If you have been searching for a way to make a living while staying at home with your kids, why not try becoming a work at home mom by running your own virtual assistant business? Virtual assistance can be an amazing choice for moms like you who want to be available to their children while still being able to contribute financially.
Because virtual assistant jobs are almost always very mobile and flexible, they are absolutely perfect if you want to transition into being a work at home mom.
Today we’re going to talk about the 6 steps that will help you better ease into the transition, because working from home can sometimes be a blessing and a curse.
6 Steps to Becoming a Work at Home Mom & Virtual Assistant
Step 1: Get Your Partner’s Support
Making sure that you and your partner are on the same page before jumping into a new business venture is a crucial part of the process. As a virtual assitant mentor, I’ve heard some sad stories about women whose husbands don’t approve of their online careers and aren’t very supportive of them.
Before you go any further with your work at home ambitions, make sure your partner is on board. I remember that when I was first getting started, my husband actually thought it was a pyramid scheme!
Take some time to educate them about what being a virtual assistant is all about, and what kind of work you’ll actually be doing.
Another important part of this step is that you will probably need to have some discussion about work/home balance and division of responsibilities. If you’re busy being a work at home mom all day, are you really going to have time to make sure that a hot meal is on the table every night at 6pm?
If you were previously a non-working stay at home mom, more than likely, your top two priorities are going to change from (1) kids and (2) housework to (1) kids and (2) business. Where does housework fit in? Will your partner need to pitch in more than they used to? With two incomes, could you afford to hire a housecleaner?
You don’t want your partner to feel resentful that suddenly they have a bunch of new chores added to their to-do list, so it’s important for you to have a conversation with them about everyone’s expectations, and what life will look like after you’ve started your new career as a work at home mom.
If you’re looking for support outside of your home, I’d love for you to come and join us in my Facebook group for new and aspiring virtual assistants: The VA Collective Facebook Group.
Step 2: Figure Out Your Time Management
One of the most overwhelming parts of becoming a work at home mom is figuring out how to manage your time. With so many things that need to get done, where does everything fit in?
Especially if you have kids of different ages, and they each have extracurricular activities, and your partner has their own job, plus there’s all that cooking and cleaning….things are going to be a mess for a while!
Starting your career as a virtual assistant does require a lot of effort. Think of it like a real part-time (or even full-time) job. You’ll have to make time in your schedule to do things like build a website, learn new skills, network with people, and do all of your client work.
Before you get too stressed out, let’s sit down and work on your time management.
Make a list of all the things that need to get done in your household. Like, all of them. Include stuff for the kids, house, and your new virtual assistant stuff.
Break this list down by year, quarter, month, week, and day.
Next, you want to go through and highlight all of the absolutely most important tasks. Stuff that you have to do no matter what.
Now, go through and see if there’s anything that can be eliminated. Stuff that maybe you just won’t have time for anymore.
Lastly, go through and see what can be delegated or outsourced. What could your partner handle instead of you? Are there age-appropriate chores that your kids might be able to help out with? Are you in a position to consider hiring someone to help you prep meals, drive your kids around, or clean the house? Maybe you can trade off childcare days with other moms in your neighborhood.
Once you’ve gotten all that done, it’s now time to implement a project management system into your life. If you don’t use one already, trust me — you’re going to need one after becoming a virtual assistant!
My personal favorite is Asana (I even have a comprehensive $9 training on exactly how to use it!). But other options include Trello, Basecamp, Teamwork, 17Hats. Or, if you prefer something a bit more basic, try a physical planner, notepad and pen, or even Google Calendar.
Step 3: Get on a Rigid Schedule
You probably already have your kids on a schedule, so use those times when they are sleeping to move your business forward. There are four key times that you should be able to get a few hours of uninterrupted work done.
Waking up before the rest of your family is an option to get some work in. If you can get up and dressed then sit down with a cup of coffee and your computer, you should be able to knock some of your to-do list out right at the beginning of the day.
Naptime is gold for a work at home mom. Depending on your kid’s ages you have anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours while they rest, but even if your kids are too old to nap you can implement a “quiet time” where they need to be reading books or playing by themselves.
Bedtime is something else you can utilize as work time for your virtual assistant business. Depending on when your kids go to bed this may be the biggest chunk you have for completing projects.
Lastly, put Dad in charge of the kids and get out of the house, or send them out on errands while you work. If you can regularly get a few hours of kid-free time you’ll be able to fully concentrate on your work without worrying about when they are going to wake up and need you. Even if they can’t do this regularly, use it every so often if you need to get something big completed!
Of course, every family is different. And you can’t spend every moment working on your business, so make sure you can take some of those times to relax or get other stuff done. But if you look at your schedule you should be able to block out a few different times each day that you can plan on getting projects done.
One thing that will really help you is to set aside daily time to network on Facebook. If you can designate time for networking you won’t be aimlessly scrolling through your feed all day long.
