What a year 2020 has been! We have endured a year like no other in our lifetime. We have witnessed pain, suffering and isolation across the world and in our very own communities. We have also witnessed levels of love and community support that we have never seen before. That is a true blessing that I am thankful for. There really are blessings to be found everywhere we look.
Like many others, the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting isolation
took its toll on my mental health. It also created an opportunity for me to make a
much-needed career change and helped me find my very own online community.
Prior to the pandemic, I was working as a medical receptionist in an audiology clinic.
It was a low paid and highly stressful role that often led to self-doubt and anxiety. It
was a very small clinic team, I role-shared with another woman and we had one full-
time clinician. This environment slowly turned toxic for me and I struggled to get the
support I truly needed. This role paired with the stress and anxiety of a global
pandemic caused my mental health to deteriorate.
I was classed as an essential worker so I continued to work at the clinic but on the days I wasn’t rostered to work I was at home with my son. Prior to COVID-19, we had a very social lifestyle and the change to being housebound took its toll. I felt disconnected from family and friends. My husband is a chef and the hospitality industry was struggling due to the strict social restrictions. We had the stress that one day he would wake up and find he had lost his job. Stress levels were at an all-time high both at home and at work and I felt isolated. This led to a mental break down and required me to leave my job.
Thanks to the support of my family, medical professionals and a short stay in hospital my mental health began to improve over the next few months. With this improvement, I took some time to reflect on the life I wanted to return to.
I decided to use the opportunity to create my dream job and start my own business. I researched and discovered that a virtual assistant business would be ideal for me and meet my needs.
I had experience in administration, enjoyed writing and loved learning the ins
and outs of social media. I loved the idea that I could choose my clients, choose my
hours, choose my support network and ultimately have control over my career. It was
decided - I would start my own virtual assistant business!
I took the necessary steps to start a business. Registering my business name,
setting up a website and fine-tuning my offer of services. I was lucky to have a close
friend who had recently started a small business herself and I offered my services to
her at no charge to build my confidence and adjust my processes. I took on one
more volunteer role and that gave me the confidence to start seeking paying clients
and I realised I had something unique to offer clients.
Fast forward several months and my virtual assistant business is booming. Working
for yourself from home however can mean that you lose the opportunity to build relationships like you would in a normal face to face role. I began searching Facebook for groups that were inclusive, supporting, uplifting and shared my personal values. I discovered some groups that were definitely not the communities for me (haven’t we all!) and I also found groups that met my criteria and I instantly felt connected.
I found wonderful online communities for like-minded female entrepreneurs who support me and cheer me on. I found communities that spread positivity and hope and always leave me feeling ready to take on the world. I feel like the Lord has placed the right people around me at the exact time I needed them. This has helped me grow both personally and in my business.
My new business also meant I built a network of clients who want to grow their businesses alongside mine and work together to build something much bigger than what we could achieve on our own. This has turned into a community of its own. I was surprised how supportive an online community can be!
Working from home and experiencing the pandemic has shown me that true connections can be formed without ever meeting face to face. I think it’s important to be honest with those that you meet online and ensure you are bringing into the connection love, a desire to help and a desire to nurture.
As a child from a Christian household, I was raised with beliefs and principles that I
still carry with me today and bring into my relationships. This also guides me in the
connections I seek from others. I seek to find others with the same values as me.
Search for connections that uplift and motivate you to be better and do better.
To strengthen and build your faith.
To create more than what you started with.
To both become better for the connection.
I’ve learnt that I can always start over and change for the better. That with a supportive community around me I can achieve great things.
Zoe Terry is a Brisbane, Australia based virtual assistant. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee, playing in Canva & her chef husbands cooking creations.
They have a 4-year-old son, rescue cat named Dizzy and enjoy their weekends at the beach.
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