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March 27, 2023

Mil Spouse careers that are remote, flexible and not an MLM or scam with TheWFHMilSpo and Marine Corps wife Lauren

Mil Spouse careers that are remote, flexible and not an MLM or scam with TheWFHMilSpo and Marine Corps wife Lauren
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Today we are talking to marine corp wife, Lauren who has built a success digital marketing and web design business and has developed a course, for military spouses to help you break into the virtual assistant or virtual marketing assistant space. 

We all know how challenging careers are while navigating military life with constant moves and instability. A lot of mil spouses are turning to remote or virtual careers. 

What if you are thinking this might be for you, but you don’t have any skills! Lauren talks us through starting a VA business, how to set boundaries, hours and salary. Why you might want to start off working for an agency before setting out on your own. 

How do you gain the skills needed to be a VA and can anyone do it? Lauren is incredibly generous in her information and the path she took to get where she is.  I ask her very specific questions like how do I get started? What if I have zero experience? How many hours would I work? What is the typical pay?

If you have thought of starting a career as a VA, today is a must listen episode!

Mil Spouse owned VA companies:

Wise Advise

Instant Teams- app called 12 million

Squared Away

Virt Force

Get in touch with Lauren

IG @thewfhmilspo

Check out her course:


I so appreciate you listening to the show!

If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and review I would really appreciate it!!

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And please check out our brand spanking new website! www.themilspousepodcast.com


[00:00:00] Today we are talking to Lauren. And Lauren. If if you're on Instagram, has her Instagram handle is the work from Home Mill spout mi spo Oh gosh. Mil 

[00:00:10] Spa. Yeah. 

[00:00:12] The work from home spo and and I thought, because you, as I was talk, telling Lauren beforehand that I talk to a lot of military spouses on the show and we talk a lot about careers because it's such a, it's been a challenge for me and I know that it's a huge challenge for , a lot of military spouses.

[00:00:27] And I thought that it would be cool to talk to Lauren today because Lauren's business is, how can you create. A business working from home virtually. So you have a course and we'll get into all of that stuff and kind of what that looks like. So just to start, welcome to the show, 

[00:00:41] Lauren. Happy to have you here.

[00:00:42] Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, I'm awesome. Excited. Yeah. 

[00:00:45] Yeah, it'll be fun. It's gonna be fun. Okay, so you and I actually, usually I talk For a long time before the show just because I'm like getting to know you too, and we really haven't done that. So I'm gonna get to know you as everybody else gets to know you at the same time.

[00:00:59] So I always like to start with what's your affiliation to the military? What does your military life 

[00:01:03] look like so far? So my husband is active duty Marine Corps. He's been in for 15, 16 years and I've known him for the entire time that he has been in outside of o c s Officer candidacy school.

[00:01:15] And then he was just finishing T b s the basic school in Quantico, Virginia when we met. At a bar. Very Marine Corps life. , . And since then we've kind of been inseparable. We have lived in Camp Pendleton, California twice. We've also been to Quantico for four years. We were at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for Army Command and General Staff College.

[00:01:37] And then we went back to California and then now we are actually in Key West Florida, which is super lucky because there's only Marine stationed here. So we've loved it and we've been here almost three years and we are getting ready to p c s to Okinawa. So that's another big exciting move. Island hopping is what I like to call it, .

[00:01:59] We have three daughters. They're 11, eight and seven. And I have been working in this digital media space for about a decade. I actually went to school and I have my master's in education pre-K through six. And really kind of never used my, my degree . Just left college after I graduated. Went with my husband to California.

[00:02:21] I got a preschool job teaching preschool cuz I couldn't get an actual elementary school job with my, even though I was fully certified in Virginia at the time. Now, recently, within the past year or so, there's been a licensed reciprocity for military spouses. So yeah, that was not a thing. You know, 11, 12 years ago.

[00:02:41] So I couldn't get a job. I just got a job as a preschool teacher, and then we got pregnant with our first daughter and it was not worth it to me to go back to the education field to go back to teaching, so, mm-hmm. . kind of started looking for what else I could do. And as a military spouse, I came to realize that doing a position that was remote and even back then, you know, online stuff was not like it is now.

[00:03:08] So 10 years ago it was blogging and writing, you know, writing articles for publications and that's where I. So since then, I'm kind of self-taught in my career as a now as a web designer. And I run a digital marketing firm with virtual assistants under me, all military spouses, as well as four graphic designers who are also all military spouses.

[00:03:32] And I also now I teach other military spouses how to create. A career in either web design or as a broader sense as a virtual marketing assistant. Yeah. With a number of skill sets under them, so yeah. 

[00:03:47] Yeah. That's awesome. Well, you, gosh, you went, you went into the whole thing. I love it. . So I, I I connected that a lot.

