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Hannah Dixon, a virtual assistant coach, discusses the three worst parts of the profession. AdvertisementThis as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Hannah Dixon, a 36-year-old virtual assistant coach, recruiter, and founder of The Virtual Excellence Academy, living in Mexico. After "falling" into becoming a virtual assistant 10 years ago, I did the job for years juggling admin, tech, and creative tasks for clients worldwide. While virtual administrative assistant work is a very needed service, it's just one piece of a large and ever-expanding puzzle. Are you a virtual assistant and would like to share your story?
Persons: Hannah Dixon, Dixon, VAs, , It's, who've, upskilling —, it's, I've, Logan Organizations: Service, Virtual Excellence Academy, VAs Locations: Mexico, VAs,
Andrea Mac is a growth strategist, and her husband has been a stay-at-home dad for seven years. She says one of the worst parts of the arrangement is the tug-of-war between her kids and job. I have four children, ages 19, 14, 7, and 5 — and while I'm the family's breadwinner, my husband has been a stay-at-home dad for the last seven years. That said, being a breadwinner in my marriage while my husband is a stay-at-home dad has pros and cons. These are the five hardest, worst, and most triggering things about being a breadwinner with a stay-at-home husband.
Persons: Andrea Mac, Mac, , He's, she's, I'm, it's, Claudia Goldin's Pulitzer, haven't Organizations: Service Locations: Greater Chicago
Julia Fernsby moved to New York City from Ireland right after college to work in fashion. Her dream job was not what she envisioned, and the city felt overwhelming and unfriendly. Right after college, I moved to take what I thought was my dream job in New York City. My New York dream had turned into a nightmareI was alone when I woke up, alone when I ate lunch, alone at work, alone at home. My college mentor and I went out for a coffee and she suggested I do extensive research on what kind of job I'd enjoy.
Persons: Julia Fernsby, , It's, who'd, Regina George, I'd Organizations: Service, Vogue, Central Park, Skype Locations: New York City, Ireland, Cohasset , Massachusetts, I've, Boston, New York, Central, Howth, Dublin, Brooklyn, Manhattan, York, Central Park
Michiels then moved to Spain and finds it easier to make friends. AdvertisementAdvertisementThis as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Eric Michiels, a 51-year-old a former resident of Denver, Colorado, about his experience living in Denver. I moved to Denver, Colorado in May 2021 from Atlanta, Georgia because of a job decision. I had a Toyota Prius, and because Denver is extremely hilly, the car couldn't make it; it was too slippery. Some things are more expensive here — for example cars and technology — but the day to day is a lot cheaper.
Persons: Eric Michiels, Michiels, , It's, I'd, didn't, there's, Jenna Gyimesi Organizations: Service, Toyota Prius, Denver, Visa, Healthcare Locations: Atlanta, Denver, Spain, Denver , Colorado, Atlanta , Georgia, Colorado, Colorado Denver, Lakewood, Malaga,
AdvertisementAdvertisementWhen my first child was born, I found myself faced with the harsh reality of no guaranteed maternity leave in the US. And, while the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave, I wasn't eligible for that. It was one of those non-negotiable parts of American work culture that I felt I had to accept. But if there's a standard of maternity leave throughout the country and company, it makes it much easier to find coverage for those nine or more months. When my maternity leave ended and I asked the school to take another year off — this time without pay but with continued job security — they were 100% understanding.
Persons: Esther Strauss, , I'd, Europe —, doesn't, Jenna Gyimesi Organizations: Service, Europe Locations: North Macedonia, Europe, Texas, United States,
Ikwuakor noticed that the best leaders are even-tempered. AdvertisementAdvertisementThis as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with AK Ikwuakor , a 38-year-old executive sales coach lead at Google from Marina Del Rey, California. As an executive coach, corporate team trainer, and consultant, I've worked with leaders and teams from fledgling startups to global conglomerates such as Google, Duke Basketball and the State Department. The best decision can fall flat if it's not translated into action, so the best leaders create a plan, assign responsibilities, and provide people with resources and support. The goal of successful leaders is the opposite of this: maintaining emotional intelligence while executing their daily objectives.
