BELAY sat down with Virtual Assistant Kathleen Yeoman to talk about what inspired her to find her “Third Option.” She has served as a virtual assistant with BELAY for two years. Here's what a day in the life looks like for Katheen.
Why the Third Option
Kathleen put it very simply - she wanted to work and be with her family. She would go through this cycle of staying home with the kids, then would go back to work full-time, then would quit because she felt she was missing time with her family.
“I wanted both and I wanted to do it from home. I knew it was possible, this working from home thing. I had heard of people doing it.”
One day, her husband suggested that she use her “Google” skills and research what types of jobs she could do from home. She ran across articles and references to Virtual Assistant work and realized she had the skills do this. “My life changed! Then I found BELAY, and it got even better!”
We asked Kathleen what it is about her work and her clients that she enjoys most. She said, “I love my clients and their personalities. BELAY has matched me perfectly! My clients encourage me to learn about their business. I love that they hand me a task and trust me to handle it. With each client I have had the opportunity to be creative and develop processes that help them. There is something new with my clients every day.”
The importance of relationships
Here at BELAY, we encourage building a working relationship with our clients and contractors. We know that relationships build trust which leads to a more impactful working partnership.
“In the past I have jumped into an engagement with a “get to work” mentality with no time to waste. I thought that’s what the client was paying for and that’s what they wanted. Now I have relaxed and allowed time for a relationship to develop with my clients, getting to know each other and talking about our lives and our families. I can’t believe how that changes the working relationship. Now, there is a level of friendship with my clients with even more trust. I have noticed my clients delegating more tasks and relying on me more. It becomes a working partnership.”
In addition to creating a working partnership, Kathleen utilizes great best practices when approaching her work. Pulling on her years of experience as an event planner, she uses many of those same skills. She says, “When coordinating an event, you must be organized. You need to have the ability to plan ahead, prioritize, be a multitasker, care about your client’s needs, be an active listener and communicate, complete tasks and meet deadlines, be a problem solver, and have the ability to put out those work fires. This is no different when working with a virtual client. All the same skills are involved.” This approach has served her (and her clients) very well.
Day in the Virtual Assistant Life
Shifting from an office setting to remote work can be difficult for people. We asked Kathleen what sort of challenges she needed to overcome when making the shift to virtual work. She says, “One of the struggles I had was overcoming the isolation you sometimes feel when working remotely. I have always been a social person, and I started to feel somewhat left out of the world outside my home. I was always able to socialize with friends at work. But I realized that “I’m my own boss, and I work virtually from home -- I have flexibility!” I started going to exercise classes with friends, volunteering in groups, meeting other parents at my kids sporting events, and I try to participate in the BELAY virtual community events.”
Kathleen has some great advice for those working from home. “If you’re new to working virtually, be patient with the differences from working outside your home. It does take a little more discipline to focus on work and not get distracted by the thoughts of needing to do other things around the house. You’ll find that once you focus on your work, it’s amazing how much you can get done without all those distractions. What normally took you an eight-hour day to complete working outside your home can now take half that time. Soon you’ll be amazed by your time management skills!”
She can’t imagine doing anything other than working virtually. It really has worked for her family - even her kids think she has the coolest job! “They respect what I do and when I’m done for the day, they ask “how was work today?” My daughter even brings me coffee while I’m in a virtual meeting, just to be nice, or maybe it’s because she needs a ride to the pool! What’s even better, I can take her!”
BELAY is grateful to Kathleen and her dedication to her clients. Thank you for all that you do to serve them every day.
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