Mum and business owner gets the work-life balance just right

HOME OFFICE: Sam Spence operates her business from home in Junortoun. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY
HOME OFFICE: Sam Spence operates her business from home in Junortoun. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

BARELY two years into her new career, Sam Spence is already a finalist for an award.

Someone nominated her in the 2014 Aus Mumpreneur Awards for the category of Customer Service in her business, Executive Virtual Associate. 

"I’m still none the wiser as to who it was," Ms Spence said. 

It's hard to tell who it might have been, because as a virtual assistant, she has forty clients on her books and works for several of them each day. 

The virtual assistant industry has been steadily growing during the past 20 years as the internet has made it easier to work remotely. 

Ms Spence started her business two years ago after being made redundant from her executive assistant role with Westpac. 

At the time she was working remotely from her boss already and realised that she could continue doing the same thing, but as a personal business. 

Ms Spence said being a virtual assistant was an exercise in self-discipline and multi-tasking. 

On any one day, she could be writing a company newsletter, doing research, booking accommodation, shortlisting Christmas present ideas, running a firm's social media sites, preparing presentations, coordinating events or doing data entry. 

Ms Spence starts work each morning at 6.30am, stops briefly to help her children to school and then continues working until it's time to pick them up at about 3pm. 

The evenings are her own to spend with her children and listen to them about their day. It's a work-life balance that make virtual assistant work attractive to mothers. 

"They have after school activities and I can get them to those places," Ms Spence said.

"I feel very lucky that I’m able to be at home with them. On school holidays and curriculum days I don’t have to pass them off to grandparents," she said.

Her children are 11 and 13 years old but Ms Spence said virtual assistant work was also ideal for mothers with young children. 

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