How She Left Her Corporate Job and Became a Freelance VA in Only 3 Months

How She Left Her Corporate Job and Became a Freelance VA in Only 3 Months

Do you wake up dreading heading to work?

Do you go to bed, worrying about having everything together to get out the door on time with your kids?

Trust me when I say – you are not alone – so many working moms are feeling the exact same emotion, right now.

If you have ever felt like there is NO solution to your current work life and that you are drowning in endless commutes, corporate meetings that no longer motivate you or like your heart is being pulled a million different ways when you leave your kids – you need to read on. 

Today, I interview a mom who is just like you. She had a corporate career that worked but not longer inspired her. Her desire to be with her family was stronger and she tried everything – even muli-level-marketing (hey, we all have at some point, right?).

Meet Amy, the owner at AmyLockrin.com. She fast-tracked her exit from the corporate world by creating a thriving Virtual Assistance business in JUST three months. We discuss what worked, what didn’t and which this niche is a viable option for so many women who are itching to leave the corporate world today.

She shares top tips on how to gain clients that retain and most importantly, what she wished she had from the beginning – it is an interview you do NOT want to miss!  

Our Favorite Moments in the Video:

  • “There are so many legitimate opportunities for woman to create businesses online now. Are you a professional? Name your skill. We can create a business for you!” – Lori
  • “To become a Virtual Assistant, you only need two things: find what you love and then figure a skill you have. Boom. Match those up and you have created your portfolio. Keep doing that over and over that is your portfolio growing!” – Amy
  • “You just need to show up, be consistent, be reliable, there is always going to be some new software out there – you have to be a fast learner and get to know your client well.” – Lori
  • “If you aren’t sure – just rip off the band-aid and do it! You deserve it!” – Amy

 

From Corporate to Freelance Web Designer- How to Start This Business from Home

From Corporate to Freelance Web Designer- How to Start This Business from Home

“I spent stupid amounts of money on courses, learning, doing, trying ANYTHING – to find a way to be home.” Victoria Gazeley, Owner thecabindesignstudio.com

Today I chat with Victoria about her entrepreneurial path and how she created a life of freedom. One where she is home with her family, present to homeschool her son, and has built a thriving business that works on her terms.

The moment Victoria said those words, it took me right back. I remember that feeling. The pit in my stomach, the ache where I felt I would do almost ANYthing to get home to my family. Not because my job was bad, but because I knew it wasn’t where I belonged.

I am so excited to share today’s interview with you. Please join us as we chat about the real ups and downs in creating something that can thrive as you navigate which business model is right for you. Victoria shares incredible insight about how you never know what could truly be the answer to leaving your corporate job.

Our Favorite Moments In this Video:

“All of us chase things that are not right. I don’t know how many iterations of things I chased before I finally found what was a sustainable business that matched my gifts that there was a need for that would keep me home.”

“Having someone to guide you, mentor, tell you “what are the pitfalls” would have been huge! I didn’t have that – I didn’t know anyone who had done what I am doing personally. I spent hundred’s of thousands of hours researching…”

“Once you have done this for awhile, all these options, possibilities and potential open up in your brain that weren’t there before.”

“You operate your best when you feel like you. Create a space where you can be authentically you.”

 

 

Show Links:

Victoria’s Website:   The Cabin Design Studio

Victoria’s Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/TheCabinDesignStudio

Behind the Scenes with a Successful Freelance Accountant and Busy Mom of 4

Behind the Scenes with a Successful Freelance Accountant and Busy Mom of 4

Have you ever looked down at your kids and just knownI can’t keep living the life like this?

That you HAVE to make a change and do something different. Whatever it takes.

Senica is just like you. She is you. She had a thriving career, working full-time government job as an accountant and the hours were long, hard and draining. The season (you know, TAXES… we all shudder) is when her door is shut and she gets to work. It’s also when she stops seeing her family.

But what did that mean for her kids?

Today, I sat down and discussed how this brave mom took life into her own hands. How she made the tough decision to leave the secure world of government to go off on her own. With no client base to speak of. No backup plan. Just a passion and a belief that she had to make it work.  Because for her?

Motherhood was worth it. The yearning to create something of her own was there and she knew she could do it.

