A carefully planned road trip can lead to success
My journey as a Virtual Assistant has not been an uneventful road-trip without any potholes or road blocks.
When I started my journey as a Virtual Assistant, it was a means to an end. A way of making money after having my job of 24 years pulled out from under me. It was a case of sitting in my vehicle and starting the engine and driving, occasionally stopping for fuel and then continuing my journey. I have to say I was a cautious driver, never wanting to turn left onto the dirt road.
As with many a carefully thought out road-trip, one cannot take your eyes off the road. If you do, there are bound to be challenges and I have had my fair share on my journey. There have been times when I have hit a major roadblock. When my journey has come to a complete standstill and I have had to get out of my vehicle pop the hood and look inside to see what needs to be addressed. In some instances, it has been a case of topping up on my knowledge and my vehicle roars into life again, and off I go.
There have been other times when I have not been so lucky and the road side assistance have questioned me, and made me take a long hard look at myself, this had led to lengthy delays while my vehicle has been up on blocks, until the engine is repaired and I am once again able to turn the key and start driving again.
You will know I am sure, that on any road-trip one stops on-route to have a break and recharge the batteries, whilst reflecting on your journey. I have found that these breaks lead to a refreshed view on things. It has been during these picnic breaks that I have taken decisions to drive along the dirt roads less travelled. The dirt roads came with challenges for the cautious driver. I had to negotiate twists and turns of acquiring new skills and working in unchartered working territories. I do have to say though, that at the beginning of the left hand turn onto the dirt road, it took a while to enjoy this new found route of travel. I have looked at the new scenery with a smile full of confidence and self-belief that anything is possible.
This journey has taught me to become a helpful traveller. A few years ago I would have kept to myself and not shared my experience and knowledge with any other Virtual Assistants. This has changed, thanks to my VA Connect mechanics. They have always been at the road side to assist, whether it was a flat tyre, major overhaul service or just a picnic break.
My petrol gauge is on full and my vehicle is ready. I wake up every-day looking forward to my journey, wondering what I will learn and how I will grow!
What Makes Women Better Virtual Assistants?
I am woman, hear me roar! It is Women’s Month in South Africa and we are celebrating all women in all shapes and forms and saying – YES! You are strong. You are capable. You are loved. You are part of a tribe that cannot be broken.
The date, 9 August is the day we celebrate Women’s Day here in South Africa, and it is not to be confused with the International Women’s Day which takes place globally in March. This date, 9 August, is significant to us as a nation due to the fact that a plethora of women, regardless of age and race, stood together and marched to the Union Buildings declaring the need for the abolishment of passes which women needed to have to move around freely – I mean really now – how was this even a thing at all??
But anyway, due that movement and the amazing women who stood together then – and for those who stand together today and shall stand together (hopefully) going forward, women have being liberated and are free to go wherever they want. Do whatever they want (within reason of course …..hehehe). Our daughters can choose to be ballerinas or they can choose to be astronauts or rally car drivers. The sky is the limit!
So – what does this have to do with women being better virtual assistants? Well isn’t it obvious??
Let’s break it down….
MEN ARE GREAT, BUT WE ARE BETTER
Okay, so I adore my husband to no end, and men in general are pretty great to have around, right? So I am not saying they are not up to the challenge of being a Virtual Assistant – not at all – but the likelihood is that a women will always be better at this particular job than a man.
Well simply put, women are fierce and can take on anything that comes their way. We are daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, friends and, in this instance, virtual assistants – that is a whole lot of hats to wear – and we wear them all almost every day.
The ability to wear those hats and juggle, what seems like, a million and one things daily is the art of MULTITASKING. Now I do not know about you, but in my house “male” does not equate to “multitasker”. I can pretty much be reading an email, putting food on the stove, preparing some juice for the kids and possibly even be filling the sink to do dishes – all at the same time – and not miss a beat. Hubby cannot even talk and do the dishes at the same time (bless his socks!)
As a virtual assistant, multitasking comes with the territory a lot of the time. So that is reason number 1.
How about TIME MANAGEMENT? Yep, you guessed it, again women are generally better at this too. (I say generally because it is not always the case, but it is more probable for a women to have better time management skills than men.)
