Recently, and quite unfortunately, we discovered a mouse problem in our house. You know – you see the “signs” of a mouse. So, we set out a trap, and the next day, Mr. Mouse was on his way to mouse heaven.
Then we saw more signs, and set out more traps. One morning I walked into the kitchen to see a little brown fluff peering out from beneath my stove. At this point I started to get angry. Not only because I had a nasty rodent in my house, but because, no more than 15 feet away, my two cats were sitting. Hello, cats? Isn’t this your job? Of course it was, but they didn’t know because they really hadn’t been introduced to Mouse #2 yet.
I picked up Othello (who is our best hope for mousing issues because he loves to catch and eat bugs!) and pointed him in the proper direction. As soon as he caught one glimpse of the mouse, he ran, pounced, and had a plump little mouse in his mouth. Hooray!
Since finding that mouse, Othello has changed. He patrols the kitchen like clockwork, scanning the floor, smelling all the corners – he’s looking for signs of a problem. In the meantime, I work on the bigger picture – looking for holes, scanning the basement and foaming/caulking as necessary, cleaning and organizing.
A tiny mouse showed up by the fireplace. Othello was on it. And now he patrols the fireplace and living room with as much vigor as the kitchen.
So, why am I telling you the sordid details of mousing in my household? Because this mouse problem isn’t any different from any other problem that comes up in your life. And when it comes up, you have to know how to handle it. And when you have a series of problems, sometimes you just can’t handle all of it at the same time. That’s when you need help. And that’s what having a virtual assistant is all about.
Little problems pop up, little inconveniences that you need to take care of but can’t get to, because you’re working on the big picture. Hiring a virtual assistant for the small tasks is a great way to keep you forward-focused because you don’t have to worry about missing an issue that pops up. Your VA is there to back you up and take care of things.
Everyone needs a virtual assistant. Even me. And here he is.
Honesty is a crazy thing. We all expect each other to be honest, but only to the point where the truth doesn’t hurt. Back in college I took a course in Photography. (Yes, besides being an English major, I’m also an Art minor. Please stifle the chuckling.) Each week we received an assignment, went forth and snapped photos, and spent time in the dark room developing them. (Remember film cameras?) At the end, our photos would be pinned to a large wall in class and we would begin “critique mode.”
Only it never was critiquing. It was a group of people saying things like “Well, I like it but maybe, if you thought it might work, you could…” or “It’s nice.” These were unhelpful. I would be frustrated having to listen to my classmates skirt around the truth. Where was the honesty in it? It would be nice to think that all my photos were gems, but they weren’t.
One day I was fed up and after class I took my photos, went to the professor and said, “Please give me your real opinion.” Without even pausing, he told me that the photos were dull and unimaginative. They weren’t good. And I thanked him for his honesty. I was happy. Why? Because, for the first time I got constructive criticism. I was doing things wrong, and no one else had mind enough to be honest with me. If you can’t tell me what I’m doing wrong, how will I ever learn to do it right?
When we do something wrong, we need to be told that we’ve done wrong. If we do something incorrect for our clients, we should expect them to tell us we messed up. Employer-Employee honesty is critical in having a successful relationship and getting the job done right. It doesn’t feel good when someone points out your errors. But it feels even worse when you find yourself in a bad business relationship because no one’s willing to be honest and talk.
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.