What happens when you mix kids, a micromanager and Peruvian mountains?
You find inspiration to start your own online business.
I’ve been running my online content management, virtual assistant business since 2012. And I love it.
I work with amazing clients, I manage my diary to suit me, and I get to be a hands-on mum who has time to run her kids to the activity of the day.
But I haven’t always been this cool and calm.
Honestly, I was a mess. People would take one look at me and see a haggled, worn out and highly stressed woman who was barely making it through a day.
That lady was not who I wanted to be. So, I decided I had to make changes.
My backstory that led to finding my business freedom.
Working as the Senior Marketing Coordinator for a global engineering and environmental consultancy firm, I’d worked with a few managers over my 8 years.
But the last one broke me.
In her words, ‘I don’t understand part-time’ which I was working at the time.
Rather than outright fire me (as that would be all kinds of wrong), she set about making my working life unbearable.
She’d set up performance reviews and make things up that I’d done wrong – I’m not kidding! This happened continually, not just the annual review that was required.
Soon enough, she looked to hire another Senior Marketing Coordinator. At the interview, this poor interviewee was asked, ‘Are you planning on starting a family’. When she replied with ‘no’, she was employed straight away. Things went from bad to terrible.
I’d constantly receive snarky messages that ordered, ‘Come to my office’.
I was even stuffing up kinder drop-off.
Being told that if I wasn’t going to make it into the office by 9am filled me with anxiety every morning.
I’d take my son to kinder in a panic and rush him inside. After a quick kiss on the cheek and a hug, I’d be looking at my watch to hurry away. He soon picked up on my elevated stress levels and started to suffer from separation anxiety.
One day, the kinder teacher asked my sister in law if I’d ‘always been an anxious person’. What? I’d never been anxious – ever.
But I could feel it within myself. The heart palpitations had been getting worse over the past 6 months.
Mum told me I was ‘looking like a washed-out rag’.
Please tell me you’ve been there too? You’re so stressed out that you yell and scream at your poor kids for no obvious reason. Add to this times of lying in bed crying your eyes out and not wanting to face the world.
When my husband turned 40, we decided to take a month-long trip to South America (without the kids). While trekking through Machu Piccu in Peru, I took a moment to sit on a mountain and ponder what my life had become.
I knew things had to change.
It was on this Peruvian mountain that I had a vision. I’d start my own business! I had no idea what that would be yet, but I was going to get away from the stresses in my current situation.
But I returned to work. As it had been a month, my boss decided (like the adult she was) to completely ignore me. I suffered hair loss, acute anxiety and depression, was put on medication and had weekly doctor visits. His advice – STOP WORKING THERE.
So, I did.
From that day on, I went it alone in business.
With my marketing background, I was curious to learn more about social media, so I did some training.
My good friend Alli introduced me to one of her clients, and I started managing her Facebook pages.
Sam Says was born.
Five years on, I’m now working 20-30 hours per week, working with coaches, speakers and authors, assisting them with their content management.
My children (now 8 and 10) are at school so I work during school hours and continue at night when they go to bed (only if I must). But the thing about doing what you love – it doesn’t feel like work.
I now have the best of both worlds. I’m there in the morning and after school to spend time with my kids (and do all the running around), and I chose who I want to work with (and what work I’ll do for them).
There’s a saying that ‘Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a weed to avoid a 40-hour week working for someone else’. After being my own boss, I’d have to agree with this.
It’s having choices that make it all worthwhile.
I’m a content marketer, a social media user and promoter, a diary organiser, an event planner, a virtual assistant, and a shopaholic food lover that can’t wink (for real).
Hood: Glen Iris
Children: 2 children, Tom aged 10 and Charli aged 8.
Motherhood in 5 words: A roller coaster of emotions.
Fav family friendly place: Florrie – a gorgeous doll shop in Armadale with a café that serve the most divine milkshakes for kids – my daughter particularly loves this shop.
Coffee order: Latte
Biz: Sam Says
I started my business, Sam Says in 2012.
I work with coaches, authors and speakers, I’m a content marketing virtual assistant who helps my clients stay in front of their ideal clients in our online world (while also helping them tackle the icky admin parts and plan events).