First, I Worked Front Desk
When I was pregnant with my fourth daughter, Alison, I worked front desk at a dental practice. My husband, Joey, was a high school biology teacher and football coach, who had just started two-a-days training. I was one busy mama. But at the time I never dreamed of remote work for my dentist’s office.
An RH incompatibility made my last two pregnancies stressful. At 24 weeks, three days gestation with Alison, she needed an in-womb blood transfusion to help us buy more “cooking” time for her. We had hoped that several of these treatments throughout the rest of my pregnancy would allow me to carry her close to full term.
The blood transfusion was terrifying, but successful—and the first they had ever done at our hospital. All tests indicated Alison’s blood levels were good to go. Two days later, on a Sunday morning after my husband had already left for football, I just didn’t feel good. My legs ached. I felt flushed. I wasn’t sure what was happening.
Then My Joy Baby Came
I called my obstetrician and he said, (in his southern drawl) “Darlin’, just tell me you don’t have a fever.” I started crying and told him I thought I did. Joey rushed home and took me to the hospital where they were ready and waiting for me. The doctor softly told me that I had a raging infection in my placenta, presumably caused by the transfusion, and that it threw me into labor. They needed to take Alison, NOW.
Alison was born August 13, 2006, at 1 lb. 9 oz. On a ride that can only be described as terrifying, the next 82 days of life in the NICU were filled with ups, downs, prayers, faith, and refusal of anything less than bringing our daughter home.
The day we brought her home, the doctor handed me a sealed packet. “Alison’s entire history. I wouldn’t ever even open it if I were you.” I haven’t, but I’m friends with one of our favorite NICU nurses who told me on Alison’s birthday that she had to give her CPR with two fingers, but knew she was going to be just fine when Ali’s eyes opened and she actually smiled at her. That’s my little Jujube (our nickname for her since she was so tiny and sweet).
My Journey Begins
We knew Alison was going to need additional therapies to help her thrive and grow into her best life. Joey and I made the decision that I was going to resign my business manager position at the dental office to stay home to give Alison the best care that we could. Not knowing what the future held for our daughter, and going from a two-income family to one, was unbelievably stressful, but we knew it was the right decision.
Alison’s therapies became my full-time focus: physical, occupational, and speech. She was a very joyful, ornery little girl, but we could see her improvements. I tried anything I could to work from home to supplement our income and help buy groceries. With Joey teaching full time and coaching football, I needed something flexible. I did extensive research on remote virtual assistants and invested in training manuals.
Becoming Remote Front Desk Aide
I applied for jobs that I thought I could master from home. One was scheduling for physicians and physician assistants for a local ER with five facilities. They gave me a chance, and I was able to successfully do this remotely from home for three years, working around my schedule to accommodate Alison’s care and therapies.
At that time, a dental coach that I had met at one of the offices I worked at reached out to me because he had a dental practice in Michigan that he thought could use my help training their front desk. I was so excited. I worked remote during Alison’s nap time, on the phone, from my basement. This led to answering their phones on Fridays when the office was closed. Then we added scheduling appointments. And finally we added processing insurance and billing. I took all of my experience, continued to learn, and worked hard to be a productive and creative behind-the-scenes, remote team member for my new clients.
It was so FUN and productive that I started engaging in social media to share the idea. Facebook was just taking off, and before I knew it, I had more business than I could handle. (One of my very first clients ever is still with DSS to this day!)
Now We “Remote” Much More!
From there, the dental administrative virtual assistant idea bloomed! I was able to continue to support clients remotely while Alison was growing, thriving, and graduating from her therapies. I created dental websites for local clients and provided marketing materials as well.
By the time Alison started kindergarten, the business had grown enough to branch out of my basement into our first office, with three employees. We quickly expanded, moving two more times. Last March we moved to our current 10,000 square foot facility with 40+ employees. In my “spare” time, I’ve joined forces with Missy Fryer to create Buckeye Dental Productions, and publish team training books, the Dental Survival Guide Series.
Alison is now twelve years old, and is completely mainstreamed in school. She’s into cheerleading and basketball, and is an absolutely joyful girl. Joey retired from teaching to join DSS full time as the CFO. Again, a scary time for him to walk away from teaching and coaching, but we knew it was the right time to hold hands and jump! He has been such a strong force and support system for our family AND business! He’s my total ROCK.
I will never forget that I could be telling a completely different story. We are forever grateful to honor our blessings every day. I teach my girls to never give up: you fight, you stay strong, you pray, you cry—but then you adjust your course to be better. And along the way, look for opportunities to help lift others.
I have four sisters, four daughters, am surrounded daily by 42 of the most talented and lovely women you will ever meet, and so many other uplifting women in my life who have been fierce, forces of nature—and a true inspiration in helping me write my story.