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.


My family has struggled with depression as long as I can remember. I don’t have a depression disorder, but, like everyone else, there are times when I just get depressed. It’s usually something about myself, and I’ve really struggled over the years to deal with it.

A couple nights ago I found myself in that spot. I was depressed because I didn’t really see any good in myself, so, I made a list of all the things people have told me I’m good at. The things I don’t see, but others clearly do. At the time, I felt kind of stupid making that list, but it really did help.

Quite often when I’m depressed, pretty much any idea to help fix it seems dumb. It seems dumb to write, or hear, something good about myself, but I need it. Everyone needs it. Everyone needs to know they make a difference, and that they bring joy to other peoples lives. The trick, though, is to believe what those people say. No matter what they say, it won’t make a difference until you choose to start seeing what they do. The truth.

A New Step

With the creation of my blog came a brand new open door. I didn’t realize it at the time, but by using WordPress more as a blog, I started to dabble in the creation of websites. I started to get more comfortable with my own blog, so creating a social media site for my church (with my dad’s help) didn’t seem so impossible. A couple months ago, I did that. I had my first social site up and running.

After learning so much from the creation of a social site, I decided to speak at WordCamp Grand Rapids 2018. (WordCamp is a conference where you can learn how to do things like build websites, or social sites, or even just learn some cool business tools.) I’ve created and given a presentation before, but this will be my first time speaking at a WordCamp.

I know people who speak at these aaaaaalll the time, but for me this feels like a huge step. Not only am I getting speaking experience, but I feel like this could open a lot of doors in the long run. And it feels really good to be able to do something with what I worked so hard for.

I’m excited for this new step, and a bit nervous. I never thought I’d get to the point where I could speak about anything, really. I’ve gotten a lot of that lately. Never thought I’d be an artist, never thought I’d be a writer, never thought I’d be a musician. And yet, I’m all of those.

I think the key take-away, here, is to never say never. Don’t say it, don’t believe it, don’t even think it. You don’t know what God’s plan for you is, and if you stop at never, you may not get to the end goal. That point where you can step back, look at yourself in the mirror, and say, “Huh. Look at what happened to all those nevers?”


You ever just stop and listen? Go some place, hear something, and just stop? I love doing that. Hearing something and breaking it down until I can hear every sound, where it’s coming from, and what’s making it.

Take a song you really like, for instance. You know it by heart, but if you listen to it enough times you’ll start to hear all the components. Every instrument, every sound, every word. It’s amazing what you can find when you really look for it.

If you get time this week I really encourage you all to go someplace, and just listen. Close your eyes and try to break apart everything you can hear. Really examine it.

“We don’t make mistakes, only happy little accidents.” – Bob Ross

I love that quote so much. Without that quote, I honestly doubt I would be an artist.

I get frustrated very easily, and I’ve been told I tend to be quite stubborn, so when my art didn’t turn out the way I thought it should, I would quit. I think that’s why I never really became an artist until now. Here’s a great story for you, though.

Do you see this cat?

This cat was supposed to be a big, hairy, fluffy dog named marshmallow. Now, there are two things I could take away from this:

1. It’s not a dog.
2. IT’S SIR THOMAS III!!! (a.k.a. Tommy)

If I hadn’t ran with it, and just let the art become itself, I would’ve never ended up with this adorable cat (with which I hope to get someday).

That advice from Bob Ross doesn’t only apply to art, either. There are so many days I get up, and have a plan, and it just doesn’t work out. I’m still working on not getting frustrated with that…

Knowing that all art comes together by itself, though, really is quite reassuring. On days when I’m stuck I can either stare at my art, or try something. Often the idea of trying something is terrifying, but if I never tried something I would never learn anything new.

That quote from Bob Ross gives me the courage to go out and try something new. Whether it’s in every day life, or my art.

Painted Rain

During the last month or so I gained two things:

  1. Information; a barista at Starbucks taught me a new water color technique (the “drop” method).
  2. Inspiration; a friend of mine asked if I’d ever tried painting rain.

I had never tried the drop method, nor painting rain. I had a box I’ve been meaning to paint, so I figured, “Why not? Let’s try this painted rain thing.”

I tried two different methods. First, I used my water colors and dripped various colors down the side. In my second attempt, I put my water drips on first and, then, getting a more concentrated amount of color on my brush, touched the spots where I wanted the color to flow. It was AMAZING. I can’t even explain how beautiful the paint was moving through the water.

