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Is it my Self Esteem?

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So I recently started my virtual assisting business after getting laid off from my corporate job and have been working steady with one client so it's not bad. But working from home has taken a toll on me. I do professional work but I don't feel very professional when I leave my bedroom to go to my desk. I don't know if it's that I'm not wearing my usual work attire or what. I found myself going to Barnes & Noble today just to have some human interaction, change in scenery, and to get away from my dogs at home. I feel just so.... blah! I'm sure I'm not alone in this and just wanted to see if I could get some feedback from other virtual assistants that is going through this or have gone through this and what you've done to overcome this feeling.

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So I recently started my virtual assisting business after getting laid off from my corporate job and have been working steady with one client so it's not bad. But working from home has taken a toll on me. I do professional work but I don't feel very professional when I leave my bedroom to go to my desk. I don't know if it's that I'm not wearing my usual work attire or what. I found myself going to Barnes & Noble today just to have some human interaction, change in scenery, and to get away from my dogs at home. I feel just so.... blah! I'm sure I'm not alone in this and just wanted to see if I could get some feedback from other virtual assistants that is going through this or have gone through this and what you've done to overcome this feeling.

 

I think this is normal when you start working from home. There is very much a social aspect to going to the workplace each day, and when you work from home, you lose that. Your profile doesn't say where you are located, but maybe you can see if there are other VAs in your area that you could meetup with. Also, maybe join a book club or a networking group or something like that - Kiwanis, Toastmasters, anything to get out of the house and get some social interaction that doesn't come through a computer screen.

 

Don't worry - you'll be okay, and you always have us to lean on here. I know virtual hugs aren't quite the same as in-person hugs, but we're here for you.

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When you go from having constant human interaction to having almost none, it does cause some depression. Make it a point on a regular basis to get out and connect with people. Like Amanda said, join a networking group, or a book club, or something that will make you get out among the living regularly.

 

I like working at the library. Our town just built a big, spectacular library, and I just love going there. I was there last week for 5 hours. Most of the time I worked in one of the "conversation pits" = a big grouping of chairs and couches. When I had to take calls, I went into one of the study rooms and shut the door.

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Tracy,

 

Yes, once you've been in the corporate world and have had all of that interaction, it does take a toll on you and you may become depressed or feel very isolated. You need to try and get out once in a while.

 

I have a hard time doing that because I prefer staying home and working. My hubby and kids have been working on getting me out of the house more. LOL I do make up for it at the VA conferences though.

 

Whatever you do, remember to take care of yourself and, if you need to get out of the house, do it!

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Tracy,

 

It's a big adjustment and feeling disconnected from the world "out there" is normal. I'm with Patty though - I'm a homebody and I enjoy being alone. I love going to my office and just plugging away all day and night, much to the chagrin of my husband and animals!! We're all a little different but I think the one huge plus for you is that you recognize that you may be a little depressed and you're willing to do something about it. If it persists, seek help from your physician. Otherwise, push yourself to get out, if even to walk your dogs.

 

Take care of yourself,

Lynn

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Guest Melodee

After many, many, (many,) years of sitting in a cubicle, I love working from home. I even have a window next to my desk - unheard of in most of my jobs :D

 

Local networking is where I get a lot of my human interaction - plus it brings in more clients, which is always nice. I have to push myself to leave the house, but once I get to the event, I have a great time!

 

Having the radio on to a local channel helps to make me feel like I know what's going on in the world, too. I especially like to listen to the road reports in the winter while I'm sitting snug and warm in my home office...

 

Hang in there, Tracy. You'll find what works for you - just keep trying.

 

Melodee

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To VA_Mabella

 

Great that you have a client, bummer that you having a difficult time working from home.

 

I agree with the others that you need to get out and find a networking group. You can go on the internet for your area and check with the local Chamber of Commerce, SBA, SWBA, SCORE and see what networking opportunites may be in your area. Ask to see if you can show up for one of their meetings, to check them out, to see if you would be interested in joining. This is a great opportunity to give your "elevator speech", hand out business cards and get your name out there. If that group is not a good fit for you, there may be another one that is.

 

You may want to schedule some time in your week for a volunteer activity. There are several organizations that would love to have someone volunteer some time to help them. This will get you out of the house and into another environment. Someone mentioned that they volunteered at the local library. If you like to work with children, check the library at your local elementary school. They may need some help there a few hours a week. I know that when my girls were small, I spent many hours working in the school library. The librarian did not like it when the youngest moved into middle school and I stopped coming in to help her. The only thing here is that you really have to love small children and books. I was fortunate that the librarian let me help her when she had to leave the library. I enjoyed the challenges of the kids and I was able to also meet several children's authors that I would not have had the opportunity to meet.

