Every week we’ll be bringing you a new Career Adventures story!
This week we speak to multi-hyphenate Zoe Sofair of Virtually Zoe. Zoe is a Virtual Assistant, but also host pub quizzes, am a glitter and UV artist, set up a decluttering and organising business and do occasional event management. In between all of this she is also Community Manager for the London Chapter of Girl Gone International, a worldwide community of 250,000+ international women that was founded in 2010 and now with local communities in over 150 cities.
Read on here to hear about all of her Career Adventures. Thank you, Zoe, for sharing your stories with us about your portfolio career and many side hustles. 🙂
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I’m Zoe! I am and have always been a multi-hyphenate with more than one job or ‘side hustle’. Nowadays I’m usually a Virtual Assistant, but also host pub quizzes, am a glitter and UV artist, set up a decluttering and organising business and do occasional event management.
What are you working on now?
Over the past 4 years I’ve been steadily builiding my VA business, almost without knowing it, and now I’m at a point where I’m assessing what it currently looks like and what it needs to develop into! I’m looking at working with new/small companies to help them set up day to day systems and processes for how they will run…but this is still a work in progress! I’m also looking into more side hustles like e-commerce and starting a podcast!
What past projects spark joy for you when you look back at what you have worked on?
I’ve never really been a ‘project’ person. I tend to work ongoing with people and small companies. However, I’m really proud of some of the events myself and my business partner put together over the last 4 years (we have a little events company called BELL) which felt really satisfying. I’m also proud of getting my VA brand together (I didn’t put it together properly until a year ago) as it’s really helped focus it and brought me new clients.
How do you choose what to work on?
Does it let me work remotely, is it worth the money and the time, is it something that’s likely to make me stressed or anxious. These tend to be the things that initially go through my head when faced with something new. However, I often go on gut feelings and the vibe I get off the person who wants to work with me – I think I can tell quite quickly if I should take on the work.
Could you tell us about how your career adventure started, about what experiences, challenges or opportunities you came across over the years that led you to choose your own adventure? Where has your career adventure taken you in the past leading you to where you are now?
A lot of my career adventure has happened because I’ve never really known what I wanted to do. It’s been an ongoing point of frustration for me. However, I’ve learned quickly what I DON’T want to do which has been part of what led me onto my own path. I actually worked for a couple of companies full time which ended up restructuring which led me to engineer things on my own rather than waiting for someone else to maybe figure out what to do with me. I learned quickly that a company owes you no loyalty so it made more sense to be in charge of myself. Having said that, it wouldn’t have been possible to start my freelance career adventure without some lovely friends helping me with ideas and without an old client letting me freelance for them so that I could start engineering my own path.
I’ve always been a little off the usual ‘career path’.
The normality is something that actually makes me feel quite uncomfortable and always has done. I find offices and office culture un-enjoyable. I’m also a self-confessed control freak and like to work for myself!
My career adventure has taken me on a lot of personal growth and development which I know has helped me stay self employed for the last (nearly!) 5 years. I also believe in being open to seeing opportunities, otherwise you can get stuck. 10 years ago I never would have thought I’d be doing what I do now.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career adventure similar to your own?
Have faith that it will work for you if you let it. Something always comes along! Also, know that being self employed or having your own business will always have busy periods and quiet periods – don’t panic during the quiet times, let yourself relax before the next wave comes along! Have faith also that going your own way is totally viable.
Even if others feel that being on a career path is ‘safer’ the reality is that in today’s world and climate it’s almost just as safe going at it alone.
Practical advice for starting out as a VA is to see if you can do a small amount of work for a couple of clients while you have some more regular work, to ease you in and to work on what your strengths are and see if you fit into a niche. Also, you can apply to join VA agencies which can be useful or sites like People Per Hour. Juggling side hustles can be tough but think of it as lots of small things that add up to the time of a ‘normal’ job. I also do it because I get bored doing one thing – multi-hyphening isn’t for everyone but sometimes, it’s just about a shift in your mindset.
Could you describe your day-to-day at “the office(s)”?
I systematically check through all my client inboxes and will usually check if there’s anything urgent for any of them that needs doing first. Once I’ve worked through them I will go back to finish things off or do short bursts and new emails come in. I usually work at my kitchen table and try and get out of the flat at least for a short time each day, or will try and go swimming a few days a week as well. I also work well with things playing in the background – usually really bad reality TV! 🙂
I tend to work between 9am and 5pm but I’m also working on ways this is a bit more flexible.
Mostly so that I can travel abroad and it not affect my clients too much!
Where do you feel you work best and thrive the most?
I thrive on being helpful. If I feel useless, I need to leave. I also work best with a steady flow of work coming in (which of course isn’t often the case!) where I can switch happily from client to client without feeling like my brain has been split 10 different ways. I also prefer to work quickly and in short bursts and have a break in between. I’ve always been a fast worker so this is natural to me, but it often makes my brain feel tired quite quickly!
What inspires and drives you every day?
Independence, self-development, positive communities, being different!
What advice would you give to your younger self, knowing what you know now?
Don’t worry to much… having said that, it’s still advice I need to give myself today! I think I’d also let my younger self know that being who you really are and not adapting yourself for others is totally fine.
It’s always best to be who you are.
Some people are career path people and that’s amazing; others prefer to do things their own way and it’s equally awesome! 🙂
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about any of our career adventure stories. Come back soon to read more career adventures! Contact us here if you’d like to be featured here to share your own career adventures story.