It was NEVER my goal to be a service provider yet in 2007 I quit my job to be a Virtual Assistant. By 2012 (five years later) I told my last client that I would no longer be providing them services and I claimed my full lifestyle freedom badge (at least that’s how I see it).
You see, I do believe that those in a service-based business can have lifestyle freedom. I do believe they can have a laptop lifestyle.
For me, that wasn’t enough. I wanted to have ZERO people who could input or influence my work, my schedule, my projects and, ultimately, my vibe.
I find dealing with people EXHAUSTING, especially after they’ve paid you and really exclusively because they’ve paid you. Something happens to someone’s brain when you bill them for your time. They believe they OWN that time and they’re kind of right, right?
I mean, I do it too. I pay someone for 10 hours of work and I feel like I have the right to those 10 hours. I feel like I can tell them what to work on, how I want it done, when to have it done by and more.
Clearly I have outsourcing issues, issues with authority, being told what to do, etc… Clearly I have issues. haha. But that’s not the point of this post and it’s a good topic for mindset work in the near future.
I’ve never really talked about WHY I transitioned or gone into much detail as to HOW I did it either. But these days I have nothing to hid and I will take a stand faster than I ever did.
And today I want to take a stand for YOU if you’re in a service-based business purely because you’re not sure what to do to start or complete the transition.
While I can’t give you the exact formula – I don’t have one – I CAN tell you what I did to create the transition and reading it might just help you discover your transition from services to digital CEO, too!
- Leveraged Services FIRST
As I said I never had the intention to be a service provider and I had spent from 2002 when my son was born until 2004 trying a few different physical and then digital-product based businesses. I tried affiliate marketing, network marketing and even financial services selling, too. But, it was only two years into my journey and I needed money as a single mom so I took temp jobs while lead me to a factory job on an afternoon shift.
I have a diploma in Chemical Engineering Technology but the jobs for that were at least an hour’s commute away and I just wouldn’t do it and spend that much time away from my young son.
While working the job, after having tried so many things and feeling like a failure of a single mom in a factory job, I discovered Virtual Assistance. A friend in a mastermind group I was in said she was quitting being a VA and working “dollars for hours” in her business and my only thought was that I’d LOVE to work dollars for hours doing something I loved like working on websites, writing blog posts and helping people make money online. So I jumped right in! I got a lot of clients quickly but that’s a whole nother story.
Me and Hayden after I quit my job. This was for “Business in Your Bathrobe Day”
2. Worked My Ass Off, For a Season
So… I was working afternoon shift at a factory job. My shift started at 3pm and ended at 11:30pm-ish if I remember correctly. I had a four year old son and I had just taken on 15 clients within 24 hours.
My plate was full! I was so excited! I saw it as a way to quit my job and that was the ONLY thing I could see.
I couldn’t see any potential issues that were going to arise.
I couldn’t see how much work it would be.
I couldn’t see that this was not my long term plan.
So I barreled through. I worked my ass off for a season. From the time I started being a VA in 2006 until the time I quit about nine months later in 2007 I would get home from work at midnight or later (depending on overtime) and then work on my client’s work. I’d do 2-4 hours of client work and then go to bed and often get up with my son in the morning (unless one of my parents were watching him).
Most nights I got 5-6 hours sleep. Running on five hours sleep is HARD but it wasn’t forever. I worked through that and I earned my freedom… or so I thought.
3. Realized Services Were NOT For Me
I hit a rock bottom in my business, and kind of in my life, when I had been sitting at my computer for about three months straight. And I’m not joking. After I quit my job I was spending about 12 hours PER DAY on my computer.
I thought the harder I worked the more money I made.
Yet I made so little while working for so long.
I felt completely trapped, overwhelmed, overworked and honestly, confused. I thought this was what I wanted and yet I hated it and I felt like the worst mom in the world for quitting a job that actually gave me more time with him than the business I had envisioned would give me freedom.
I want to tell you that not all VAs live like this. Not all VAs have no time for their families, to shower, for honoring themselves or any kind of life. Some VAs create balance and love what they do and this is a great type of work for them. Same goes for Coaches, Consultants or any service-provider. There is a way to enjoy the service-based industry but I just didn’t want to figured it out.