 

One thing that I am doing is to remember to keep the hours that I ultimately want to work --Business. I treat those hours as business hours --the same as I would if I had clients. For me, that means that after breakfast that my workday begins. I have items listed on my task list to complete, as well as, upcoming free webinars, free seminars, free workshops. Okay for "free" I will at least attend to see if I can pick up any new ideas. Also, if it is a free local workshop (whatever), I remember to take business cards and some of my brochures. I have learned that there is always a way to network that may lead to new clients. So I keep my days structured with things that need to be done. There is always something that will need to be done, so I plan for the next step. I also have my desk set up like I would have my desk if I were an employee at a business. I have the pictures, the pencil holder, hole punch, pencil sharper, computer, printer, etc. I also have two windows in my office. I have one by the desk and one by the daybed. When I need a break from working at the desk, I can go and set on the daybed. I have listened to seminars, classes, webinars, etc., while lounging on the daybed. [i'm fortunate that none of them have been boring so I was tempted to fall asleep.] I am still in the office working, but I don't have to sit at my desk all day either.

 

Another thing that I schedule in is to visit VA Networking, VAinsiders (especially Mondays) and IVAA on a daily basis. VA Networking gets mornings and afternoons because it's such a GREAT networking avenue. What other networking avenue will you have the opportunity to come as you are, there's a reason that I have refused to turn the camera on in my laptop. There are probably some that do go ahead and get dressed as if they were going into an office because that's what works for them. [Even my neighbors agree that I have finally found a business that lets me dress the way I want to not the way I have to. I hate shopping for clothes, shoes, makeup, etc. Fabric on the other hand I can spend hours looking at fabric.] Sorry I got off tract there.

 

Anyway, Lynn mentioned if this condition persists go see your doctor. I would have to second that.

 

Wishing you all the best,

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Tracy,

True, it is difficult to adjust after being in a daily work routine for many years. It took me a while to get use to working alone in my own business and I would call up people I knew and worked with when I was employed in the corporate world just to have some social contact with the outside world. I've been operating my VA business for just over 3 1/2 years now and I'm noticing that I call my corporate work colleagues less and less because I'm getting more and more busy with client work all the time.

 

Some things that helped me adjust were:

 

Having the flexibility to set my own work hours;

 

Not having to commute;

 

Freedom to come and go as I please, :yay: e.g. if I need to buy stationery supplies for my business, I just go out and do it as opposed to waiting until after business hours to shop. I meet with my clients at their location and while I'm out, I can run an errand or too before I return to my office;

 

The best part and most convincing advantage for me in adjusting to working my VA practice out of my home office was not having to commute in the winter time :thumbup: when the weather can be messy, roads are slippery, and there are sudden snow squalls or freezing rain and it's cold outside. I don't miss that at all and when I hear the traffic reports during the winter months it makes me chuckle.

 

As other VAs have suggested in this post, do some volunteer work, get out to networking events and go to get togethers with other VAs :girlsout: . Doing these things will always provide an outlet that you'll look forward to and may be beneficial to your VA practice when you get referrals when you attend networking events and meet with other VAs.

 

Hang in there and don't give up.

 

Barb

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Hi Tracy,

 

First off - congratulations on launching your business! Big jump from the structure of a corporate setting, isn't it?

 

My first thoughts when I read your post were that you're probably an extrovert in that you acquire much positive energy from interacting with other people. I'd listen to that because if you can't fuel your energy your business can't survive. This means you might want to start doing some local networking and/or consider some kind of coaching/mastermind program. You NEED to engage with people and not just their emails :)

 

That's just how you're made and you must nurture that!!

 

You'll find that many (if not the majority) of VAs are introverts by nature. They LOVE working alone. Extroverts do not. Structure your business and your marketing around WHO you are and things will be okay ... even great. Promise!

 

Karri

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What I did was set up a routine. I didn't want to give out my home address for my business so I got a post office box address. So my routine in the mornings was to drop my kids off at school, go pick up my mail and then return to the 'office' and not 'home'. It became a mindset thing for me. I don't dress up but I do make sure I'm suitably dressed to go out and about and if I meet people not worried about what I'm dressed in.

 

These days the kids are grown and have left home but I still have my daily routine of going to pick up mail every day and return to the office. I make myself a cuppa and then come to my desk and start on my work. I make sure I don't let the things of 'home' distract me - which is another big problem many have. Ironing, washing, housecleaning, etc can be distracting to many. I've learnt to let those things go and there is a time and place for them - but not during my working hours.

 

Isolation and depression are things that hit many who start working at home, irrespective of the industry, so going out regularly is important. Apart from the fact that you need your Vitamin D so it is a health thing, just being out amongst other people is important. I belong to BNI (www.bni.com) and attend weekly meetings. It's great for interaction with many other business owners who also work in their homes (most do but not all) and discuss things that all business owners experience - finding new clients, dealing with clients, getting the daily work done and so on.