[00:03:54] We spent a lot of time in San Diego. We were stationed in San Diego multiple times and up in Monterey. So we've definitely done the California life a lot too. Yeah. And we were in Florida a couple times. I wish it would've been Key West. That 

[00:04:04] would've been . 

[00:04:05] We were in Jacksonville and Cape Canaveral. Those were not as enjoyable.

[00:04:09] Well, Cape Canaveral was kind of fun cuz it's, you know, the launches are really cool to see. And then the Disney is like an hour away. But that's awesome. And then you get to go overseas. That's really cool. Yeah. Are you excited about that or, because I was always like we never had the option in our field for an overseas tour for what my husband does.

[00:04:27] Sure. But I've always been like, I, I don't know. Like I feel like it's equal parts like adventure and 

[00:04:32] scary at the same . Yeah. So, I'm actually really excited before it and I actually pushed my husband for it. And the reason behind it was we were just in a good spot in our life. You know, you kind of may sure get to that point where things kind of fall in line.

[00:04:50] We don't have a dog anymore. Our dog passed away. So that, you know, that's the, was one of the biggest hurdles that I was worried about how to get our. over there. Hundred percent. Mm-hmm. , you know, we're getting ready. My van needs to be replaced. So we knew we were gonna sell my car after, you know, with the, the sea air here, the, this corroded air, you know, the air car.

[00:05:09] Yeah. Really fast here. Yeah. So, and the furniture is as old as our kids or as old as our marriage. So I'm like, I don't care if it gets messed up. We're just in a good spot where, , if you know, to make this move, which will benefit his career and not be as hard on our family as it otherwise could be if we were moving in a different stage in our life.

[00:05:30] Sure. Yeah. So Yeah. I was like, you know what, why don't we just do it? I can still work because I can work from anywhere and I own my own business. Yes. So I can work whatever hours I want. And, you know, it'll be good for our kids to have this experience. They're old enough to remember, but not so old that they're kind of missing, you know, high school age things like they would Sure.

[00:05:52] You know, friends on this side or moving them in the middle of high school or something like that. Were like just right before that. This point of getting to high school. that it's just a good. Spot for us. Yeah. 

[00:06:05] I love, isn't that nice to hear? Because so many times, , you get those assignments at the most inopportune time.

[00:06:12] Exactly. Right. 

[00:06:13] And you're like, oh man. Yeah. So that's cool. It's nice 

[00:06:16] to hear that, you know, sometimes the, the u everything aligns and every it happens. It happens when it is a good time for your family and mm-hmm. . That's cool. Well, that's awesome. I'm excited for you. Yeah. I love that you touched on the that you got your teaching degree and then, and then yeah.

[00:06:32] 10 years ago there was not the reciprocity where you could be able to go wherever, right. With your, you know, that you had to redo everything, which is just Right. Such a time suck. And then I also appreciated the you know, as a teacher, you're not paid very. Right. Which is, which is a big problem in this country.

[00:06:49] Yeah. We're not gonna get into that. But that's a big problem in this country. Right. And and when you marry that with childcare, uhhuh, , it's not worth it. It's worth, you know what I'm saying? Like what are you gonna be bringing home when you pay for childcare and you're the sad salary that teachers get paid.

[00:07:04] Mm-hmm. , that's, that's, I mean, what are you gonna bring home a couple hundred bucks maybe after set of the day like this? Exactly. Yeah. It's just, it's not worth it. And I think. . I think that that is true for a lot of military spouses. Right, right. It's hard for us. Like we're, there's, I think there, there's some people that are in careers that where they make a lot of money and that is worth it for them.

[00:07:22] But for a lot of us, we're kind of just in that mid-range. Right? Right, exactly. And so when you add in the childcare and everything, it just, it isn't worth it. And so a lot of us end up being at home and then we're like, 

[00:07:32] okay. What now? Yeah. What do we do? 

[00:07:36] Exactly. You know? And that's, and so I, I love that you kind of pivoted yourself.

[00:07:40] So can you kind of dive into that a little bit more Sure. As to like, what did that look like for you? Like you were, because you said that you, you were a preschool teacher and then you got pregnant with your daughter, decided that you wanted to stay home. So then how did you kind of navigate into that field?

[00:07:53] Cause I feel like, I like to get into like, the little nuts and bolts of that stuff. Sure. Because I feel like other male spouses that are listening could be like, oh. Oh yeah. Okay. I don't know, I just think it's cool to hear like how you, the inroads into where you got to where you are today. So can you kind of just go into that a little bit?

[00:08:07] Like where, how 

[00:08:08] you kind of started it? Yeah, yeah. So it's gonna sound kind of silly, but it actually, the idea of working from home was something that was in my mind before I had kids. So right after we got married, , it happens. My husband deployed. Mm-hmm. . So I went home. We didn't have kids or anything yet.

