What to Expect When Working with a Virtual Assistant
A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a person who works remotely – she can sit in an office down the street or across the world. Working with a VA is very different from having an employee sitting in your office. Most Virtual Assistants work for more than one person, splitting their day up between their different clients. Virtual Assistants can assist with anything from general admin, marketing, diary management to virtually anything. The concept of working with a VA is a relatively new idea and so there are things that people are not always aware of.
Communication is key
Communication in this working relationship is key, use emails, WhatsApp, voice notes or weekly meetings. Be mindful that the Virtual Assistant is not in your office and is unable to come into your office and speak to you face to face, should the need arise. When giving instructions to your VA, be sure to provide all the resources that might be needed for the task at hand, together with all the relevant timelines and goals that you as an employer will expect. There should always be an open line of communication.
Work out the process
Working with a Virtual Assistant takes time to perfect. It is suggestible that especially in the beginning, all the assignments that are given to your Virtual Assistant are reviewed and that constructive feedback is given to the VA. This process will allow her to grow in her position and for her to ensure that over time she consistently provides what you are looking for. Never under estimate the power of a few kind words or praise for a job well done. It will do wonders for her self-esteem and will make your VA strive harder to ensure her work exceeds your expectations.
Stay in touch
It is the client’s responsibility to ensure that your VA knows what is expected of her. Regular communication to make sure she is coping and on point, will eliminate unwanted surprises. Having said this, there is no need to micromanage her. This could lead to serious problems down the line and could very well disrupt the relationship between the client and the Virtual Assistant and blur the boundaries as to what exactly is expected of her.
Remember the human touch
Remember that your Virtual Assistant is a person, who also has feelings and emotions. Given that that many clients have never had a face to face meeting with their VA, they forget that she too is a person. When problems arise as they normally do, it is easy get upset and vent their frustrations at their faceless Virtual Assistant.
All in a day’s work
Having a well-balanced working relationship between client and Virtual Assistant is one of the best things a client can do for his business. By the general day to day tasks been taken over by someone else, the client is left free to focus on growing his business without the everyday mundane tasks to contend with.
How Women in Power are Changing the World
Public holiday, who cares? We can rest….. But every single woman in South Africa needs to care. We need to understand why this is such an important month in the history of our country. Women’s Month in August is a tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. The Government of South Africa declared August as women’s month and 9 August is celebrated annually as Women’s Day. Women were somewhat regarded as inferior to their male counterparts then. Fast forward 63 years, and women are seen as equal and paid and treated as such.
Women in power in South Africa making a change
Growing up I always imagined being someone that can make a real change, not only to my immediate family but also to people around me. Especially during August I have seen articles about women doing just that. It all started with a heart, to be understanding and empathetic towards others. And let`s face it, women are good at seeing the need of others. Salute ladies, and let us go on this journey of getting to know my top four inspirational women:
Saray is an award-winning mountaineer, a Mandela libraries ambassador, a social entrepreneur, a mother of two boys and also an executive for one of the distinguished financial institutions in South Africa. Over time she has demonstrated her commitment to making a difference in her environment through mountaineering. Through her climbing with a purpose initiative, Saray has organized and been part of the following initiatives:
- Climbing Kilimanjaro with a purpose (self-funded climb) which built an outdoor gym for Kids Havenworth R200,000 and also converted a room into a library.
- Climbing Everest in 2014 raised funds forThe Lunch Box Fund to feed over 60,000 children.
- Climbing Everst in 2015 raised funds for The Mandela Library Projects and built a library for Isiziba Primary School in Thembisa, Johannesburg.
- Climbing Everest in 2018 raised funds of over R800,000for The Mandela Library Projects and built four libraries across South Africa. She continues to campaign for more libraries as she takes steps towards the seven highest peaks on the seven continents around the world.
# Caster Semenya, standing up for human rights.
Wikipedia describes Mokgadi Caster Semenya as follow: “OIB (born 7 January 1991) is a South African middle-distance runner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist. She won gold in the women’s 800 meters at the 2009 World Championships with a time of 1:55.45 and at the 2017 World Championships in her new personal best, 1:55.16. She also won the silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in the 800 meters. She was the winner of the gold medal in the 800 meter events at the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2016 Summer Olympics.
Following her victory at the 2009 World Championships, it was announced that she had been subjected to sex testing. She was withdrawn from international competition until 6 July 2010 when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) cleared her to return to competition. In 2010, the British magazine New Statesman included her in a list of “50 People That Matter 2010”.”
Semenya is not allowed to participate in this year’s World Championships in Doha, as her testosterone levels need to be reduced as ruled by the IAAF. Luckily the South African Cabinet fully supports Semenya as she appeals and fights for her fundamental human rights. Like all other athletes, she is entitled to compete without being obliged to alter her body by any medical means. And following Semenya`s very public career over the last nine years, I am sure she will still be fighting for many years to come.
