Embracing a Simpler Life and Sharing Her Journey to Becoming a Virtual Assistant: Susie Burton Ditched the 9-5
Meet Susie Burton, who caught my attention on Instagram.
You may have seen the August Free At 50 post in honor of National Simplify Your Life Week (if not, click here to open it in a new tab). I’ve been watching relevant hashtags and accounts on Instagram like Susie’s. She shared a post on her account that hit home on the topic of simplification- a theme you’ll continue to see on this blog as we hit the busiest time of year and head into a new one. Here’s the thing, life is complicated, but you can control some of that. Susie and I both took control by embracing a simpler life, one outside of the 9-5, specifically outside corporate life.
Susie is an experienced personal assistant who recently turned to working virtually to align her life and work to her values as well as gain flexibility to also care for her chronically ill husband. She has two kids and lives just outside Copenhagen, Denmark. Read her guest post below and be inspired!
Use her story and her journey to help you get to a life outside 9-5.
RELATED: Click here to trial the Digital Acceleration, where I took the lead generation course that led me to meeting Susie on Instagram!
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Photo by Hendrik Schuette on Unsplash
Embracing a simpler life: my journey to becoming a virtual assistant
After dedicating years to earning a college degree and honing our skills in the corporate realm many of us - now more than ever - find ourselves seeking more than just a paycheck and another step up the corporate ladder.
We yearn for a meaningful slower-paced life that allows us to savor the moments that truly matter. In my case, this was amplified by the challenges posed by my husband’s chronic illness and a desire to spend more time with my kids, while they still wanted to hang around.
Eventually, this desire led me on the path of becoming a Virtual Assistant (VA).
As I share my story of transitioning from corporate to a less complicated life as a solopreneur, I will also offer tips on how a Virtual Assistant can play a role in helping other solopreneurs and business owners simplify their lives.
RELATED: Get the Free At 50 6-Step Checklist to Escape the 9-5 by clicking here.
Like so many before me, I spent years navigating the high-paced corridors of corporate life.
However, as an introvert who didn’t do well in open-plan offices, I never felt like I truly belonged, even though I enjoyed the work I was doing. So, when a series of shifts occurred in my personal life - on top of the pandemic - it ignited a strong yearning for a different lifestyle. A life that aligned more with my values and allowed me to be present with my family.
Supporting my husband in managing his chronic illness and accompanying him on up to 10 medical appointments a month, while also working full-time to support our family had me spread thin between my various responsibilities.
So, when the pandemic hit, and I was sent home to work, it opened my eyes to a different way of living and working.
The positive effects of my working from home became immediately apparent.
Not only in terms of flexibility in my schedule but also in terms of my husband’s mental health, which greatly improved now that he was no longer spending most of his days stuck at home alone.
Then my employer announced a merger that would eventually see my role in the company terminated.
This event, over which I had no control, called for a recalibration of priorities. I already knew that I would not return to the open-plan offices of my past and that working from home was what made the most sense for our family.
I also knew that I wanted to simplify my life, in a way that made me less dependent on other people’s decisions.
So, for me, the choice to become self-employed was not only about escaping the 9-5 routine but also about creating a life that resonated with my new priorities. The prospect of working from home, setting my own hours, and tailoring my workload to fit the demands of my family and my role as a caregiver quickly became a beacon of hope.
RELATED: The Free At 50 story that kicked off this blog.
Photo by Zeynep Sude Emek on Unsplash
The path to solopreneur
The decision to become a Virtual Assistant allowed me to harmonize my professional aspirations with my responsibilities in ways that I could not have imagined previously.
The journey was centered around taking control of my life and embracing a simpler and more authentic existence.
For those who find themselves in a similar juncture - midway through their professional life, seeking flexibility, balance, and a pace that resonates with their values - I can only recommend the life of the solopreneur.
The ability to tailor my work hours around my husband’s medical needs and be there for him and my kids while creating a life of authenticity and balance is priceless.
Photo by Benjamin Brunner on Unsplash
But don’t be fooled.
Being a solopreneur - and thereby responsible for everything yourself - can quickly turn into the opposite of a simple life. This is why I see it as one of my finest tasks to help my clients get back to the simplicity they dreamed of when they first left the confines of the 9-5 to embark on the journey of entrepreneurship.
As a VA I not only get to choose where and when to work, but I also have the pleasure of working to simplify the lives of my clients. As a seasoned administrative professional, my skillset is a valuable asset that I can adapt to meet the specific needs of clients.
I am grateful that I get to help other solopreneurs and business owners build a life that is slower, gentler, and imbued with the richness of meaningful work.
By being a solopreneur and business owner myself I am in a unique position to offer insights, support, and personalized solutions to the diverse administrative and secretarial needs of fellow solopreneurs.
From calendar management and research to translation and general troubleshooting I aim - through my work - to help others thrive by taking some of the complexities of business off their plate.
RELATED: Start organizing your business with a planner like this one so you can decide what you might need a virtual assistant to help with.
Image by Karsten Bergmann from Pixabay
While my journey started with a need for a more flexible life to accommodate my husband’s health it is now about creating a simpler life and helping others do the same.
So no, I haven't built a six-figure business or moved to a beach where I work only two hours a day.
And that was never my goal to begin with. My goals were always to achieve financial freedom, to become self-reliant, and to simplify my life.
The transition from corporate is not seamless, and it takes time, a lot of time. But every step toward authenticity is a step in the right direction. As you tread the path of the solopreneur, you’ll hopefully discover a profound sense of fulfillment that arises from aligning your work with your life’s purpose and priorities.
My transition from the corporate landscape to the realm of solopreneurship is a testament to the impact of aligning one’s professional journey with personal values. As I continue to navigate this path, I am reminded of the multitude of stories that intersect with mine - stories of dreams realized, challenges surmounted, and lives simplified.
And so, I extend an invitation to all who seek authenticity, balance, and meaning: consider the solopreneurial route, and embark on a journey towards a simpler and more fulfilling life.
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