which holy days to celebrate.

I am so thankful for the different churches we’ve worshipped in and the people we have met. My faith has grown in amazing ways as we’ve experienced many people of faith worshipping in their own ways. I’ve had to learn to push the guilt away and accept that when our kids are older they will decide for themselves what their church traditions will be, thankfully, it’s never too late to explore a new church denomination.

Dear Coach’s Kid…

Dear Coach's Kid Remember this as You Move

Dear Coach’s Kid,

It’s time for another move, and well, it sucks. I get it. You were just starting to feel comfortable and this one, it stings. Before you get too deep into the moving routine I wanted to take a minute to tell you two things. First, I see you.

I see how sad you are to leave yet another home, another school, and another set of friends.

I see how sad you are to have to spend another semester answering ALL the questions that are NO ONE’s business.

I see how hard you are trying to keep it together for your mom even on the days when sadness gets the best of you, I know how many days you won the battle and you should remember too.

I see you packing up your belongings, trying to decide if you should keep the clothing from the team your family is no longer a part of, feeling torn between your loyalty to your Dad and your friends.

Here’s the Thing

I know it doesn’t feel fair to have to move again. You didn’t sign up for this. You didn’t choose to coach. And the reality is, even if you don’t love your current home familiarity is always better than the unknown isn’t it?

Is It?

Is it really better to stay than move? Are you sure? The longer I’m in this business and the more moves we add to our resume, the move I am convinced that while you, Coach’s Kid did not sign up for this crazy life, God knew exactly what he was doing when he added you to your family. He knew you before you were knit in your mother’s womb and he knew you would be packing boxes for another move.

Every move we’ve made has significantly benefited our kids and I believe you have the same opportunity if you keep your eyes open. God is not just moving your Dad on to coach. He is moving your family and he has unique opportunities available for each of you waiting because he knows you come as a package deal.

You May Already Know

You may already know that it usually takes a year to feel settled in a new town. You will feel like the outsider in your new community for awhile. It’s likely people will know who you are before you know them, especially teachers. It’s okay to feel frustrated about this. You know that you are going to walk a hard path AGAIN.

But remember, there are also benefits to moving. You now have another opportunity at a fresh start. Be your authentic self and I guarantee you will connect with people you want to be good friends with quicker than if you try to please the masses.

As you go through your days don’t hide how smart your are and certainly don’t minimize your talents. You were created by an insanely talented Creator who designed you with a unique purpose in mind. But, a word of caution, stay humble. There will always be those that are threatened by the new kid in town. While no one is expecting you to cater to this childish behavior, it is also great to avoid adding any fuel to the fire.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I know you know this, but I’m reminding you anyway, because sometimes when we are sad we need reminders that it’s okay to ask for help.

This too will pass. You will get through this. You will feel settled, you will find your way around another school. You will find friends. You will feel at home again, and you will be stronger for this move.

I told you I had two things to tell you. The second thing I wanted to tell you is that you amaze me. You Coach’s Kid, you are the strongest kid I know. You are resilient, compassionate, smart, talented, and so stinkin’ sharp.

You have seen so many different people groups that you have a greater understanding of how people operate than pretty much anyone else your age. You know how to work a crowd and you are quick to identify the kid who needs a friend.

All these moves, well they are already paying off, and I know that doesn’t make it any easier. I do, because every time I think about moving my kids again I start to cry. Us parents, we get it. We know we are asking you to do something that is hard. It is hard for us too.

So, here you go again, sort, purge, pack, and goodbyes. It is not easy. But know that you are seen, loved and heard. I believe in you and I know your parents do too. You’ve got this dear one.

Signed,

A Coach’s Wife whose been there and wishes someone had reminded her kids of these things when she was so overwhelemed she couldn’t