Have you talked to a virtual assistant today?

If you live with chronic illness, you probably dream about two things — (other than becoming healthy): working for yourself and working virtually.

Do you know about the Virtual Assistant?

It’s a new career – – part of the “new marketplace” of solo entrepreneurs and web-based business. There are even professional associations, including International Virtual Assistants Association, Virtual Assistant Networking Association). Typical VA tasks include: scheduling, market research, travel arrangements, web assistance, and other administrative tasks. Some VA’s promote themselves as specialists to a specific profession, such as lawyers, accountants and coaches.

In a recent blog post, “When the Assistant is an Entrepreneur”, Marci Alboher points out that it takes a certain kind of entrepreneurial “moxi” to have a virtual assistant business. I work virtually and I can tell you that the best thing about working virtually is flexibility, a highly prized commodity when you live with chronic illness.

I’m also self employed. And, although there are many benefits to self employment, it’s not for everyone. Comments to Alboher’s post point out that many people can’t afford to go into business for themselves. Start-up costs and reduced salary until you build a client base, paying for your own health insurance and other benefits that are usually provided by an employer – make if financially impossible.

Finally, don’t forget that working for yourself requires mucho discipline! Can you set deadlines and meet them?

I have a client whose severe chronic asthma makes working in an office problematic. I thought that a VA business might be a natural fit for her skills. She researched and found she could start her own business or she could work for someone else.

But VA’s are small businesses who don’t offer benefits or salary security. And they’re often looking for precise skills that will complement their own. Which means there aren’t many jobs available.

After doing several self assessments (in my Working with Chronic Illness Workbook Program) that highlighted her interests and strengths, we realized this would be a big mistake for her. She doesn’t have the drive to build a business nor can she tolerate living without the semblance of financial security in a steady paycheck.

I think that this is a growth industry and one that would be ideal for certain people with chronic illness. But it requires an entrepreneurial spirit. I didn’t think I was an entrepreneur until I was forced into this position because it was the only option I could think of — and then I found qualities and interests I didn’t know were there.

It’s not in everyone’s DNA. Is it in yours?

Rosalind aka cicoach.com


3 Responses to “Chronic illness making you think about a new job?”  

  1. 1 Shauna Harrelson


    What a great article!! I am now embarking on being a free agent in the world of nursing. No more office politics, no more feelings of not being appreciated. Travel Nurses are covering for vacations, pregnancy leaves, and other staffing holes in the facility they are working in for 13, weeks, 26, or any combination you pick. The other nurses there are very happy to see the traveler there, picking up the open shifts. The travel nurses pick where they want to go, how long to stay, the assignment they are familiar with in their area of expertise, and many, many benefits. I am of course throwing myself into self-employment, although my first try was my own company started a few years ago. I still work through it, Clinical Micropigmentation. I thought a new way of ‘still being a nurse’, without the hard physical positions asked of us in a Hospital, etc.; may be the way to address my love of nursing with my daily pain. I went to school to learn this Profession, and I do anything do figure out things that will go ‘with’ my physical issues, rather than go ‘against’ them.

    I found being still and in one main position, (even if for just a bit), in a chair over a patient for hours at a time, was tough work. Although it didn’t look it; kind of like us with our Invisible Illnesses! Only WE know the pain is there.

    I must do this, (Travel Nursing), or I will regret having never tried. That is how I have lived my life, and my pain will not stop me. Along with having to do this for the money, I beleive I can make up my ‘wish list’ to the recruiters, and find myself in Hawaii where I used to live, feeling every day as if it was the most beautiful one I had ever seen, smelling the ginger flowers….I can think of worse jobs. :-) And I am going to do it, I am now booked for Oct. through Dec. for flu shot clinics in different stores. My first free-agent Nursing assignment! And it will be as perfectly tailored to me physically, as I can ask for right now. I am ‘testing’ my DNA to see if this will continue, being a self-employed, self-driven and self-responsible for getting my own jobs.

    I wish you a day of no or low pain Rosalind, thank you for your always insightful writings!


  2. 2 Rosalind Joffe aka cicoach.com

    I’m familiar with travel nursing – and contract nurses (nurses per diem). If you can make it work, more power to you! It’s a difficult balance figuring out the short term with the long term. Best wishes for your success, Shauna.

  3. 3 Shauna Harrelson

    Thanks Rosalind! Your link on my blog is very popular btw, and I love to ‘see you’ in my inbox!! Every post of yours has such an inviting title, and so much information. Speaking on behalf of all those I know, and those that I don’t, (yet), that suffer from the stigma of Chronic Illnesses/Pain in the workplace; thank you Rosalind. Thank you for devoting your life and your heart to those that need your help, to continue working, despite Chronic Illness/Chronic Pain. We need to feel as fulfilled as our co-worker, that skips into work, able to lift and bend and reach. We need to be a part of society just like those that do not deal with any physical/mental issues, that do not have to take breaks, and medications at certain times throughout the day– while at work.

    Your positive attitude, suggestions, creative thinking, and pure love for what you do is a true gift to us all. You have touched many lives, and changed many too; with your help and coaching. Just to read what you have to say everyday is something that can pull us all together, the strong bond that Chronic Illness/Chronic Pain sufferers have with each other is amazing, and your information has touched us all. We need strong, devoted people speaking FOR us, representing the Hidden Illness community, experiencing her own hidden illnesses just like us; and Rosalind, your voice has reached so many. Thank You.


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