My very first blog post! Its official, I’m taking the jump!
Let me introduce myself… my name is Alyssa, and I’m a Virtual Assistant!
I have been working as a closeted Virtual Assistant for a while now, but I wasn’t ready to make the jump to full time until just this week. Why? You may ask… because I was dedicating all my free time to learning lots of great stuff to share with you! In the past few months; I’ve graduated from Kaplan University obtaining my BS in Business, with a focus in New Media / Internet Marketing and I’ve attended the Hubspot Academy to become Inbound Marketing Certified! I’ve also been working as the Director of Operations for a small company in Portland, Maine.
It’s been a busy couple of months finishing my degree, working with my existing clients, attending networking events, and of course working as part of the “team” over at Strategic Office Support, under the amazing Virtual Business Manager, Kathrine Farris. (A big thank YOU to Kathrine for her support and mentoring the last couple of months!).
After leaving the corporate world last year, and taking some time to focus on my own needs (like riding my antique motorcycle, and enjoying time rolling down hills with my nieces), I did a LOT of soul searching about what my goals in life were. I knew that my goals no longer included working in the corporate world. I wanted to find a way to use my strengths in a non-traditional sense; in fact I wanted to create the perfect job… just for me.
Looking over my professional career; anyone I’ve ever worked with will tell you I am highly organized and analytical, I have a ‘knack’ for getting things done. I also love to talk (no really, I used to get in trouble in Kindergarten for being too talkative). I love to tell people about the newest greatest thing I’ve discovered or the person I met earlier in the day. I am a promoter by nature. I like to share this knowledge and connect others. I also love to learn. Google is my best friend. I’m not sure how we ever lived without the ability to look up things we want to know at that very moment (and yes, I grew up in the pre-internet age of family encyclopedias that were sold door to door, and my parents were one of those families that ‘made the investment in their children’s educational future’ and purchased them all!).
Phew, I told you I like to talk!
Back to the soul searching… Five years ago I read the Strengths Finder by Tom Rath, it had a great assessment to uncover your ‘strengths’. My top five were; Strategic, Communication, WOO (Win Others Over), Adaptability, and Learner. Fast forward to today, and I can tell you that these strengths are what I jokingly call my Gemini twins. I am an analytical person that loves to talk? This is why I NEED to design my perfect job…
My three favorite jobs I’ve ever had;
Executive Assistant: This was perfect for me! I was able to scratch the analytical side of my brain with all the excel spreadsheets, budget tracking, and strategic research, while pleasing the communicator inside by working as part of a team, but I was missing the bigger pieces of WOO, and learner. I knew my job, I knew it so well, that I was having a hard time learning new things. I also craved a larger circle of people that I could share knowledge with.
Consumer Dialogue Representative: I worked for a great local Maine company responding to customers via email and snail mail! Can you even remember the last time you mailed a company a letter about their products? I also gave tours of the factory sharing the companies story with consumers and trying to turn them on to other products the company offered (ahem, upselling!). This definitely called out to my Communication, WOO, and Adaptability strengths, but I struggled keeping the analytical and learner in me engaged for the long run. After three wonderful years it was time to move on.
Team Leader of a National Call Center: Fast paced, with a large team (50 reps), overseeing daily KPI’s (key performance indicators), along with resolving escalated customer issues. No two days were the same. This position appealed to ALL of my strengths, while showing me one more that an assessment in a book couldn’t. I really love the satisfaction of completing a problem or fixing a short term issue. Don’t read this the wrong way… I like the challenge of long-term projects, but I find a lot of satisfaction in getting things done quickly and moving onto the next. I can only compare it to my knitting (you can also find me on Ravelry if you knit!); I have the skills and experience to make an adult sized sweater, but get much more satisfaction from knitting a child sized one. They are done in a day or two and I don’t have to wait weeks to see the result.
After looking over my favorite jobs, and the strengths I’ve always had, I came to the realization that Virtual Assisting is truly the perfect job. I can take on short or long term projects that appeal to both my analytical and learning brains (who doesn’t love to research?), while being adaptable, and meeting lots of business owners that I can communicate with!
So, I’m taking the jump.