Persons: Ikwuakor, , AK, Marina Del, It's, there's, I've, — it's, They're, isn't Organizations: Google, Service, Duke Basketball, State Department, Fortune Locations: Marina Del Rey , California
Alex Cheney was laid off from recruiting roles at Sendoso and Atlassian within one year. My first layoff happened in June 2022 when Sendoso went through its first job cuts of the pandemic. I signed an offer with Atlassian two weeks after my Sendoso layoff and started one month later. I had just started working on process improvement — another one of my biggest passions — when I was laid off. AdvertisementAdvertisementThe few calls that I did schedule led to black holes where I was ghosted — I've been ghosted more times than I can count.
Persons: Alex Cheney, Alex, It's, Sendoso, I've, I'd, it's, hadn't Organizations: Service, Companies, LinkedIn Locations: Wall, Silicon, La Quinta , California, Robinhood, North America, New York City
Amy Zhang decided to quiet quit her job because she felt burned out and had outgrown it. I began creating a plan for my quiet quitting journey. My successor wanted to work hard because she knew she wasn't going to get this level of attention from me forever. Two months into my quiet quitting timeline, I went to Italy on a two-week family vacation. What I found during my eight months of quiet quitting is that it's easy to fall into a passive state and stay there.
Persons: Amy Zhang, It's, There's, COVID, Organizations: Service Locations: Wall, Silicon, Italy
She tried living in six cities: Nashville, Austin, Chattanooga, Montreal, Toronto, and San Diego. I ended up renting month-long stays in Airbnbs in Nashville, Austin, Chattanooga, Montreal, Toronto, and San Diego. What it was like in San DiegoMy employer was hosting a company-wide event in San Diego, our US headquarters, the first week of January 2023. AdvertisementAdvertisementI planned to stay in San Diego after the event for my next Airbnb jaunt from January 9 to mid-February. I was always curious about San Diego and had heard that many Bostonians end up moving there and loving it.
Persons: Sophie London, Lewis, It's, I've, COVID, I'm, I'd, Taylor,, jaunt, pang, Organizations: San Diego ., Service, Austin Nashville, Austin, Nashville, London, Toronto, Film, Chattanooga Locations: San Diego, Nashville, Austin, Chattanooga, Montreal, Toronto, Wall, Silicon, San Diego , California, Massachusetts, Boston, Airbnbs, Nashville , Austin, After London, Montreal In Montreal, London, Tennessee, Nicaragua, Diego, Balboa
His company switched to a four-day workweek and saw an increase in revenue. I'd heard about companies, particularly in the UK, experimenting with a four-day workweek, and it made a lot of sense to me. A condensed workweek can be more intenseWe heard from employees that they loved the four-day workweek and never wanted to go back to the old way. If you want to try a four-day workweek at your company, here's my advice:Don't jump in feet first without a preliminary test. If your company's compensation is tied to time, a four-day workweek will be less successful.
Persons: Taylor Rosenbauer, RocketAir, we're, , workweek, I'd, hasn't, it's Organizations: Service Locations: Wall, Silicon
Joel Gratcyk's son Wesley spends a few hours a week learning to code in Python, PHP, and Swift. Wesley started taking free courses when he was 7 and uses both online and library resources. Gratcyk said that whether or not Wesley goes into coding, he'll have an advantage in his career. Another one he's done is freeCodeCamp , which offers over 3,000 hours of tutorials for all levels of computer programming for free. The amount of time Wesley spends on coding changes from week to weekWesley enjoys coding most days.
Persons: Joel Gratcyk's, Wesley, Swift, Gratcyk, Joel Gratcyk, It's, He's, I've, we've, we're Organizations: Service, Khan Academy, Apple Locations: Wall, Silicon, Illinois
He launched his own tech business and recommends all potential founders learn about sales. I was more comfortable failing at that point in my life than working a job that I thought wasn't realizing my potential. What worked for me was making a list of other people who've been really successful networkers after first studying them by reading articles or listening to podcasts. Back when I was in college, I wish I knew that college is more about networking than learning. With this strategy in mind, if you think you're going to start a business, then college isn't needed, in my opinion.
