I’ve known Tishia for several years and had the chance to meet her in person at last year’s Beachpreneur Conference. You think successful online entrepreneurs do a lot, but behind every great online success is a virtual assistant who is keeping them organized, informed and the business running smoothly. Tishia is one of those VAs. I’m so glad to share her story and tips with you.
What was your first home business and how did you choose this profession?
My first home business was a Virtual Assistant business – Tishia Saves Time – started in January 2006. I was “lucky” in the way this business came about. An offline friend was getting started in the online world and approached me one day about being her VA. At that time I had never even heard the term or knew what a Virtual Assistant was but she took me under her wing, taught me some things and then “released” me to the work at home mom community and things took off from there!
Do you have an exit plan and if so, how important is it to have an exit strategy?
Interesting that this was one of the question you asked me. I had never really thought about an exit strategy until I recently did a project for a client and…you guessed it, it was all about having an exit strategy 😉 To get back to the question, no as of right now I do not have one in place. Honestly, I love working from home and everything I get to do that I can’t ever imagine needing to “exit” it. But we all know that life can be unexpected and we don’t know what will happen in the future. So, I need to at least take a look at things and make sure that all my ducks are in a row and if something ever happens, someone will at least know where/how to access all my business related things.
Can you give advice to those who are working from home while working an outside job and taking care of a family?
I was really blessed when starting to work from home – I didn’t have to continue working at a job outside the home while starting my home business. My hours had been reduced from full-time to part-time (16 hours a week) and as a single mom raising my son, 16 hours a week wasn’t going to cut it. So I gave my notice, dived right in to building my business and haven’t looked back since. In the very beginning I was doing some offline things as well to bring in some extra cash (cleaning jobs, running errands, etc.) Thinking about it now and knowing what I know about working from home, my advice to those that are working a job, taking care of family and working from home would be: time management, delegation and systems. Systemize what you can, delegate things you don’t like doing and efficiently manage your time – work a few hours in the morning before anyone else gets up, work a few hours at night after everyone goes to bed. I’m always reminded of the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way” – if you want it bad enough, you’ll do what you need to do to make it happen!
Who is your biggest influence?
This is a great question and a hard one to answer because there are so many people that have been a big influence to me. The best way I can sum it up is by two things. One, the women I’ve met through a mastermind forum – Solo Masterminds (formerly known as Mom Masterminds). There are some really smart and successful women in that group I’ve had the pleasure of learning from, working with and building friendships with. Two, and this one has just been over the last few years, a couple in person events by Nicole Dean and Kelly McCausey – Beachpreneurs. I’ve attended one of the beach house events and the two conferences they’ve also put on – one of them I even had the pleasure of meeting Leslie in person for the first time, even though I’ve known her online for years! The in person events have allowed me to connect on a much more intimate personal level with several amazing women with successful businesses and who are ready to take their businesses to the next level. These in person events provide the opportunity to let down walls, brainstorm, encourage (and get encouragement) and support each other. There really is something special about surrounding yourself at live events with other like minded individuals!
How do you deal with the feelings of isolation or loneliness that many work from home professionals feel once they leave the hustle and bustle of corporate life.
This has been one of the biggest challenges for me. I’ve always been a bit of a social butterfly. Thinking back to when I worked outside the home, one of the things I enjoyed about my jobs was “water cooler chit chat” with co-workers and as an optometrist assistant all the different people I interacted with on a daily basis! So to go from being around people all the time to b
Being isolated at home with no one (except my son) around, was a huge shock to my system. Not going to sugar coat anything – I went through some pretty serious depression about a year into working from home (around 2007). While there were other factors, I know part of it was the isolation. That experience taught me a lot! My personality requires that I stay connected on a regular basis and I don’t mean daily social media interaction/connection. I need real offline human interaction. So I make it a point to get out and socialize with friends. I also try to make it to one live event each year where I can not only get that face to face connection with people that I need, but to connect with other smart work from home peeps!
What does a typical work-at-home day look like (I’d like to give readers an idea of type and amount of work successful people do.
My typical day doesn’t start until 10am (yes, that’s correct – 10am!) I am NOT a morning person! My brain rarely functions before 9:30-10am.
So I get started at 10am and that involves about an hour of client customer service support (checking email, help desk tickets, etc.). Once I’ve completed client customer service, I login to my own email and handle things that need to be handled – that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. It just depends.
Around Noon I’m usually pretty hungry so I take a quick break to make something for lunch and then I’m back to work by 12:30pm. From this time until 4-4:30 I’m working on client projects.
My day ends around 5pm, at least that’s what my “business hours say: 10am – 5pm Eastern but a lot of times I’ll work in the evenings or late at night too.
All that to say, I don’t have a regular schedule I stick to – that’s one of the great things about working from home; I get to change things up and work whenever and wherever I want ☺
How do you decide what to invest in for your education or personal growth (you can waste a lot of money on info products etc. How do successful people decide what’s worth the money and effort to them).
Another excellent question! I’ve been really bad in the past about spending money on training and basically throwing the money away because I never did anything with the information. I’m on mailing lists of a lot of really smart marketers who are always recommending great resources which makes it pretty easy to get sucked into the hype and thinking I have to have that and now!
Now, I’m a lot pickier about what I purchase. For where I’m at in business right now and where I want to go with my work at home biz and what I need on not just a business level but personal level too, the smartest investments have been those in person events I mentioned in one of the questions above. If you’ve ever went to a live event you know there’s quite a cost involved – travel, lodging, food, the ticket, etc. So while it’s easier to throw out say $27 for an information product, I would rather spend more and invest in an event instead. Yes, there are still some less expensive things I invest in but only if I know I have the time (or interest) to go through it soon or if it’s something that will be beneficial to my business/clients. With all the great resources out there, it’s important to be picky about what you do purchase.
What tasks do you outsource?
I usually outsource anything graphic related – I have got to be the most graphically challenged person on this earth 😉
Think back to your first day as a work from home professional; did you stare at the computer screen frozen in fear? Did you already have a plan of attack? Who was the first person you went to for professional guidance?
Man, that was so long ago (2006)…I’m not sure I remember what that first day working from home was like. I’m sure it was a combination of feelings – excited, scared, not knowing where to start/what to do. The first person I went to was Kelly McCausey from SoloSmarts.com. She’s the friend I mentioned above that took me under her wing and got me started as a Virtual Assistant.
Tishia Lee is a smart, savvy, detail oriented Virtual Assistant who has been using her wide range of skills to help busy work at home solopreneuers (authors, coaches, consultants, and more) behind the scenes in their businesses since 2006.
Stephanie Grams, Ohio Blog Lady helps you create a beautiful, money making blog. Stephanie offers blogging solutions to new, seasoned and struggling blogpreneurs. Call Stephanie 812.827.8739 to schedule your blog consultation or visit her website StephanieGrams.com
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