After too many years of too-long commutes – her longest being 65 miles one way – Danielle Hogan found that starting her third option with BELAY in May 2018 to be a welcomed change after an unexpected health issue, working part-time virtual jobs and struggling to find ideal clients as a virtual assistant.
And BONUS! It afforded her more time to shower her special-needs puppy with even more love and attention.
“I finally have that work-life balance!” she shared. "The flexibility of being a VA has given me more time than I’ve ever had to enjoy holidays, birthdays, special occasions and events.
“It feels great to make plans without having to beg a boss for time out of the office or bid on holidays off or even just the little things – like being home for dinner before 7 p.m. I was rarely able to do that before.”
So we sat down with Danielle recently to find out how the pendulum of balance in her life has finally swung back in the right direction.
What was your AH-HA! moment for making the switch?
"After my last 9-5 corporate role – which included overtime plus the dreaded commute – I decided it was time to make the switch.
“I knew I somehow wanted to work remotely – and had for several large companies while simultaneously working as a VA before BELAY. But once I found BELAY, I was finally able to cut the corporate ties and continue doing something I love – and I love being a VA.”
Not many people can say they love their job. What do you love most?
"I love knowing what to expect – what the client needs on a day-to-day basis – but also being prepared for the unexpected on any given day, which keeps things exciting. And having a team you can laugh with is a huge bonus.
“Plus, I love learning new tools and programs. There’s always something new I’m learning for a client or project. It’s interesting to learn about other industries and organizations with whom my clients have partnered!”
Sounds like you were born to do this: your love of being a VA, your appreciation for the unexpected, and opportunities to learn. Did your past experiences prepare you for this role?
"Absolutely! I’ve used my knowledge of HR recruitment a bit – training, onboarding and process improvement – with my current client.
“Details, planning, and communication were crucial in my background in HR and helped prepare me for serving clients as a VA with BELAY. In previous roles, I learned a lot – and had to do so very quickly. So now working as a VA, clients have a lot of moving parts at the same time – much like when I was working in an office.”
Now for the other side of that work-life pendulum. Who do you spend time with and what do you like to do when you're not working?
"When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my parents, pup and friends. Going for walks, trying new restaurants, catching a concert or show at the performing arts center in Orlando and visiting Walt Disney World since I’m less than 25 miles away.
“Or sometimes to take a little break from the hustle and bustle, I enjoy kicking back with a fashion magazine or sitting in Starbucks with a macchiato.”
SIGN. US. UP. With work-life balance and time to recharge and pour back into yourself personally, what’s one thing about being a BELAY VA that makes you excited to get up tomorrow and do it again?
"Easy! The clients I work with and truly feeling like a valued member of the team make me excited to get up and do it again! I’m proud of the work I do and the clients I’ve had the pleasure of supporting.
“Working as a VA, you are really in a partnership with the client – and it doesn't hurt that BELAY clients are a dream.”
Aren’t they? All bias aside, they really are some of the best people. So what advice would you give to someone who’s just made the third-option switch?
"A change of scenery is important. Whether it’s taking a break to step outside, walking to the kitchen or stopping at a coffee shop, don’t forget to take a break and get out of your chair!
“I’d also remind them to never stop learning – there’s always new technology popping up – and to always communicate with your clients. It’s better to over-communicate than to leave them wondering.”