[00:08:28] I didn't have any pets, nothing. So I went home to my parents lived in Virginia, but my brother lived in New York City in Tribeca. Mm. And him and his wife had young kids at the time and they were like, Hey, if you're gonna be here, why don't you come up here and get a job as a nanny and then help bless with the kids.

[00:08:48] well, she, you know, worked and finished school and things like that. So I went up to New York and I got a nanny position who with, who is now the co-founder of Well and Good, which is a, a well-known wellness publication in, based in New York City, but also just well-known around the world now. And they have celebrity guests come in, you know, just amazing things.

[00:09:11] What she has done. And she started. when I was her nanny. And so I was like, gosh, how cool is it that she's a stay-at-home mom and can have this career where she works from home? She writes, she's able to be with her kids when she wants to be with her kids, but she also has an identity outside of motherhood and wife to so-and-so.

[00:09:35] And that just kind of started to get the wheels turning because I always. My mom was a teacher. Both my sister-in-laws are teachers. My mom was a principal of, of elementary school. I went with her every single day to school through eighth grade. Mm-hmm. . That was kind of just in my blood. I never really considered what it would be to work remotely, because again, that was relatively Sure.

[00:09:58] 10 years ago. Yeah. 10 years ago 

[00:10:00] wasn't the thing. So yeah. So when my husband got home from deployment, shortly after he got home, I was working at a preschool. But we got pregnant with our first daughter and I was like, you know what?

[00:10:12] I just don't, it doesn't make sense, right. I'm not gonna be bringing any income in at this point. Mm-hmm. . But I still wanted to have an identity outside of motherhood and military. A hundred percent. No. I started to think about what I could do otherwise. So I started blogging a little bit about, cuz blogs were huge back then.

[00:10:31] That was, they were just getting started. Mm-hmm. started blogging. I started freelance writing just as a military spouse. My experiences not getting paid for it. Didn't get paid for a long time doing any of this stuff. Right. But that kinda started my remote. Career in terms of doing things online, write, freelance writing.

[00:10:53] I started writing for Home Front United, which is actually a National Garden Reserves publication. I wrote for Military Spouse magazine, military Families magazine, and just kind of. Grew from there. Mm-hmm. in between that time, however, we moved to Virginia, we bought a big house with four and a half acres, had a playground right on our property.

[00:11:14] And I decided to start a preschool from home with my Oh, cool. Youngest daughter. So I did that actually for three years. Other military families came in up until my daughter reached about five years old, and I had two other kids in between then. . And then once we moved, I couldn't continue my preschool because now we were gonna be living on base at Fort Leavenworth, and I can't do that without going into the with the fcc, the family childcare plan.

[00:11:43] And I didn't wanna do that because I, that's not, I didn't want those regulations that I, you know, I, I, I liked how I did it before, just preschool, just three hours a day. Like, that's what I wanted. . And so again, I started to look more into the remote, you know, writing, freelance writing what I can do. at home with my kids when they're napping or at five o'clock in the morning before they wake up.

[00:12:08] What can I do? Mm-hmm. . And so from there I started working for a publication called Daily Mom, where I wrote articles with them. I learned this and that really was kind of like my interning time cuz I didn't get paid, but we did get products, so I got like strollers and car seats. Truck bed cover for my husband and workout equipment and clothes and things like that, that we would get in return compensation in return for product reviews or articles or sponsored posts and things like that.

[00:12:37] But that's really. I have to credit daily Mom and Elena, who is the managing editor of Daily Mom. That really is what taught me everything that I know now. Whether it's public relations, things, email marketing, web design, blog management, content management search engine optimization. Seo, everything, branding, everything that I do now, really, I have to credit back to them because that was the platform where I learned pretty much everything. Mm-hmm. . And so I, I learned a lot through that. And then with Daily Mom, I started Daily Mom military, which was a sub. You know, sister site of daily mom and focused on just military families.

[00:13:23] So I did that for about a year until Covid hit actually. And then I went into the whole homeschooling my kids. Mm-hmm. , you know, I needed to take time off. We were PCSing from Pendleton out here to Key West. And I just couldn't, I couldn't manage that at the same. And so I decided to take a step back.

[00:13:42] And in the meantime, over the summer was hired by Military Families Magazine to be their digital editor. And I did that for about a year. Wasn't the gr best work environment for me. So once I decided to leave there, I ventured out into doing some web design, actually with a military spouse an army spouse.

[00:14:04] Her name's Brittany. invited me to work with her. A business coach she was working for was starting a virtual assistant firm and that virtual assistant firm, I started to work for them doing web design and email marketing and all that stuff. And about, I guess last February or so, I thought to myself, you know what?

