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New Beginnings For A Bilingual Virtual Assistant

RachelHello fellow VAs,

My name is Rachel (or “Retch-all” as I am called in England) and I am the newest VA on the blog.

Being French, I decided to specialise in providing bilingual services. So HOW did I get there?

Well it all started with my husband when he decided to start his own business over 10 years ago. GREAT! I said, “I’ll help for a while I said, little did I know that I had just shot myself in the foot. WHY?

Because working for your husband is never temporary!

Because working for your husband means there are no boundaries!

Because working for your husband and having a paid job is not necessarily the same!

So, let’s start at the beginning:

Temporary? No, of course it isn’t. He is your husband, you will want to support him for as long as it takes and then one day you might think, that’s it I’m done! Then, WHAT?
You’ll realise that he still could do with your help, or that work is picking up and maybe you could do a few hours here…there…and everywhere or worse, life would have caught up with you and you’ll realise that today’s workplace has no place for you (ironic, I know).

Boundaries? These do not exist when you work for your husband; you will be the only employee he will talk to like you “just don’t get it” or when you say something, he will kindly remind you that “this is his business” or better still, you will feel compelled to take these bank statements home and work on SAGE till 11 pm because he needs it “yesterday”. Or worse still, he will text you to do something right away when you will be writing your first blog!!

Salary?? Do I really need to add to that, working for your husband can also mean voluntary work, because at the beginning, well, there just isn’t enough money coming in and when times get tough, well, there are other priorities and when times are good? (I heard you ask), well it’s all the same pot anyway!

Of course there are perks: he doesn’t mind if you can’t type 45 wpm or if you are still working out Excel 2003 or if you “need” to leave early or if the youngest one is sick. But it’s not just about the perks, now, is it?!

What about the little things like: self-confidence? Sanity? Self-worth? Making a difference? Earning real money? Contributing towards the greater good?

And what do you do when it all gets to you?? Look for a job? Yeah, good luck with that one, especially when you need a reference after 10 years!.

Keep calm and plod along? Okay but for how long?!

OR, do you make use of these years of pent up frustrations, bridled feelings and newly acquired skills?

Now, for me it was a no brainer. A few years ago, I had mentioned offering concierge services as a possible expansion to his business, obviously my offering was met with aMmmm” never to be spoken of again. So, I kept it to myself, I “sat on it” you could say and now with the children being a bit older and the business being re-built (thank you careless accountant!), I am wiser, more skilled and hungry for more! This is MY time, THIS is VA time!!

Don’t get me wrong, I still work with my husband the only difference is now I get to invoice him!!!

After months of preparing myself to leave (the job, not hubby) and months of trying to find a job…I realised that I did have skills, I could speak 3 languages, I could help others, I could write a decent letter or a decent email and much more given the opportunity. I do know a thing or two and the things I don’t know? Well, I could learn them so I went on a PA course to validate my skills and now after months of preparations, “should I?” and “what ifs?” I am ready to VA!

NB: Please note, no husband was harmed during the redaction of this blog!

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