MY VA STORY
“Do you know WordPress?”
WordPress? What the heck is that? I’ve never heard of this before.
“You can help me with the blogs on the backend of my website. Take a look and let me know.”
It was close to five years ago in Sept. of 2011, but I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. An acquaintance of mine needed help with her business. She was concerned that certain aspects of her business were getting in the way of her “big vision”. In order to clear her path, she needed to delegate those pieces.
Opportunity was knocking at my door. It was up to me to answer it.
But there I was—stuck on my couch in a funk….saying to myself “I have to learn WordPress….”
I had faced many challenges before in my lifetime. So, why was this any different? What was stopping me from accepting this opportunity? Why was I so afraid to jump in?
My journey to becoming a Virtual Assistant began with my divorce. While still married, we had moved from Long Island, NY to a much smaller town near the Poconos. The lower cost of living allowed me to quit my full time job in marketing research and raise my baby daughter the way that I wanted to.
However, we divorced when my daughter was three—an experience that challenged me to grow in ways I didn’t think were possible. Now living in a small town with minimal friends and family, I was beginning my journey as a single mother—determined to adapt and survive.
Given the small town element, finding a stable work situation was incredibly difficult. My daughter was still very small and needed me. The reason we moved out of LI was so that I could stay at home with my daughter. Working full time did not align with the type of mother that I wanted to be. I knew that I needed to find work to support us, but I did not want to put my daughter in daycare and commute for hours to go to work. That would defeat the purpose of why I relocated to a less expensive area in the first place.
And just when job prospects seemed hopeless, that’s when something began to happen.
A gentleman who owned and operated his own marketing company out of his home hired me. The opportunity was only five minutes away and I was able to work during the hours that my daughter was at pre-school. This was a huge victory for me in many respects—every day was a new day of gaining strength and confidence as I built my new life.
I worked at this marketing firm for two years. Yet given the ebb and flow of industry trends, I was let go as a result of slow business. To top it off, I needed to move out of the condo I was renting for the past 4 years because the landlord needed to move in.
Yes, you read that correctly—I lost my job AND my home in the same week! Challenge had once again reared its ugly head. Yet thankfully, a new relationship, a supportive network of people and my new confident self helped me to envision challenge differently.
The difference? This time, challenge didn’t mean lying on the couch and surrendering. This time, I was determined to convert challenge into opportunity.
Not only was I was lucky enough to find a condo just around the corner, but equally grateful for my acquaintance who was in need of an assistant….
…and she needed me to learn WordPress.
I was not at techy by any stretch of the imagination. But I had over 15 years of high level administrative support under my belt. And so it began. Another road that I never thought I would take. But as with so many things in life, the biggest risks bring you the biggest gains.
I was going to make this work.
So I learned WordPress and a few other skills that could help assist her. She suggested that I think about becoming a Virtual Assistant and that there was a growing need to support online entrepreneurs. I began to think that THIS was something that I may just be able to handle. This was an opportunity that would allow me to work from home and still be the available mother I wanted to be. I could create a business environment that would allow me to live the life that I was trying to create for myself and my daughter.
Plus, that acquaintance not only became my very first client, but also my friend ☺
Today, I consistently strive to acquire skills and develop confidence as I tackle new challenges. As with many other entrepreneurs, I was able to create something out of nothing. Many struggle to find the right balance between driving their business and being present for the things that matter most to them. If I can provide my clients with the support that they need to grow their own businesses, I can look in the mirror and say with confidence that I’ve done my job.
After lots of reflection and introspection, I’ve made a commitment to dedicate the rest of my professional life to supporting entrepreneurs who want to grow in their businesses and who need a solid, dynamic support system that can help them to increase their bottom line.
As I continue on my learning curve, each day reflects an opportunity to do what I love while remaining present for my daughter. And what a great teaching opportunity—as I face the challenges of growing my virtual assistant business, I’m showing her what it takes to stay strong and believe in herself.
The moral of the story is simple. If my support enables an entrepreneur to experience that level of strength and belief in themselves, then it’s a win/win.
Especially if I can get them off of the couch ☺
Renée Garrin has a 20+ year history of strong administrative support within a variety of business settings, which have included marketing research, project management and field supervision. Beginning in the fall of 2011, Renee has expanded her vocational scope to the virtual domain and is thrilled to be a part of the growing entrepreneurial community!
Renée creates time for entrepreneurs who feel overwhelmed by the administrative, creative and technical tasks that compromise their business venture. By assisting with social media management, blog posts, twitter comments, WordPress administration and creating and maintaining newsletters for e-mail marketing, her clientele can focus on what they’re most passionate about: their business! She is your virtual partner in reaching your small business goals so that you may get back to revenue generating activities and focus on the work that only YOU can do.
Renée shares her life with her husband Josh and her daughter Melissa. Her favorite things are health and fitness, hiking, singing, music, the beach, wine, cooking and spending time with her two favorite people mentioned above 🙂