Meet Senica, mom of four and owner of Simplified Accounting. Today we discuss how she made her business work thrive without one warm lead and what makes this an easily replicable system for you too. She shares her favorite moments of being a working from home mom and how different life is for her now and answers that ever important question – What advice would you give someone who wants to get out of the corporate rat race?

Our Favorite Moments In this Video:

“That first day that you aren’t at your job – you almost need a detox – that feeling is amazing. The details. The date. You will never forget it.”

“Get your first client, get your second client, get your third client and THEN rework your systems because you are now juggling.”

“Being a business owner you have to get out there, let people know you exist, get comfortable, even if it is just closing leads.”  Fun fact….. Senica’s leads come almost entirely from online networking and referrals from her online network.  And she does not have a huge facebook list or email list.  She basically knew exactly the type of client she wanted to target and went specifically for that.

“My first client came from cost per click ads on Google. The coldest lead you can possibly get and it really confirmed for me – yes. I can do this. I am going to make this work!”

Find a mentor!!!  Having a mentor a few seasons ahead of her in this space was key to not feeling alone, avoiding key mistakes and having confidence in starting her own business.

Show Links:

Senica’s Website:   SimplifiedAccount.com

Senica’s Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoSimplifiedAccounting/

Creative Work Options for Moms

Creative Work Options for Moms

You’re likely to spend 40 years of your life in some form of employment.   And, those will be the best hours of each of your days that you spend doing “work”.

No matter how much you love your work, once you have children, you realize your most important title in life is Mother or Father.   You’re in charge of the development of a human being!  And maybe multiple.   This tiny person has the ability to leave a major impact on the world.    (So do you.)  But the ability to inspire and guide your own flesh and blood into young adulthood (and beyond if you are blessed with their respect) cannot compete against the next SAP implementation, process improvement or Product Iteration 4.0 you may be a part of.

Now step back and take a look at all those years of your life.

For only 1 of them are they an infant.
For only 5 of them are they home all day, every day.
And for the next 12 they are in school during their best hours and you get to spend family time together during morning rush hour, evening rush hour (I’m talking about your kitchen / bathroom rush hours) and the end of the day when your batteries are wearing out.
If you’re lucky, the weather cooperates for some of the weekends you have together that aren’t filled with catch up around the house, holidays and extra curricular activities.

Newsflash!   The cliche is so true.  They are only under your roof for a short time.

And thinking of teenagers who jump right into their own busy life by about age 13-4, you’re really talking about 13-14 years of time when they like to listen to your thoughts.   13-14 years out of 40ish years in which you will be in the workforce. If you have 2 – 3 kids, that may extend by a couple of years max.
So is it a big deal for you to take a step back from the ladder climbing for a season?    What about asking for a part time or reduced hours role? Or, finding a way to work from home entirely?

I want to break down some creative work options for families.  Personally I have been full time, part time, flex time, on ramping, off ramping, contract, self employed, overtime, travel time and everything in between.  So basically, I have a little firsthand experience to share here.

Option 1:  Alter Your Current Work Schedule

If your employer offers reduced hours, flex time or alternate work schedules, this is ideal.    You are valuable to your employer as that cost to hire a new you can be high with retraining and learning curves.   Consider approaching your boss.   This is by far the easiest to transition to as it requires no retraining and you can almost immediately find relief in your schedule to meet family needs.

So many kid related activities / appointments must happen between 8 and 5.   Teacher meetings, doctors check ups, phone calls to set up summer camps, tutoring and other programs.   If you can, create a schedule that gives you some free hours M – F between 8 and 5 to get those activities done.

When I worked part time while our kids were younger, I had co-workers frequently say things like “that must be nice” assuming my off hours were spent at the spa or on the golf course.   It was pretty easy to give them a dose of reality as I described grocery outings to the warehouse store because it was faster during off hours and picking up uniforms and dry-cleaning that filled my off afternoon.   Oh, and at less pay but that part was entirely worth it.   It was not about money but moments with family.

