Remote work is nothing new for military spouses.
They have been doing this successfully for years, sometimes as a virtual assistant. But what is it exactly?
Small Business Trends defines a Virtual Assistant, or VA, as “a freelancer who helps with administration, business development, social media, marketing, or other tasks.” Working as an independent contractor from home means VAs can dictate their schedules and how many hours they work.
What does a virtual assistant typically do? The answer varies by industry and client, but on the whole, they take care of administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, responding to emails, and some VAs also create online course content. . There’s no universal training or certificates, but some programs help you hone your skills and find clients. As with gig economy jobs, hourly pay will vary from client to client and job to job, but the average is $16 an hour, according to Wage scale.
Sounds good, right? It can be. Here are five reasons military spouses should consider becoming a virtual assistant and how they can go about it.
When Army wife Delilah Wieman first considered becoming a virtual assistant, she was drawn to the flexibility. She loved doing paperwork but couldn’t put in 40 hours a week in the office while meeting her responsibilities as a wife and sometimes single parent.
“They’re not babies anymore,” Wieman said of her five children, the youngest of whom is 17.
With her husband on an unaccompanied tour, Wieman had to be available.
“I quickly realized that I wasn’t able to do what would be a normal, regular, day-to-day job. And I actually started googling,” Wieman said. “I didn’t even know virtual assistants existed.”
But after preparing her CV, she found a position at TO ASSURE, a company that has helped her match her skills to the needs of her clients.
It’s portable – for real
Many military spouses struggle with jobs that claim to be portable but really aren’t. Some jobs require licensing in each state or special certification. But for virtual assistants, this is not the case. Wieman has yet to move with her post, but she has traveled successfully.
“I brought one girl home from college and another one from college,” Wieman said. “I went to take care of my mother while she was sick.”
And she will experience a permanent change of station this summer when her husband returns from his tour and they move to Fort Hood, Texas.
You can specialize
Although there are tasks VAs routinely perform, there is plenty of room for specialization, both with client types and tasks. For Air Force wife Kirstin Navaroli, that was key. She met her husband right after completing her master’s degree in clinical psychology and was looking forward to a career when she moved to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and later Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
“I do administrative-type customer support work for one client and I do digital business management (and) operations management for another client,” Navaroli said.
Virtual assistants manage email accounts and calendars, book appointments, and manage social media. It depends on your skills, background, and interests. One of Navaroli’s clients is a psychological assessment firm, which was a perfect fit.
“I was strategically choosing things in that area, because I knew I always wanted to tap into that passion,” she said. “I got this degree for a reason. I’m not ready to throw in the towel, and I still wanted to turn on that part of my brain.”
There is room for growth
One of the best parts of being a VA is growing your business on your terms. You can specialize like Navaroli did, have the flexibility and portability like Wieman does, and you can grow. Wieman and Navaroli found programs to help them succeed in their careers. Wieman felt supported by BELAY, both in finding clients and in other AVs.
Navaroli feels the same about his training with 90 day VA, a program run by military wife Esther Inman.
“She stuck with me the most because it didn’t seem too commercial,” Navaroli said. I can understand. You have to make really tough decisions every day for your family.”
There is a community available
Military spouses work hard to develop and develop professional and personal networks, and Wieman and Navaroli have benefited. Wieman trusts BELAY to have her best interests at heart and to support her through difficult times, such as when her mother passed away earlier this year.
“I actually just messaged BELAY and just said, ‘I don’t know what to do, but I know I won’t be able to work my hours in January,'” Wieman said. that I can come back on February 1st and be back to work.”
BELAY backed her up with condolence emails and said, “You know what? Don’t worry about January. Let’s talk late January and make sure we get February.”
Wieman found this so genuine and unexpected from a company.
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