“When I started law school my daughter Jane was 14 months, and I attribute my success in law school largely to Jane. I went to class about 8:30 a.m., and I came home at 4:00 p.m., that was children’s hour. It was a total break in my day, and children’s hour continued until Jane went to sleep. Then I was happy to go back to the books, so I felt each part of my life gave me respite from the other.” –Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court Justice
I was quite content being a Stay-at-Home Mom but I always knew that I would eventually go back to work. My own mother had told me one day, when my son was just a few weeks old, that as much as I love my son and would enjoy being with him, there is nothing quite like being busy with work as well. Much like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my mother said that balancing motherhood and career would give me a chance to grow in both areas and take vacations from both areas. And that I would need those vacations. Haha! So, when a cousin of mine suggested I try home based work and apply at Summit VA Solutions (SVS), I was interested but also uncertain. With a son who was just a year old, I had concerns:
How would I balance time for work and time with my son? Who would take care of him with both me and my husband working night shift? Was I prepared to go back to night shift after years of working the day shift? I didn’t know much about real estate, how effective would I be as a Virtual Assistant (VA)?
However, I knew that, rationally, fear was not a valid reason for not trying. I knew I had to take this opportunity. I decided that I would apply. To take one step at a time and see how far I (and my family) would go. To be honest, I didn’t think I would get too far, but I was prepared to give 100% every step of the way.
Fast forward to today and happily, I have been with SVS, and my clients, for almost two years. At the time of this writing, my 2nd anniversary will be in two weeks, this August. Even my client is surprised at how fast it all went. It feels like only a month ago that I was preparing for my first interview. Time does fly when you’re having fun! There are certain factors to which I attribute my success here:
Awesome Training and Mentorship
One of my concerns was that I had limited knowledge in real estate and no experience as a VA. My training here at SVS put me at ease. I’m naturally a kinesthetic and logical learner so the mix of lecture, flow charts, practical exercises and virtual tours into the real estate tools was perfect for me. I needed to see and do things first hand for me to absorb what I was learning. Even after Training Sessions were done and I started working with my clients, training didn’t end there – I continued to receive advice, updates and refresher trainings.
I am grateful that at SVS, training as well as guidance and mentorship is provided by our manager and more experienced members of the team. On top of that, we have a community of VAs who help and support each other.
I’ll never forget my first week with my clients, a husband and wife team who manage a brokerage in Texas. I received a warm welcome, was given a tour around the office, introduced to each member of the team and my client even drove me around The Woodlands area via skype! From day one, my clients showed me I was part of the team and I learned a lot from them (I still do!).
Communication is paramount and flows both ways. They make sure I receive updates and information as any member of the team and I make sure I give them regular reports on my progress. There are times when I have to work independently while my clients are busy with other tasks. It is essential that I regularly check in with them and let them know how I am doing and what I have completed – without being asked to do so. I also learned quickly that one client is a visual learner, so he prefers video calls and flow charts for reports and proposals. My other client is more linguistic and logical, so she prefers phone calls, emails and excel sheets.
I have learned from SVS and my clients that while communication is key, adjusting to different communication styles is just as important.
Faith and Family
My initial worries about my family (and myself) adjusting to my work was unfounded. After a few bumps, we eventually found a new rhythm. Today, like a well-oiled machine, my husband and I have found a shifting schedule and division of tasks that revolve around our work, home and most importantly, our son. Our son, now three years old, has also adapted to this new normal – as young children usually do. He knows that at night, Mommy works at her home office and Daddy at his work office. When he wakes up in the morning, he’ll spend mornings with one parent and afternoons with another, while the other one sleeps. However, weekends are reserved for the whole family and family naps are fun!
I know that all family structures are different – there are single-parent families and dual-parent families, some are day shift, some are night – but regardless of structure, family members find a way to adjust out of faith, love and support.
Rowi Rayco-Caballar - Summit Virtual Assistant