The night shift at the supermarket was killing meWorking the night shift was killing me

It was 10 o’clock in the morning. My eyes kept drooping shut as I prepared a snack for my ever-hungry four-year-old. The night shift at the supermarket was killing me, but what could I do? I wanted to be able to stay at home to care for my two small children, and normal office hours coincided with their waking hours. Going back to the corporate world as a Business Systems Manager just wasn’t going to work. Supermarket shelf-stacking was the only thing I could find that wouldn’t interfere with my caring duties.

A call from a friend changed everything

The shrill ringing of my mobile phone startled me out of my upright slumber. I rubbed my eyes sleepily and fumbled with the ‘Answer’ button. On the other end of the line, was my friend and former colleague, K. She was trying to achieve something in Microsoft Word and simply could not figure out how to do it. We reminisced about how, back in the day, she had come to rely on me to sort out these sorts of problems for her. I promptly directed her to the correct commands she needed to achieve her desired result. She breathed a huge sigh of relief and thanked me for my help.

Mount Washmore - The Never-Ending Pile of Laundry

When the call ended, I was filled with a sense of satisfaction at being able to help a friend in need. I got the chance to exercise that problem-solving part of my brain that I used to use every day – before play groups and the never-ending pile of laundry. My satisfaction quickly gave way to dread, as I thought of the drudgery and sleep deprivation that lay ahead of me that evening.

I went to my computer and did a number of searches. Avoiding the term ‘work from home’ like the plague, I eventually found that ‘work remotely’ was a better way to search for legitimate opportunities. Some time later, I fell upon an opportunity to work as a virtual assistant.

I’ve found my calling

Fast-forward 10 years, my children are in high school, and here I am today, using the skills I gained as a Personal Assistant and IT Business Systems Manager to support small business owners in the UK, Ireland and Australia with their online marketing. Everyday, I get to use my creative and technical skills to make beautiful blog title images and shareable tips, prepare email broadcasts and newsletters in HTML, schedule updates on social media and most importantly, help to solve my clients’ online marketing problems.

Now my days are filled with image editing, SEO, Google Analytics, autoresponders and document formatting, but there really is nothing I’d rather be doing. I think I’ve found my calling.

What This Means for You and Your Small Business

  • I enjoy what I’m doing, so I’ll go that extra mile. Your business will be front-of-mind, I’ll take the initiative, and if it’s what you want, I’ll offer suggestions on how you can make small tweaks to improve your online marketing.
  • A Bachelor of Technology in Computing Science means that learning unfamiliar systems is a cinch – no shying away from learning that new list management system you’ve just adopted, and you can consider your HTML email broadcasts done and dusted.
  • Years of working in admin, means I’m a whiz at document formatting and all things Microsoft Office. You don’t need to know how to add a watermark to your document or how to create a Table of Contents with links in it; you’ve got a Magic VA to do that for you!

Don’t take my word for it

My clients seem to agree, because they’ve said these lovely things about me:

 “…I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. She completes a mixture of work including keeping our webinar program running smoothly, producing our newsletter, updating our blog, ensuring our resources are kept up-to-date, producing management reports and managing other members of the team. It’s very difficult to find someone that you can trust to just ‘get on with it’ and to make sensible decisions when needed. I’ve been through a few VA’s in the past 6 years and Michelle is by far the best. I couldn’t recommend her more highly!

“Recently starting my own company, my business partner and I were looking to create a website that was a step ahead of the competition. …Her ability to organise content and consider important aspects such as navigation for various users, and ensure content is mobile friendly are just some of the aspects of website consultation that Michelle is proficient in. She has a talent for translating collections of ideas into something tangible that transpires into a professional website. With two phone calls and a week of emailing back and forth our website was live with minimal expense. Thanks once again Michelle!!”

Awww shucks!

I’ve told you my story, now how about you tell me: What prompted you to start your business? Why not tweet to me or leave a comment on my Facebook Page.