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      Here at the #VAforum is where you'll find me sharing my most valuable, in-depth 20+ years of VA experience and knowledge through my written word. It is the best area to get your questions directly answered in detail by me, Tawnya Sutherland as I come here every morning to start my day out helping Virtual Assistants however I can. I do also share in small bytes at other social networking groups I manage online so feel free to check me out there too: Facebook group for Virtual Assistants  Facebook group for Virtual Assistants to Stay Fit  Like our Facebook Page too Linkedin Group for Virtual Assistants (22,000+) Google+ Community for Virtual Assistants I look forward to engaging with you online whatever your social network.
norah jansen

Starting from scratch - again

15 posts in this topic

Hi everyone - I'd love a bit of advice please. I'm currently living in New Zealand where I've been since 2005. During this time I made loads of contacts and I picked up some VA work earlier in the year. My heart wasn't really in getting the business off the ground as I was going through a tough time at home and being there all day was losing its attraction so I ended up taking a job. Now however, marriage is over and I'm making plans to go back to my home country of Ireland. I'm really looking forward to it and restarting my VA business is going to be crucial.

 

My question is - has anyone moved countries and started over? I know where I'm based shouldn't matter but a lot of US jobs require you to be on the same time zone. I am a self-starter and my glass is always half-full but I suppose I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything at the moment and my brain just has an empty space where there would usually be plans fermenting. Any pointers would be really helpful.

 

Thanks

 

Norah

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Hi, Norah

 

I launched my business only one week ago following a couple months of planning and maybe a lifetime of thinking about it. So sorry to hear of the rough patch you've been through but I can tell your optimism will pull you out of this funk and push you on full speed toward success.

 

I don't know how other people deal with the overwhelmed thing but for me, recovery from it always starts with a List. I use something called a Scrum Board to keep me moving. On the wall right behind my monitor here, I've made 3 columns with these signs, "Backlog", "Doing", and "Done". I use post-it notes and write one task on a post-it. I will tell you that some days I've had 20 of those yellow squares lined up in the "Backlog" column. (In the extremely dark days of the past, I will confess to having one that said "Shower" and another that said, "Get Dressed".) For the purpose of business start-up, each morning I brainstorm for a few moments and place every task I can think of on a post-it, and then line them up, one right under the other, in the "Backlog" column.

 

Next step - choose one task and place it under the "Doing" sign. Every time you look up, you'll see what you should be working on. You don't have to think about all those other things hanging over your head, your job right now is to focus on that one yellow square in the "Doing" column.

 

And of course, moving that completed task over to the "Done" column is the best feeling ever! That sense of accomplishment will move you forward to choose the next task to move from the "Backlog" column to the "Doing" column. I leave everything on my wall until the next morning when I take one last look at yesterday's progress, and then clear off the "Done" column and begin the process again.

 

I've never moved across time zones and so I'm not sure how that impacts a business, but I am sure someone can address this for you.

 

Norah, I look forward to getting to know you and cheering you on! We can be newbies together. No matter what happens, keep moving, even if it is just one post-it at a time. :kicking:

 

 

 

 

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Hi Norah, I can't be much help talking about experience because this is all very new to me, but networking could be a good start to share ideas as moving forward.

 

I am in the planning stage of starting my VA business. I'm starting by offering General admin VA to local clients but my niche is being a contracted business analyst for work so this is something I'll transition in.

 

The main purpose of my post is that I'm in the UK (so not a million miles away from you when you move) but also in the same time zone, so thought I'd offer up my details as a contact for your fresh network.

 

Best wishes and good luck

James

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Hi Norah! Just read your post. I haven't moved to another country, but I can relate to what you're going through with having to start over. I had a string of events occur that really took me off course, from family member's passing to health issues. Then the largest gas leak occurred nearby and forced me to move away from my home for the first half of the year. It seemed like whenever I wanted to gain traction to work on my business, I was sidelined.

 

Now that I'm back home, and getting things in order, I have been able to find time to work on my VA business again. I'm really grateful to be able to get back to it, too. I enjoy helping others. But the hard part is building the clientele from scratch after that long, forced break. Cathy had a great idea with the post-it notes that I may borrow. Even though there are so many programs where you can create your tasks online, sometimes it's better to have your tasks and goals right in front of you.

 

Overwhelm is natural. I have to remind myself of that, too. But we've done this before, and we can do it again. One step at a time.

 

Lots of luck and good vibes to you!

