In my 5 years of WAHM status, I may have been asked a hundred times by former co-workers and friends if what I’m doing is something that they can also do. And I may have answered in about a hundred ways one can say “maybe”.
Because not everybody can be happy working from home. I have a friend who has tried getting into virtual assistance twice. And twice she just walked away from the opportunity. The first time, she told me she was ready. She was leaving her employment so she could devote more time to her only child who was growing up so fast she could not keep up. And she did leave her employment. She availed of the company’s early retirement plan. She was with the same company I was with for 12 years. And she left on her 15th year, I guess. She was my subordinate in the corporate life that I left, so I was confident of her skills. I found her an employer from the States, and I used my credentials to land her the VA position with this triathlon coach. After a series of Skype interviews, I was asked to sign the engagement contract. And just as I have emailed the signed scanned copy of the document, I get this call from my friend telling me she’s found another employment with a retail store. She was just not confident she could be an effective VA.
Not wanting to ruin my rep as a VA, I just maintained that account, even though I was already servicing another client in UK full time. One body, two full time positions. Plus, I was already homeschooling and no helper at home. No way I could make it work alone. So I hired an onsite assistant and bought a second desktop PC. She’s an IT graduate working as a canteen cashier, so it was a perfect opportunity for both of us. We sort of hit the ground running.
After some months, my friend came to me again. She was going to resign from her latest employment. The demand was just too much. She wanted to really take care of her son. So I again went through a series of interviews with prospective clients. This time it was an online auto shop specializing on BMW car modifications. And again, I was able to secure a position for her, as product manager. I believed it was perfect for her, since we managed portfolios in our old company, and she’s really very patient and meticulous with databases. I trained her onsite for a week. It was just a matter of showing her the workflow, how to prepare reports, getting in and out of sites, utilizing the tools made available by the client, etc. I was going to hold her hand until she’s ready to be left alone. I prepared video captures as her guide. And so we commenced with her job as a product manager, and I was her supervisor.
It lasted exactly 15 days. Then she quit. And again, I have this spillover of work, because I can no longer accommodate another full time position. And I no longer have a space at home to hire another onsite assistant to pass the load to. So I found me a team (a mother and her two sons) in Cebu who can handle my spillover of work together with my first onsite assistant.
Moral of the story? Being a WAHM is not for everyone. Even when you want to be, or think you can be.
Being a WAHM does not limit you to becoming a VA, like I am. You can always choose to set up another type of business. Being a WAHM simply means you’re personally managing your home while being able to contribute to the family’s income. You can be a freelance writer, or a transcriptionist, or a bookkeeper.
There are 101 ways you can be a WAHM. Just choose one, and then make an assessment of yourself if you can be happy doing it. Unlike being in a regular office environment, there is definitely no glamour working from home. I had a little bit of difficulty adjusting to my new role as full time mom a few weeks after I left my corporate employment. From working in an air-conditioned office, just sitting in front of the computer, to mopping the floor at home; or from being in a dress and heels, to shorts and shirts while doing the laundry. I remember my husband during those initial weeks, calling me almost every 15 minutes, asking if I’m okay. He knew of my drive as a career person; my ambition of reaching the top rung of the corporate ladder. And even I was surprised at the smooth transition. I guess I just had set my priorities straight.
Being happy at what you do is very important. As they say, choose a job you love, and you won’t work a day in your life. So if you think that you can be happy being at home, running an office, doing house chores and taking care of the kids, then by all means, plan on becoming a WAHM.
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