Hi! I’m Lisa. This is my journey to starting my Virtual Assistance practice.
I have had a passion for entrepreneurship for as long as I can remember. As a young girl growing up in New England, while most children would be playing hopscotch or jumping rope, I could be found managing my lemonade stand or selling Girl Scout cookies or typing recipes on index cards to add to mom’s collection. After graduating at the top of my class from my high school’s Business Occupations program, I continued on to pursue a career as an Administrative Professional gaining extensive experience through on the job training and professional development opportunities. I excelled in my career, and rose quickly through the ranks from switchboard operator to Executive Assistant to the COO of a local Employee Communications firm.
In 1986 after coming through a difficult divorce that left me emotionally drained and financially challenged, my entrepreneurial spirit surfaced and I started a part-time typing business to supplement my income. Word of mouth referrals quickly catapulted my part-time typing business into a full-time venture, and in 1987 I decided to quit my full-time Corporate job and launched Alternative Office Solutions, a full service secretarial and business support service. The business operated successfully for 10 years until I relocated to Melbourne, Florida in 1996.
I found myself back in Corporate America again continuing my administrative professional career, but I never felt as fulfilled as I did when I was working for myself. I was growing weary and frustrated with working in Corporate America, and yearned to go back to owning my own business again. I knew my passion but was not living it. In 1998, I read an article written by Stacy Brice, President of AssistU (www.assistu.com) in a magazine about an emerging profession called Virtual Assistance and it absolutely fascinated me. I realized at that moment I wanted to become a Virtual Assistant.
Not quite knowing what to expect and without a mentor or role model, the monetary resources, or the training to learn how to work virtually, I wasn’t ready to quit my “day job”, but that didn’t stop me from immersing myself in learning all that I could about this emerging profession. I read every book on Virtual Assistance that I could find, I talked to established Virtual Assistant business owners, read articles and blogs, signed up for newsletters, surfed the web for anything I could find on Virtual Assistance, lurked around forums and chat rooms, researched Virtual Training Programs, and even started writing my Business Plan. The more I studied the profession and industry, the more I dreamed of one day “quitting my day job” to become a Virtual Assistant and business owner again.
I continued to work for several more years to save money and gain more experience. I kept my dream alive by keeping up with the latest trends in the Virtual Assistant industry — longing for the day I could transition out of Corporate America and into the world of Virtual Assistance and business ownership again.
In early 2009, I learned of a company who taught Executive Assistants interested in becoming Virtual Assistants how to transition out of the Corporate world to start their own practices. At the time, I was working as an Executive Assistant to the President/CEO of a national residential homebuilder who was struggling due to the economic crisis, and I instinctively decided to sign up for the class. During the class, AssistU was mentioned and plugged as being the premier training program for “Virtual Assistant wannabes”. I found myself researching the AssistU website, and learned that it was a rigorous, 20-week program and a little on the expensive side, but I thought to myself if I am serious about making this dream of mine a reality, and building a quality, professional practice, then I would need to learn from the best of the best to ensure I was completely prepared.
In March 2009, I decided it was time to start my transition process and applied to AssistU. My plan was to stay working in my full-time job until I graduated in November 2009, and then transition out of Corporate America and launch my Virtual Assistant practice starting January, 2010.
Now, I am a big believer in the Law of Attraction, and sure enough the Universe delivered — although it wasn’t EXACTLY how I had planned it. On April 16, 2009, I was laid off from my Executive Assistant position of nearly 4 years after my boss, the President of the Company decided to resign from her position. On April 17, 2009, after going through a very in-depth application process, I received word that I was accepted into AssistU’s June 2009 Virtual Training Program. And I haven’t looked back since!