My VA Journey

Almost every poten­tial client asks me, “How did you decide to become a Vir­tual Assis­tant (VA)?” Here’s my story:

I’ll never for­get when my father said, “I don’t know why I’m send­ing you to col­lege: you’ll prob­a­bly drop out and get mar­ried.” Given that it was the 70s, I felt like I’d snapped back into the 50s. I thought, “I’ll show him.”

I need to add that my father prob­a­bly won’t remem­ber mak­ing the above state­ment, and that my par­ents gen­er­ously con­tributed to my col­lege edu­ca­tion. They dis­cour­aged me from work­ing while attend­ing col­lege, but I did any­way. Nonethe­less, I had some­thing to prove and attained my master’s degree in busi­ness (MBA) at the age of 22.

I was well-educated and had high expec­ta­tions, but I had lit­tle direc­tion (and focus) dur­ing the reces­sion of the early 80s. One of my first jobs was as an admin­is­tra­tive assis­tant to a CEO of a hardware/software startup. I remem­ber being urged to cre­ate doc­u­ments on the com­puter with Word Per­fect and had to be weaned off the type­writer. There were no icons back then and all the document’s fea­tures had to be coded in with a spe­cial com­bi­na­tion of keys (alt + B for bold, for exam­ple). It was more like HTML than word pro­cess­ing back then. I loved being an admin­is­tra­tive pro­fes­sional, but I felt that I was des­tined for more.

My career took a turn into finance and then account­ing. I started near the bot­tom since I had lit­tle expe­ri­ence. The detail aspects of the job really appealed to me. I attained pro­gres­sively more respon­si­ble account­ing related posi­tion for about a dozen years.

Ulti­mately I received a pro­mo­tion to a man­age­ment sys­tem admin­is­tra­tion posi­tion. I rose to the chal­lenge and enjoyed cre­at­ing com­puter train­ing man­u­als and train­ing users on our finan­cial system.

Then I was selected to be the Finance co-lead on an SAP Enter­prise Sys­tem imple­men­ta­tion. We received excel­lent train­ing and learned a lot about project man­age­ment from our con­sul­tant cohorts.

When the 9-month imple­men­ta­tion project was over, I did some soul search­ing. I felt sti­fled in my post project posi­tion even though it paid well and was cre­ated for me. I no longer felt inspired or excited about going to work and needed to make a change.

I had always loved school and decided that I would retrain as a tech­ni­cal writer. I was attracted to the pre­ci­sion and detail, as well as the cre­ativ­ity. I left my very safe gov­ern­ment job with an excel­lent salary and pen­sion and stepped off a cliff into the unknown.

Dur­ing my tech­ni­cal writ­ing train­ing, I was a fish out of water. Here I was in a graph­ics design class using an Exacto knife to carve let­ters with pre­ci­sion. I strug­gled at first and then excelled. A new door had opened up to me—a cre­ativ­ity door that I didn’t know existed—one of shapes and col­ors and possibilities.

Because of a sched­ul­ing con­flict, I had to wait an entire year to fin­ish my tech­ni­cal writ­ing pro­gram. I spent my time wisely and took HTML, Dreamweaver (HTML edi­tor) and graph­ics design courses. I had a ball. When I fin­ished and received my cer­tifi­cate, my port­fo­lio was voted best in the class. I then real­ized that I had to get a job as a tech­ni­cal writer. Back to a cubi­cle, a com­mute, and the drudgery of 8–5. I needed another option.

I enjoyed being at home, in my neigh­bor­hood, with my adorable dog Madi­son at my side. I needed to find a way to have a home-based busi­ness career.

Search­ing on the inter­net, I found’s arti­cle on the 5 hottest home-based careers. Vir­tual Assis­tance was one of them. My heart sang! This was it. I really can have it all.

I thought, “I can be a high level assis­tant to the grow­ing num­bers of home-based pro­fes­sion­als who don’t want to hire an employee to assist them in their home. I could com­bine my vast and var­ied expe­ri­ence to be a tremen­dous resource.” This was it.

I’ve come full cir­cle since I was an Admin­is­tra­tive Assis­tant right out of col­lege. I’m back to being an assis­tant, but now on my terms, and I love it.