5 Day VA Challenge, by Digital Nomad Kit – Day 4

What are the ideal traits of a successful VA? If you’re going to become a VA you’re going to become a business owner. There are quite a few traits that you’ll pick up along the way, but some are also inherent traits you’ll want to start off with. Here are the 6 they highlighted in the challenge.

Someone Who:

  1. Enjoys Helping Others
  2. Learns Quickly
  3. Has Great Communication Skills
  4. Can Be Self-Motivated
  5. Is a Problem Solving Wiz
  6. Has an Entrepreneurial Spirit

A lot of those are skills you likely already have, and can be a jumping off point for you to get started. Something Hannah Dixon preached about the entire week was that you don’t need all the experience in the world to get started. As you grow and learn you’ll pick things up, but there are a lot of things you’ve learned in high school, or even your first job, that are transferrable. The key is learning how to use those skills, and make sure other people know you have them.

I was always fairly proficient in languages, english, and communication skills as a kid. I used that as a foundation to establish who I was and what I wanted to learn. My mom always told me, “Anything can be taught, but who you are and how you communicate is a lot harder to come by.” Knowing how to learn, being able to advocate for yourself, and having drive will take you incredibly far while you’re starting out.

It also takes a level of bravery. I’ve quit three jobs now, been let go by one, and had more interviews than I can count. I didn’t exactly have a plan when I made the choice for any of them (definitely not when I got let go), and it was terrifying. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t let that stop me. The fear of rejection (and commitment) made it really hard to want to try for anything. But I knew I had to, and I wasn’t willing to settle for something that was bad for me in the long run. I was determined to make a smart choice, not just a choice.

So, with that, invest in yourself. Take the time to set yourself up well, because jobs will come and go, but who you are inside is something you’re stuck with. Not that you won’t also change and grow, but it’s a lot easier to separate yourself from a workplace (either physical or digital), than your foundation.

5 Day VA Challenge, by Digital Nomad Kit – Day 3

This portion of the challenge is really what I came here for. It talks about how, and where, to find your first clients.

The how really comes from who you want to work with. Think about who you are, and what your niche is. Then create a community for yourself based on that. Find Facebook groups that you resonate with. Reach out to people, and just be a good community member. Be friendly, and someone you’d want to work with.

Next step is to create a clear way for people to find who you are and what you do. Take all your social platforms and update them to say “this is me, what I do, and who I’d like to work with.” Right now I think mine would be,

Sophia DeRosia

I’m a writer and admin-forward individual, with a passion for helping small business owners in the WordPress community do what they’re passionate about. I assist with basic site maintenance, client relations, blogging, and content management.

The format of that would change depending on where you post it, and the relationships you have with those people. Here’s what I’d do, depending on the platform:


I’d have my bio set accordingly, and a pinned tweet with further links and information on who I am and what I can do.


Facebook is an interesting one, because it can be used in a lot of different ways. You can just have your profile, or have a business page with more details. I’ve always had a blog, so I used it similarly to posting about yourself on a Facebook page, but it is a great, simple solution for those starting fresh, or those unfamiliar with the WordPress world.


This is the real kicker here, and one of the next things I’m going to be working on. LinkedIn is really the combination of Facebook and blog, but designed specifically for work and finding clients. I never really used it before because my social accounts were always just for being social, but now that I’m starting a career as a VA I’ll want something more job focused than just Twitter.

5 Day VA Challenge, by Digital Nomad Kit – Bonus Coaching Session

Along with the primary Challenge, day three had a digital coaching session available, that was mostly a guided Q&A run by Hannah Dixon (the owner of Digital Nomad Kit). During the week of the challenge you’re a part of a Facebook group with the other students, so what I watched was on Facebook Live, but they also offered it via Zoom. We had a heads up for the coaching session, so some people sent their questions ahead of time, and others sent them during the session. It was kind of a random pool of thoughts, but I retained a lot of marketing knowledge. One of the biggest points they’ve made through this challenge is that by becoming a VA, you’re becoming a business owner. That then requires you,

  • Establish your skills
  • Establish your audience
  • Create an opening statement
  • And make yourself visible

It’s almost like the goal here is to really understand yourself and your wants, and act on them. Don’t let the world come to you, but run at it with duct tape and a glue gun and get what you want. For right now, I think that’s why I was so drawn to it. I’m young and was unhappy with my options, so I sought others. It was hard and scary, but I new I could do it. During the session I wrote myself a list of things to do moving forward. (It’s been a busy week with a busy weekend ahead, so I’m setting boundaries for myself to rest so I don’t immediately burn out.)