Option 2:  Take A New Position Designed for Part Timers
If staying with your current employer is not an option, take this as an opportunity to try something new that caters to part time hours.    One way to find this is to reach into your personal network of people who know your work quality and understand your time constraints.  It takes focus and discipline to crush a project while working part time but often what I found is that my efficiency nearly compared to that of a full time worker (for half the pay so be careful how you negotiate that!)

Option 3:  Become an Independent Contractor
It takes some planning, some sales and the ability to self-manage but independent contracting has never been an easier market to enter.  To begin looking for possible job fits for you consider these great sites.

Flexjobs.com,  Upwork.com and HireMyMom.com are all places you can find freelance work.  There are great projects for anyone with administrative, marketing, legal, finance / accounting, sales, project management, graphics / creatives, writing or technical skills.

Don’t forget to download our Step-by-Step workbook if this is the path you are considering.  It’s only 3 steps and it’s exactly what catapulted me and others to a work from home freelance consultant business.

Option 4:  Make 6 figures running your online business
Kidding.  Actually partially kidding.   This is my warning to not get suckered into the emotionally riveting email subject lines and sales pages promising quick wins and cash while you sleep.   Online marketing does work well but behind that are real people having real conversations doing real good in the real world.   What you need is an effective business model that matches your skills and serves a need for a particular audience. And then, perhaps some coaching / consulting from someone who has run a real business that leverages online marketing. I say it like it’s simple.  “All you need to do is…”  Well here’s one secret.  It’s just one foot in front of the other, trial and error and then you find that audience that craves your personality, product or service.   One of my favorite things is brainstorming and critiquing business ideas and growth strategies.  So I’ll be personally walking a select group of mom’s through   It’s your chance to pick my brain.

Option 5:  Start With a Direct Sales / Home Party Business
*If* there is a product you love, and you are only trying to replace a couple thousand a month, these can be good options.  It’s a ready made business.  You learn the system and follow the plan.   You must not be afraid of sales.  You must have a decent sized personal network and /or be ready to invest in marketing to grow an audience.  And you must realize, with a few exceptions of some long standing companies, this would not be a lifetime career but good for a season.   Also beware that while the hours are flexible, many jobs like this require a lot of evening and weekend work which may be worse for your family schedule.

I need to be honest and say that this is not my most favorite path.   I did rise to a director level in a direct sales company, while working full time and pregnant with my 4th child.  (Yes I figured out the system and LOVED the products and my passion for it attracted people to me naturally.)   Amongst the few things I didn’t like about this option is that you have to “sell the dream” that isn’t achievable by some.   It was heartbreaking to see people get super excited about the product and the financial freedom potential of becoming a consultant knowing that a small percentage truly get to the level I was or even higher.  So to set expectations, this path is great if you only want to replace $500-$1500 / month by the end of the first 3-6 months and are ok with the evening / weekend work.  But, you do build an audience and have a ready made following should you decide to launch another venture.

More on direct sales later.  We can talk a LOT about that if you need direction.

In case you are still leery of jumping off the ladder climbing path at your job, remember this:
This change in your work is only for a season.  Once you get beyond it, most people won’t even remember it.  In fact, most co-workers may not even know you only work part time or reduced hours if you continue to deliver great work.

You will learn a LOT about yourself as you optimize your work schedule and efficiency and learn new things.

It will be very refreshing to have a job you like to focus on that doesn’t press into your family time.  (Dare I call this the elusive balance everyone is seeking?)

You will never regret those moments home with the kiddos.   When you are refreshed and home on the couch with them by 3 PM and able to practice ABCs together when you aren’t completely exhausted.

If you ever want to go back to M-F 8-5 employment you will come back with a whole new set of skills and experience to share.

If you are worried about the reduced income that can accompany a reduced hour schedule or job change, be sure to factor in these unexpected benefits:

  • More time to plan healthy, affordable at home meals
  • Less stops for coffee and dry cleaning
  • More time to shop around for purchases instead of needing to make a rapid selection
  • Less spent on wardrobe

What’s your next step? If you want to explore the possibility of a career change to accommodate your family needs, let’s chat.   More resources for working moms at this link.   Or to tap into my brain for a business planning / brainstorm session go to LoriMercerCTO.com.

