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Life of a VA featuring Ulani Lawton of Tropical Admin

Jan 25, 2021


I’m Ulani, a twenty-something from beautiful Far North Queensland. Here’s the story of my VA journey. 

If you saw me you wouldn’t think it, but I have a background in construction. For 4 years I was the manager of a small family business that trained people from all over Australia in rigging, civil work and machine operations. 

This job allowed me to gain skills not only in operating huge machinery, learning to construct buildings, flying foxes and abseiling systems, but also in managing the entire back end of a business. I learned how to deal with different customers, develop systems and processes, deal with auditing processes and a whole range of other things before I’d even turned 18!

This but with all of the skills I had and responsibility I had within the business, the less time I had. I was essentially on call because shift workers would need to book in courses and only had time to ring me at night. I was the only one who knew how to work the systems so I was setting up audits and courses from my phone while Ed Sheeran is walking on stage at a concert or before I was boarding airplanes. All while juggling full time uni.

I was exhausted, there was no line between my work and my life. 

Enter: Depression and Anxiety.

Upon learning that I was dealing with two mental health issues, I knew I couldn’t maintain the amount of work I was putting on myself. But I loved my job! I loved the different skills I was gaining; I loved the people I worked for and meeting new people every week. 

I started looking around the web at work I could do from home and found out about becoming a Virtual Assistant. I got excited, signed up for a course, paid for a domain name, logo, set up my socials and then got so busy at my full time job that I never got anywhere. 

Until Coronavirus. 

My full-time job couldn’t afford to keep me and I wasn’t eligible for any government assistance. I had to get this VA thing happening fast. In June 2020 I launched my business and by August 2020 I replaced my full-time income. 

Having the option to start work early one day or late the next or smash out a heap of work on a good day and stay in bed on a bad day has had a huge impact on my mental health. Being in control of how much money I make, the work I do and the time I get off is so empowering and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now that I’m more comfortable with my position, I have the ability to go back and smooth out the crinkles I made when I launched my business hard and fast. I have clients that understand my story and are patient with me as I grow, appreciate the work I do and respect the boundaries I’ve set up.

For example, I only take client calls on Monday and Wednesday. My mental health doesn’t allow me the energy to be interacting face-to-face anymore and I don’t have to. They can ping me on Slack if they need me and it works for us.

My old employer is now even one of my regular clients!

If you ever needed someone to tell you that you can design the life you want, let me be them.

It’s not always going to be easy, but it’s possible and you can do it.

xx Ulani

Guest blog credit: Ulani Lawton at Tropical Admin

BIO: Ulani is the owner of Tropical Admin which is an administrative business, who assist with some of that ever-growing paperwork!

You can see more from Ulani at Tropical Admin

If you want to get started as a Virtual Assistant, join our waitlist to join the next round of our signature VA Start Up Program in March 2021 Join the waitlist here


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