I often share a lot about how Priority VA got started, but maybe I haven’t shared the why. It’s easy to spout off the logistics and the process of how I moved from an office in Corporate America to an office in my home. It was a pretty straightforward business decision on my part, but it had a lot more to do with my personal life than my professional one.
When my work transition took place, we had just adopted a child who needed a lot of extra TLC. She needed me, her Mommy. I made the decision to be home full-time so I could tend to her and her needs. I started working as an independent contract for a few high-profile clients, and over time, started to become inundated with referrals for new business. I couldn’t be all things to all people, but I could find other people for these potential clients. I also could create a business where other VAs could be home and tend to the needs of their own children or families, too.
My business started out as an answer to another call of motherhood. The fact that I’ve been able to create a working career from home and still be able to be present in the lives of my children is nothing I take for granted.
I’ve found I’m incredibly driven and want nothing more than Priority VA to take on new heights. I look at my kids and see my oldest having six more years before college (and 16 more years for the youngest). I know I’m working for something far bigger than myself.
Sometimes I fail. Whether it be in work, or in being the Mommy I always dreamed of being, I sometimes fall short. I hope, however, my kids see a work ethic in me that translates into a strong character example for them. When we say something, they’ll see we stay true to our word. When we decide to do something, we give it our best – every day.
If I’m creating sales funnels or following up with event planners, and my kids are spelling or solving math problems, everything we’re doing is getting our best attention and effort. Through the work I’m doing, I’m planting seeds of dedication, excellence, and growth in the lives of my children.
I don’t want to paint the picture that work and family are always harmonious, though. Glorious? Sure. But always in sync? Almost never. I’ve worked from Starbucks holding my baby in my lap. I’ve sat in on a webinar while my house was full of squealing 12-year-olds. I’ve worked at 2:00 a.m. after a fussy toddler refused to go down for the night. I’ve had to roll with it as a mom, but it’s taught me so much about rolling with it (even though I’m not, by nature, very adaptable) in my business.
Because I’m so driven in my work and want so much for what I do to pay off for my children, I’ve noticed I can become too focused and work in somewhat of a tunnel. I have to schedule my work time so I don’t get distracted and cut into my family time.
I work on timelines, so scheduling my work time – and time with friends and family, for that matter – is second nature to me. If I don’t have it scheduled, it’s too easy for me to become laser-focused and lose sight of whatever else is going on around me. I don’t want to work over top of my relationships, so I plot my personal and my professional life on my calendar to try to gain some leverage in both.
I frequently have cuddle time with my four littles. At first, admittedly, it took practice to turn my brain from work-mode to mommy-mode, but the joy I’ve found in those precious prayer-time moments, or the times I get to simply walk around the block with them has taught me far more about my why in starting this business than any client call ever could.
I’ve always got to schedule time – make time and commit to it – for my family, and my work. If I’m being completely transparent, there is no “balance”. They’re both always intertwined. My homeschooled 12-year-old might be in my office next to me working on homework, or I might be answering a client call while in line for a ride at an amusement park.
You might remember how my daughters were my employees for “take your child to work day”, sending thank-you notes to my clients and making a video for social media to promote our business. Work is always a part of our family life. The trick is making it fun and creating teachable moments, so no one feels like I’m choosing work over them. It’s not easy, but with consistency and commitment, it’s more than possible.
All those years ago, when I made the switch from leaving home to go to work, to staying home to work, it started as a way to protect and preserve my family. Looking back, I can’t imagine having made any other choice. My why is simple: my family comes first. They’re what built this business, and they’re the reason I’m so passionate about keeping it going.