Step 1, Create A Portfolio

I’ve been writing for years, and I’m a well established creator/creative, but a lot of my work is old, and it honestly pains me to look at. Not because it was bad necessarily, I’m just a different person now. I much prefer who I am now to who I was before. My goal is to take on a few other challenges or classes and blog about them as I go, but also document this journey of being a VA. Keep track of my skills and highlight them, and figure out who specifically my audience is. What community do I click with.

Step 2, Create an Opening Statement

I’ve been trying to find a job for over 5 months now, so I’m well used to reaching out to people. Especially with a background in training, retail, and attending WordCamps. The real issue has been, what do I do when I get an answer back? My opening statement is similar to the declaration we practiced in Day 1. It’s something that, when someone asks about you, you can say who you are, who your clients are, and what you do in one paragraph. Like an elevator pitch, but more of a conversation. It opens doors for you and helps you build relationships, not just clients.

Step 3, Develop Easy Client Conversation

I am a human (assuming X-Files wasn’t actually real…), and so is my client. Together, we are working towards a common goal, and it is possible to reach that goal happily and contentedly. I have preached this since the day I got my first job, you cannot have a business if the people you hire (or work with) are unhappy. That seems clear to me, and yet a lot of the places I’ve worked didn’t see that as a priority, just a perk. Healthy relationships with your client are just as important as any other healthy relationship, and it allows you to be able to talk about rate, expectations, goals, and open opportunities for yourself.

I’m also going to be working on building a more expansive social media presence geared towards finding work. I have a decent following on Twitter, but I want to start something more intentional, and find the right community for me. I could keep going on and on about the things I pulled from the coaching session, but I think we’re gonna call it here and I might pull from more of my notes as I go.

5 Day VA Challenge by Digital Nomad Kit – Day 2

My intent for this challenge was to do the daily exercises, then have a blog post up by 5:30 every day. However I didn’t anticipate, like, *life things*. Family, some work that popped up, and I completely forgot it’s Thanksgiving week, and my parents are coming over tomorrow. So, I’ve adjusted my expectations for myself. In high school I wanted to adopt the discipline of having a blog post out two days a week, but didn’t give myself any flexibility or grace, and it was awful and I burned myself out, so I gave up. This time around, I want to focus more on taking my time and absorbing, as opposed to forcing knowledge into my brain.

Day 2 of the challenge was focused on money management. More so focusing on growing and and what you can be, and not limiting yourself to what you think you can be. Not just stopping at enough, but working towards being successful.

As a young person trying to find a job, it was near impossible to find something that paid at least $15/hour, and right now in life I’m trying to build a foundation for a career, and that just can’t happen if I’m spending all my time just to live. I want more than that. I want to live. In day 2 they laid down a base fact, $15/hour should be a base rate, and anything less is down cutting yourself, and not worth your time.

My focus moving forward is to lay out a plan for myself, and be more intentional. Understand myself, my skills, and what I can offer, and build that as I go. Most likely start at $25/hour, and every month or so raise it to $30, then $35, because if I’m growing over time, my worth and abilities are as well.

I’m writing this Wednesday morning, actually in the middle of a DNK live coaching session, which will likely have it’s own blog post tomorrow. Stay tuned to hear not only my thoughts on the sessions, but also how I’m putting it to use, and how I’m facilitating a healthy environment for myself as I grow.

The 5 Day VA Challenge, by Digital Nomad Kit – Day 1

In July I decided the job I had wasn’t a good fit for me, or my health, so I resigned. Since then I’ve been looking for something that was better for my body, mind, and future. It was a toss up between getting just any job for the money security, or getting the right job. The hard part was, I didn’t know what the right job was.

I’m really quite young, so I had plenty of time and plenty of choices, but I wanted something that would help me grow, and that I could turn into a career. Something that would at least be a foundation to grow off of. I spent about three months looking at options, trying to decide what kind of job I’d want, and what I needed at the time. I tried applying for some bigger jobs that were a bit of a reach, but that I knew I could quickly grow into. I got a couple interviews, but that was about it. Two months later I decided to readjust my expectations and try something smaller. My plan was to do half and half. Some short hours at one job to get the security and hopefully insurance, and then spend the rest of the time building for a career I wanted. That then lead me to the Digital Nomad Kit 5 Day VA Challenge.

