When I was much younger, I always thought that I would become a teacher. However, as I got older, I quickly came to the conclusion that I wasn't cut out for teaching and considering the way the world has changed over the last 40 years, I can't imagine how difficult a career educating the future generations would be.
I also remember what 'careers advice' was like when I was still at school; basically if you were female, your options were fairly limited and if secretarial work wasn't your idea of fun, your options were pretty much halved, with nursing being the alternative. We were never told about jobs in engineering, the arts or the SAS but now, anything goes for every student, regardless of gender. If you knuckle down, work hard and set your sights on your dream job, you could be well on your way to living the dream. But how many of us dreamed of owning our own business? It's certainly not something that I considered when leaving school.
According to recent research undertaken by The Recruit Venture Group, 72% of women who run their own business say they're in their dream job with the top five reasons for their happiness being:
Freedom (61 per cent)
Not reporting into anyone (42 per cent)
Making the rules (24 per cent)
Doing something you enjoy (23 per cent)
Making more money (21 per cent)
And I certainly agree on most of the above with a few minor tweaks. This would be my list:
Flexibility: I get to choose who I work with, where I work and when I work. I'm an early bird so I like to start earlier than most. Being a Virtual Assistant allows me to start as early as I like and if I work a little later some evenings, I sometimes get an extra day off!
Variety: My work as a Virtual Assistant is extremely varied because all of my clients have a completely different task list for me to get stuck into. No two days are ever the same
Being able to utilise my skills: Organisation is a key skill required of any Virtual Assistant and it just happens that I am very organised. I also get to use the knowledge and experience that I have learned throughout the years doing the things that I enjoy the most
Learning new skills: Because of the variety of tasks I am asked to undertake, I have learned so many new things over the years as my clients do sometimes think that there is nothing I can't turn my hand to. In addition, when you run your own business you automatically get to wear many hats; sales, marketing, finance, IT, design etc- unless of course, you can afford to pay a team of people to help you!
Helping people: it may sound a bit cheesy but one of the things I enjoy the most about being a Virtual Assistant is that I know that I am helping people. Whether I save them from having to undertake tasks that they don't enjoy, save them money or give them time back in their day, I know that my work is appreciated
So ironically, much of my work now is secretarial-based so maybe I should have listened to the careers advisor all those years ago and started my dream job decades ago!