Persons: Daniel Fayle, Fayle, It's, it's, , We're, who've, Brian Grazer, you've, isn't, They've, Jenna Gyimesi Organizations: Warner Brothers, Nike
She tried to motivate herself but found that waking up early led to fatigue and procrastination. She says that waking up a few hours later sets her up for a more productive day. While I utilize several productivity tools I love, the one I've tried that was the most epic fail was to be a morning person. Knowing this would sabotage my morning, I'd fight the wave of energetic flow to try to get to bed early to start the cycle again. Lately I've noticed I've been waking up even earlier than 7 a.m. here and there.
Persons: Shoshanna Hecht, It's, I'd, I've, I'm Organizations: Service Locations: Wall, Silicon, New York City
Now he typically wakes up around 3:45 a.m. well rested and without an alarm clock, he said. Ice baths help lower my core body temperature and also urge the release of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps us fall asleep quickly and remain asleep until we've completed all sleeping cycles. If I'm in a hotel, I'll unplug the coffee maker, TV, and the clock to create that dark environment. I solely focus on the optimization of sleep, not the lengthThe perfect night of sleep is two hours of REM and two hours of deep sleep. I can wear it on my finger, and it shows me the exact data I need to know about my REM, my deep sleep, my light sleep, and also my heart rate,.
Persons: Michael Koch, Koch, It's, I've, I'm, we've, trow, It's noninvasive Organizations: Service Locations: Wall, Silicon, New York City, Europe
Arvind Murthy and his wife moved from Irvine, California to Zionsville, Indiana in 2022. When they moved to Indiana, they were afraid there wouldn't be a lot to do, he said. They discovered charming food and culture, and a burgeoning Hard Tech scene. In December 2022, I relocated from the perpetual dynamism of the Los Angeles tech scene to the tranquil serenity of Zionsville, Indiana. I collaborate with hard-tech and climate-tech entrepreneurs in my current role and I'm committed to fostering innovation in Indiana's burgeoning Hard Tech alley while enjoying the serene backdrop of my new home.
Persons: Arvind Murthy, It's, I'm Organizations: Tech, Service, Los, Hard Tech Locations: Irvine , California, Zionsville , Indiana, Indiana, Wall, Silicon, Los Angeles
After her layoff in March, she felt paralyzed, but she started applying for jobs within a few days. I'm a now-former SAP employee, having held a global-HR role at the company for most of my 17 years there. I felt paralyzed when my worst fears were confirmedI had an interim period to find another role in the company or be laid off. I started my own business, Talent Development Innovations, in May to serve my friend's needs for ramping up learning at his company. Finally, if you find yourself in this situation, process your layoff, but don't take too much time.
Persons: Barbara Jamelli, It's, I'd, they'd, Lee Hecht Harrison, I'm, I've, Organizations: Talent, SAP, Service Locations: Wall, Silicon, Pennsylvania
Dixon says that virtual assistants need to provide a VIP client experience to find success. Becoming a successful virtual assistant — or VA — requires more than a laptop and a dream. The number-one thing that contributed to my, and my learners', six-figure success was providing a quality client experience. You can boost client experience by making things easier for them. If you would like to share your experience as a virtual assistant please reach out to Jenna Gyimesi at
Persons: Hannah Dixon, Dixon, , It's, I've, VAs, I'm, Shakespeare, Jenna Gyimesi Organizations: Service Locations: Guanajuanto, Mexico, VAs
Hannah Dixon is a six-figure earning virtual assistant coach and recruiter. Dixon says referrals carry significant weight, more than anything else, in the virtual assistant business. I first started as a virtual assistant, now I'm a virtual assistant coach and recruiter and I've provided training to 27,000 learners across 170 countries. Position your presence based on the types of clients you want to attractLet's say you're a virtual assistant offering podcast-management services. Six-figure pricing requires a six-figure service, and this VIP service should start before you land the client.
Persons: Hannah Dixon, Dixon, , It's, I've, I'm, you'll Organizations: Service Locations: Guanajuanto, Mexico
Shaifali Aggarwal is a Harvard Business School graduate and CEO of an MBA admissions consulting company. Going to a top business school was a dream of mine, which was solidified while working in investment banking after college. An example of a post-MBA goal that's both too vague and too broad is: "I would like to start my own company after business school." Start the MBA application process earlyThe MBA application process is a marathon and not a sprint. So being able to impactfully convey your thoughts throughout the HBS interview process is critical.