Being on time is not always a thing for men but women tend to always have schedules and routines and although this can maybe cause a bit of stress, the end result of being organized and focused and things falling into place because of it will be worth it.
Time management is an important, in fact incredibly important skill to have when working as a virtual assistant.
Now scientists also did studies on what differentiates men and women (besides the obvious!) and came up with things like a women’s ability to recall things better, better memory. A woman can recall if things have changed or being moved in certain spaces they frequent as they tend to use landmarks a lot in every day life. Men are generally more about the route to the goal and how to get there and whatever is along the way kind of falls by the wayside (eg women shopping vs men shopping)
They also discovered that females tend to work with and recall numbers and lists better than a male would and things like putting pegs into a peg board was more meticulously done by females.
This brings me to the last, but certainly not least, skill that a woman has, giving her an advantage in the VA world – ATTENTION TO DETAIL.
Attention to detail is key when you work as a virtual assistant because most times you would have more than one client, more than one task on the go and missing details could be to the detriment of the client, and ultimately you too.
Being able to analyse and figure out things, looking for and scanning the finer details, these are things that women do better and that is probably also due to the PATIENCE LEVEL of a woman, versus a man.
I think it is also important to note that PASSION is another element that plays an important role in being a virtual assistant – not to say men do not have passion, but for a woman working as a VA is usually a choice made so that she can stay home with the kids and therefore having a passion for what she does means that she will do it well and be able to continue her journey and therefore also set a fantastic example for her kids – using her passion for them and for the work that she does.
Wow, that is a whole lot of words right there about how amazing women are – so I think it is only fair to also mention here at the end that MEN are pretty darn special too and hopefully most of us ladies that work from home and are trying to win at this remote lifestyle have an incredible dude standing beside us egging us on. Someone to lean on at the end of a treacherous day of technical failures or failures of other kinds – providing a good shoulder rub and topping up the wine glass!
Again I will end by saying – I am woman, hear me roar! Go out and have a stupendous Women’s Month – hey make it Women’s Year!
8 Reasons Why Women Make Great Leaders
A great leader can, of course, be male or female and gender shouldn’t be a factor in a person’s leadership abilities. However, women don’t tend to be encouraged to take on leadership roles as often as their male counterparts which have caused an imbalance of power. Despite this, women continue to take the lead across the world whether in politics or in corporate boardrooms. We take a look at some of the many reasons women make great leaders
They are empathetic
Women value relationships and are naturally empathetic which enables them to understand what motivates their colleagues and employees. They develop a good understanding of individuals and their personal requirements which makes them effective leaders.
They value work-life balance
Women are able to balance professional and personal leadership skills and are more approachable with personal or sensitive requests. They have a good understanding of work-life balance and how it affects team motivation and productivity.
They can effectively multitask
Being good multitaskers enables women to respond quickly to several tasks and problems at the same time. This makes women leaders extremely efficient.
They have good communication skills
Communication is a skill that women excel at and women in leadership know how to use it to get things done efficiently. Whether communicating with employers, partners or co-workers, having good communication skills means clarity in executing roles and responsibilities.
They make great listeners
As well as being able to communicate well, women also listen well and tend to take the time to listen before they react and make a decision.
They cope well with crisis situations
Many women have gained experience from their home life that means they know how to handle crisis situations calmly and with compassion and patience. This skill can be invaluable in the workplace when handling HR or PR issues in particular.
They are flexible
Women are good at adapting to situations and changing the course of action as required.
They value teamwork
A female working environment tends to be less authoritarian and more co-operative especially with a woman at the lead. Women can make bold, decisive decisions whilst relying on and trusting others in a team to play their part.
In summary, these are just a few of the reasons why women make great leaders. Women have proved again and again just how strong they can be when called up to lead.
“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
The Secret Reason You Want Women in Top Leadership and Executive Positions in Your Company
When it comes to business, everyone from the entrepreneur to big corporates needs to listen up and take note of this interesting development in the business world. Although the number of women in executive roles in companies is often limited to a single-digit percentage, studies are increasingly proving that if companies want to increase their profit, they need to rethink their strategy on gender diversity within the company.
Why it’s important to have gender diversity in your company.
In January 2018, McKinsey & Company published their 42-page report Delivering through Diversity on their findings with regards to valuable aspects of this very topic. They found that “Companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.”