I knew I wanted to put my hand print on the bottom of the box, but I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to do it. The first time I did a hand print I used spray paint, but that was a bit messy… (I had paint on my hands for days.) I thought about using my acrylics, but then I thought, “What if I get my hand wet?” I brushed a generous amount of water on my hand, and pressed it onto the box. After that I dropped in my paint, and created this:

I swirled the colors around a little, but I tried to stick with my basic print. What I did on the corners is drop as well.

When I was younger I never really saw a point in water colors. It wasn’t until this project that I discovered how amazing they can be. Water colors are almost like a whole different universe when it comes to art. They swirl together and create their own beautiful world of color. It may very well be one of my favorite types of art.

The Difference in People

I feel like I’ve spent years and years hearing stories about people who put there heart and soul into something and made it happen. I’ve always wanted to have something that I just, “made happen”. Turns out it’s not that easy. In so many aspects of my life I have tried to push, and push, and push. You know what I learned? Sometimes you need to step back, look at what your pushing, and decide if it’s really worth it. Or at least reevaluate and see if you WANT to keep pushing.

I, myself, tend to get caught up in the pushing, and where I’m going, and completely forget why I started in the first place. Everything I do just becomes hard, and unfun, and never like it was when I just started. I’m never focused on the thing I love, but getting to a “goal” I thought I had to achieve. It made me think, “If this is so hard, why not go back to when it was fun? When I actually enjoyed it?”

I’m not saying the constant pushing is a bad thing, and some people really need it, but I just don’t work like that. I always thought I had too, but I don’t. There’s nothing wrong with doing what you love and keeping it that way.

My Role

I feel like the role I play in a majority of people’s lives is comic relief. When I first realized this a couple years ago I was kind of disappointed. I mean, what kid wants to be the plucky sidekick instead of the super hero? For years I tried acting differently. Being a leader, being brave, being the one to stand up for something. But, no matter how hard I tried, I was always the plucky sidekick. After trying and failing I eventually just accepted who I was and lived with it. (Not that I really failed, though. I learned how to do all the things I had tried to do before.) It wasn’t until recently, though, that I discovered how cool it is to be the plucky sidekick. I don’t even have to try to make someone laugh, or to cheer them up when they have a bad day. That’s just me.

Something I took from this discovery is that we need all different types of people in our lives. We need leaders, and we need plucky sidekicks. I mean, where would Batman be without Robin? Or Robin without Batman? Let’s just say, I’m so thankful to be who I am. To be able to spread joy wherever I go. That’s something I never want to try and hide ever again, and I really hope none of you do either.

New Things

I love new things. (Well, most of them.) But my favorite new things are the ones that have been there all along, it just took me a while to see them.

In our bathroom we have a window that looks directly at the neighbors, so we have a curtain hung there all the time. Saturday night my sister and I heard fireworks, so we lifted the curtain to try see. We were too late, but I waited a few minutes by the window to see if there would be any more, and I noticed something amazing. Not only does the world look amazing at 10:30 at night, but you also have a perfect view of the moon from that window. Meaning the moonlight shines in.

When I was little I never experienced moonlight. I don’t know if I was because I never payed attention, or what, but it just wasn’t there. Now I know all the secret places in my house that it likes to come in. It lights up a room in a white, silvery glow. I’m in awe just thinking about it. It’s something so small, but to me, it’s magical.

Wood Smoke

Wood smoke is one of my favorite smells in the entire world. It’s just one smell, but it holds so many different memories.

When I was very young, around four, I think, my sister and I would go with my grandparents to reenactments of French fur trappers from the sixteen hundreds. Because I was so little I don’t remember them much, but there was always the smell of wood because it was at a camp ground. Now, when I smell the combination of wood smoke and a late summer evening, I will always be reminded of some of the happiest memories I have with my grandparents.

I’m so in awe of the fact that something so small can impact you so much. I have a memory for pretty much any combination of wood smoke.

  • Wood smoke and winter = my grandparents farm
  • Wood smoke and summer = cook-outs with one of my favorite neighbors
  • Wood smoke and fall = carving pumpkins with my cousin and sister

I know I go on and on about smells, but that’s because they’re so cool, and they feel so good. Every time I “smell a memory”, if you will, it makes me so happy.