Growing up in the WordPress community has left me with some random skills, but I’ve never been able to compile them in a way where I could look at myself and say “I want to do this someday!” The first day of the VA (Virtual Assistant) challenge is geared toward just that. Finding your why.

  • What Brings You Joy?
  • What Are You Already Good At?
  • And, What Can You Get Paid For?

The first assignment they had us do was put in the Facebook group our “Declaration”, or, elevator pitch. This was mine:

I’m Sophia, and I provide site maintenance, client correspondence, and content organization services. I specialize in social media management and general peopling skills. #day1

I tend to consider myself an avid communicator and organizer, but wasn’t exactly sure what those skills can be used for. Yes, I can do them quite well, but how can I implement them? This workshop laid it out for me, and other skills I could pick up if I wanted to.

When I was very young my dad went freelance, and was a part of a start up, and it was incredibly stressful for our family. Getting started in a new space is scary, and intimidating, but this workshop has already helped me feel more prepared and comfortable, and it’s only day one. A few hours ago I got another rejection email, and that in itself is scary, but who knows. Maybe it’s a sign about what’s yet to come.

Stay tuned for more updates on my thoughts from the 5 Day VA Challenge, and if you know of anyone looking for an organized communicator, hit me up.

Barbie and Babysitting

My dad’s mom died when I was nine years old. They lived four hours away from us, so even when she was doing well we didn’t see them much. However, there was one day we were at their house, and we had a birthday party type thing for me. I don’t remember it very well, but I do remember a cookout, dinosaur sprinkles, and some presents. These presents were very special to me. Around the time of my birthday, the movie Barbie and the Twelve Dancing Princesses came out. I got the movie, a dress and shoes, and a Barbie doll, all from the movie. This eventually became my favorite movie, and I still watch it sometimes (the classic Barbie movies are all still great, in my opinion).

I do quite a bit of babysitting and child care. Previously, I had only watched boys, so it never even occurred to me that they’d be interested in a Barbie movie (which they totally would’ve, so I wish I had thought of it sooner). I recently got a job babysitting two little girls, and they love this movie. I didn’t get to spend very much time with my grandma before she died, so while I was growing up, this movie meant a lot to me. It was one of the few ways I got to hold onto her, And the fact that I got to share this movie with these little girls meant the world to me. I was so happy that they loved it as much as I did.

Probably one of my favorite things about kids in general is how much they love to learn. Especially around the age of four.

Sometimes I’ll take the two little girls to the park, and on our way there there are tons of flowers. The four year old knows most of them, but I’ll ask her if she knows what the flowers are, and if she doesn’t I’ll tell her, and we’ll talk about all the different kinds of flowers. I just love being able to tell kids why things are. Why certain words are put together this way, or why certain animals do certain things. I just find it really interesting, and I love how these kids just absorb any knowledge that’s thrown their way, and continue to use it for years to come.

What is Art?

This week my Sunday school class was discussing how art was defined, and I had planned on doing a blog post on it anyway, so I figured, why not give it a go?

The definition of art from dictionary.com is,

  1. The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

My definition was,

Something expressed with passion and creativity.

There was a LOT of discussion that Sunday, and a lot of different perspectives that I found quite interesting. Something I said during the discussion was that I almost wanted to get rid of the word “Art”, because art is so subjective that it can mean lots of different things to lots of different people. I personally walk by a bush and see colors, shapes, and the way the light shines on it. Whereas someone else might see how it’s constructed. Or notice the sounds that it makes.

For me, art is almost a feeling. It’s an expression of my own thoughts and emotions. Other people’s art also makes me feel things. Nearly everything has significance to me, but maybe that’s just what makes me unique, and not what makes me an artist. I think what makes someone an artist is the passion to do something with what’s inside their heads. It has nothing to do with learning to paint, or write, or play an instrument; because anyone can learn how to do those things. But what’s significant is having a story to tell, and being able to tell it. It doesn’t matter what medium you use.

