It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been working from home full-time since the fall of 2016, running my virtual assistant business as my main focus and source of income. I spent several weeks before this transition crunching the numbers and thinking about how best to make that happen. Prior to working from home full-time, my virtual assistant business was run on simple straight hourly work, with a flat rate for all services. But, part of my plan to be able to work from home included switching from straight hourly to monthly retainer packages.
I don’t think you need me to tell you that running a business is hard work. Like, really hard. It’s always hard, but I think it’s especially hard when you’re a solopreneur like me, because you have no one to fall back on, no one to swoop in when you can’t get to something, and no one to tell you you’re doing a good job. With all of that in mind, it’s important to make things easier when and where you can, which is why online business tools are so important.
I don’t think I’m in the minority when I say that 2017 was a pretty challenging year for me, both in my personal life and in my business life. During late fall/early winter in 2016, I was happily planning ahead for 2017 – with the help of Amber McCue’s Planathon event – and setting goals for the year (for my business – I’ve never been too big on New Year’s resolutions and things like that). Into the first…oh, I don’t know, at least quarter of the year, this kind of optimism about how the year would go – my first full year working from home full-time – persisted. But then, around May or June, things started to go a bit downhill.
Now, this is a story all about how…I started my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 😉 I began professionally teaching (as in, I had all of my degrees and a teaching license) during the 2012-2013 school year. I used TpT as a buyer during that school year, and it was, I think, at some point during 2013 that I switched from being a buyer to being a seller and started my store. I’m not sure exactly when I started my seller account, but I didn’t have any sales until the last quarter of 2013 – I know that from my data. And, as much as I wanted to make some extra income off of my store, I never really took it that seriously.
My business exploded in late July and early August of 2016. I’d been in business for about a year at that point, and my business had been growing in fits and starts during that time. But, all of the sudden, it just outright burst through the ceiling that had seemingly been on it. That growth continued – it’s still growing – and for a long time, I struggled to keep up with everything by myself. A few times I received the advice that I should hire a subcontractor, but I knew I just wasn’t there yet, at least financially.