Hey everyone! Don't worry, I'm not nearly as scary as my rep! LOL.
Let's start with a little background... I'm a Mom of 4 incredibly independent, sometimes wild 'n crazy (no idea where they get it 😀 ) adult children - 3 sons and a daughter. Two of our sons are partners with my husband in the family automotive repair and emergency towing business, Totman Enterprises, Inc. , while the other 2 help out and lead independent lives outside the family biz.
We have 3 beautiful grandchildren who we are very fortunate to spend a ton of time with. Not everyone has that privilege, so we are very grateful. <3
On the business end of things, I opened my business in 1987 - yep 32 years ago (WOW). I was pregnant with my oldest son and was unable to continue working in the law office where I was a legal secretary, so bought myself a new-to-the-market Brother WP-75 word processor. At the time, they were at the "cutting edge" of home office technology. Home PCs were not very common yet, and very expensive. This little gem allowed me to work from home and take the time I needed to care for my little "bun in the oven", who is now a 30+-year-old powerlifter, who lifts 600+ lbs with ease, mind you, LOL.
I kept it simple, printed up some postcards using the word processor, got a couple of tape transcription machines that were being cast out at a local college - one micro, and one standard, mailed the postcards to doctors, lawyers, posted them at the local law college and darned if I didn't get an immediate response, from all of the above. I was a VA! Though at the time the term had not yet been coined, I was a telecommuter - a term first coined in 1972 by Jack Nilles, who was working remotely on a complex NASA communication system.
Telecommuting, or working remotely, was not all that common in the '80s. The internet and personal PCs had not yet taken hold in every household, but with the aid of the technology at the time - a decent fax, dot matrix printer (inkjets were available in the late 1980s but WOW were they expensive), my handy dandy WP-75 along with 3.5" double-sided, double-density disks, and a landline, of course, I was in business!
As the years went on, I continued my business throughout various moves due to my husband's career, realizing I could work from anywhere. There were clients to be had, if you just asked for them.
In 1994, I went back to work full-time at a legal office, then moved to an office management position at Conservation Law Foundation for a few years, through 1999, a year after I had my daughter, all the while continuing to operate the business part-time. As Alyssa neared the 2-year mark, I realized I wanted to be home, to have the flexibility to go to my children's' events, and spend time with them as I chose - not the corporation I was working for, even though they were truly very flexible and kind.
I gave a 2-month notice to wrap up ongoing projects and to write an office procedure manual as part of my exit, purchased my new equipment - a new pc, an inkjet color printer, and a decent quality black and white laser printer, with fax and scan capability. With those, together with MS Office, Quickbooks, and my skills, I threw together my first-ever website, submitted it to the search engines and within a month or so, started getting calls. In those days, it took a few weeks for submissions to process, so it could be a couple of months before serious results came through.
In the meantime, there was a lot of networking going on as well, which I delve into in my courses at Virtual E-schoolTM, but suffice it to say that where there is a will, there IS a way! By the time I finished out my notice, I had contracts and clients to fill 20+ hours a week, allowing me flexible time with my family, making almost as much as I had full-time. And get this - my very first client was my previous employer! They needed new computers installed and networked, and I got the contract!
This story is like many others - mostly Moms or Dads who wanted to be closer to their families and get away from the rat race. It can happen. Believe in your dreams and go for it. I did, and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity. 🙂
Time for me ...
My favorite passion after my family would have to be riding my motorcycle. Here in Maine, we get limited time to ride, and my husband Brian (aka Poptot) take every opportunity to get out. I also have a few fabulous ladies that I love to ride with (2 of them are in one of the cover photos on the front page). I got my license at 51 and have never looked back. It is a freedom that every person should experience in their own way. To some, it's walking on a beach, or riding a bicycle, or bungee jumping. To me, it's riding my Harley. Do you ride? Drop me a line below and tell me about it - add a pic or two - I'd love to see what you ride!