Back in May 2012 I started my own home business as a Virtual Administrative Assistant. I was under the impression that working from home and being a stay at home mom was going to be very easy. Boy was I wrong. My life became very complicated very quickly.
I had to be out of the house networking if I wanted any clients. I had to create and execute my own marketing if I wanted any clients. Blogging alone is a full-time position in itself. I still had to be a full-time mom and wife, which meant Guitar Lessons, Karate Lessons, Tutoring and all the normal full-time household wife duties. Wow! it was more than I really expected. Seeing it on paper in a business plan and actually living it was a shock to my body and mind. I was exhausted all the time. Usually I am extremely organized, I became very disorganized. I was overwhelmed like never before. I had to take control and take control quickly if I wanted to stay in business for myself and have a happy healthy family.
Now a little over a year later I am running a successful Virtual Administrative Assistant business and I have a happy healthy family. I am proof that working from home and being a full-time wife and mother can be easy. Here are a few lessons I learned along the way.
Stay organized: I made a plan of everything that needs to be done on one piece of paper and I wrote down how everything was going to get done and when. I prioritized and work from start to finish. This included making a schedule of the days I would be out networking, calling prospect clients, working on client projects, and taking my son to guitar lessons, etc…, and even when the laundry gets done folded and put away.
Plan ahead: I plan at least two weeks ahead for meals; breakfast, lunch and dinners. I prepare all meals in advance for up to two weeks. Yes this might take up to two hours on a weekend, but it saves about five hours during the work week. I also organized my pantry, refrigerator and freezer, as well. This also saves time not having to rummage through to locate items needed for a meal. This is also a great way to stay healthy, by planning and preparing healthy meals and snacks.
Set limitations: You’ve heard the expression “A lack of preparation on your behalf does not constitute an emergency on my behalf” I say no to anything that is not important to me, my family, or my business. It’s just that simple. I used to think that “I need to help everyone so they will like me” not anymore. Having been burned on numerous occasions by this mentality, I’ve learned it is ok that not everyone likes me. My health and my families health and happiness does not depend on anyone but me. Why stress over someone else’s inability to be organized, plan ahead, or get caught up in their drama.
Don’t neglect yourself: I like to walk. I walk 3 days a week for 1 hour usually ends up being about 2.5 to 3 mile walk. I like soaking in a hot bubble bath after a hectic week. I take 5 minute breaks every couple of hours at my desk and do a little desk yoga, deep breathing and stretching. I love manicures and pedicures. A monthly massage is an excellent way to pamper yourself. Because I am so organized I am able to be in bed at a decent hour. I am not rushing to cleanup, check emails, or get that last load of laundry done at midnight. I make sure I am well rested for the following day. Whatever you enjoy; do it. Don’t neglect yourself and don’t feel guilty cause you did it for yourself and not a loved one. You will be no good to anyone, loved ones and clients if you are not happy and relaxed.
Keep in touch with your friends: I’ve made a lot of friends through school activities and other kid functions, prior to starting my business. I don’t want to lose touch or worse lose a friend, because I was too busy to keep in touch. I keep in touch with them by sending out a few texts, tweets, and Facebook comments, and message throughout the week. I schedule lunch or coffee. I even schedule walks with friends. Your friendships are just as important as your relationships with your loved ones. They provide support and encouragement and you can provide the same for them.
I feel being a Virtual Assistant was the perfect business to go into for myself. I love the attention to detail and organization. It took about 4 months for me to learn how to take control and balance work at home and home life. These five things were most important in helping me to succeed at that balance. I hope that they help you too.
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