There are so many benefits to working remotely, and Stephanie Cox has laid it out completely in this interview. I admire her drive to make herself readily available for clients, as it shows she is really into driving success not only for herself, but for her clients as well. Being able to work whilst spending time with your family is truly rewarding in itself. Great job, Stephanie!
Stephanie Cox specializes in Real Estate assistance. After a decade of being employed in administrative and marketing positions in various industries, she struck out on her own to offer her education, highly specialized skills and expertise to small business owners, Realtors, and coaches that she LOVES working with and who love working with her. Stephanie Cox believes that her success is tied to her clients success and works hard so that her clients can reap the benefits of outsourcing some aspects of their business to a virtual assistant so they can spend more time ON their business instead of IN their business.
What made you decide to venture into Virtual Assistance? How does this help you with your long-term goals?
It actually kind of fell into my lap! I was working for a team of busy Realtors and while on maternity leave, I decided I really didn’t want to be stuck in an office all day and leave my daughter in daycare. I was able to get them to agree to having me in the office two days a week and working from home the rest of the week, which led to me realizing that I could offer similar services to other business owners, and ultimately, I decided I would be happier working from home with clients of all industries and was able to leave that job with two clients already in place.
I’ve always wanted to work for myself, and this was a great way to do that, utilizing the skill set I had developed over the last decade. My long term goals are constantly evolving but being able to work for myself and connect with business owners in wildly differing industries is not only helping me “level up” professionally, but personally as well.
What is a typical day like for you?
The mornings are dedicated to my daughter and the work I can do from my phone, like answering emails or posting to social media for clients. My favorite mornings are being able to take my daughter to the park and work from there, while I watch her play and explore the world. I am able to work from my home office doing more complex tasks while she is napping in the afternoon. I also get a ton of work done in the evenings after she’s in bed.
How has working at home affected your personal life? How has it affected your family?
I have become a lot more conscious about getting out of the house and having a personal life. It is so easy to become wrapped in the “work” and realize you haven’t left your house in days so I definitely make MORE of an effort to be social than I did while working in a traditional office setting. Family wise, I feel it has been extremely beneficial for my daughter for me to be able to stay home with her while still being a financial contributor. Of course, my husband works outside of the home so when he gets home from working a 12-hour day and collapses on the couch while I’m ready to go out into the world has been something we have had to deal with.
What are the most difficult challenges you have encountered as a VA, and how did you overcome them?
The MOST difficult thing I have personally had to overcome has been coming out of my shell to see value in the services I provide. I know what I do is valuable to my clients but thinking, “Will they pay the prices I have set?” “Am I good enough at what I do that they will want to pay these prices?”
I am also truly a “helper” so I tend to attract clients that might not be in a financial position to pay. Positive affirmations and receiving glowing testimonials from my past and current clients has really shown me that my services ARE worth it and helping my clients businesses bloom has been such a rewarding experience! Another thing I struggle with is maintaining a work-life balance. Because I pride myself on being accessible and available to my clients, I tend to allow those boundaries to become blurred and find myself answering emails into the late hours of the night and “burning the candle at both ends” so to speak.
As someone who has a thorough experience in administrative work, what do you think are the values one should always possess when working remotely?
You HAVE to be a driven person to work remotely. It would be so easy to put things off and not follow through with tasks if you aren’t driven by a desire to succeed. Organization is also paramount, especially if you’re working with multiple clients. Great communication skills are also a requirement. When you aren’t in a face to face relationship with people, you have to put real effort into developing and maintaining relationships with your clients.
Can you tell us one thing that you have learned from a client? How did it impact you?
One thing I have learned from a client is not to let things get to a desperate situation before you realize you need help! That has impacted me because I tend to be a “do it all-er” and that can quickly turn into an unhealthy state of mind.
What advice would you like to share to aspiring VAs who would like to build a name of their own?Nurture your relationships with your clients! Click To Tweet
Start with offering services you excel in and like to do. Never stop learning. Nurture your relationships with your clients! Network, network, network! Also be patient. Don’t give up if this is something you really want. Just DO IT! Even if it is part time until you’re able to build your business enough that you’re able to leave the 9-5 grind. You have to put the work in, and don’t expect overnight success. Find a niche and allow yourself to be successful!