So I started planning my escape.
At one point I went on a job search. That ended quickly. I did pare down my business to almost no clients and started again. I looked for clients I LOVED and kept the ones I already LOVED. It was good while I plotted my next moves.
Here’s a blast from the past! My Virtual Assistance website I created all in HTML hand code before moving to a WordPress website a few months later. I kind of still really love this site:
4. Freedom Escape Plan
I hear from a lot of people who would like me to tell them how to transition out of services and I think they think they can do it in a few months and BOOM, they’re all out of services.
Maybe. But that’s not how it worked for me.
Around 2008 I created my first course. It was called “Gimp Graphics Mojo”. That course was created as a direct result of knowing what my CLIENTS needed help with. So I leveraged the work I was doing with them to start a digital empire.
Then, in 2010, I created another course that I could see a great need for because of my clients. I saw my clients hiring website designers (others or myself) and really having no idea what they needed to give them to get a website up. They had no understanding of how a website worked, how WordPress worked and how to maintain a website after it was created. So I trained them. I basically took their problem and created my most profitable program to date.
Two years later, after working on my courses the entire time AND opening up a membership site to create a consistent income I THEN let my last client go, in 2012.
That’s about four years to my freedom.
Now… I love to remind myself to take time to step away, go to the beach which always refreshes me and ENJOY this laptop lifestyle, this freedom life I live. I know not everyone has it for one reason or another so I am grateful every single day:
5. Revel in My Freedom
I appreciated the freedom SO MUCH. I was becoming a leader in the industry for teaching how to use WordPress but you know what? I STILL didn’t feel like it was the right thing for me.
I had made over $100,000 over a few years with the topic of WordPress training and I’m sure I could have scaled that up x10 but I had had enough of teaching a software that was ever changing and it was yet another thing I had done to get me from where I didn’t want to be (VA Services) to where I was at the time (WordPress Courses & WordPress Membership).
So I pivoted. In 2015 I created what is now called the Laptop Lifestyle YOUniversity because I knew I was not the only one who created complete and TOTAL lifestyle freedom.
- NOBODY tells me what to work on.
- NOBODY tells me when my projects are due.
- NOBODY tells me who to work with.
- NOBODY tells me where to work.
- NOBODY tells me shit, really. lol.
I TELL ME. And I love it that way. I finally found my “calling” and get this, it only took, um, like 13 years?!
So… when you tell me you’ve been at this for two years and you don’t have it all figured out yet excuse me if I pause and calculate the years I struggled hard and then remind myself how VERY worth it it was!
Here’s how I started Website Design Mojo:
My friend and I were chatting on the phone. I remember it plain as day. She had a successful course teaching people how to create videos and I was complaining to her that I didn’t want to do services and nothing else was working for me.
SHE was the one who said… “You know, you’re so good at WordPress websites, why don’t you create a course in that.”
My email list was very small at the time. I had gathered a few hundred people onto my list from selling the graphics course, a little case study about how I became a virtual assistant and a few telesummits and webinars I had done. I didn’t care how many people I had on my list, I decided to sell it anyway.
I don’t have any memory of how many people joined that first class but I know I had registered people and I was so EXCITED!
I also had NOTHING prepared. You see, I had pre-sold the course, just like I had talked about in this vlog post.
Pre-selling allowed me to just put it out there. I wrote the details of what I would teach, put it on my website, added an order button from my shopping cart and started selling!
THEN I created. I remember also so clearly we were going on vacation to Newfoundland, Canada, where I’m from and I had planned to create my videos and also host my live Q&A calls from my grandmothers. And I did! I hid myself away and got it done, while on vacation!
That program grew and grew. I was very proud of it.
I encourage you to get moving, get doing, get launching and create something YOU are proud of. Would you do that for me? I’d LOVE to hear about it!
I’ve mentioned the Laptop Lifestyle YOUniversity in this post. If you’d like to learn more about my membership and how you can join us you can go here.
My friend Cindy Bidar also has a great set of checklists and templates for launching products that you’re likely to find really helpful for that product you just promised me you’ll create. Find those here.