My name is Jonathan Shank, and I have a passion for VAs. I love teaching what I have learned, and meeting new people from around the world. I don’t consider myself a guru by any stretch, but I have been blessed with the opportunity to manage VAs professionally in my 9-5 job, and help my coworkers be more productive and less stressed. In my personal life, VAs have allowed me to spend more time with my family, persue my interests (such as this site), and develop a strong professional network of people from across the world who I truely enjoy working with and learning about.
It is my hope that I can empower and encourage you on how amazingly easy it is to get started down the path to more free time, less stress at home and work, and more opportunties to accomplish your goals. It’s an amazing time to be alive and in business, with technologies such as Skype making collaboration with an ever growing pool of entreprenours from around the world who have only been able to come online in the past 5 years. VAs are by no means not a cure all, and it’s just as imporant to understand when they can’t or shouldn’t be used, but learning how and when they *can* be of assistantce is a skill that will pay dividends for years to come.
My wife Debbie and I have been married for nearly 10 years, and we have a two year old daughter, and 1 year old son. It’s my goal to have the freedome to travel the world with them while helping people such as yourself find ways to reach your own goals. I also am passionate about using my skills and abilities to help the rural poor in countries such as India. We were just there in January for a few weeks, and you can check out our adventures here: http://jonathananddebbie.wordpress.com/
My career started 10 years ago at a Fortune 500 company, and I loved my work, yet longed for more freedom. I wanted to use more creative and interpersonal skills, and also to make a difference in the world. I had no idea what that ment at the time (and am still figuring it out for that matter).
In 2001 my work decided to relocate from Indiana to Detroit, and I managed to convince my work to allow me to take a 6 month leave of absense in exchange for my relocation upon my return. Ultimately, this allowed me to take a 2 month honeymoon to India. The trip was simply amazing. It was part sight seeing and part mission work at an orphanage in rural India. We traveled all over India for 3 weeks, seeing palm trees, hill stations, the desert, castles, and of course, the Taj Majal. We met all sorts of amazing people as we traversed using planes, trains, and automobiles/rickshaws. We then spend 5 weeks at an orphanage and school where I set up a computer lab whle my wife treated many animals. It was the most fufilled I had felt in my life. All too soon I was back to the 9-5 job again.
Finally, after 4 more years of corporate life, it was time to move on. I loved my job and we had grown accoustom to Detroit, but we felt like we were slowing sinking into some form of mediocracy.As Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them” and that seemed to really be us. Debbie and I took another trip to India, and then moved in with Debbie’s parents as we planned our next move. Still with no clear direction, we ended up in Pennsylvania for a year following Debbie’s dream job of working with hundreds of horses while I took a job in an acoustics test lab.
Since our return to Wisconsin in 2008, I’ve had various 9-5 jobs, including a 9 month stretch where I worked up the courage to try my own business full time.Since starting your own busines can take massive amounts of time, and encouraged by Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Work week, I started working with Virtual Assistants, where I immediately found a lot of success, in part I think due to my previous experiences working in India, and understanding some of the differences in working with cultures outside of the US. I loved everything about working with VAs.
I loved training smart VAs with an interest in audio the intricies of acoustics and how to do complex processes for me I could charge $50/ hour for.
I loved finding VAs good at market research who could compile lists of companies I would target for my products I was developing.
I loved finding people much better and graphics design and web development to help me set up my website.
I loved talking with people from Egypt, the Phillipiens, India, and 10 other countries as well.
While the business did not ultimately succeed and I went back to a 9-5 job, I caught the entreprenourial bug bad, and have never been able to shake it.
My current job for example, was supposed to be a plain engineering job, but based on my successes working with VAs, I managed to talk my way into a new role which was half engineering, and half Virtual Assistant Manager. I’ve had a lot of success working with Virtual Assistants in my own personal projects, and am on track to manage over 100 VA projects with my current role by the end of the year.
You might not be one to plunge headlong into hiring a VA, or perhaps you haven’t had the type of success I have had using VAs. I understand. Rest assured, you are at the right place. My goal is to provide everything you need to know about the world of VAs, from figuring out what you could use them for, to finding and hiring the right one, to getting the most out of any VA you do hire, and being able to repeat and find even more success as you gain experience.
I love to hear from anyone, and I try and answer my e-mails as soon as I can, so feel free to drop me a line – I’d love to hear from you, and if possible, help you along the way to following your dreams and accomplishing your goals with the wonderful world of Virtual Assistants.
Hiring VAs can be a very powerful and flexible skill to develop, and it is amazingly easy to start with as little as $5 for your first project to start. Properly honed and developed, it can help you expand your reach and capibilities weither at home or work, in a small business or large, and can also give you a competitive advantage in the workplace like it has done for me.