Lisa

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Hi, Norah

 

I launched my business only one week ago following a couple months of planning and maybe a lifetime of thinking about it. So sorry to hear of the rough patch you've been through but I can tell your optimism will pull you out of this funk and push you on full speed toward success.

 

I don't know how other people deal with the overwhelmed thing but for me, recovery from it always starts with a List. I use something called a Scrum Board to keep me moving. On the wall right behind my monitor here, I've made 3 columns with these signs, "Backlog", "Doing", and "Done". I use post-it notes and write one task on a post-it. I will tell you that some days I've had 20 of those yellow squares lined up in the "Backlog" column. (In the extremely dark days of the past, I will confess to having one that said "Shower" and another that said, "Get Dressed".) For the purpose of business start-up, each morning I brainstorm for a few moments and place every task I can think of on a post-it, and then line them up, one right under the other, in the "Backlog" column.

 

Next step - choose one task and place it under the "Doing" sign. Every time you look up, you'll see what you should be working on. You don't have to think about all those other things hanging over your head, your job right now is to focus on that one yellow square in the "Doing" column.

 

And of course, moving that completed task over to the "Done" column is the best feeling ever! That sense of accomplishment will move you forward to choose the next task to move from the "Backlog" column to the "Doing" column. I leave everything on my wall until the next morning when I take one last look at yesterday's progress, and then clear off the "Done" column and begin the process again.

 

I've never moved across time zones and so I'm not sure how that impacts a business, but I am sure someone can address this for you.

 

Norah, I look forward to getting to know you and cheering you on! We can be newbies together. No matter what happens, keep moving, even if it is just one post-it at a time. :kicking:

 

 

 

 

 

Cathy, loved reading about your way of being productive during the day. We all have our methods to keep focused and yours is a good one :)

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I've seen lots of VAs move from country to country and work efficiently still with their current clients even when on different timezones. It doesn't matter to the client what time we work as long as we get the job done by their due dates. ;)

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Well I've signed up for the VAC course - just like any career I believe training is required and I'm very optimistic about my chances having this course under my belt, so to speak.

 

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2017!

 

Norah

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I work in different time zones. I have clients who are all over the world. I am in Canada and have clients in the UK, Australia, Hawaii and I even have had clients in China and Dubai. During your transition you can continue with your current client market and then slowly transition but then again are you staying there permanently? My recommendation is to start looking (if at all possible) prior to moving and start marketing your services and looking for where you can reach clients in the time zone and location you are moving too. Make some friends on Facebook and Linkedin and join groups with your new market etc. It will be easy and great! Believe in yourself. You did it once you can do it again and this time 100x better :)

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Hi Norah, a great step in taking tawnya's va course and you will have access to the job board which will give you an opportunity to find new clients.

 

Also, I would suggest you find out about other VA associations in Ireland and the UK.

 

One I was looking at is the The UK Association of Virtual Assistants which gives you the opportunity to become part of a virtual team, and the opportunity to be recognized as a professional in your field by becoming an accredited member of the Association. This web site has in excess of 45,000 visitors every month. They claim: "A listing in our Directory puts you in front of these potential customers and an Enhanced Listing means they will have direct access from our web site to yours." Also you get access to their Job Alerts page, "where details of prospects that have approached us looking for a virtual assistant are posted. Details of the services they require, along with their contact details are posted so you can contact them directly." this would be a great way to start your client base.

 

All the best and looking forward to hearing how you do.

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Hi Susanne - thank you for this really practical and helpful advice. I'm off to check them out now :-)

Good luck :)

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Hi Norah,

I'm sorry to hear about the obstacles in front of you when you wrote this, but I am inspired by your willingness to relocate to Ireland and get your business back on track. Those are huge decisions to make despite your setbacks and for this I commend you!

I just placed a VA from California with a client from New Zealand yesterday to work on her ebook, do some research and help with her webinars. The NZ client told me that it was more important to have someone on board who was a good fit rather than worry about the time zone. Since she was 15 hours ahead of the CA time, it didn't matter unless the work was done. If there was any conversation, some time adjustments had to be made...but it is minor compared to the work being done.

When I interviewed the NZ client for my referral business I spoke to her via Zoom at 8 pm EST while it was 18 hours forward for the client in the morning. Honestly, for me it was no problem.

Further, I use a walkie-talkie system in my business to send out short questions that can be answered at any time. The product is called Voxer.com and the basic package is free. I send quick one-minute messages to get quick answers if I am stuck on something or just want to check in.

In this age of technology, communication issues are less. And for most clients as long as the work is getting done and you are meeting the company's goals, no worries about setting up your business elsewhere.

Best to you!

Janine

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