I began over 16 years ago when I discovered there was little likelihood of getting a full time daycare place for my baby on the way. I was on maternity leave from my full time job and had to get back to work six months early for financial reasons. I put together a proposal to my boss about how I would get the work done and meet KPIs two days a week on site (the only daycare I could secure) and three days off site. He didn’t go for it so I left. Then I wondered why couldn’t I work like this full time from home for others? I contacted the CEO who I knew worked from home and he signed up immediately, told two of his director friends and that was that.
I researched digital recording/transcription and was told by Sony that was only done by the”top end of town” and it would never take off (this was 2000), so found Rod from Quikscribe who asked me to beta test his PC-based software. While searching for recording software I found IAVOA and ACS, joined both and never looked back.
In the intervening period I founded the Australian Virtual Business Network (subsequently sold), ran monthly webinars, and am on international committees for our industry. I also started up the Virtual Business Show podcast and am hoping to get more happening there over the coming months.
Would hate to work for someone else again, but have to say self-employment has its down side too, most notably if I don’t work I don’t get paid making holidays difficult, and remembering to pay super, which I have to admit I’ve been a bit slack with. I have a very supportive spouse and have to say that without one it’s unlikely my business would have lasted this long. Buy-in from partners/spouses/family is essential to success. They have to believe you are a business owner and not just “keeping busy” or that this is a hobby.
Initially I was providing virtual EA services to exec and non-exec directors and sole practitioners in legal and medical as this was my background (supporting executives), but this quickly morphed into digital transcription services when Sony was proved wrong and EVERYONE needed transcription work! I also provide support services to authors (being Australia’s second certified Virtual Author’s Assistant) – but most of my work is now medico-legal and legal transcription.
I worked from home for the first 15 ½ years of my practice and this year had to take some office space in town when a move further west meant we had no reliable internet and therefore no way to run a practice that relied on high speed internet! I must say I’m enjoying being in town though and have that definite separation between work and home and manage to actually get some relaxation time now when I am at home!
My “baby on the way” has just turned 16 and it won’t be long before she’s off making her own way in the world. I don’t expect I’ll change anything but will probably spend a bit more time going out networking since I’ll have a bit more “after school” time on my hands!