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Interview with a Virtual Author's Assistant and Small Business Owner
There are many jobs and careers that people seek, from hard labor to more mental or physical jobs. Many people attempt to get jobs in official institutions where they are hired for a paycheck, must show up for a full eight hours per day, heading home at night, and returning the next day. There are others who grow tired of this routine and figure out ways to make their own living at home, as their own boss, or from finding work as a freelancer.
The life of a freelancer is not an easy one until you find your comfort zone and become in demand for your skills and talents. In the beginning, many freelancers are unsuccessful, or end up doing more work for less pay. Everything about being a freelancer is a learning process. It may take months and even years to master what it takes to be a freelancer.
There are many different types of freelancers, from those who go door to door, looking for work, offering to mow lawns or do house work, and many taking their skills and talents online, from writing, to proofreading, to selling photography, and much more.
Freelancers must figure out ways to market themselves and sell their services. More specifically, freelancers must figure out and understand who are the potential customers and clients that demand their specific skill set. Once a freelancer understands their clients, the demand, and the amount they should charge, they may just be able to quit their day job, like Jan Lewis did.
I have had the pleasure of interviewing a Virtual Author's assistant. A Virtual Author's assistant is a professional who specializes in doing most of the work that an author would have to do otherwise, basically helping with the entire publishing process.
The Virtual Author's assistant does research and fact checking, helps authors obtain any permissions required and ensures there is no plagiarism of the author's work, answers author questions and explains the publishing process. The assistant may seek to find editors, illustrators, proofreaders, and printers for the author, following up with those who review the manuscript, setting speaking engagements, appointments, and more.
What is your name?
What were your interests growing up as a child or teenager?
Reading, singing, dancing.
What were your interests in college or as a young adult?
Reading, singing, musical theater.
What do you do for work?
I am a full-time author's assistant and founder of Author Sidekick.
How did you get your current job?
I started out just helping an author friend of mine. Then I took work on an online freelance website as a virtual assistant, and two of my clients happened to be authors. I decided at that point to refocus my career as a virtual assistant to authors. After a brief internship with Melissa Jolly of AuthorRx, I struck out on my own and quit my day job within two months.
What was a defining moment in your career?
Deciding to specialize as a virtual assistant specifically catering to authors.
Why did you choose this career path?
I'm an avid reader and inspiring author. I have quite a bit of knowledge of the publishing industry through my job with an industry website. It seemed like a natural fit for me.
What is one thing you would change about your company?
Besides starting it sooner? I can't think of anything else. I love everything about my job.
What is one thing you would change about your life?
I would have started working as a virtual assistant sooner.
If you could leave a legacy or be known as doing something great for your company, what would it be?
Obviously, I want my company to be a huge success. I'd love for my children to get into the family business when they're older.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to get into your career field?
Try to find an established author's assistant to intern with. My mentor is a wealth of knowledge and a wonderful friend.
About Jan Lewish
Jan Lewis is a full time author’s assistant and the founder of Author Sidekick. She has over 15 years of administrative experience and offers clients her expertise in Project Management, Office Administration, and Social Media Management.
In 2012, she joined Adventures in YA Publishing as the blog’s executive assistant. Through that venture, she gained experience working with authors, agents, bloggers and publicists, as well as valuable knowledge of the publishing industry. She remains on staff there and is also executive assistant of the YA Series Insiders. Jan is a member of SCBWI and the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation.
After leaving her day job and starting her own business, Jan is living her dream of working full-time from her home in Oklahoma. She shares Author Sidekick HQ with her mother, her husband, their two adorable children, and several furry family members.