3 Things That Will Make Moms Want to Quit Their Job- and How to Get Through Those Moements

I’ve been a woman all my life (ha ha!).  I’ve always had a job since age 16.  Therefore I call myself a “working woman” and by that I mean no disrespect to stay at home moms.   And I’ve birthed 4 children while maintaining my employment starting with my millennium baby in January 2000.  I’ve worked full time, part time, flex time, ramp up / ramp down, work from home and all combinations in the corporate world.   I think i have something to say about this topic.  Well, a ton actually.  But here is one of my most favorite posts I wrote all the way back in 2008 after the birth of my 4th.   It’s meant to help new moms be prepared for new mom brain no matter how career minded you are.  You’re normal.  And it passes 🙂

Mother and baby in home office with laptop

I experienced these three situations with every single child, even number 4 when I knew well in advance these moments would arrive.   I don’t think the tension of being a mom versus doing the work you love ever entirely goes away – just for seasons of good balance which I so treasure.  So just consider this a heads up so you aren’t blindsided and making rash decisions 🙂

#1 Holding your newborn baby in your arms.
It does not matter how career driven and focused you are. That precious newborn that just sprung forth from your womb needs Y-O-U. 100%. 24/7. She is priority #1. In your hormone induced opinion, there is not a single other qualified person on the planet who is capable of caring for that child. Daddy gets his chance to bond of course. And depending on how close you are to your mom or sisters or girlfriends, they can be briefly entrusted with the care of your newborn so you can escape for a shower or a meal. Sometimes this feeling lasts for 2 days, sometimes it lasts for 2 weeks or 6 weeks or even longer. By the time I was due with my 4th child, I knew it was coming. I thought about my career and how to manage my job while on maternity leave and I fully expected to have that window of time where all I wanted to do was hold that baby and gaze lovingly upon her and watch her breath as if she needed my moral support for every single inhale………..and swear I’d never go back to work for another day until I ushered this little creation through her high school graduation. But this time, I saved myself the emotional agony of wrestling with the guilty working mom decision again. I told myself it was coming, to enjoy that time period where I was allowed to sit and do nothing but love on her. It would quickly pass. And before long, this little bundle of feathers would be rosy cheeked and vibrant and ‘durable’ enough that I’d entrust her to a caregiver. And even sooner, she’d be a strong-willed, temper-tantruming 3 year old whom I’d gladly handle over to the authorities for fear of ringing her little neck! To all those expectant moms out there…..you too will feel this way. It’s our hormonal natural animal instinct. My advice: don’t make any rash decisions with raging post-partum hormones

The #2 reason you swear to never work another day in your life: Not having trustworthy, reliable childcare
As soon as you discover that your childcare provider is throwing lunchables in front of your kids everyday for lunch instead of a well balanced meal with apples, cheese sticks and chicken soup. Or doesn’t greet you at the door with a smile. Or talks on the phone incessantly (in front of you!) in a depressing tone to her friends. Or doesn’t stand up for your child when he’s being picked on at the daycare center. Or, or, or, or. The list goes on and on. To some of you, these may not sound like big things. But for that delicately balanced teeter totter of guilt, it only takes one small item to tip things the other way. You are already sacrificing time away from your children for a career you feel called to or that is required to make ends meet. But never, under any circumstance, would you do that if it meant your children were not happy and satisfied during the day. I always say we’d move to a trailer in the boondocks before we’d sacrifice the well-being of our children. You’ll cancel the most important meeting under the sun (or call in a very difficult favor!) if you felt that the childcare situation was compromising your child’s well-being.

Reason #3: Having a sick child
Even if you have the best Mary Poppins nanny who stays at your house to watch your kids, when babies are sick, they want their mommies. My brain completely turns off as I snuggle in my feverish, stuffy nose, red cheeked babies from 6 am to 3 pm. I’ll let work know not to expect me and put all my focus on them until I feel they are safely out of the woods and I see nourishment and a smile cross their lips. This works for the occasional virus or flu bug. But there are children who are really, really sick with a life threatening illness. I experienced this with my first child who was born 10 weeks early and weighed only 3 pounds. He spent the first 30 days in the hospital and the first 6 months on various medications and monitors that taught me more about the medical field than I care to know. During that time, my full focus was on him and his well being. He recovered and so did I and went back to my career. But that is the one scenario in which I can’t imagine trying to be a working mom. Thank the Lord I have been blessed with healthy children and have not had to make this a consideration. But should that be the case, then I know exactly what will be required of me. At that point, my purpose in life becomes nurturing my babies. And for those moms out there who have done this, you are amazing and strong. More than you even know and way more than you are probably told. For those individuals and those seasons of our lives, I leave this thought which was shared with me by the attending physician when my son was born 10 weeks early: God does not give you more than you can handle!