To bring it back around, I think art is just a way of using a medium to express how you feel about something. A mother does work for her family because she loves them. That is an art. Picking up trash that you see on the ground and helping take care of our planet. That is an art. Painting a picture of a child sitting with their dog because you want to show the love the child feels for the dog. That is an art.

I mean, what use would a painter be if the only reason they painted was for money? They wouldn’t have anything to paint, because they wouldn’t have anything they cared about, or were passionate about.

This is all just my opinion of what makes art, “art”. I really don’t think there will ever come a point when someone can pin down exactly what art is, because it’s such a subjective thing. However, I think it’s pretty fun to think about. It’s also fun to see what art means to other people.

I Quit!

Well, actually, I’m not quitting. I’m just taking a break. Last summer I was so busy with everything that I didn’t have time to blog in general, so this summer I decided to just take some time off and focus on some other things. I’ll probably start blogging again sometime in September.

However! Here are some of the things I’m going to be working on:

  • I have a long list of art projects I want to do
  • I have my church’s vacation Bible school (I’ll probably be in puppets, drama, and I’ll help out with decorations, which means I’ll probably be at church two or three times a week in the next month or so)
  • I applied for a five week art program this summer
  • If I don’t get accepted into the program, then I’ll be going on my youth group’s Wilderness trip again
  • I’m considering starting a YouTube channel for both music and art, and I’m hoping to do some collaborations with a friend of mine
  • I need to finish school, so that’s actually going to be a main focus
  • I’m hoping to speak at another conference in August
  • I have a conference in town I’m always a part of, and like to volunteer for
  • I want to enjoy my last summer as a kid!!

I have so many hobbies, and so many things that I like to do, that I never have enough time to do everything. I’m learning how to plan, and schedule things, but I’m hoping it’ll also help to narrow down what I’m trying to do.

So, this is the last post of the summer. I might post some stuff here and there, but nothing regular like usual. I hope you all enjoy this beautiful summer we have coming!!!

Physical Health/ FitBit Review

I recently got a fitbit (a charge 2) and I totally love it. The one I have is my mom’s old one, and when she offered it to me before, I originally said no. I thought fitbits were just for losing weight, or getting in shape, and I wasn’t all too concerned with either of those. However, per usual, I’ve learned there’s more to it than meets the eye.

I use my fitbit primarily to track my sleep, water intake, period schedule, and exercise. I’ve also started to use it to make sure I’m eating enough of the right things. Like all fitness gadgets, it gives you the ability to log what you’re eating. Once you’ve logged it, it can tell you whether you’re eating mostly carbs, or fat, or whatever. Seeing as how I’d never struggled to lose weight, I thought I didn’t need this; but it’s really helped me be aware of the things I’ve been eating, and it’s shown me how important it is to have a healthy diet.

To reiterate, a fitbit isn’t about losing weight, it’s about staying healthy. I use my fitbit to make sure I take care of my body, and it’s helped me learn a lot of new things I had no idea were so important. I’m learning to be more responsible with my sleep, because now, instead of saying “I’m tired”, I can look back and see why I’m tired. For all these questions of “why don’t I feel well”, I can check how I’ve been eating, or sleeping, or drinking water, and see if that’s the reason (which it usually is). I’m not a health nut, and I don’t like working out that much, but I do want to stay healthy, and my fitbit has really helped me out.

If you don’t want to get a fitbit, there are other ways you can get some of the same functions. I had been using apps for everything, and through a lot of trial and error, I found a few that really helped.

For a water reminder/ log, I had been using Daily Water Reminder for iOS. I’ve also heard a lot of good things about Plant Nanny for iOS. I wasn’t a huge fan of Plant Nanny, but I know a lot of people who really liked it. I had an idea for an app that would let you log your water intake, and you and your friends could use the app to help keep an eye on each others intake. So if you hadn’t drunk anything in a couple hours someone could shoot you a message and remind you. I did some research, and I think fitbit is supposed to let you see your friends progress like this, but I haven’t had the opportunity to check it out.

I got an app for sleep tracking, but I didn’t actually get around to trying it. It was called Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker, for iOS. The way Pillow works is you press a button when you’re about to go to bed, and place it under your pillow. I think it uses the movement of your bed/ pillow to see how you’re sleeping. I didn’t try it because I didn’t like the idea of sleeping on my phone (it didn’t feel comfortable), and I never knew when I’d fall asleep (and I was lazy, but that’s beside the point).

