This week, I’m very excited to introduce you to Stephanie, work-from-home mom, traveller, successful Virtual Assistant, and a 90 Day VA Star Student.
Before embarking on her online journey, Stephanie was working a traditional corporate job in New York and barely had time to see her kids after work each day. She was feeling stressed about missing their milestones and sought to find an alternative to living her life and sharing it with her family.
Fast forward a few months, Stephanie now works successfully online as a Virtual Assistant niching in the field of video content and editing.
Read on to find out how Stephanie ventured into working as a Virtual Assistant, how she quit her corporate job and moved to Italy and her top tips for other moms looking to balance the stay-at-home mom life plus the work-from-home hustle!
Meet Stephanie, the Work-at-Home Mom
Let’s dig right in.
Stephanie is a native New Yorker and mother of two, a little boy and girl. Stephanie is also a work-at-home mom and started her work online journey as an online English teacher turned virtual assistant.
About a year ago, she relocated with her family to Northern Venice in Italy, and since then, her online journey has changed and evolved a lot. So in this case study, we’re going to outline exactly how got started and got going online!
Why Stephanie Quit Her Corporate Job and Moved to Italy
First things first, the big question: Why did Stephanie quit her corporate job and move to Italy?
Stephanie had been working for 3 years at a corporate job in New York when they decided to make the big change. While she loved New York, she found it hard to live there because of the high cost of living.
Here’s what Stephanie had to say: “In New York, I was working a corporate full time job in the finance sector, working nine to five. And my husband was a bit of a stay-at-home dad for part of the time, and we also had a babysitter.
I felt as though I was missing some of my daughter’s major milestones, and it was really hard going back to work after three months of being with her. I felt like that was just not a long enough time to be able to bond.
I had become a “work mom.” It was just really tough, and I was not happy in my job.”
Stephanie’s husband is from an area in North Venice, so when they got an opportunity to move to Italy with the entire family, they seized it. Just 2 months after Stephanie had her second child, the entire family packed up and moved to Europe.
And that’s how Stephanie’s work from home journey began.
Moving to Italy and working from home gave Stephanie the ability to spend time with both her young children. She says, “I was able to have the flexibility to do other things and not be tied down to a job that was always going to keep me away and not let me pursue my passions.”
This move also gave Stephanie the time and space to begin exploring what online options could look like for her.
How Stephanie Started Her Work Online Journey
Stephanie got started working online through a path that many do: by teaching English online.
“When I first got to Italy, I was actually teaching English online because I had worked for Rosetta Stone a few years ago,” she says. Stephanie figured she could take that experience and simply transform it into an online opportunity and got started by looking for online English teaching companies.
While searching for online work opportunities, she stumbled upon our Work from Home free Facebook group and decided to investigate the idea of becoming a ‘Virtual Assistant’ further. One thing led to another and Stephanie ended up watching our free intro class on how anyone can get started as a VA and what exactly being a VA entails.
Stephanie was at that point, a little wary of teaching English online as a long-term solution; she says, “I was teaching online with a Chinese-based company and decided that I didn’t want to do this for the rest of my life. I wanted to be able to figure out what else I can use the skills that I already have for.”
And that’s when Stephanie decided to take the leap and join 90 Day VA, in search of a more fulfilling online work life.
How Stephanie Transitioned into Becoming a Virtual Assistant
Stephanie started 90 Day VA just a few months ago. She went through the modules within the course and began brainstorming what she loved to do, what she was good at and what she wanted to offer as services.
She stumbled upon the idea of video editing as a service; she had dabbled in video editing in New York as a videographer and loves it.
Stephanie then did her homework! She found that there were video editor positions for influencers, businesses and entrepreneurs who were creating video content for their social media platforms.
Winner, winner – chicken dinner.
So Stephanie ended up launching into the online world as a Virtual Assistant specializing in video editing, visual storytelling and helping clients build connections to their customers and target base through video.
What are the Prerequisites of Working as a Virtual Assistant in video editing?
Working in the video editing niche seems to have easily fallen into place for Stephanie given her background in video editing, but what about someone who doesn’t have that experience or doesn’t have any experience?
Are there prerequisites to working as a Virtual Assistant in the video editing niche?
Stephanie suggests, “I think if you are wanting to get into video editing, and you just need a laptop or computer that already has some kind of video editing software.
Your editing software doesn’t even have to necessarily be professional grade like the Adobe Suite, Premier Pro or Final Cut. You can just start with iMovie or Windows Video Maker.
Start slowly with those and practice; use some of your own recordings that you have (home videos, footage from events or parties or stock video) to get a feel for how to use the program first and then share it. Then, you can start to see how it’s being used in the business world.
If you want to eventually use something that’s a higher grade professional level of software, there are some others that require a higher skill set.”
