My Top 5 surprises as a freelance virtual assistant
I’ve spent a month working officially freelance as a virtual assistant – a virtual PA if you like. Having spent the previous 25 years working for other people, and being office based, the transition hasn’t been completely without surprises.
Here are my top 5 surprises during this first month working freelance:
Biorhythms and Chronobiology
(or variations in biological activity)
It seems that I have spent more than 25 years being totally unaware of my natural biological rhythms. The institutionalisation of 9-5 office work beats it out of you.
Within a week of working from home, I had discovered that I don’t work well in the afternoon. I know lots of people who ‘don’t do’ mornings, but I could work quite happily at 8am, and I could work happily until 10pm. But between the hours of 2-4pm you can find me staring out the window, pacing the house, lurking on social media and generally finding anything to do that isn’t work related.
The solution? Work until lunch and work in the evenings. Afternoons are for more ‘creative’ tasks, or for running errands and popping to the shops.
And the great thing is that I can do it, it’s my choice. As long as everything I need to do gets done, nobody needs to know what time I am working.
The 9-5 mentality
It is natural that at first, I wanted to work a 9-5 day. It’s what I’ve had to do for 25 years, and it’s hard to get your head around the possibility of working any other way. But why not? As long as all your tasks are completed, they can be done at any time – and any day of the week. There is no reason why Saturday and Sunday have to be the ‘weekend’ (unless you have family commitments), why not have a midweek day off? If you fancy popping to the park on a sunny Thursday afternoon, why not?
The key to freelancing is making it work for your life. And that is very liberating (and awesome).
Dogs do nothing
I presume that the increased appearance of pet-cams recently means that people are interested what their pets get up to when they are at work. Well, save your cash, because I can tell you exactly what they do all day – absolutely nothing! Or maybe that’s just my dog?
My dog sleeps all day. She sleeps all night, gets up for breakfast, goes back to bed, sleeps all day and gets up when my daughter comes home from school.
That is it!
Although she is quite old and has always been lazy, so maybe it is just my dog after all.
Everything is better mid-week.
Being around in the week is great. If you have rejigged your work patterns to fit in with your life, and have time to yourself mid-week, it’s great.
The shops aren’t as busy, the roads are quieter, the car parks are quieter, you can get into the dentist sooner, no need to wait longer or pay more for weekend deliveries. It’s all good.
It takes a while to get used to
There’s a video somewhere on the internet of some cows being let out of a barn after the winter, that’s what it feels like when you start working freelance. Frustrating, but exciting, and scary. And all these feelings are normal.
It sounds strange, but it is hard not having anyone to tell you what to do . It’s all down to you. You make money (or not) for yourself, the buck stops with you. You get out of it what you put in.
After years of having someone looking over my shoulder, it can be hard to get used to being both top-dog and general dogsbody rolled into one. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I am a business owner. But it has only been one month – it’s all very new and shiny.