# Tracey Chambers and Tracey Gillmore, educating and clothing the underprivileged
These two women realized they can make a difference in the lives of women, and people in general, by letting their empathy grow into a business. They started the ClothingBank of South Africa, by clothing and educating people. In their own words: “We believe that becoming a self-employed business owner is something everyone can do, irrespective of their education levels and resources, as long as they are self-motivated and well supported (mentally and emotionally). We have developed a holistic eco-system, which successfully engages families living in poverty to chart a path out of poverty. Our projects have been changing lives for the last eight years.” Visit their website for more information: https://theclothingbank.org.za/
How can I make a difference
Following these wonderful women did make me feel unmotivated for a second, before I was left amazed. I wanted to be them, and here I am 37 years old, not summiting mountains, un-athletic and unentrepreneurial. I voiced this to my friend and very small business partner (who is really unprivileged, sleeping on someone’s kitchen floor, cleaning houses for a living). She said that you should never think something is unimportant to the person next to you. We can always, as women, have an empathetic heart and ear to our sisters. Sometimes, without even realizing it, by listening you can show love and affection. For too many years, sisters in South Africa were not heard, until they gathered, mobilized and moved. And because they did, my heroes are out in the open, voicing their concerns and making changes without needing to stand back.
Secondly, we should remember to never quite. Even if we feel we do not have the capacity or mental ability to do something, just keep going. All of the women mentioned above must have felt deflated and wanting to quite somewhere down the line, but they pushed through and always educated and kept training in their areas of specialities.
In bringing it together I thought it would be best to share this poem by Maya Angelou:
’You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.’
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!
How is that 2019 goal list looking? A 6 month check in with…myself!
What?? It is July already??
Well that was unexpected – seems like just the other day I was getting my kid ready for his first day at big school and now we are 6 and bit months down, 2 terms into school and a talking, almost 2 year old, into 2019!
So I thought it fitting to do somewhat of a check in with myself – have you done something similar?
Now I will admit – this year really has challenged me a fair deal, but in a good way (if there is such a thing) because challenges mean we are learning or have been given an opportunity to learn, take a step back and reassess situations that may not be all that great for us and have the chance to make a change.
One of my big challenges was balance this year – and funny how it was also something that was on my list, my new year’s resolutions if you want. Balance in life and work. Finding more time for me (which still eludes me it would seem) and because of this, I found myself on the brink of mental meltdown.
In this blog, I will share how I plan to get back on the proverbial horse and put me first in order to be there for everyone else who needs me. Because if you do not take care of you, no one will!
How am I going to reach my goal in the last half of 2019?
Now, I had a few things on my list of resolutions, goals that I wanted to achieve for 2019 but one of my main ones was finding balance in my life, family and work. But the main thing I knew I needed to do was put me first!
If I am not at my peak when it comes to health and mental wellbeing, how can I possibly be there for my family? How can I possibly be there for my clients? How can I possibly be there for me?
After my personal hurdle knocking me on my behind for a few days – I decided to sit, take a breather, have a mini digital detox and reassess the situation and how I was going to overcome the madness.
This is what I came up with (these were on my original list):
- ME FIRST – I have to take time for me. Whether that be a morning out on my own for breakfast or meeting with a friend or my mom or sister for a coffee then so be it. Perhaps even just having a bit of time to pamper at home is what I will do – set aside an hour or so to do nails, have a spa bath or get a foot massage.
- BE MORE PRESENT – Being a working mom, working at home and still trying to be present with the boys can be challenging, especially when deadlines and tasks are at the forefront of my mind most of the time. But I have noticed remarkable changes in my kid’s behaviour when I spend, even 10 minutes, of time just with them, fully present and participating in whatever silly little game they want to play. So I know that I have sort of checked this one off the list – but will continue to have this on all lists going forward.
- EAT BETTER – Seems like something that should be easily done – but this is possibly the one goal that has eluded me the most. Convenience is king and most times that results in take-outs and snacks and so on. But after re-looking my list and realizing that I definitely need to make the change – I am prepping meals and making sure that not only my kids are well fed and eating their veggies but that mommy is too … after all, we lead by example.
- GET QUALITY SLEEP – I have also had serious trouble with getting more than 4 hours of sleep in every night and something that I am trying to get around.
And this brings me to – how this relates to me as a VA….
All these things make for a better me, and a better more balanced home life and therefore a more quiet and focused brain when it comes to working and providing clients with the best and more.
I would say that this would be the same for anyone whether working from home or at an office, freeing your mind of the clutter and madness and having balance can definitely help you achieve your goals. It can make a serious difference when it comes to completing tasks and learning new things and taking on more challenges with a positive outlook.
I have complete faith that all of the above – as well as a few extra things – will be achieved before midnight chimes at the end of 2019!
How far have you come this year? Did you reach any or all of your goals?
Happy half year and let’s end it with a bang!