About Marta & Bailey – Our Story
Back in early 2008 I took a huge step in pursuing a long-held dream of starting a business. In January of that year, I took on my first client as a virtual assistant. Although I was excited, more than anything, I was relieved – I was finally doing it!
As with most businesses, mine has morphed and changed over the years. I have learned more about myself during this time than ever before. What started out as The Blue Jeans VA has now developed into my next adventure over at Trail Guide WebWorks, a WordPress consulting and development company.
Family, that’s my big why. It’s what finally prompted me to take this big step. The needs of family for whom I needed to be able to get away during the day continued to grow. While I do not have any kiddos (except for that really cute 4-footed furry guy with me in the picture!), I found that I was using up a good chunk of my vacation time going to multiple doctor appointments during the week or visiting the nursing home with my Great Aunt’s care team.
My Big Why was re-affirmed in 2011 when I lost my youngest sister after a long battle with cancer. For several months prior, I was able to and stay with her for 2-3 weeks at a time while continuing my client work and running my business from a laptop. Being self-employed allowed me to be there with her and help with her care. There is NO WAY I would have been able to do that in a regular corporate cubicle job.
Here are just a few other things that working from home has provided me:
- It got me out of the office cubicle
- Allowed me to get my doggie 🙂
- Opportunity to work in a creative field
- Meet amazing people AND
- The opportunity to continue to learn super cool stuff that helps both my clients and me. (And I hated school most of my growing up years. Finding out that I actually LOVED to learn was a new experience)
But… Being self-employed is not easy, it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. When you add that I work from home there is a entirely different layer of complications and pressures that enter into the picture. Like…
- Learning to set personal boundaries and separating business home life. Of finding the time to take care of the house, the dog, family, and taking care of you and oh yeah of course there is the business itself!
- Long, and I mean long days trying to keep up with all the many hats you wear in running a business.
- Being taken seriously as a business owner
After I had been in business a couple of years, I had the startling realization that I had created a JOB for myself and not the business I had dreamed of. While the opportunities to be there for my family were still there, it was getting harder to fit it all in. I have felt stuck and have not known how to change or at least improve things. Business-care and self-care took a back seat and still keeps getting shoved lower down the priority scale.
That is, until I couldn’t ignore it anymore.
During the past 6 years I have pushed harder and harder to keep up with it all and not taking many breaks along the way. As a result of this workaholic attitude and lack of intentional time off, I have started to see changes in both my mental and physical health. Nothing life threatening thankfully, but seeing the signs and recognizing that if changes are not made, more serious health issues would come my way.
Thankfully at the end of 2013 things began to change, this time for some reason, I was ready. After years of frustration, asking questions, trying different ideas and seeking answers, it started to fall into place and make sense. I could see the potential in changing and what the end result could be, a business that I not only enjoy but one that I run, not one that runs me.
At the start of 2014 a recurring theme of rest, observing the Sabbath, retreats and the importance of simplifying my business and life in order to lower stress levels became a message I could no longer ignore. When one is so busy you can’t hear the promptings and messages coming from all sides from morning devotions, to books being recommended, and even sermons listened too… you know you are too busy! There have been a few times where I felt like I was being hit over the head with a 2×4 with the idea of rest, retreating and pausing. I finally started to get it…
Pause. Reflect. Create. Grow. Oh yeah and Retreat too!
The idea of retreats has been with me a long, long time. I’ve had tons of ideas (that part has never been an issue), but I’ve not been sure on what to do with the ideas or how to pursue them. I mean I already have a business! But finally I couldn’t ignore anymore. It was time to start writing about it and share what I have been learning along the way. When God places that desire in your heart there is only so long you can ignore it.
So, I’m hoping you will join me on this journey of rediscovering a few things:
- The joy of being self-employed, more like it was in the beginning
- Learning to transform a self-created j-o-b into a business that thrives
- Re-learning the art of self-care
- Discovering the idea and concept of retreating for business and personal development
Journey with me as I learn about
pausing, reflecting, creating and growing, one step at a time.
Uhm, but what about Bailey?!
Bailey is a rescue dog who is my best bud, office mascot and my reminder to get outside as much as possible. He is a Border Collie, Something Something Something… a mix of different breeds. I hear all sorts of guesses and have many of my own but still not sure.
He LOVES the beach – salt water over fresh water. Loves long hikes, chasing Nutria and Squirrels. Is one of the laziest dogs I know and can be a bit of a wuss when he sees it’s raining until he gets outside and starts playing, then he doesn’t want to come back in.
Loves to run, hide and jump out of tall grass. Picky eater and allergic to chicken and grains but likes to try and eat crab off shells on the beach <sigh>. Can scatter a flock of seagulls like no one else I know. Camera phobic – he knows when the camera is out. The above is one of only a handful of pics I have of him without his head lowered or turned to the side!
Hiking buddy, entertaining (and LOUD) when he snores I can’t imagine life without him 🙂