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How To Be Your Own Boss: Tips For Freelancers And Virtual Assistants To Make The Leap

administrative virtual assistants freelancers how to be your own boss how to start your own business virtual expert Nov 14, 2022

Frustration and burnout with a job usually start slowly. There is a dread before the alarm goes off every morning. This begins as a little twinge of anxiety, and after getting up every day and going to the same miserable work environment for years, it grows into something like despair. It seems impossible to go on and impossible to change it.

Albert Einstein, a world-famous genius for his work in physics, had the best take on this mind-numbing state of employment paralysis. It's a mild form of insanity. To him, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

The feelings of job burnout, unfair compensation, anxiety, frustration, and crushing doubts about self-worth will never change until you change. For more and more people, this means making the scary decision to become their own boss as a freelancer or virtual assistant. However, there is a formula for making this transition that even Einstein would applaud.

Adding Up the Reasons for Becoming Your Own Boss

As kids, when difficult decisions were to be made, some adult - a parent, grandparent, or teacher - would suggest that we "make a list." Kathy Goughenour, the founder, CEO, and head coach for Virtual Expert® Training, Virtual Experts®, recently shared a list from her years in corporate America and then in training virtual assistants (VAs) and freelancers.

"After working with hundreds of people who made the decision to be their own boss, I came up with a long list of reasons they finally had their "Ah ha!" moment," she said.

She came up with 29 reasons! Maybe you see your job situation in some of these scenarios. 

  1. The opportunity to make real money (and as much as you want) excites you.
  2. You get to set deadlines and manage your priorities.
  3. You get to do interesting things.
  4. Your office is wherever you want it to be (and can change constantly).
  5. Running a business is something you dream of doing.
  6. You know you have more to give.
  7. You want to work where you want, when you want, and with whomever you want to work with.
  8. You crave flexibility, freedom, and financial security (employment IS NOT true job security).
  9. You have no room to grow in your current job.
  10. You've achieved what you set out to achieve in your job.
  11. You're actively looking for ways to avoid your job.
  12. You're exhausted and burned out. 
  13. Your job is causing you to develop bad habits.
  14. Your workplace is toxic to your health.
  15. You are under-using your skills.
  16. You're not learning, and you want to be.
  17. You're learning coping skills rather than life-affirming skills.
  18. Your confidence is decreasing daily.
  19. You're undervalued.
  20. You need to numb yourself after work.
  21. You cry or get depressed thinking about having to go back to work.
  22. You can't be yourself at work.
  23. You're bored.
  24. The company's future is in question.
  25. Your ethics are being compromised.
  26. You are underpaid.
  27. You feel stuck.
  28. You're spiraling deeper into negativity.
  29. You're reading this article!

Why You Might Hesitate to Become Your Own Boss

"There are perfectly logical reasons someone might hesitate to become a freelancer or virtual assistant," Kathy said. "They have a fear of failure and a fear of success! Failure seems to be lurking everywhere:

  • Loved ones tell them they shouldn't do it. 
  • They believe running a business MUST be difficult.
  • They think they have to do it all by themselves. (They don't.)
  • They have a scarcity/poverty mindset — "there are already too many businesses."
  • They have no idea what type of business to start.
  • They are terrified of selling and marketing a business.
  • They believe there is only security in a steady paycheck from a job. (JOB security does not exist.)
  • They fear rejection.

"And what happens when they make the leap and start a business? Success, right? Some are worried they won't be able to make themselves do the work. This is what I thought because I couldn't make myself do the work at my J-O-B. This is a myth. I work much longer hours now and LOVE working!"

Who's Better at Becoming Their Own Boss? Men or Women?

For several reasons, women seem better at becoming their own boss than men. Recent research noted that in 2021, 49% of new businesses were started by women. This compares to 28% of women start-ups in 2019.

"Most people who become virtual support professionals are WOMEN because of that word 'support,'" Kathy said. "Women really want to support others. Men usually want to be the front person and have others support them. Men also struggle to see there is huge potential to create ANYTHING they want out of this business, including being that front person quickly.  

"In my Virtual Expert® program, we have 300 members ongoing right now, and only 1 of them is a man. He's doing GREAT, and (interestingly) he'll tell you that he has a lot of feminine energy because he was raised by all women! He loves to support his clients through his specialty, which is branding and graphic design."

Is There a Roadmap for Becoming Your Own Boss?

"Beginning as a virtual support professional is extremely easy," Kathy noted. "This is because there is no barrier to entry - no education requirements or credentials or anything else you need to say you are a virtual assistant or freelancer. One other thing most people do not realize (I didn't!) is that starting as a virtual assistant or freelancer is a GREAT way to figure out what you really love to do and then grow into that. Plus, it is possible for these new "self-bosses" to earn substantial money as a freelancer/VA while learning what they enjoy doing and whom they enjoy working with. Then it's easy to pivot to that new niche.

"It's also a great way to learn what your target market really needs that may be missing from the marketplace. A great example of this became obvious to me early in my career. I didn't realize that real estate agents needed LOTS of blog posts and didn't want to pay much for them. I created a membership for agents and sold 20 easily customizable blog posts each month for $30 to all the agents who wanted them. I wouldn't have known they needed that if I hadn't seen behind the scenes while working with agents. Over the years, I have been very thankful for that little nugget of insight!"

During this time of year, we are reminded of people and insights that have helped us grow into happier, more successful people. Like Kathy, we are thankful for the help and knowledge that often comes "unannounced." If you want to learn how you can change your life and become your own boss, just click here. You'll thank us later! 

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