I get lots of questions about my virtual assistant journey. People often ask me “How did you become a virtual assistant? How did you go from being a VA to starting a membership for introverted VAs?”
The answer is that it’s a long story full of twists and turns. I also find that this type of story is pretty typical for most business owners, which is why I want to share it with you.
My business journey was not linear, and yours most likely won’t be either. That’s okay! It’s normal! And it’s a good thing. So if you’re feeling a little lost in the weeds with your business journey, take a look at mine and remember that where you are is perfect, because you’re learning and growing. Have faith in yourself and know that you’ll get where you need to go!
Here’s my crazy business journey of how I went from an unhappy employee to my dream job of running the Introvert VA Club!
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MY VIRTUAL ASSISTANT JOURNEY: FROM EMPLOYEE TO VIRTUAL ASSISTANT MENTOR
FIRST THINGS FIRST: HOW I QUIT MY DAY JOB
My virtual assistant journey started before I even knew what a virtual assistant was!
I knew long before I became a VA that I wanted to work for myself. 8 years ago, I was working for my family business and had found it was no longer a good fit for me. I wasn’t living the type of life I wanted to live (which involved a lot more pajamas and cuddling with my dogs). I desperately wanted to become my own boss, set my own hours, and feel more creative in my work.
I knew people were making money online, so I decided to dip my toes into the world of online business by selling my handmade jewelry on Etsy. I started taking a day off work each week to work on my shop, but I struggled to make the kind of money that would allow me to quit my job and work from home.
I also started a personal development blog. This is where I learned how to start an email list, create a freebie, and use WordPress. I also wrote my first ebook and made my first videos!
But it didn’t take long to realize that rather than just writing into a void, I like working with actual people (just, you know, from a distance. I’m an introvert, after all!). I started coaching in sort of an undefined way just to find my niche, and I quickly settled on helping business owners figure out the tools they needed for their business to streamline it. But I still wasn’t making the kind of consistent, substantial income I wanted!
THAT TIME I ACCIDENTALLY BECAME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
By the end of 2014, I was feeling frustrated. I’d been playing with online business ideas for a few years and I still wasn’t able to quit my job and fulfill my dream of working at home!
This is when I decided to change things up and get some real help.
I reached out to a business coach and asked if I could help her with some tasks in exchange for her services. It was scary! I felt nervous and ashamed because I’d never asked to barter before, but I was desperate.
To my surprise and delight, she responded right away and said yes!
And something totally unexpected happened: I thought I wanted to grow my coaching business, but I quickly fell in love with VA work. Total plot twist!
I decided to give VA work a shot instead. I started by beta testing my services with 3 people and then started getting paying clients. I offered OBM services at a retainer rate, so now I finally had consistent income!
Within 3 months I said bye-bye 👋 to my day job and started doing VA work full time at home.
HOW MY VA BUSINESS EVOLVED
Even though I’d found my industry, my business continued to grow and change over the years.
In 2015, I created my first ebook on how to start a VA business. At that time there weren’t many people teaching how to do this. I found creating passive income really exciting and hoped to do more in the future.
After I was an OBM for a few years I started getting the itch to simplify my services because I found doing a bunch of tasks for a bunch of different clients exhausting. I wanted to create services that I could do more on autopilot.
I purchased a class on Pinterest and fell in love with Pinterest management, so I decided to pivot to that. I beta tested my services again to get some clients, and when OBM clients left I would replace them with Pinterest clients. I also raised my rates to $45/hour.
I did this for a couple of years and also did odd jobs here and there, like updating a Wix website and doing ongoing work for a realtor who sold farmland.
But I eventually found Pinterest frustrating because they kept changing things, and I found it difficult to get the results I used to get for my clients.
For a while, I wondered if I should start a Pinterest agency and hire people who WANTED to keep up with the changes to do the Pinterest management for me because I’d lost my motivation to do so. But creating an agency just didn’t feel right to me. It didn’t feel like the direction I was meant to go in.
So much of my WHY for being a VA was to simplify my life and work for myself without all the stress of managing a bunch of people, and an agency model just didn’t fit into that. 👉 (This is why staying connected to your WHY is so important!)
THE INTROVERT VA CLUB IS BORN!
In December 2018 during my week-long Christmas break, I had the idea to start a membership for VAs. The more I thought about it the more I got excited. The ideas just kept flowing and I knew I had struck gold!
When I was a blogger, I had joined a membership that was geared towards creating an online business and absolutely loved it. Creating courses and having a community felt in alignment with what I wanted to do because it combined my love of helping people succeed, coaching, and creating passive income.
I decided to set myself apart from the other VA trainings out there and create a membership specifically for introverted VAs—something nobody had done!
It took me 4 months to create the Introvert VA Club. I built the website, set up the tools for the community, and created courses, and on 4/29/19, I launched IVC to the world!
SHIFTING AWAY FROM CLIENT WORK
At this point, I still had some clients and wanted to now pivot from client work to running my membership full time. This felt exciting but also really, really scary. I remember asking one client if I could reduce my workload and she said she wanted me to either continue doing all the work or none at all. So I left. Was I nervous and scared? Ah…yeah. But I knew it was something I needed to do.
In 2020 (yep during the beginning of the pandemic) I let my last client go so that I could run my membership full time like I wanted.
I had done it! And it felt great!
And here we are. It’s 2022 and my membership is still going strong. I love running it and helping my members. It’s really been a dream come true!
PROGRESS IS NOT LINEAR
As you can see, my virtual assistant journey had many twists and turns. I tried new things, pivoted, and followed my gut. And that’s what you have to do with business.
I was talking to my social media manager the other day and she said she had been feeling the pull to shift to podcast and Youtube management and that she felt like she was burning down her business and rebuilding it.
I love this analogy because, in my experience, this is what has to happen to create a business that you absolutely love. It takes guts to analyze how things are going, how you’re feeling, and pivoting to what feels right deep in your soul. You’ll probably go through this cycle many times in your career, and that’s the beauty of working for yourself and running an online business: you have the freedom to change, pivot, and build a business that works for YOU and YOUR lifestyle.
Running a business is not a straight line from where you are to where you want to be. There will be highs and lows, loop-de-loops, and going in reverse. As long as you stay the course and keep realigning yourself to your new goals, you’ll get to a place that feels perfect for you!
Ready to create your own virtual assistant journey? Come join me in the Introvert VA Club where you’ll have access to courses, resources, support, and more to help you along!