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- Jessica Hawks left a nine-to-five to become a virtual assistant, managing tasks for businesses.
- Five months later, she’d quadrupled her monthly income and was making plans to scale further.
- Here’s how Hawks spends her day, including sleeping in, recording podcasts, and spending time with friends.
Jessica Hawks had an atypical childhood. She attended both middle school and high school online and graduated at 16. With family struggles and life changes at the forefront of her mind, she never pictured a specific future for herself.
“I wasn’t thinking about what I was going to do when I got older,” Hawks said, adding that some of her choices included working for the family business or enrolling in college. She began working as a chiropractic assistant but because she didn’t have a college degree, she felt she had no leverage to ask for a higher salary. She decided to go back to school, but two years in nursing school didn’t feel right for her either.
She wanted a job that would give her flexibility and allow her to create her own schedule and spend time on herself. When a friend who worked as a virtual assistant for wedding photographers explained her job, Hawks saw an opportunity.
“That was the first time that I had really heard anything about that career path,” Hawks said. “I was like, oh my God, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
Hawks created her business profile in March 2020 and focused on honing her creativity, marketing herself, and fearlessly pursuing clients. By August, Hawks had seven consistent clients and was hitting $9,000 per month as a virtual assistant, quadrupling her salary as a full-time employee. In 2008, there were only 25,000 active virtual assistants worldwide, according to virtual assistant firm MyOutDesk. Today, 1 million individuals work as virtual assistants, but that amount is expected to at least double within the next few years.
After sharing her story on social media, Hawks was flooded with requests to help other aspiring virtual assistants and business owners start on their own. In December 2020, Hawks had officially transitioned all of her virtual-assistant clients to other assistants and began coaching and creating content full-time. Now, she runs multiple master classes and hosts a podcast, which launched on October 18. Since March 2020, her virtual-assistant and coaching company has booked more than $1.1 million in sales, according to documents verified by Insider.
The virtual assistant industry is “booming,” thanks in part to the flexible schedule it provides workers and the ability to earn an average of $2,000 to $5,000 a month, according to a recent report from the US Association of Virtual Assistants.
Now able to travel, take long weekends, and work whatever hours she feels necessary, Hawks says her personalized schedule is what’s allowed her to thrive. Here’s how Hawks spends each day.
Hawks wakes up at 9:30 or 10:00 a.m.
Hawks allows herself to sleep in until 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. most mornings.
“When I was working in the corporate world, I used to get up at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. to go to my job, and I am not a morning person,” Hawks said. When she started her own business, she tried to conform to a nine-to-five schedule but wanted to move away from that. “So now I try to be really intuitive with my schedule.”
Hawks said being able to sleep in is one of the most valuable parts of owning a business, and not forcing herself to wake up earlier than necessary actually helps her to be more productive during the day.
Then Hawks gets up to make breakfast and walk her dog.
Hawks recently started cooking more at home to focus on her health. So each morning she will make eggs and iced coffee for breakfast.
After breakfast, she takes her energetic dog, Teddy, for a walk.
After that, the workday begins.
Once Hawk has finished her regular morning routine, she will sit down to begin work. Her first task is always to take stock of what’s to come that day for her coaching business and personal content creation.
Hawks checks her emails, her calendar, team texts, and the company project-management system.
“I make a list of the things that I have to get done that day and things that I would like to get done that day,” Hawks said. Differentiating her priorities in this way helps her to stay on track with necessary tasks but not get overwhelmed.
Hawks divides her time by tasks, like communication, creation, and analytics.
The rest of the morning is spent on communication. In addition to answering emails, she posts or comments on Instagram, checks in on Facebook groups, and replies via Slack to any of her students — whom she trains to become virtual assistants through her Digital Millennials Masterclass (which she and her business coach turned partner run together) and Digital Creatives Academy.
While she now runs her coaching business full-time, her virtual-assistant roles followed a similar schedule. As a virtual assistant, Hawks was responsible for email marketing, social-media content creation, and business administration, among other tasks. In that role, she’d break down priorities in the same way: based on task type.
“I would reserve Mondays for Pinterest management and do every client’s Pinterest that day,” she said. Tuesdays were reserved for social-media management, Wednesdays for tech and behind-the-scenes tasks, and Thursdays for copy or marketing.
Next, she focuses on content creation.
Hawks said social media is crucial in building any business — whether it’s virtual assisting or business coaching. She used social media to build out her entire virtual-assistant business: She relied on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to market herself. As she continues to build her personal-coaching business, Hawks is growing her online presence as a creator.
“This quarter we’re having a lot of calls about creation, like creating new courses and planning photo shoots,” she said.
On October 18, Hawks launched a podcast called The Digital State of Mind, where she shares her experience as an entrepreneur and has conversations with special guests.
In the afternoon, Hawks gets outside.
After most of her calls are done, Hawks takes a break. She tries to spend time outside each day: going for a walk with the dog, attending a yoga class, running errands, or going to appointments.
“Whether it’s nails or chiropractic appointments, I think it’s something that’s so valuable whenever you start your own business,” Hawks said. “It sounds like the most simple thing,” she added, but it is one of the greatest benefits to being a business owner.
In the afternoon, she resumes content-creation tasks.
Hawks hops back into content creation after her afternoon break. While she is focused on recording and editing her podcast right now, she is also a longtime TikTok user. In fact, much of her business success can be attributed to the video app, where she shares similar tips to those of her masterclass.
Hawks says it’s crucial to be intentional with content creation. When asked about the importance of diversifying content in case of social blackouts — when social platforms like Instagram or Facebook shut down unexpectedly — she said it’s a double-edged sword.
“You don’t want to try to spread yourself too thin across so many platforms that your content becomes less valuable,” she added. “You also don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket.” For that reason, she uses Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, email marketing, and TikTok.
She finishes work around 6 p.m., then spends the evening with friends.
Before logging off for the night, Hawks will spend time replying to messages that came in throughout the day and finishing must-do tasks.
“I don’t force myself to stop working after a certain time because I would rather act on it when I have the motivation to,” Hawks said. “A lot of times I will do more creation or work on random things that I’ve wanted to implement in the business but just haven’t had time for in the day.”
When Hawks is finally satisfied with her day’s work, she makes sure to schedule a time to visit friends.
“It’s important to not lose sense of why you’ve started your business,” Hawks said. “You’ve created something for yourself that does allow you to travel and spend time with your friends and family and not just push those to the side because you could keep going.”