[00:14:26] Let me just start seeing what happens if I take clients on my own. So I started doing that, started taking clients on my own. And then vi, just by August of that year, I left Jennifer Alwood, which was the virtual assistant agency that I was working for. And in about a year, I have grown to the point where I have seven virtual assistants, four graphic designers, all military spouses working under me.

[00:14:52] Mm-hmm. , 22 clients currently. So it's grown a lot, but I have to say, , the idea of working remotely from home. My own hours flexible. I can work days I want to, I can not work days. I can't like days that I have to do overseas screening all day long, right? I don't have to ask the boss for hours off. I don't have to.

[00:15:17] Do you know, it's, it's all on me. I, it is the absolutely being a virtual assistant or a virtual marketing assistant, or web designer, graphic designer, whatever that digital marketing space is that, you know, someone might like to do. Social media management. It is the most flexible and the most pc. and remote work friendly career I have come across.

[00:15:43] Yeah. And I've worked in the digital media space for a decade. Mm-hmm. and even working for online virtual publications. This is absolutely the best thing that I can think of for a military spouse to do that meets, kind of all, checks all the boxes of what we need to be make our lives as easy as possible while having a.

[00:16:04] Yeah. So I so just to kind of back up a little bit mm-hmm. , you said that you kind of got started with writing mm-hmm. . So did you always, because I'm not a writer, . Cause I'm like, just thinking like I'm sitting back, I'm like, okay, well I'm not really, I'm not really a writer, so I don't know that Yeah.

[00:16:21] That, that would be because, so that kind of seemed like that was your inroad into getting into kind of that. Base. So what would you so, so then were you a writer or is that something that you just started to do and then got better at over time? Is it something you really enjoyed? Like what 

[00:16:35] is, how did that start?

[00:16:36] Yeah, so I I have always enjoyed writing. I've kind of always had a, like a knack for it. I'm not Okay. Professionally trained, you know, I didn't go to school for an English degree or anything like that. But I've always kind. , enjoy doing it. And so when I started blogging you know, besides my mom who was reading my blogs and then had printed them all out, she's so cute.

[00:17:01] She's like, I printed them all out and I made like a little book and it was so silly. But my dad 

[00:17:05] listens to every episode and he tells me every week he's like, I just listened 

[00:17:08] to the show. And I'm like, thanks dad. . Yeah. It's a Super Bowl. I love it. It's, I love it. Yeah. Yeah. People were like, oh, you're a good writer.

[00:17:16] I guess hearing people say, oh, like that was really funny or that really resonated with me was what made me think, oh, I think maybe I can do this. Mm-hmm. , you know, as a career, and that really was actually my goal up until probably two or three years ago, was to be an editor for a major.

[00:17:35] Publication, whether it be civilian or military. Mm-hmm. . And so my learning and daily, you know, working with daily mom and learning that area of, you know, basically interning with them was so wonderful that I was like, you know, I kind of wanna do this long term. And I, I learned so much from them. But then in the course of working for some other publications and.

[00:18:01] Seeing the backend of the bureaucracy of some of that stuff, I was like, you know what? I don't know that I wanna work for somebody else. And even though positions were part-time being told, you know, oh, where were you today? Even though I had no meetings scheduled or or anything going on.

[00:18:22] I was still being questioned where I was, what I was doing, even though I was working part-time. And I was like, this isn't like you don't own my schedule. I only work free 20 hours a week. So if I work 10 hours, two days, I have three days where I can do whatever I want because thing is, I'm not on your schedule.

[00:18:38] Right? And so it really made me realize, do I really want to be. , you know, at somebody's beck and call. And boundaries are really important to me in terms of my own personal boundaries. And for my virtual assistants, I let everyone, and my clients, everyone I, I either employ or that hires me. I let them know, Hey, I don't work after 4:00 PM cuz my kids are home.

[00:19:03] Sometimes I do, but you know, my hard, fast rule, I don't work after 4:00 PM I don't work weekends. So if, unless it's a pressing emergency issue, your website is down, something's not working, or you have an event going on and some, you know, a button's not working, whatever it might be I'll fix it if, if it's a emergency issue, but otherwise it'll wait till Monday.

[00:19:25] And I felt like working for. organization, and they're not all like that. Mm-hmm. , but working for another organization just meant that I was stuck to somebody else's schedule and needs and things like that. Mm-hmm. and working for myself or, you know, making sure my, my virtual assistants know that.

[00:19:46] they have you, they're 10 99 contractors. You have the luxury of setting your hours. I don't care when you work, you can work at five in the morning. You can work at three in the morning. You can work at nap time. Like I don't care when you work, as long as the task the work gets done. Yeah, yeah. Gets done.

[00:20:02] So that's, you know, something that being a virtual marketing system or web designer or whatever that area. of business that I kind of help coach military spouses in or, or teach them the skillsets to be able to develop those careers is because I've learned that with military life, you know, it's not predictable.

