VA Parents


#1

Could I ask a little question to all the parents or carers/guardians who also do VA.

I’ve been looking into this plan to start as a VA in April this year.
I’ve done all the research/business plan etc but I wonder if any parents/guardians could give me a little insight as to whether this could work if you also care for children. If it goes well at the start, I was hoping to cut my PT hours in my current job or give it up if this venture works better for me.

The reason I ask is because I am a mum to a 1 1/2yo during the day, then my husband comes home at 3pm and then I currently go off to work, so plans for this venture hinge on being able to work after 3pm.

Is this possible or should it maybe be put on hold until the little one can go to nursery. I’m assuming most work is completed during standard office hours.

I am aware for tax/legal etc, it’s better to work for UK Clients which is what I was wishing to do as I have seen that working for clients in other countries are a totally different ballgame in terms of laws and compliance.

Any advice would be lovely.
Thanks


#2

Shelley,

I launched my VA business with a 2 year old at Nursery and me falling pregnant - 3 months post launching my business. I then juggled the 2 of them while building my business.

The clients I supported knew I had little people and I basically took tasks that did not need me to be fully client facing during core office hours. It is achievable - a lot comes down to your skills, experiences and how you market yourself to ideal clients.

I also became a little nocturnal working from 8pm once the kids were asleep.

Some VAs worry about networking but actually there are events out there where you can take your children with you and still do serious networking.

Happy to answer any specific questions you have.


#3

Absolutely perfect, thanks so much Amanda.

I was concerned having a little one running about might have put cork in the bottle for this plan.

Thankfully I have amazing support should I have to work out with my plan if it ever arose but wasn’t too sure if a lot of the work carried out may have been quite rigid to the 8-6pm timeframe.

This has definitely put my mind at ease.


#4

I’ll talk from personal experience and from a macro level from the UK VA Survey

So personally, I have been self employed as a VA through two kids. Eldest is now at school and the 4 year old is in school time nursery. Getting the free hours at nursery does make a huge difference to the childcare bill, but it sounds like you have a good set up, as if hubby can remove the small squawky person to the park/shops etc then you have time to schedule client calls during business hours, then the actual work could potentially be done 3pm-10pm, which is pretty much a working day…

What I would say: Clients will expect urgent responses during the day, and you’ll probably need some kind of phone answering service and to be able to at least get emails during the day. You will become one of those shamed mums in the park looking at her phone (I am and I long since stopped being bothered about it, as it means I get to spend way more time with my kids than the average parent!).

Or alternatively, you might look at being a subcontractor VA and that let’s you just do the work without having to do client facing stuff.

These are the stats on caring responsibilities from the survey:
caring responsibilities.pdf (88.5 KB)
So about 40% of VAs have young kids, which I think is lower than most people assume.


#5

It also depends massively on what kind of tasks you do - diary stuff, appointments, live responses etc is all day time hours. Social media, typing, design, web stuff, copywriting etc can all be done whenever it suits you.


#6

Thanks so much Caroline! This is giving me a lot more confidence that my plan will work.
Thankfully, I’m lucky to have a MiL who can cut her hours when it’s time for me to find a “daytime job” as she’s wanting to spend more time with our daughter so this will free up extra time too.

The flexibility I’m seeing with the role looks like it will work well with my situation and hopefully since I may not be available fully during the “usual” times for some clients, the skills and experiences I’ve built up over my 20+ years as a PA/Marketing Assistant and the other skills I’m still currently studying might help to attract other clients who are able to work with my timeframe.


#7

I have a 18mth old. I use a childminder and I am lucky that she has big naps in the afternoon at the moment. It is impossible to concentrate on work when she is around so I would say as long as your working is structured and it works with your clients then it can definitely work :slight_smile:


#8

I was considering a child minder at times as since she was born, I’ve been sole childminder for her - I gave up my FT job which I was in for 13 years to care for her during the day to save in childcare costs and work nights but I am definitely feeling the effects of working at night and for my own health and sanity I am willing to pay for childcare now if it’s going to make me happy but also spend some time with the LO

My daughter is just turning 18m this month and while she’s not the biggest napper in the afternoons, she does sleep for an hour and a half/2h during the morning so it’s a great time to get stuff done so was hoping this could benefit the role if needed.

At the moment, I’m putting together a list of skills I’m seeing other VAs are offering which thankfully are areas which I have a lot of experience in, but the challenge I’m finding is trying to see how to apply these virtually.
I’ve always worked in offices where there are routines built like report creations/marketing etc and everything is at your fingertips on the company systems and how this can be applied at home and then working out how this can then work around the little one.


#9

It’s basically the same thing - so e.g. sales reports @ month end, so you need to fit it in so you hit that deadline.

The other thing I think it’s worth pointing out, you aren’t going to spend as long doing stuff as you did as a PA. There are less interruptions and people dropping by your desk, asking if you want a coffee, phones ringing etc. It’s a much more efficient way of working.


#10

Hi Shelley,

Great question! I am planning on starting my business in October this year. I have a two year old and a 4 month old baby. This is my main reason for starting in October as they will be a little older, although I have no doubt it will still be a challenge! haha! But one I am prepared for.

If you want to connect on here, Facebook / linked in, whatever suits. Then it would be great to share this experience with someone in a similar situation and support each other going forward.

All the best either way.

Daryl xx


#11

Thankfully I’m not the only nocturnal. I been nocturnal since I set up this business too. :sweat_smile: Trying to learn as much as possible and grow my business.

I have seen more improvement over the past few weeks. :blush:


#12

Hi Shelsley, I’m newly set up.

I went for the MIBA group in my area, you may search on FB, they are mom in business with kids too. I got invited to joined the MIBA North West and Manchester group, then MIBA Preston group. During the networking, you can bring your kids. This is paying type network.

I didn’t go many face to face networking yet, I have to filter their timing, because I need to fetch my kid from school at 3 or 4.30pm. Even the event said 12pm to 2pm, sometimes I have to calculate the travel journey too. My kid is in high school, but my husband insisted I have to fetch her, not allowed her taking bus. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Apart from meeting clients, workshops and networking… I schedule all these either during school hour or after school.

If you can find VAs within your area and can mingle with them once a month. I have my VAs network once a month sharing experience and see maybe have chances of collaborate together etc. I personally feels this help me as a new VA, before I start and now as I startup.

Amanda’s VA courses does help too, with her experience and I’m lucky enough because my local county have provided facilities and workshops to help the startup and they allocate me a business coach for free. They will follow up with me every month, review on my plan and giving advice. I’m not sure about other county have this facility or not.

I feels running a business have to continuous self learning and implement. A bit different from when I’m working.