Juggling family, home life and working outside the home can be very hard and stressful. Sometimes even starting your own business can be even intimidating, but Michelle Campbell from: Forte Virtual Support Solutions is doing it, here is an Interview that was given to learn more about her family life and business:
**Start of by telling me a little bit about yourself, hobbies and something that you like to do for yourself that’s not “Usual” (Example: I like to go to the grocery store and just look at the different foods and prices to relax!) **
I am an Administrative Consultant and the Owner of Forte Virtual Support Solutions. I partner with overwhelmed Coaches, Consultants, and other entrepreneurs by taking over their administrative responsibilities so they can focus on making money, working with clients and growing their businesses. I specialize in back office support, creative support services, and meeting and event organization.
I strive to form collaborative and strategic partnerships with my clients and draw on more than 12 years of corporate experience as an Administrative and Executive Assistant to help them identify those business tasks they can and should delegate. I help them to streamline processes and implement systems that allow them to make better use of their time, earn more money, and achieve the flexibility and balance they desire.
I have been an Army spouse for more than 16 years. I have three children (14, 6, and 4) who make every day interesting. If you add my two dogs to the mix, chaos often erupts. Things are never dull in my house when everyone is home. I am looking forward to our upcoming move from Maryland to Kentucky, which should be our last before my husband retires. Woohoo!
I don’t really have any hobbies. Between the family and getting the business going, there isn’t much time for hobbies. When I do have down time on the weekends, I enjoy catching up with my husband after a long week. I don’t have any unusual rituals or things I do just for me. When I do get “me time” I try to catch up with a friend for lunch.
** What made you want to start your own business? **
I was a working mom of three. My husband commuted more than 90 minutes each way to work in Washington, DC every day and had little flexibility (as is the case for most service members), so I was always on point to drop off and pick up the kids at daycare, take off when they were sick, and manage the household. I hated that I always had to justify myself to people at work if I had to be out for my kids, especially if it happened frequently during a short period as a bug made its way through my house. We all know what that’s like, right? I hated feeling guilty about being away from work when I needed to be home, and I hated feeling guilty about being away from my kids when they needed me because I had to be at work.
I craved flexibility and balance in my life that would allow me to work and exercise my brain while being able to be available for my family when they need me the most. I realized that the only way I could have the best of both worlds was to work for myself.
** Do you have any children? **
I have three children. My daughter is 14, and my two boys are 6 and 4.
** How long have you been in business? **
About 18 months
** Why did you decide to work for yourself? **
Aside from wanting a strong work/life balance, I wanted and needed flexibility. And I didn’t want to look for a new job when we moved again! I wanted to be able to earn a living despite the challenges of the military lifestyle. I wanted to make money doing what I want, when I want, from where I want, without having to justify myself to others. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?
This career path provides me with a portable career that I can take with me no matter where the Army sends us. Technology affords me the ability to work at any time, from any time zone, from anywhere in the world, with whomever I choose. I finally have the opportunity for a stable career with flexibility that I had never known. This is the most appealing thing about it for me. I only wish I had done it sooner!
** How did you decide on your current business? **
I came across an article about Virtual Assistants by chance one day several years ago when we were getting ready to PCS to Germany, and said to myself, “I can do this!” But, I never did. However, after we came back to the States, and I went back to work, life was exhausting and quickly became overwhelming. I needed to stop the madness! That article was in always in the back of my mind, so I thought about it long and hard for a while and finally decided to leave my job and take the plunge. I had been an Administrative and Executive Assistant for 12 years. Supporting others is what I spent my professional life doing, and I was good at it. It was a logical and natural transition.
** What has been the hardest part of working for yourself? **
The hardest parts about it for me have been learning how and where to find clients who need my help (who knew there more to it than putting up a website?!) and figuring out how to best occupy my kids when they are home when I need to get work done.
** What has been the best part? **
I no longer experience the pressure of the rat race. I don’t have to rush to get my kids out the door and end up being late for work anyway. I don’t have to panic if I’m 10 minutes late leaving the office because I might get stuck in traffic and be late picking them up from daycare. Most of my work days begin and end when I want them to, which is so nice. I can be there for my family when they need me to be without feeling guilty that I’m not someplace else. If one of the kids is home sick from school, I can be sitting on the couch next to them working on my laptop. I was able to chaperone my son’s first school field trip without having to ask permission. I never had so much flexibility before.
** Do you have plans to include your spouse into your business after they separate or retire from the military? **
Not at this point. What I do really isn’t up his alley.
** Have there been any specific challenges to running a business as a result of your life as a military spouse? **
Not yet! In a couple of weeks, we will be making our first move since I started my business. But, since my business is virtual I shouldn’t skip a beat during the transition. As long as I have an internet connection when I need one, I’ll be good to go.
This interview was great, I learned so much from michelle and can relate to the pressures of the rat race and the kids, It can be exhausted but knowing that she and other women are doing it, helps me to stay encourage that one day I to can “Create my own path way” to starting my own business!
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