So on this journey of being a working mom, there are peaks and valleys, bumps and turns, and lots of crossroads where we must re-evaluate our decision. Keep in mind these 3 scenarios and realize it is only for a season and make your decision when standing on a firm foundation and not in the midst of turmoil and change.

There are seasons when we need to hold onto the day job to support our family and seasons when there is nothing more important than getting the heck the out of there. Join our community of women who are burning the candle at both ends to do the right thing for their family and move their career to their kitchen table.

Are You Busy or Prioritized?

1470221_594446413924369_186590422_n“There is no one busy in this world, it’s always about priorities.  You will always find time for the things you feel important.”

People always say to me they don’t know how I do it.  4 (busy active years) kids in hockey, soccer, scouts (I’m the leader), full time job, fire schedule, church, life group, women’s group, etc.  Oh yeah, and all of this at firefighter wife.   This quote is the best answer I’ve seen in a long time to describe my life.  I don’t feel busy.  I feel full and blessed.  Like everything is in my life because I want it there.

Because so many are always perplexed at our schedules, here on a Sunday night when all the planning happens, I wanted to give you a glimpse of my answer to this.

Always prioritized at the top….
– Time with my husband.  Conversations with him at moments I know we can both be home, and awake and present, plus date nights at least once a month
– Activities with my kids – going to watch all their sports events, leading scouts, doing things one on one, having them help me around the house
– Prayer time / bible study
– 3 times a week fitness
– my work responsibilities are never neglected

Here is what doesn’t happen
– overworking my job – work smarter, not more
– long, lengthy meal prep / cooking / clean up (not something I enjoy anyhow so this feels more like a chore than a hobby)
– deep cleaning on a regular basis (happens more seasonally but we live in a little clutter)
– gardening / landscaping – we chose to not put in landscaping because we didn’t want to be consumed by yard work
– shopping – I rarely go out to the stores except seasonally when I have a good coupon and buy it all at once
– hovering over my kids – we work a lot on independence – getting dressed themselves, helping with laundry, responsibility for homework.  The 6 year old comes up with some really creative and unique outfits and I don’t get all freaked out if she isn’t matchy-matchy.
– high maintenance hair styles / beauty routines – I have a 20 minute bed to ready routine and twice a week I skip showers when I work from home
– oh yeah, the commute.  We chose to live 5-10 minutes from my office on purpose.  Although in a big city, I almost never get on the freeway.
– TV – rare that I watch it and when I do it’s for family / husband time.  Those hours instead go to my bible studies or reading, etc.
– I don’t volunteer at school.  Ever.  it’s not my gift really and there are lots of other moms in our community who do so.  When I do it feels painful and uncomfortable so I chose to not have that in my high priority list.

You get the idea.

I don’t want you to read this and think I’m all self-righteous and perfect because that’s so far from the truth.  I want you to read this and think about YOUR PRIORITIES and where you spend YOUR TIME.   Is there something more you are missing in your life?  What can you remove to make room for it?   That’s the lesson here.

If you feel called to do something in your life, you will find a way to make it happen.  Whether its go back to school or change jobs or have a baby or start a side job or just fit in more family time.

And as a fire wife, when you stop trying to fit your life into the prescribed M-F mold of the rest of the world, you’ll find a lot more freedom to build a life that works for YOU and your fire family.

So there’s a Sunday night soapbox for you 🙂  Be encouraged.  Make changes one at a time.  And be gentle with yourself in the process.

#wifeonfire

There are seasons when we need to hold onto the day job to support our family and seasons when there is nothing more important than getting the heck the out of there. Join our community of women who are burning the candle at both ends to do the right thing for their family and move their career to their kitchen table.