 

Networking is paramount so balance it between online stuff when you're in your office at home and going out and about. Make it a habit to go out regularly and you'll feel much better very soon.

 

Oh, and the days when you don't feel like going out? They're the days you HAVE TO go out. You will definitely be glad you did.

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Don't worry, this is something you can change and fantastic suggestions by everyone above. I'd like to add to try and find other venues to socialize in that maybe aren't business related. What do you like to do, what are your hobbies? Maybe you could join a gym, take a yoga class and meet some new friends that way. Exercise is one way to beat the blues too ;) Or take belly dancing classes, join a club that interests you. I belong to Toastmasters (which really helps my business) plus I just joined a Rockhound Club which is of interest to me too.

 

Not sure if you are aware of our VAjot.com evenings, but typically they are held on the occasional Wednesday. You can view our calendar by clicking here. I started this up because it got me socializing (albeit it in a virtual environment) with people of like mind who also had VA businesses. Try to attend, they are fantastic!

 

Here's more info on them: Most WEDNESDAYS (Virtual Assistants) ~ FREE VAjot Social Night (Check our calendar)

 

Join Tawnya Sutherland at 7pm EST, for our popular VAjot Social Night. At our VAjot Social Night we come together as Virtual Assistants, business colleagues and as friends to connect, share and discuss our accomplishments the past week.

 

It's a social networking evening to JOT down everything on our minds, from introducing new members to discussing positive flows within our businesses. We guarantee it will be a fun and informative social night for all to hang with their peers in the VA industry!

 

All Virtual Assistants (or wanna-bees?) welcomed and please bring your URL with you to promote to us.

 

Follow our hashtag on Twitter: #VAjot

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Hi Tracy,

 

Congratulations on starting your business! It can definitely be lonely at times, and you have had great suggestions by everyone above on how to bring social time or networking time into your day, whether it's business related or not. I mentor new VAs and I always recommend that they find a fellow VA to have as their sounding board; an accountability partner. Having someone to talk to that really understands where you are is a great way to relieve some of that 'being at home all of a sudden' stress. Family can be supportive, but VAs truly understand your business.

VAnetworking is awesome for support too - like Tawnya says, get involved in the VAjot nights and you will no doubt find that you are not the only one who sometimes feels like they are all alone. :)

I would also suggest taking your shower and getting dressed every morning as though you were going to an outside job - but it's always casual Friday. :) I check in with my social networks in the morning so it jump starts my brain and puts me in a good mood before I start my client work (if I need it!)

 

Good luck - hang in there! And don't be shy to reach out anytime you need it!

Tracey

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Hope I can offer a different view point. Sorry, kind of long.

 

I felt that way when I got laid off from the mine I was working at. No job meant no life I guess. Then I realized, that’s what society teaches us, a product of the culture, not necessarily the truth. I’m kind of like the survivalists in some ways, you can’t rely on society, you have to rely on yourself. I’m on a survivalist board, and there was a story about some guys that went hunting so far back in the woods they had to be dropped off by air plane in a meadow. When they hiked back a few miles from the meadow, they saw an old man dressed in old clothes who they realized had been living far out in the wilderness, off the land. They even stumbled across his log cabin he had built and a skinned out deer waiting to be dried or smoked for the winter.

True, maybe the old guy was nuts or something, but whatever the case, he certainly didn’t think less of himself for not having a “real job” . I don’t know how many of you have seen the old sci fi movie Logan’s Run. It’s about a post apocalyptic society living closed off in a “city of domes”. The city was built closed off that way under the domes because of radiation, etc. but after everything cleared 200 years later, the people had become so accustomed that they had no idea of any other kind of life. As we move into the 21st century further and further, I think about that movie, every once in a while. More and more things are banned; we rely on the government more and more to take care of us. I live in a rural aria and when I listen to people from the city talk, the one thing that keeps coming up is that they seem afraid to do for themselves. Not only that, but they seem afraid of the state. They’re Afraid to wire up an electrical box, or plum a sink or a host of other things. They seem like children waiting for their parents permission to do the things that I do every day without a thought. I’m not a luddite, I love technology, and science, what I can’t stand is a life styfled and controlled by a bunch of special interests who think they know best for others.

In Logan’s Run, the city even told you when you had to die, everyone had a “life clock” implanted in the palm of their hand that started to blink when you turned 30. At that time you turned yourself in, or the police (“sand men”) came for you . The people who didn’t buy the bs were called “runners”, they sought to escape the domes and go outside to find a place called sanctuary. I guess that’s what I am, a runner.

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