Scheduling out your time and projects can give you peace of mind because you’ll be able to look ahead and know that you have time to complete your tasks. Even when the unexpected occurs, which you can count on happening, you can look at your schedule and rearrange to make up for the work time that you lost.
Step 4: Create Opportunities for Uninterrupted Work
Sometimes working only when the kids are in bed is just not an option. But you are an intelligent and efficient woman, and you can figure out a way to occupy the children and get stuff done at the same time. You will feel like Wonder Woman if you can put these tips into practice as a work at home mom:
Babywearing/Breastfeeding while working
If you are in the squishy baby stage, a baby carrier or a wrap is your BEST FRIEND for working from home. Tuck that baby in close and get to work. If they are fussy and need to be moving, try putting your computer at a standing desk or on a countertop so you can sway while you type. If you are a breastfeeding mom you can arrange your baby in the carrier to allow them to nurse as well. That’s like.. triple duty SuperMom right there.
Free play zone
Create a play area that is completely child-proofed so that your kids can play without needing your eye on them constantly. Fill that area with age-appropriate toys and lots of baby-proofing so that they can free play while you work. It might be a good idea to invest in a laptop for your VA work, which will allow you to work in whatever room your kids are playing (or take your work with you to a coffee shop while hubby wrangles the herd at home).
Schedule calls during nap time
If your kids go down for nap or bed at the same time every day, schedule all of your client calls for that time. This will help you appear more professional as a virtual assistant if you can talk to your clients without kid noise in the background. It will also help you feel more like these are your “office hours” or the time designated for work. Being a work at home mom is all about figuring out how and when to get it done.
Save “screentime” for your work time
Sometimes, the TV is your best friend. Although many moms try to limit screentime at least to a certain extent, you might be able to use the time you do let your kids watch some TV or play on their device as time to get in a few minutes of client work, networking, or working on your business. This is also a great option for when naptime was a bust and you need to finish something up.
Use a daycare or a babysitter
One of the big reasons that moms decide to stay at home is they don’t want to be separated from their kids for long periods of time. But if your virtual assistant business is starting to pick up, you might be able to afford to have someone watch your kids for a few hours a week to give you some designated work time. This might be a great way to set a regular work schedule as a work at home mom.
Ask your partner to take over
Either on a regular schedule or when you have a call scheduled, sometimes your partner may be able to just take the kids while you are working. This is a great way to buckle down and get a ton of stuff done in a block of time. And it can give him some special time with the kids!
Schedule play dates
If there are other moms in your area with kids in the same age range, maybe you can work out a schedule of rotating babysitting or play dates to give each other blocks of time to get stuff done. This can be a great alternative to hiring a babysitter. You can just account for those busy times when you are the one watching all the kids, and then really get your stuff done when the kids are at the neighbor’s house for the afternoon.
Step 5: Understand That It’s Going to Be a Juggling Act
Working from home is a big deal, and so much harder than having a 9-5 when someone else determines your schedule. You might have to wrap your mind around being a little crazy for awhile.
When you are just starting out, you will have to put in the extra hours to get your website set up, get training in the programs that your clients need you to use, and actually find clients. So it is safe to count on the first few months being a little mad.
Learning to schedule your time effectively at this stage will really help you when your business starts to grow and you have to figure out how much client work you can handle. Learn how to gauge the quantity and quality of time you are spending with your family so you can figure out a good balance between work and play.
It is really important that you don’t neglect your family as a work at home mom, that is one of the reasons you want to be at home and work for yourself! So balance is key. Try different blocks of time as work hours, try having your husband help at times and try working when the kids are both awake and asleep. Find what works for you and makes your family happy.
Being a work at home mom is intense but so rewarding when you get it right!
Step 6: Get Clients
Oh, right! How could I forget? You know what’s really important to succeed as a work at home mom? Actually having clients. If you have no idea where to find your first VA client there are some amazing resources out there to help you get started.
Sit down and evaluate your skills. Do you have skills in graphic design? Writing? Administration? Bookkeeping? Video editing? Have you been an executive assistant and handled someone’s calendar and appointment setting before? Draw on past experience, work, and hobbies to shape what you want to focus on as a virtual assistant.
If you have interest in an area but not a lot of skill, look into getting some training! You can find a VA mentor who will help direct you to programs that would be great for you, or you can do some research and find courses on your own. Even just using Google and YouTube will help you refresh your knowledge of a program or learn a new skill.
Potential clients will be attracted to you when you pitch to them with confidence, so make sure you are working on how you approach people that you want to work for. You can boost your professional appearance by creating a killer website, dressing like a pro, and speaking knowledgeably about your field.
One of the best ways to find clients is to network on social media. Find out where your ideal client hangs out and start talking there! You can use Facebook groups, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms to find and interact with potential clients. If you are a consistent presence in those circles you can build free name recognition and establish yourself as a resource when people have questions. This is a great way to find clients!