For exercise I got the app 30 Day Fitness Challenge Pro, for iOS. It’s set up so that you exercise every day, and it gets a little bit harder with each day. I used it pretty consistently, but I got too busy after a while and couldn’t work out everyday, and then I found myself never working out. Because the plan builds on itself, it’s harder to work out only once or twice a week. While I was using it, I really liked it. Life just shifted and I needed to find something different.

To track my period I started using an app called Flo, for iOS. If you’re not a lady, feel free to skip over this. Flo just helps you track your period, symptoms, water intake, and pregnancy stuff (if you’re trying to get pregnant, that is). I love it, and it’s really helped me learn a lot about my period, actually. I’ve started to use fitbit to track my period, but I’ll probably keep Flo as well. It has a little more information than fitbit does, and there are forums, and articles that can be really helpful.

When I originally started my journey to get healthier, I was using an Android phone, and they have plenty of cool apps too. I switched to an Apple phone not long after I started all this, which is why I have so many iOS recommendations. All of these apps are free, or have versions that are free, but don’t include as much as the paid version. I, being broke, hadn’t spent any money on them and was perfectly happy with what I got.

I hope this review/ recommendation post was helpful, and good luck staying healthy!

My Year

Life has just been insane. I remember last year, thinking about how everything was gonna go, and thinking it would all just be the same. I thought I’d continue to stay depressed, and nauseous, and lonely, and anxious. I thought the insanity would never end. I thought I’d never be my “normal” self again. And now, here I am, sitting on my couch, looking forward to all of the awesome things I get to do this summer. I’m actually excited about something for once. I’m not nervous, or anxious. Just, excited.

My next stage of life is nothing like I planned, but I’m really excited about it. I’ve made some knew-ish friendships, and I’m so glad I have the opportunity to stay here and cultivate them. I get to focus on my art, and music, and the people in my life.

Now that I have all my emotions back in check, I’m pretty much as normal as I used to be (not that I was ever normal in the first place). Something I realized, though, is that that “normal” part of me that I thought was gone, was my love for life. For the past six years people have mentioned to me here and there that I have a “love for life”, and I never really thought much of it until I lost it. It keeps me going, it helps me encourage people, and, it reminds me that life isn’t all bad.

There’s always this point, after going through a long, hard stretch of life, where I can look back at it all and be thankful for all the crap I had to go through (that usually doesn’t come for a good while, however). Right now, right this second, I’m there. And it feels amazing. I’m looking back at everything and realizing how much I’ve grown, and how much I’ve learned about my self. In the course of just a few months I learned how to really take care of myself, both mentally and physically. I’ve learned how to forgive people, and how to let people go, and that you don’t always have to let people go. I’ve learned how to keep friendships across miles. And, I’ve learned how to be a big girl.

Around the time I started feeling nauseous, and things started to feel wonky (about two years ago), I started getting to be really good friends with one of the girls who had just graduated from my youth group. She is now my best friend, and my sister. One of my biggest fears with growing up, and moving into the college class at church, and being a college student, was that I wouldn’t have any friends. That all my friends would leave me, and I’d be alone. But, having that friend who’s a bit older than me really helped me branch out. She helped me realize that college students aren’t terrifying. And, because she’d hang out with the college students, I got to know a lot of them, too.

Life’s looking up, and I’m happy about it. I no longer wake up depressed everyday. I no longer walk through life terrified that it’ll get bad again. And, I’ve got some amazing friends to help me keep walking along, and keep knowing that it won’t get bad again.

Everything we go through has a good reason. I’ve known that with my whole heart for the last six years. But, sometimes, when you’re in the midst of everything, it’s hard to remember. Look at Job, from the Bible. He spent years upon years in agony. He knew that God had a reason for everything that was going on, but he still cried out because everything in his life hurt so bad, for so long, and it never seemed like it’d get better. Well, it did. And it turned out even better than before.

I spent just over two years (two and a half?) with this nausea, and anxiety, and I prayed so hard that God would just take it away. Throughout everything, and after it being so long, I thought he never would. But he did. And now I’m sitting here, totally fine, ready to go see my friend give a presentation at school later tonight. God does look out for us, and he watches over us. Even if it seems like he never will. Even if it seems like it’s hopeless. He does.