[00:20:24] Mm-hmm. , you know, when he's got training or my kids are sick, I can be home when my kids are sick, I can go to every softball game or practice. I can have that family life, but also have the flexibility to change. on a dime or work from Germany or Japan, or Key West or California or Maine, or Montana or wherever you are.

[00:20:45] Mm-hmm. . I can do that. And there's no, you know, no real. issues with it. Yeah, a hundred 

[00:20:53] percent. And I think that that is so attractive to so many military spouses. So then, okay, so I'm sitting here and I'm like, all right, well I, that sounds fantastic. And that's exactly what I want because I need the freedom.

[00:21:05] I'm the default parent. I gotta be able to be home when the kids are sick and when they have a random day off of school or whatever, . I don't really know how I would fit into that. So like, if you're like, , I don't have a skillset set in marketing.

[00:21:16] Like I'm not really super great at , programming and things. I don't really know that stuff. So what, is your advice to, someone that's like, yeah, I really wanna do that, but how do I even get started? , what would you say? 

[00:21:26] I. have hired several virtual assistants who have little to no skillset set coming in.

[00:21:32] Mm-hmm. nothing that is done in, in basic marketing, whether it's creating graphics for social media or creating a caption or scheduling stuff on, like we're on Facebook and Instagram and all that stuff. Those things are easily taught skills if you're looking to, and, and there are. Few virtual assistant agencies who will hire on very little skillsets.

[00:21:59] You might have, you might mm-hmm. , just have a creative brain and be able to create nice looking documents or designs, or just be teachable, right? Just somebody who's willing to learn and and develop those. Be willing to develop those skills on your. . Okay. If you need a stepping stone my courses are a great place to start.

[00:22:22] My work from home Mill spoke courses, the courses right now, and they're expanding within the next year once we get settled in Japan. But right now, those courses teach web design in WordPress, Squarespace, and Wick, which are the three top web platforms. And a lot of people like you mention, You know, coding and things like that we're web websites are not really coded anymore.

[00:22:49] They're very much drag and drop type builders, so they're not hard to learn. If you have something showing you, hey, Click this first. Now you're gonna go here. And I mean, I start with the very basics of like, how do you find a domain name? How do you set up hosting all of these things that kind of stop people from getting started in web design.

[00:23:10] Like it, the technical side of it before you get to the design can be scary, but then the design in and of itself, , Squarespace and Wick are super simple. And then WordPress I use a drag and drop builder called Divvy, which I show you in the courses. But then other things like branding and seo, which is search engine optimization, email marketing.

[00:23:33] I give all the basics of those so that when you finish the course, You have a knowledge basis of kind of these virtual marketing assistant skills where you can go to a virtual assistant agency and say, Hey, I have the basics and these web platforms and these email marketing platforms, and I know how to create a brand board and I know how to do s e o on a blog post.

[00:23:57] And it gives you not only a leg up in the application process, but also a lot of virtual assistant agencies will pay. more for your specific skillset. So you're already starting at a little bit higher of an hourly rate than you might otherwise have if you come in with no skillsets. Okay. My virtual assistant courses, I partner with WISE Advise, which is a virtual assistant agency who if once you finish my course, you can let them know, Hey, I took the work from home SPO course.

[00:24:28] They will fast track your application to get you clients faster. And they're just one virtual assistant agency. They're military spouse owned and military spouse and veteran. Hi. They hire military spouses and veterans, so to be virtual assistants, and that's just, what was the name of that one again?

[00:24:47] Wise advice, wise advice. Okay. Yeah. And then there's other ones like Instant Teams who just came out with a huge military spouse app called 12 million Instant Teams is also a military, I can't remember if they're veteran or spouse owned. Virtual assistant agency Squared Away is actually another one , who is owned by a Marine Corps spouse.

[00:25:10] So they hire military spouses. And then vert force is one that's pretty common, pretty widely known. Yeah, I hear that one a lot. Yeah. So yeah, the job opportunity as a virtual assistant, a lot of people, I, I don't like the term virtual assistant because a lot of people think answering emails, scheduling calls Sure.

[00:25:28] During flight information. Sure. That's not really what a virtual assistant is, and that's why I. Segue that word of virtual marketing assistant. Okay. Cause specifically my courses and, and what you're gonna find most people need as a virtual assistant are things like, Hey, I need help updating my website.

[00:25:49] I need to change these images once a month. I need to change this copy, or change this button, or create this landing page. Or, I need help getting newsletters out every week, or I need. You know, putting formatting my blog posts, that's the kind of stuff that a lot of clients come outside of social media management is probably the biggest ask I get from clients outside of social media management, which is its own beast.

