Danita Foster, an accomplished professional, made a decision that changed her life. After her second child was born, she decided to leave her job as a corporate communications officer for a public utility and stay at home full-time. “It was so hard to leave my first child and go back to work, I just couldn’t do it the second time,” said Danita. “I was really worried, though. I know that many women who leave the workforce to raise their kids have a hard time getting back to work after the kids are in school. I didn’t want that to happen to me. I didn’t want to get derailed professionally.” To keep her resume current and her skills sharp, Danita began offering short seminars and training programs as an independent consultant. “I had a tremendous network when I left, and I didn’t want to lose that,” she said. Some of her clients were so impressed with her services that they made her permanent job offers. “When I looked at what it would cost to have two kids in daycare full-time, even the good offers just didn’t make sense economically. In addition to losing that time with Brenna and Victoria, I wouldn’t earn enough take home pay to make it worthwhile,” said Danita. Given that, Danita decided to consult and train on her own time, which provided her with a flexible schedule to accommodate her family’s needs. “I wanted the freedom of being self-employed, and I wanted to be there for my kids. Unfortunately, to keep my small communications business going, I had to be available when someone called, and I had to maintain a speaking schedule. That wasn’t what I wanted.” “Since I have a Master’s degree in communications, I started teaching as an adjunct faculty member at a local college. I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as the motivational speaking and consulting.” To get back to her consulting and speaking practice, Danita looked at several business service outsourcers. “I heard about virtual assistants, and that seemed like what I needed. Unfortunately, they didn’t offer the scheduling and telephone reception services I wanted. Then I found this virtual receptionist service at an answering service; it was exactly what I needed.” Danita, who had been relying on her cell phone for all her work communications, rolled all incoming calls to her virtual receptionist. Each week, Danita tells the staff what hours she will be available to work in a certain week. “I just say, ‘I’ll work Tuesday and Thursday afternoon next week,’ and they’ll book me for those days. I don’t have to make any excuses; I don’t have to apologize for making my kids a priority.” For the past year, Danita has been utilizing her professional virtual assistant. “I’m happier and more settled now than ever,” she said. “I work when I want, and I can walk back into the workforce in a few years without having a black hole on my resume. This has been a terrific option for me and my family.” Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan. Contact us to learn how a virtual receptionist from a telephone answering service can answer your calls 24/7 to better serve your callers.