Persons: Aggarwal, , Shaifali Aggarwal, I've, Booth —, hasn't, I'd, you've, they're, weren't Organizations: Harvard Business School, Service, Ivy Groupe, — Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Columbia, Kellogg, London Business School, That's, alums
For the last 15 years, I've been traveling the world full time as a digital nomad — 58 countries and counting. I first started as a virtual assistant; now I'm a virtual-assistant coach and recruiter and I've provided training to 27,000 learners across 170 countries. Stop seeking opportunities and start creating themWhen I started as a virtual assistant, I initially turned to gig sites to find work, but it was short-lived. Position your presence based on the types of clients you want to attractLet's say you're a virtual assistant offering podcast-management services. If you're already crystal clear on who you serve as a virtual assistant, you can intentionally spend time in places your clients are more likely to be.
Persons: Hannah Dixon, Dixon, , It's, I've, I'm, you'll Organizations: Service Locations: Guanajuanto, Mexico
Ziwei Li is a fomer Lyft employee and the founder and CEO of Wei Good Food. I had led the food delivery vertical within Lyft Delivery as strategic partnerships manager, and my role was eliminated when Lyft decided to shut down its delivery business. But while I loved my role and the relationships I'd built, I'd also experienced the monotony of corporate life. Getting laid off from Lyft was the instigator for starting my dream business — but tapping into my background and relationships is how I translated the opportunity into reality. This could include conducting thorough research on requirements, building a network within your desired industry, or starting small-scale operations.
Persons: Li, , Ziwei Li, It's, Lyft, I'd, I've Organizations: Wei, Service, UCLA Locations: LA, Lyft
Sylvia Duran Chen was shocked to be laid off from her YouTube job at Google after almost nine years. The job perks and mission mattered to her, and she'd felt proud to have been chosen by Google. This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Sylvia Duren Chen, a 39-year-old former Google/ YouTube employee from San Diego, California. Although I had a successful career before Google, with stints at Nike and McKinsey & Company, landing at Google felt like winning the lottery. I talked about being laid off by Google and the raw insecurities it laid bare.
Persons: Sylvia Duran Chen, she'd, Sylvia Duren Chen, It's, I'd, that'll, I'm, Susan Wojcicki Organizations: Google, Morning, YouTube, Cornell University, Columbia Law School, Nike, McKinsey & Company, YouTube Mexico Locations: San Diego , California, San Bruno , California, Mexico, There's
Jaclyn Mullen is head of marketing for TheLoops, an AI platform. She's also a new mom who starts her day at 5:45 a.m, and is in bed by 9 p.m. Throughout the day, Mullen will take a break to read empowering words and walk outside. As a new mom to a one-year-old and head of marketing for AI platform TheLoops, I work remotely. My days are packed and start early at 5:45 a.m.Each day, I track and evaluate data to help the company hit its monthly revenue goals.
Persons: Jaclyn Mullen, Mullen, , It's Organizations: Service Locations: Phoenix , Arizona, India
Andrea Mac is a growth strategist at Prequal and the sole earner for her family of six in Illinois. When I shifted from being our family's primary financial earner to the family's sole earner, I struggled to find resources and guidance to navigate this new terrain. It becomes a never-ending loop of work, family demands, and stress. My role as a provider is minimized in those scenarios, so I'm famous for saying, "If I don't work, we don't get paid." She simply couldn't conceive that I was the sole earner for the family and assumed we had missed this step.
Persons: Andrea Mac, , It's, didn't, we've, we're Organizations: Service Locations: Illinois, Greater Chicago
Samson Baxter, a web developer, tried 'monk mode' to get more done at work. At first he hated it, especially staying off social media, but then his productivity shot up. I was feeling overwhelmed and like I couldn't get anything done when I learned about the 'monk mode' productivity hack. After five weeks of monk mode, Samson Baxter felt burned out again — this time for a different reason. Something had to changeIn the end, I decided that while monk mode did ramp up my focus initially, the long-term effects weren't for me.
Persons: Samson Baxter, , It's, I'm, I'd Organizations: Service
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