Let's talk about money
Urgh, I know, it’s a crude topic but talking about money is an integral part of any self-employed Virtual Assistant’s journey…
I started my business alongside an employed job in 2016. I spent six months employed and building the business, working a 9 to 5 and the business was a side hustle. Whilst I was working I was also saving like mad. All my spare time was poured into the business so it was easier to save. Money earned from the business went into a separate bank account and wasn’t touched. We slashed our household spending. My social life was non-existent, it was winter so I didn’t mind so much and I knew it was temporary.
One day, I found myself in a place of complete stress and overwhelm.
I had built up four retained clients, I was given a new job at work and I was trying to be a good wife and mother. It was all too much. I spent the next few weeks painfully deliberating about my future.
Something had to give and I had to decide what…
After months of conversations with loved ones, (my husband in particular who is amazingly supportive), research, planning and a LOT of thinking. I handed my notice in. At this time I had a little money put by but not enough. We were still financially recovering from my maternity leave but we had my husbands salary to ensure the bills got paid. I had come to realise that there wasn’t ever going to be enough saved, that the time would never be right. That for the sake of my business and my sanity I had to be brave and take that leap.
So, I quit my job.
I foolishly agreed to work a longer notice period, to finish up on a few projects. I thought this would give me more time and money but in truth, it was a massive hindrance. I’d already made the decision to go for it with the business and work just distracted and exhausted me further. It prevented me from working on the business. Staying employed longer just meant that I was burnt out longer…
Lesson one learned, BE BRAVE!
On my last day employed I felt so calm. I knew I’d made the right decision and I couldn’t wait to throw all my time and energy into the business. I felt confident and excited that I was fully in control of my life.
Day one fully self-employed I joined a local networking group. Mostly for support and confidence building but there was interest in what I was offering and enquiries started to come in.
By month three fully self-employed my invoice value was higher than my previous employed salary. Now obviously there’s business expenses, tax etc to take into account but I took great comfort from this fact and it motivated me to keep going.
Lesson two learned, COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY.
Working at home I found my mind wandering. I kept comparing things to how they were…
01. Did I have a better work-life balance?
02. Was I working better hours?
03. Was I bringing home more money?
04. Was I less stressed?
05. Was I more fulfilled?
Being completely honest, in the early days, the answer to all those questions was a heartbreaking ‘no’.
It is insanely hard building a remote business on your own.
I quickly recognised that I had to stop comparing my business to the employed job I had left behind. I had to stop looking backwards and start looking ahead. I had to stop doubting myself and I HAD to make my business work…
My business has grown month on month consistently, with the exception of December for obvious reasons. Each month I’ve increased my income and client base. More importantly, I’ve grown substantially too. I’m not talking waistline (although that has increased a little as there’s no one around to judge my snacking habits during the working day now!) I’m talking about my own personal growth. I’ve learned SO much about business, technology, people and myself. That kind of personal growth I have never found in employment.
Recently I’ve taken the next brave leap and that is for my husband to quit his job to work on the business full time. This has been even scarier than when I quit my job as we will both be self employed on the same business. There’s no ‘safety’ net this time. But I know it will work. I know we have a sound business model, that there is a market for our services and that we make an unstoppable team. I also know that it’s been his decision to make that leap, not mine.
Just as it is your decision when and how to take your leap.
Be honest now, what is stopping you?