I don’t know about you, but this statistic really had me sitting up straight. So often we as women don’t even realize the importance of our contribution to the business environment. We often focus so extensively on get the job done despite facing challenges, raising families and contributing to our communities that we undervalue ourselves. I, of course, am of the opinion, that if we don’t know and acknowledge our worth first, no one else will.
Personal challenges women face that are featuring in executive leadership roles globally
It goes without saying that featuring in these executive roles brings challenges of their own for these successful women. Just like a normal wife and mother she has duties to fulfil that lie outside her corporate duties. The reality is that their male counterparts, especially those without children rarely understand the extreme stress and challenges these women face and they rarely have empathy for women in these situations.
What type of support do they need?
It doesn’t need to limit women’s opportunities to excel in the business environment. As women, we can support each other to better achieve our individual goals. Handling personal finances, paying bills, diary management, travel arrangements, event planning, holiday itineraries, the list goes on… The fun part for me is knowing that there’s always a solution for these types of challenges. And no, it’s not a personal assistant, but rather a Virtual Assistant. Both may have similar skillsets but there’s a fundamental difference between a personal assistant and a Virtual Assistant. That difference is mindset! A personal assistant is invaluable but has the mindset of an employee. The right Virtual Assistant is an entrepreneur in her own right, so she already has a growth mindset, a get the job done attitude. A no-excuses mentality. She is focused on results!
It’s so important for us as women to empower each other the reach our goals and dreams. It’s within our grasp if we support each other. There’s no shame in getting help. We don’t have to do everything ourselves. We just need to know where to get the right assistance. As mothers and wives, we often face this tremendous guilt when it comes to our jobs and families. We are always spreading ourselves too thin. Feeling guilty if we need to take time away from work to spend with our children or families. Even taking your child for a dental appointment can seem like a mountain.
My suggestion? Get that trusted support that will free up your time so you can focus on the quality events in your family, children and work. Value yourself and your loved ones enough to let go of some things.
Let’s celebrate each other’s strengths and support each other’s weaknesses. Together there are no limits to what we can accomplish!
3 Tips to kick the mid-year slump’s butt!
It’s mid year and you’re looking back at what you’ve accomplished so far… Disappointed? Don’t fret you still have another few months to get it right! Yeah mid year slump is such a real thing for me. You hoped that you would be a little bit further along the line by now but hey, sometimes things don’t always go as planned so stop beating yourself up about it!
Luckily I’m bringing you a couple of tips to pick yourself back up and keep pushing, maybe you’ll be able to accomplish that goal after all 😉
Re-align your goals
We are prone to make a ton of goals at the beginning of a year but sometimes you need to step back and ask yourself if those goals really still resonate with where you’re going in life/career/relationships etc. If you’ve written down your goals a couple of months ago, sit down and ask yourself if you really need to have accomplished them by the end of the year. What’s happened from then until now, what have you achieved? Re-structure so your goals align with the vision you have for yourself as we’re coming into the last part of this year.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Let’s face it, life happens… I didn’t know I’ll be moving this year, it just crept up on me and bam! I still haven’t launched a course I was creating because I had to take some spare time to pack up and move my life. Sometimes unexpected things in life throws you off course, don’t worry you are awesome enough to pick yourself back up and climb back on the right path.
I’m a sucker for planning, although I never seem to plan a time to plan… Hmmm hope that makes sense? What went wrong in the first half of this year that prevented you from being where you wanted to be mid year? How can you improve/change your circumstances so the same thing doesn’t happen with your newly planned goals? You can only improve if you admit where you could’ve done better. Being healthier is always a big one for me. So instead of just winging it with the knowledge you thought you had, maybe plan a couple of meals ahead so you’re sure you’re making the right choices.
Most people do not reach their goals in the time span they planned to reach it. Have you ever wondered why? Because life happens. It’s sad but true. The best you can do is pick up and keep on keeping on. Being sad about your situation won’t help you one bit. But if you realize what went wrong and how to counter it, you’re well on your way.
If you have reached the goals you set for mid-year then CONGRATS! The gratification of reaching a milestone that you’ve set for yourself is unmatched. Keep doing what you’re doing and this year will turn out to be one of your most successful yet. If you haven’t, just remember when life gives you LEMONS make LEMONADE!