Some years ago, suddenly a single mother of two small children, I found myself working full-time at a daycare earning minimum wage so that I could be close to my little ones (including a newborn). At night I attended school online and taught myself how to be a virtual assistant, how to use QuickBooks to help people with bookkeeping and how to build websites.
Sometime later, I found a wonderful job at a church that I loved very much. It wouldn’t be enough to support us fully, but it was such a healing environment with coworkers who became a second family to me. It was a time that my faith in God was deepened and nurtured and I believe none of what followed would have been possible without Him.
After a few years at the church, my children were both in school and it felt like a good time to try to bring in some extra income. I knew single mothers who worked more than one job out of the home and hardly ever saw their children. My heart hurt for them and I knew if I could help it, not only did I not want to be separated from my kids any more than I already had to, but I hoped that one day I could help other women be able to stay home more with their children.
I have always had such an amazing family and support system, but they couldn’t live my life for me. And knowing how hard my parents had always worked (and still do even though retired) to care for their family and how much they have always helped me, I couldn’t let all of that be in vain.
I started researching opportunities to work from home. I wanted to start a business of some kind. My parents were entrepreneurs, so I think wanting to run my own business was just a part of me. My sister had begun working from home years before and though at the time it was a pipe dream for me, it was always in the back of my mind as a possibility one day. At that point, I just wanted to work a few extra hours on my computer at night to try to earn a bit more money. I knew this meant honing some old skills and gaining some new ones, but I was ready to do that.
After some research, I found an online virtual assistant community. I read everything I could find about it as I had never heard of it. Still a fairly new industry in late 2009, I knew it was perfect for me. I could work all day at the church with my friends and then work for a few hours at night for clients on whatever they needed! I was so excited!.
But early in 2010, while I was trying to start my company, increase my skills, focus on my job and deal with one of the worst winters I can remember, my children were sick… constantly. And so was I. Influenza, stomach flu, strep, colds, and on and on and finally during some budget cuts at my job, I was let go. Not 6 months earlier, I had purchased a new car and moved into a house. The church was very kind and gave me severance pay which helped a lot, but I had a lot of bills and the money would eventually run out.
A part of me was devastated knowing I would miss my church family very much, but there was a small fire inside that was burning to achieve my dream of working from home. My job at the church had helped me to develop skills and showed me gifts that I didn’t have or know before and it also demanded a level of excellence that I am grateful for even today.
Around that same time, a friend reached out asking if I knew anyone who might want to sit and answer phones and manage an executive suites office. I was able to work on developing my business while I was there with permission from my boss. I even was able to get to know some of the tenants and help them with some business needs. Some are still clients today.
At night, I would get home from work to spend a few precious hours with my children–making dinner, doing baths, and a hurried bedtime routine before tucking them in to recharge their little souls for another day. While the daily grind of physical and emotional exhaustion should have worn me down, nothing could extinguish my drive or my hope to build something more for myself, my family and hopefully one day, other women who needed extra income, but didn’t want to be away from home to earn it.
Lights out, house quiet. Nightly, my body wearily sank to the couch as my mind hungrily entered the exhilarating glow of my budding future. Constructing my website, marketing, planning, learning, growing. Many times over the course of my first two years of this business I found myself still awake when the alarm went off to get the kids ready for school, or I had drifted off to sleep while still sitting up, computer in hand.
Finally, after 6 years of being a single parent, rushing my kids to school in the morning, someone usually in tears, breakfast in the car, speeding to work, unsure why I didn’t get a ticket most days, sailing into my chair, rushing to pick up my children from after school care in the evening, often getting a “talking to from the daycare manager” for being late due to rush hour or not getting out of work on time, rushing home for the nightly routine and the all nighters developing my skills and business, that irrepressible drive and ambition paid off as my client base expanded to the point that I could finally work full-time from home and eventually transition to achieving my personal family dream of homeschooling my two children.
“What we’re doing is more the techie side of virtual assistance,” explains Suzi King, founder. “But we don’t just create websites and then say, ‘See ya.’ We build relationships and remain there to help our clients maintain and build their online presence for as long as we can. We are here to support people; we are their BFF (Best Friend Forever), in that sense. And we consider our clients our BFFs too!”
It took a couple of years before I was able to pay for my own health insurance instead of relying on assistance. And while I am grateful that the assistance was there, it is a broken system that I was very driven to get out from under. There have been other financial humps along the way that I have had to learn to overcome as well such as paying a team that could help me, paying taxes instead of getting a refund for example, but it has all been worth it. There are some things that I would do differently if I had the chance. Wouldn’t we all? But for the most part, it’s been a journey I wouldn’t trade for anything.
This personal struggle to launch my business under difficult circumstances has really inspired me to continue with a burning desire to help other women not have to fight so hard to be able to work from home and to be able to help support their families. I love that my team can be with their children, nurture them when they are sick, take time for themselves when they need it, be there for their spouses if they are married, not have to rush here and there or stay up all night learning. I have had the opportunity to teach and learn from them and together, particularly over the last few years, we have worked together to build something even more amazing than I had ever dreamed possible.
I take great pride that my team consists of talented, intelligent, hard-working women in the United States who have families and benefit from the flexibility to work the hours and from the location of their choosing for maximum productivity around a healthy home life.
“Your Admin BFF is a dynamic team made up of enterprising women in the United States, excited about this career and working hard to support families.”
My team is tech savvy and smart, some with degrees and others self-taught, all producing extraordinary work on websites, systems development, data organization, bookkeeping, email campaigns, social media management, graphic design, various administrative tasks, and coming alongside our clients, developing long term relationships, to understand each one personally, to learn their brand, define their image and ultimately help them grow. And now, my dreams are even bigger than they were when I started so many years ago.
“I am very choosy about who I add to the team. Everyone has her name on her work. Everyone takes personal pride in serving and thrilling our clients.”