As any good business owner will tell you, you have to keep up with your competition. See what they’re doing. What are they offering? What are they doing better? Or worse? You need to know what’s going on so you can keep up, move ahead, move up and shine beyond them.
Maybe you’ve stumbled across this blog because you’re considering the idea of hiring a virtual assistant, a gal Friday, to help you out with your business needs. I’m here to tell you today to get real. Hire a real person (like me, but it’s okay if it’s not me).
In your search for a virtual assistant, you’ve probably come across services that will find you a VA, or those that say they have lots of VAs on staff, and you just need to sign up with their service. The problem with these services is that you really have no idea who you’ll be working with. You aren’t dealing directly with the VA. You’re talking to an intermediary who is going to assign someone they’ve subcontracted work to – whoever happens to be available at the time.
This isn’t any good for you or your business. You need to be able to work with this person daily, and you need to be able to make sure they’re right for your business. You will be assigned a random virtual assistant and you won’t know where that person is – perhaps in your country, perhaps halfway around the world.
Another reason I find these services off-putting is that their cache of VAs are not getting paid well. The service charges you one fee, then takes their cut, and then pays the VA, sometimes very little, a lot less than minimum wage, especially if they’re working with people from other countries.
I want you to have the best relationship you can have with your virtual assistant, or gal Friday, or virtual secretary (whatever you’d like to call us). Take the time to find that real relationship that you and your business need, and you can ensure that you’ll have a great future with your VA.
Little Things Mean a Lot
"Give me your arm as we cross the street
Call me at six on the dot
A line a day when you're far away
Little things mean a lot"
I was having a conversation a few days ago with someone, and we were talking about the different types of tasks we do here at YGF. Some are big, some are small. But all are important. It reminded me of something that took place, a long, long time ago, in a business far, far away.
At a company I worked for, I was immersed in my daily project management activities on a couple of different projects. There was a third project that needed help, so they decided to bring in someone new to assist. I can’t remember her name now, so let’s just call her Becky to make the story flow a bit more easily.
Becky seemed nice, and I had some pleasant conversations with her. I had guessed that she was either my age, or a few years younger. After a week or two, she began to stop by my desk, complaining about the task she had been given. The task? Three-hole punch and assemble in proper order into a binder several thousand sheets of legal documents that the legal department needed for a case they were working on. She hated it.
“I have a Masters Degree! I shouldn't be doing things like this!” Becky vented to me at my desk.
I shrugged her off and got back to work. The next week my manager came up to me and asked if I could take over the hole-punching, binder situation. Becky didn't work out, so they let her go. I wasn't surprised. You can’t go to work with the “I’m better than this” attitude. You can’t be successful if you’re not willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. And sometimes that means making copies, taking notes, grabbing lunch from the cafeteria for someone so they can finish up those slides for the meeting in 30 minutes, and, yes, even three-hole punching a few thousand sheets of paper.
Learn how to do everything. Learn how to be of service to others. Learn to help. Because it all matters. In another company I worked for, my boss, a VP, was the only VP to walk past his secretary and make a new pot of coffee because she was busy doing other things. It wasn't beneath him to help out.
So, Becky lost her job and I had some really easy work to do for several days. (Turns out that Becky had hole-punched and bound the papers incorrectly – backward, out of order, and upside down, too, so maybe she truly shouldn't have been doing it!)
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.