Stephanie says from there on, it’s just getting internships and practice under your belt. Stephanie is, herself, completely self-taught, so she strongly believes anyone can get going, especially with the vast amount of resources, both paid and free, online nowadays!
Fun fact: 90 Day VA actually also has a brand new video editing module in the program now!
Types of Clients that a Virtual Assistant Can Work With
So let’s talk clients. What type of clients does Stephanie work with? Who needs her services?
Stephanie says, “I’m working as an on-call editor for a company based in California, and they work with influencers on video projects. When they need me, I jump on and help with some of their video content. Alongside that, I’m working with small businesses locally in Italy where I live.”
Stephanie recommends when getting started to just reach out to businesses and ask them if they need help. She offered her services to record and promote some of their events for them, and that’s how it got rolling.
Businesses nowadays, especially brick and mortar businesses, aren’t always on social media and they don’t produce video content at all, which is a huge loss of potential for them! Video content is becoming one of the hottest forms of content in the 21st century, and every business could benefit from producing some form of business content.
Stephanie says that most businesses she talks to just doesn’t have time and knowledge about video marketing. They don’t even know that they can hire someone for it, let alone who to hire for it. Stephanie has been cold pitching her services to businesses, and has recently come upon a travel-based company that has a mountain of footage and nobody to work through it.
She explains, “They don’t have anyone in a position right now to even work on the footage to edit it. So they’re looking to fill that role, and that would be a long-term arrangement.”
Alongside that, Stephanie also has some pitches that potentially may be turning into internships. She can’t emphasize enough the importance of networking and getting in touch with companies.
How to Cold Pitch to Land Clients and Internships as a Virtual Assistant
Firstly, an important question: what is cold pitching?
Cold pitching is essentially sending an email or message to someone that doesn’t know who you are, and pitching them your services.
Stephanie elaborates, “When cold pitching, you have to put your best foot forward immediately in that email and show them why they need you.
When I cold pitch, I have researched the company, researched their background, researched what they’re doing, what they need; then I, in turn, put in the email what I think they’re doing really great at. And then I sell my skills of what I’m really great at and how I can help elevate their company into a different stratosphere.
I’ve also pitched myself as an intern which can help ease my way into building a working relationship with them so that they can feel comfortable and see that the work that I do with them is something that’s compatible and great. And it can cement in a longer term relationship working together.”
Stephanie says she’s done both paid and unpaid internships; some unpaid internships have also turned into paid positions.
She says landing internships is a great way to show what you can do; you gain experience and it makes them more comfortable with the idea of working together. We also highly recommend doing internships as a way to gain experience and learn on the job, especially for those starting out with little or no experience in the online world!
It is a fantastic way to build a relationship, show off your skills, and be immersed in a business to learn all facets of the behind the scenes operations.
How Much Does Stephanie Work per Week as a Virtual Assistant
Stephanie says ideally she would like to work around 20 – 25 hours per week; she is currently at roughly 10 hours per week having just started venturing into the VA world 3 months ago.
Stephanie also recommends that when starting, you start your hourly rate at a little lower. She sees this is a long game if you’ve just gotten started online. Right now, she’s in the portfolio building and planning phase of her online journey, and in six months, her stunning portfolio will pay off and she can bump her rate with more hours.
Stephanie currently charges $20/hr and ideally wants to move up to $30/hr.
How Stephanie Balances Being a Mom of 2 While Working from Home
A lot of women in our program are work-at-home moms who have little kiddos running around and they still need to get work done.
So, what do you do? How do you balance the two?
Stephanie says, “I built a schedule around when my son goes to sleep. I also have my daughter go to their grandparents for two days a week, and my husband takes my daughter to their aunt’s house and she’ll play with her cousins.
I work around the sleeping schedule of the kids a little bit and then the daycare hours. I set aside two hours each day in the morning to bang out this work, and then in the afternoon, I set out two to three hours to bang out this amount of work and what needs to get done.
Now that my daughter is going into preschool full time, I will be able to have almost a full morning where I can devote to work and my son will then be going to the grandparents’ house. So that affords maybe an ability to be able to work more hours!”
This is exactly what many of the stay-at-home moms in 90 Day VA currently do. You really just have to find a schedule that works for you.
A huge benefit is that working online is incredibly flexible schedule-wise; a client does not demand you need to be online between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM unless maybe if you’re working a full-time remote job. The focus is more on ‘getting things done’ rather than ‘when you are getting things done.’
Stephanie agrees and says, “Exactly. Everything’s pretty flexible. They normally request that something is done by this time, and your job is just to make sure you meet that.”
Stephanie sneaks in a little tip as well to always build in buffer time for your deadlines in case something goes awry. If something is due on Thursday, get it done a day or two before the deadline in case something unexpected happens with your kids, your internet dies for the day or the client wants revisions.
