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Meet Tatjana Chahine of Virtual Chahine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tatjana Chahine.

Tatjana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Fresh out of college and leaning towards being and FBI agent, I took the first 9-5 corporate job I could, just to get my foot in the door with a “real life” work experience. I had worked many jobs over the years from being an ice cream scooper to pizza joint manager and a surf instructor, I enjoyed working and enjoyed the “hustle” but this would be my first REAL adult job. I was 22 years old, would have to wear a woman suit, show up to work every morning at 8:30 am sharp, work 8 hours and be on my “A-Game” for all 8 of those hours. I was terrified and excited all at the same time.

Although being an FBI agent was my dream, I knew I couldn’t just slip into that career with no real-life experience. I had studied Criminal Justice in college, and for as long as I could remember wanted to be in the FBI. My first job, the one that changed my life forever had little to nothing to do with progressing towards my dream job. I took a position as a receptionist for a real estate company, which would be the best thing I ever did.

Still having my dreams of being an FBI agent, I quickly realized that working for someone else, specifically a larger organization would never be my thing. I had my own ideas on how to run a business, how to give the customer what they wanted, how my life should be designed, I couldn’t imagine for one second working for people on such a large scale such as the FBI, I mean you’re working for the government for pete’s sake! Four months into my job and I knew that I would never be able to work for someone again, and from this moment I canned the FBI idea and began my journey as an entrepreneur.

For the next three years, I would study business, leadership and management, I would follow around the top Real Estate Agents in the industry. I would observe how they worked, ask them millions of questions and built friendships. I got my real estate license a year after being hired, sold a house and made more money in one transaction than I had made in the entire year of working as a receptionist. After that first sale, I got a glimpse of what success felt like and knew that I had to hold on to it.

I went on for another two years, making my minimal salary at my desk job and then getting a check for triple that every couple of months when I sold a house. This was kind of a skewed way to live, I showed up five days a week, poured my heart into my desk job for 8 hours a day and made less than what I could have made mingling with some successful people and convincing them to use me as their Realtor. But the values and the tools I was learning at my desk job were just too good to let go. I was learning tons from my mentors and from running a real estate company of more than 300 realtors.

It was almost my fourth year in the company when I was given a book by my mentor/boss that would literally change my life forever. I was on my summer vacation on the beach in Turks & Caicos, when I opened the book “The Four Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris. I read that book faster than I even knew I could read, I was addicted to it, I would get the chills and my heart rate would spike while I was reading it, I knew it was time for a change, I too needed to live a four-hour workweek. I returned home from my travels, took the book into my boss’s office, put it on her desk and quit my job. She knew what she was doing when she gave it to me, and she figured it would give me the push I needed to move on to do something great with my career.

From there, I started my business, Virtual Chahine, which would allow me the freedom to work from my computer, from anywhere in the world, which would eventually lead to me living on the beach in the Bahamas.

Virtual Chahine is an online Virtual Assistant business for Real Estate Agents. I offer services like transaction management, marketing, consulting, basically anything a realtor needs or wants, I provide it for them. Instead of being an assistant for one agent, I can be an assistant for twenty. The client pays per project, and I remain virtual. I handle whatever they need from the comfort of my own home in my PJS, or while sipping a cocktail on a rooftop in France. I was virtual, I was profitable and I was living the dream of doing what I wanted, when I wanted, with no one to tell me what to do.

Fast forward one year into my business, I’m yet again, sitting on a beach on a Caribbean Island, but this time it’s The Bahamas, and this time I’m thinking of making a much more daring move. My business had done well, I was in a financially stable place and a three hour time difference wouldn’t really affect my business, so why not move to The Bahamas for a bit?! My family and friends thought I was crazy, thought I would come home eventually, but fast forward another three years and here I am, writing this on the Beach, in the Bahamas.

My virtual assistant business is still thriving, but my passion has moved to different places. I’ve always loved to help people, it’s in my nature and I’m good at it, at least I’d like to think I am! With my love for the Bahamas, my passion for sharing its beauty, and my desire to help people, I thought I could start something here that would provide tourists with helpful information, and also offer a service so I could make some income. I recently started a blog/excursion planning business here in the Bahamas, called Float Your Boat Bahamas. I provide tourists with free information about all the places to go, things to see, how to get around, the best food, etc. In addition, I offer excursions to the swimming pigs, island hopping, and much more!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Owning your own business is exhausting and terrifying, amazing and liberating, stressful and anxiety-filled, exciting and enjoyable all at the same time. As an entrepreneur, you are solely responsible for your success, and your success is never guaranteed.

I’ve had plenty of sleepless nights, stressful weeks and times when I thought the worst thing ever “maybe I’ll just have to get a real job”. Although this may not sound that bad to some, to me this is the absolute worst thing that could happen.

The hardest thing about working for yourself is you are responsible for all your actions, so of course I’ve gone through a lot of growing pains. Realizing that I suck at some things, realizing that I’ve been lazy at some points and reminding myself that if I’m not doing well in business it’s only myself I have to blame.

There is often the feeling as well that I’m not doing enough. Yes, I’m living a great life and the life I designed, the life I love, but I could have maybe actually done something really fantastic for the world, for people on a bigger scale, did I choose a selfish and easy path?

Please tell us about Virtual Chahine.
This will be cliché, but I’d say what separates me from all others is me. I have to sell myself because I am the face of the business, I am why people choose my company over others. I am a hard worker, I am responsive, I have good customer service and I actually care about providing something amazing for my clients.

I would work for free for everybody if I could because I genuinely love to help people. I would say that I specialize in fantastic customer relationships. I really care about providing a service that people say “Wow, Tatjana took care of everything I needed, was responsive and always had a smile on her face”.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would go all the way back to college. I would have studied business and I would have read a thousand more books than I did. Even though my choices then shaped who I am today, I always think “what if”.

I wish I had the knowledge back then to know that business was a better choice for me than playing detective in the FBI. I would have studied more I would have asked more questions and would have taken the whole college experience more seriously.

How I became successful was largely because of my connections and my social network, if I could have combined that with some solid business knowledge, I could have created something really amazing.

I always wonder if this was the path I was destined to be on or if I should have done much more. I know what I’m capable of and just want to feel as if I have reached that capacity, there is however much more time to make it happen 🙂

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