[00:26:14] It's not just putting stuff up on Facebook and calling it a day. It's right. It's, you know, strategy and analytics and all this stuff. that those are the skills that people really are asking for. So if you come in saying, Hey, I've got these skills, that gives you a leg up, not only in getting higher paying clients, but a higher paying position within an agency and gives you a better, you know, opens the door to what you're able to provide, whether it's you working for an agency or you working on your own, creating your own business, right?

[00:26:52] I think that if, if you're coming into something where you have little to no skillset, that if you are open to taking those, you know, formal courses like mine, That's available to you, but you can also find a bunch of stuff online. You know, if you Google or YouTube, there's lots of tutorials.

[00:27:11] And let, I mean, even though I've been doing this for 10 years, I still Google stuff daily. Mm-hmm. like, what's BSS for this? Or what's, you know, how do I create sound waves? Or this podcast or whatever. It's, you know you can find information and resources if you. If you need them to get yourself started, but I would definitely, for spouses who maybe don't have the budget to create cla to take a formal class like that.

[00:27:42] Yeah. I personally offer scholarship opportunities for E five and below, so they, anyone who's E five and below can contact me and we can chat about scholarship opportunities that I have with sponsors. and then you can, you can find stuff, you know, if you're interested in learning. Udemy is a great udemi, I don't know how to pronounce it.

[00:28:02] U D E m y E 

[00:28:04] M Y. Yeah. I don't, I know , Ude, Udemy. I don't know. 

[00:28:08] Yeah, it's, I they have some really great courses. I actually Gave all my virtual assistants a Pinterest course, cuz I don't teach Pinterest. But I, you know, gave them access to the course for that so that they can increase their skillset in some of the social media that we that clients ask for.

[00:28:27] So there's definitely resources and information out there. for people who are interested in starting this type of career. So, yeah. 

[00:28:37] So if you could, and, and I'm sure that it kind of varies, but like, just generally mm-hmm. , what is the, so are you in charge of, like, you can say, Hey, I wanna work X amount of hours a week, or, and then like, what is the pay look like?

[00:28:50] So you get paid hourly? Like what? I'm just curious. Like if, like, in the general term, so like, I'm a uhhuh, I'm a. I'm a mill spouse that wants to come into this because mm-hmm. , I want something that's for myself. I really don't have a very strong, I don't have a good skillset coming in as far as like more, I mean, I, I'm, I'm happy to learn I'm teachable.

[00:29:08] Mm-hmm. , but I don't have that. So what am I looking at as far as like hours and and pay? What would that 

[00:29:13] be? So it very much will depend on if one, if you're working for yourself or for an agency. Okay. If you are, if you decide to work for yourself, obviously you set your own hours, you decide when you wanna work, how often you wanna work.

[00:29:26] You can say no to clients at any time if they are not a good fit for you. Market value in terms of project basis is, will depend on your skillset, but will also depend on what the client, the needs of the clients are. There's, it's, it can vary greatly and you get to set your own rates as a virtual, you know, if you are working for yourself.

[00:29:50] And in the course I talk a little bit about setting prices and expectations and market value of different tasks and projects and things like that. So as a virtual assistant working for an agency or working for somebody else, hourly rates usually for an agency, will start about 15 15 bucks an hour or so.

[00:30:12] Okay. And go up to 25 to 30 an hour, depending on your skillset. Your experience and things like that. Okay? If you are working for yourself and you want to set an hourly rate, usually that's somewhere between 40 and $50 an hour, okay? Is because you have to take into account your own client management process.

[00:30:35] So you, everything, time is money, right? So, mm-hmm. , when you work for an agency, , you might be getting paid a little bit less, but that's because they're doing client management. They have all the programs and softwares that they're paying for. They're doing all these backend things that you don't have to.

[00:30:52] Social media management, they're doing all these backend things that you don't have to worry about when you work for yourself. you have to take into account how am I invoicing these people? How am I organizing the projects? What's, what software platforms do I need to pay for to make sure all these things are being taken care of?

[00:31:09] So generally you'll, you'll charge a little bit higher of a rate. Sure. And the clients, usually, whether you work for yourself or an agency, they, the clients are usually paying the same amount You. are Sure, you know, you yourself are saying, oh, I charge $40 an hour, versus I'm getting paid $15 an hour.

[00:31:30] Right. So it just kind of depends on what Okay. You know, and, and I do in the course in my full course I do talk about that, you know, what's the difference between working for yourself or an agency? What things do you need to keep in mind? Do decide to work for yourself, especially right off the bat.

[00:31:45] I do recommend to anybody who has doesn't have a whole lot of skills yet, or is just starting to learn work to work for an agency first, because it can answer so many questions for you. Yeah, it can help you decide what kind of hours you want. So when you work for an agency, it will depend on the agency if they want you to have certain set hours during the day for.