It’s all about planning for those unexpected aspects of the projects!
Plus, your reputation for getting your stuff done on time is so important when you work online. Your employers and contractors are trusting you with flexible time to get your work done, and you want to honor that.
How to Handle Setbacks or Challenges When Working Online
Stephanie says one big challenge when working online is having the patience for things to click into place when you first get started.
Stephanie reaches out to the girls in our private community that we have in 90 Day VA when she feels down or when she’s struggling. They always have the best advice!
Stephanie says it’s important when that happens to just take a break, step away from it and give yourself a day or two to come back to it. During your break, do something creative or go outside for a bike ride, anything that can help you reset.
Stephanie adds: “Working online doesn’t happen in a day. It takes time. You have to be patient and know that it’s going to come into fruition. You just have to be patient with yourself.”
Making the decision to commit to working online and investing in yourself is part of your journey already. It’s already begun.
Many people never make that decision: that brave leap to venture into a new world and give themselves the space to try an alternative.
If you choose to work online, you already took the biggest, bravest step. Now you’ve just gotta keep rolling with it.
Just keep going!
Who is 90 Day VA right for?
Would Stephanie recommend 90 Day VA, and if so, who would she recommend it for?
She says, “I would recommend it because there are so many valuable skills that I didn’t even know that was in demand that I can now use and offer.
Even if I decided today that I didn’t want to do video anymore, that I wanted to get back into social media content design, it would be so easy to learn about how to build that portfolio and create graphics for those companies through 90 Day VA.
You can explore every avenue that you know and when surely something that takes your fancy and you’re like, ‘I’m gonna run with that.’”
She elaborates further: “So it doesn’t limit you to just email management, scheduling, and travel booking. That’s not the end all be all of what virtual assistants do. 90 Day VA is like a whole box of surprises and things that come out that you can just take and you’re like, okay, yeah, I think that I would like that.“
Alongside that, a big part of how the 90 Day VA curriculum was designed was to cover your bases for working with businesses in the different facets of their operations. As you grow in your roles with your clients, you have more and more to offer them.
If your client comes to you and asks, “Hey! Do you know how to do any PR? We need someone to help with pitching.”
Guess what?! You can help because there’s a PR module in 90 Day VA that was taught by a PR expert.
So, what would Stephanie say to someone who is on the fence about joining 90 Day VA?
Stephanie would say: “The program has offered so much support and so many resources that I didn’t even know was out there. That alone had been enough.
And it doesn’t hurt to try. Right? Because if you don’t try, you’ll never know.
And what’s the worst that will happen? You learn some new things like, you’ll meet some new people and you’ll gain some new perspective. That’s not a negative. That’s a positive.
The fear is always there, right? It’s always going to like come at you and say, ‘No, no, no, that’s not gonna work. You’ll fail.’”
But you can’t let that fear dictate your life or your decisions.
If your goal is to spend more time with your babies, it’s worth it to give it a try!
- Don’t let fear dictate your life. Fear will be present whenever you’re considering a huge change. It’s important to recognize that fear but not let that fear dictate those big, scary decisions that could end up changing your life!
- Cold pitch potential clients! Seize opportunities. Take the initiative and pitch clients that you’d love to work for in creative and inspiring ways.
- Create a schedule that works for you. Have kids? Carve out pockets of time and create a flexible schedule for you to work on your client work and course work.
- Patience, patience, patience! All good things take time, so allow yourself to be patient and keep working at it until you make your dream a reality.
Thank you to the incredible Stephanie who has shared so much value in terms of juggling being a stay at home mom and working online, PLUS hopefully proved that you can work online and earn a side income with little ones in the house.
We are so excited to see where her journey in virtual assisting and video editing is going to take her!
If you’re curious about Stephanie’s life and want to follow along on her business journey, you can head over to her Instagram! If you’re curious about working with Stephanie and hiring her, check out her amazing portfolio HERE.
If you’d like to join us in the work from anywhere revolution and get started as a Virtual Assistant, head on over to our free intro “How to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant” class that walks you through exactly how to get going ASAP.
Because if we can all do it. Why not you, too?
If you’re curious, eager, or ready for a life of freedom and travel, our free intro class is the best place to start to learn all about how to work online as a Virtual Assistant making $20 – $40+/hr. You can join the free intro class here!
Stephanie is an ambitious video editor and videographer who loves helping resilient and empowered women leaders and entrepreneurs soar to new heights with video marketing. A traveler to the core, Stephanie was born in Germany, called New York her home for 15 years where she got her MA at Columbia University. Had the awesome opportunity to work in front of and behind the camera, Stephanie’s experience in filmmaking, theatre and commercials has given her an inventive eye in video storytelling. You can find her Instagram HERE and her VA Portfolio HERE.