Now there’s a question!
9 months ago (yesterday, actually) I was taken into an office and let go from a job I had once absoltely adored. Admittedly, if they hadn’t decided to let me go, after reading in my emails that I was planning to hand in my notice that same day, I’d have handed in my notice that day anyway as things had gone somewhat sour and I was seriously unhappy. Life since then has been somewhat of a fast lane.
Now unexpectedly unemployed and with zero savings I had to put some of my ‘flighty’ ideas into action if I was to pay my relatively new mortgage. I registered self employed later that week and set up as a Virtual Assistant, as that’s where my skills lay at that time, I read article after article, joined several facebook groups, bought a load of books I still haven’t read a lot of and I feel like I’ve been winging it ever since.
When people ask this question, I often start with ‘freelance executive assistant‘, but then we get talking about other things and I chip in things like, ‘oh I work with charity fundraising too’ and ‘I’m actually a qualified yoga teacher‘ and then, ‘funny you should say that, there’s this mountaineering business…’ that’s without getting into the Community Interest Company I run with two of my friends, with the bold aim of trying to knit the UK back together.
Add to that studying counselling skills, the odd bit of coaching, planning a yoga retreat (and a wedding) and who knows what my job title would actually be! Or where I find the hours in the day.
The key for me is scheduling I suppose, my week to view diary looks like a school timetable and I forward plan at least 6 months, with client events for 12 months.
It’s fun though, this freelance/small business owner life. No two days are EVER the same, my week is all over the place, but I have a surprising amount of free time actually and it allows me to work around my partner’s shift pattern which means we actually see each other from time to time. Yes, I may start early (the commute is short), work weekends, work late or take a random 3 hours midday to run errands, but the work is good and my clients and business colleagues are happy. You’d be hard pushed to get me back in the 9-5 put it that way.
Challenges mostly include eating too much when I’m at home and a little isolation, but I try to work in some shared office space from time to time (actually helps with the productivity on those off days), I have calls when possible over emailing or whatsapping and working from cafes or libraries helps too. Also being disciplined enough to actually get dressed properly some days can be a challenge, but you have those days where you’re not going to see anyone anyway so what’s the point? I do find myself completely overdressed for the office days now though – like it’s some sort of special occasion.
At times, money has been tight, but I’ve not had to borrow a penny (not even from my partner) and I’m now looking at hitting that one year mark quite comfortable with my income.
I’m grateful for life forcing my hand at this, I’d recommend it to anyone considering doing it, to just do it. Take necessary precautions of course (I will never hide the fact that I took a couple of temp jobs when the client work was thin on the ground) but don’t let fear or self doubt hold you back.
Yoga Teacher / Operations Directors / Events Coordinator / Personal Asssitant / Counsellor / Coach / One half of a Mountaineering Business