[00:32:10] Most of the agencies that I have come across don't really care when you work. So it doesn't, it doesn't really matter, but some will say, Hey, we need you available for clients East coast hours, you know, nine to five or whatever it might be. Most are not like that. Most are very part-time. You decide which clients you want, how often you wanna work, kind, things like that.

[00:32:35] But like I said, in my course I do talk about that and I do, you know, I do recommend working for an agency so you can see, hey, how do I balance life and work? Mm-hmm. , how, what type of clients do I like to have and what kind of clients do I really not like to have? What, you know, what skills do I really enjoy doing and what do I not like doing?

[00:32:56] So then if you decide to step out on your own, you can say, oh, well I really, I really love social media management. I don't like email marketing. So then you can focus yourself on being social media manager and that's. The type of con the type of clients you are looking for, or I hate, I personally hate social media management, so I all my virtual assistants.

[00:33:17] You know, and that's something I learned along the line of when taking clients and working for an agency is helpful because you have somebody to fall back on to say, well, hey, I need help with this, or, I'm not sure how to do this. instead of trying to manage it all on your own with brand new clients and new learning, new skills all at the same time.

[00:33:38] I would say, you know, get some resources for yourself. Figure out if you wanna take any formal courses or not. What you wanna take those in. And then once you've kind of get a basis for yourself, you know, go to an agency, start working with clients and see what you like, what you don't like, what you want your hours to be, how it fits into your family life.

[00:33:59] Yeah. And and kind of go from. . Yeah, I 

[00:34:02] think that's really smart. , if you're coming in it with like, Hey, I wanna give this a try. I'm looking for something, I'm not really sure what it is yet. Maybe this is for me, I don't know. Yeah. Go to an agency and, and take the trainings that they offer.

[00:34:15] Right. Be teachable, be open, and exactly like you said, test it out. I like this. I don't like this. And just kind of feel your way through it. And when you're working for an agency, you take, cause I mean, if you, I feel like it would. Incredibly challenging to go into and be like, I've decided I'm gonna be a virtual assistant or a virtual marketing assistant, and I really don't have a skillset.

[00:34:36] How, how do you even find client? Like, I wouldn't even, that seems like, that seems like a real deep dive . Yeah. Yeah. So it seems like the, the, the, the most natural baby step would be. Find an agency. Yeah. Find one that, that fit, that you know, you vibe with. Right, right. There's, there's a few that you listed out and we'll, I'll make sure that I link 'em in the show notes and just test it out.

[00:34:56] Right. Yeah. And, and see Yeah. And see how it feels. Yeah. So what is what is some of the feedback that you get from your, your virtual assistants if, like, have you had someone that's come in and been like, I, I need something. I don't know what it is.

[00:35:10] I really don't have a lot of skills. You've taken 'em under your wing. Here's these things. And then like, what does that look like for them? You know, a couple years down the road? Are they, have they found a niche? Have they, like what does that kind of path. Like, what have you seen that look like for people coming in with nothing?

[00:35:25] Yeah, 

[00:35:25] so most of my, well, all of my virtual assistants I've hired within the past two months. So I went from having, well, no, I, I did have two starting last August, very slow role. And then I hired five more within the past couple months, and then more graphic designers. But the couple that I've had that have.

[00:35:50] Really no background in what they're doing. They may have a background in, let's say graphic design or, you know, have an English degree. So they're good with writing. Mm-hmm. , but have never really worked in this digital media space. I think the biggest feedback I would say is that it take, there is a learning.

[00:36:11] Curve to pretty much everything and mm-hmm , having either a mentor or an agency who can really help be, help you be organized or give you everything to show you. The ropes is really important because when somebody just says, Hey, this person wants social media management, here's their branding. They want Facebook posts three times a week, Instagram cross posting.

[00:36:37] You know, I've logged you into meta business, so now you can do it and go do it. But you're like, well, what? You know, what's their what? What's the basis of their brand? What are they trying to get across? What's their marketing strategy? And you don't have that. That can feel so overwhelming to just be like, good luck here.

[00:36:55] It is. Yeah. Even if you come in with a skillset, you know? Mm-hmm. , it can just be really overwhelming. So I. Making sure if I, I'm super organized and I like to give everything to my virtual assistants off the bat. Like here is everything from the client, their branding, their marketing strategy. I could do video tutorials, so we are on the same page with everything.

[00:37:18] But if there are things that you're not sure of what to do or how to do it, Don't be afraid to ask because I really, especially with military spouse or military veteran owned companies, none of us are gonna be like, God, what the heck? How do you not know how to do this? Like, we are all very much willing to.

[00:37:40] Help and teach and provide information, especially when we know it has to do with our own business. We wanna make you successful because not only are you working for us, whether you're working for an agency or not, but I also, my goal with all my virtual assistants or with anybody who takes my courses, is to give them a platform to grow their, either their own business or grow in their career.

