During the summer of 2020 Erin had her first baby. Her desire to stay home with Violet and watch her grow grew stronger with each passing day. Erin looked high and low for the perfect “work from home” career.
While scrolling through Facebook one day Erin noticed an ad that her friend had reposted about her job with VAUSA. Erin researched the company and was immediately intrigued. She loved their mission as well as their values-driven culture. Even though Erin was not a military wife, the company welcomed her with open arms into their community. She went through their accession process and was hired in September.
VAUSA matches virtual assistants with entrepreneurs, non-profits, and other professionals from diverse industries, some of which are more unique than others. Read further as Erin describes a typical day helping her client simplify his life so he can focus on the things that matter most to him and his business.
This is what it is really all about. I go into my daughter’s room and wake her up. (Who am I kidding, I stare at her for a good ten minutes first.) From there I take her along with me on my morning routine – making iced coffee, letting our miniature zoo of three dogs outside, and tidying up the mess from the night before. There is no rush to get out the door and get to work – just a quiet morning enjoying time with my favorite girl.
First Check-In. My client is unique. Although he is the owner of fifteen retail shops located across the country that offer all sorts of natural food, beauty and wellness products (especially the incredible honeys), he is first and foremost a beekeeper. One author describes beekeepers as curious, cool under pressure, critical thinkers, and humble. That pretty much describes Ted. As you might imagine, he has a full staff to operate his brick-and-mortar stores. However, to paraphrase him, he needed someone “to keep the B.S.” from distracting him. A typical workday for Ted begins at 9:00 a.m., so to get him started I like to provide him with a plan for what to expect. I review his schedule, goals he’s set for himself and any emails that have come in since the previous evening. A seasoned business leader, Ted clearly communicated the kinds of issues and the names of people I should pay attention to from the beginning of our relationship, and I use that information to filter out unnecessary distractions. By 9 a.m. he has a methodical, well-constructed schedule built for him in Outlook, and I’ve sent him a text to call out anything he needs to pay close attention to. Now he’s ready to seize the day.
By this time Violet is usually ready to go and rock out for the day. Depending on the stubborn Pennsylvania weather this is usually when we will go outside and get some fresh air together. I am so thankful for this time with her because I really feel like she grows up before my eyes, and I am grateful to take in those moments.
Midday Check-In. This is a good time to check back in on Ted’s day and make sure nothing urgent has hit his inbox. If there is I will immediately communicate that to him or take care of it myself if the situation permits. Ted and I make the effort to communicate very clearly with one another, so I have a strong sense of those situations I can handle without interrupting him. I also like to filter out more spam/unwanted emails at this point to create a cleaner canvas for me to work with later.
Dinner time! My fiancé and I like to make our dinner together the main event of the day. We typically go to the local market each day to pick up fresh ingredients for whatever dish we have in mind. Planning a meal and cooking together have become a hobby. This is one of my favorite times of the day because it brings us all together to enjoy creating something that nourishes us as a family, both in body and soul.
Final Check-In. One of my favorite aspects of this job is the freedom to cater to your client’s specific needs. By this time of the day most of my client’s stores are closing or closed. I review their day’s activities and then report back to him in a nightly update, usually by text. I also provide him with a schedule of what to expect the following day. We’ll speak by phone or Zoom call at least once every couple of weeks to have a more extensive conversation.
On the one hand the tasks I perform for Ted are fairly simple. I construct his schedule and communicate on his behalf as appropriate. My tools for these tasks are pretty basic – Outlook and smart phone. On the other hand, I have to understand his business, what’s important to him personally and professionally, communicate clearly and professionally, and exercise good judgment about those matters that need his attention. We have to know and trust each other. Of course, it certainly helps if your client is a beekeeper who knows how to keep things in harmony. Working for a guy like Ted has become my good fortune.
I end the day mindlessly scrolling on Pinterest and spending time cuddling up with my sweet pets while my daughter is asleep.