Freedom and Flexibility as a Virtual Assistant – Leaving Corporate Behind
Freedom and flexibility as a virtual assistant is the Association of Virtual Assistants theme for July. Last week we shared that freedom and flexibility is the number reason for becoming a virtual assistant and, more importantly, 98% of virtual assistants are experiencing the freedom and flexibility they desired when becoming a VA. Read the full blog here.
In this week’s AVA blog on freedom and flexibility as a virtual assistant, Lee Edralinda of Virtualee & Co shares her story and leaving corporate behind. Lee originally started as a real estate virtual assistant working with multiple VA agencies as a subcontractor in the Philippines.
Then in 2013, she started working with a spiritual coach from Australia, where she fulfilled a general VA role. Despite her lack of experience, Lee jumped into client work such as strategies, exploring systems, and even worked on the back-end of the client’s coaching business. It was then that Lee realized her potential in becoming a solid supporter for women through her skills, recognizing that she could fulfill her dreams by helping clients fulfill theirs.
By 2017, Lee had decided to take the leap and explore working directly with more clients. Lee left the agencies she was working for and began managing clients on her own. In doing so, Lee saw a dramatic increase in her income and was able to expand her network.
With over eight years of experience, Lee has now built her one-person VA service to an all-woman powerhouse team of 8. She also participated in professional development and got certified as an Online Business Manager for women-led businesses. Currently, she is working towards her Director of Operations certification.
Here is Lee’s story.
How I Transitioned from Corporate Work to Growing my Agency
Everyone dreams of embracing a life where they work on a job that they truly enjoy. I started with the same dream: to have the freedom and ability to enjoy life the way I imagined. I knew what I wanted to do, and with my end goal in mind, I was able to take one step at a time and reach where I am. Today, I am running a small team of experts in digital marketing, project management, virtual summits, and product launches, while working as a full-time Online Business Manager.
Here’s how I was able to transition from a corporate worker to a full-time online business manager.
Living a Corporate Life
Corporate work has its ups and downs, and while I was thankful for being able to provide for my family, I also knew that it would never be enough to satisfy my needs both financially and individually.
Before becoming a virtual assistant, I used to do customer service for a telecommunications account. It was a very stressful experience. I didn’t really have the chance to enjoy my time because of the limitations that I had. I couldn’t take prolonged vacations or even file sick leaves easily. Time was strictly monitored even by the minute, with bathroom breaks even included in our schedules. My schedule was always shifting, and above all, I was earning a meager salary for all my efforts. I knew right away that I was not meant to do this job, but it took me a lot of courage to finally bid goodbye to the traditional 9-5 and explore remote work.
Transitioning to Remote Work
Prior to the pandemic, remote work was not as common in our country, but I knew there was a way. It was challenging to find my first few clients, but I was able to get deals to keep me afloat. Before I knew it, I was slowly starting to find my footing as a remote worker, doing virtual assistance. Eventually, I decided to further my knowledge and become an Online Business Manager, helping women entrepreneurs and coaches to build and scale their businesses. It was a rewarding job, one that I truly adored, and one that I’m happy to keep pursuing.
As I grew along in the journey, I enjoyed a lot of benefits that I couldn’t experience while working for a 9-5. Some of the things that I truly loved were:
- Going on vacation with my family without feeling guilty.
- Being able to be there for my family during special occasions. I no longer miss the little moments and I can fully enjoy my time with them whenever I am able to.
- No more hours getting stuck in traffic. I can work from the comfort of my home.
- Being able to choose who I work with. I am able to work with people from anywhere in the world.
- Being able to set boundaries on my work hours and availability. I am now able to work at my convenience and choose when I can take calls and meetings.
- I can earn more. I am able to set my own rates, which I was able to increase whenever I gained new skills and certifications.
- Being able to build a team and practice my entrepreneurial skills as I build my business.
- I am now able to take breaks, sleep whenever necessary, and work at a schedule that fits me.
- And lastly (and most importantly), I do the work that I enjoy.
It’s not an easy journey, but it’s one that’s truly rewarding. Transitioning from corporate life to fully working remotely took giant leaps, ones that are truly scary and filled with uncertainty. However, working at 11 in the morning beside my son, and sleeping as early as 10 pm makes it all worth it.
About the Author
Today, Lee focuses on empowering other women through her expertise in systems, automation, and management. She also advocates for fair wages, especially for fellow Filipinos, most of whom face challenges in earning salaries at par with industry standards.
As she builds her business, Lee’s ultimate goal for herself is to enjoy financial freedom through fulfilling work, earn well for her family, and support her team to grow in their zone of geniuses.
You can connect with Lee on her website or through social media.
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