[00:38:04] It's not to work for me at 18 to $25 an hour for the rest of their life. Mm-hmm. , it's so that you can learn and grow and expand and venture into different areas of your, take these skills and venture into different areas of your life. Mm-hmm. . So definitely speak up and say, Hey, I need help with this.

[00:38:21] Mm-hmm. . And then I get, I think the other biggest thing. Piece of advice I would give to anybody who's new, starting out. is make sure you set boundaries for yourself and for whoever you work for. If you have young kids say, Hey, I've got babies at home, because most of us have kids or have been around kids enough to know that it can be unpredictable.

[00:38:45] Sometimes kids get sick. Mm-hmm. , or, Hey, my husband's deploying or he's coming back from deployment. Or, you know I can't work after four and I don't work weekends. Like, set those boundaries ahead of time. Feel like you have to be working all of the time to be successful or or to be The best. You really don't because Okay.

[00:39:08] The point of, of this side of we're of being a virtual assistant. I gotcha. So that's 

[00:39:13] good. That's really good to hear because I think that if, you know, if you're diving into a new space and you're like, oh gosh, I don't uh, I feel like I need to be, I need to be right. Like we're not in an office, but like, I need to be early and I need to stay late and I need to do all these things.

[00:39:28] But, and when you're in this digital, virtual space mm-hmm. , 

[00:39:32] you 

[00:39:33] have the capacity to set that stuff. So that's not really, so that, that's, that's an interesting difference between a traditional work environment. Yeah. And this virtual environment is that you go into it and say, These are my parameters, these are my boundaries, this is where I wanna be.

[00:39:49] And then yeah, make it work into their, so that I, I I appreciate that. That's really good advice. So then okay, so we've covered, we've covered a lot of stuff , so what can you, if you wanna share what links you have and or how people can get in touch with you and the course? You've talked about your course a couple of times.

[00:40:06] Yeah. If you wanna share that information as. 

[00:40:08] Sure. Yeah. So I my courses, you can find them. My website's still in development, but my courses themselves are Course dot The Work from Home spo and the work from home is the w f h mills p.com. And you can go check out the courses there. I have one large course that talks.

[00:40:30] everything. The three different web design platforms, the three email marketing platforms, branding, s e o business structure. I have two military spouse guest experts in taxes and business formation that talk about, you know, starting your own business or getting your taxes as a 10 99. What does that mean?

[00:40:48] And kind of business organization, that's my big course. But then all of those sections are broken down into mini courses so that if you just wanna learn about WordPress or you just wanna learn about MailChimp, , you can take that mini course as a more affordable. option. Okay. And then you can find me on Instagram at the work from home spo.

[00:41:10] My, all of my students are added to a private Facebook page or Facebook group where you can ask questions. I put job postings I share tips and advice and things like that on a weekly basis. And then I just started a general work from home, military spouse, Facebook group, where anybody can come in.

[00:41:30] Ask about career advice or I'll put job postings in there as well, things like that. So we can kind of help broaden. The landscape for those who are interested in either starting a virtual assistant career or looking, that's probably the biggest question I see on military spouse groups are, what can I do from home that's not an M MLM and that is not, you know, that's actually legit and not a scam, or something like that.

[00:41:58] Sure. So sharing those, those resources, that information, those jobs to help spouses, you know, kind of develop. A career or even maybe not a career, maybe just a job opportunity to help bring in some income for their family yeah. While their babies are little and they're moving and all these things.

[00:42:19] So, yeah. Yeah. Well, 

[00:42:21] we'll definitely link all of that in the show notes for sure. I thank you, Lauren, for your time today and for all your information. I think it's really helpful because again, you know, as, like I said, at the top of the, Talking to a lot of military spouses, so a lot of people have figured out mm-hmm.

[00:42:37] in their line where they are, how to make their job remote or virtual. Yeah. And so then if you're sitting back like, okay, but how do I, I don't know. I think you've given a lot of really tactical advice on, okay, this is what you wanna do and mm-hmm. . You know, good news is that you don't have to have a skillset like you, right?

[00:42:55] You can, as long as you have the open, I can be teachable. I wanna make this work, then this is a space that you can be in, which I think is really I think that that's really inspiring and. Like a bright light , 

[00:43:08] right? 

[00:43:09] For, for some of us that might be like, oh my gosh, how do I do this? Because you get into the, you know, oh my God, and I gotta move again, and then I gotta do this.

[00:43:15] And you just get beat down and beat down and beat down. And so this is a way that you can kind of create your own thing, figure out where you niche in. Right? Probably recommend working for an agency first before you try to go out on your own. Yeah. And then kind of grow from there, I think. So, so I appreciate your time and all of your valuable information and yeah.

[00:43:34] Thank you so much. 

[00:43:35] Of course. Yep. 

[00:43:37] Not a 

[00:43:37] problem.