I was brought up to be neat and clean. My Mom, although sick throughout my childhood, kept an eye on us and noticed, if we weren’t dressed appropriately. Looking back I realize, I can see all the traits that made me who I am today. Back then, I was “just growing up”.
Virtual Assistants need to be neat and organized. They’re expected to be able to put their hands on a file or information immediately. My mother excelled in instilling this in me.
We didn’t have a lot of money growing up and like most families in my neighborhood, we lived paycheck to paycheck. I was at the age, where I was getting bored with playing with my dolls and was looking for something different to do. We had no extra money and it was summer. My birthday is in November, so no new toys were expected for several months.
One day, I decided to give my doll a “new look”. She had medium length hair and I wanted her to look different. My Mom was taking a nap, so this was a good time to grab the scissors. I took my doll outside under one of the trees in my yard and I got to work.
It was a hot summer day and I thought a “pixie” haircut would make my doll look much cooler. I had seen my aunts giving each other home perms, so I knew just what to do. I started from the doll’s neckline and worked my way up.
When I finished, she still had her bangs, but her hair was much shorter and I thought I did a good job. The cut hair was blown away by the breeze, so no evidence of a haircut was left on the ground.
Suddenly, my Mom woke up from her nap and came running outside to see where I was. She stopped dead in her tracks, when she saw my doll.
“What did you do?” she almost yelled.
I proudly looked her in the eye and said, “My doll needed a haircut, so I did what you and all my aunts do. I did it myself.”
I know she was upset, but she was smiling. “It won’t grow back,” she warned.
I said I knew that, but I was satisfied with the new look.
When my aunts saw my doll’s haircut, they were amazed. They said it looked as good as what the local hairdresser did, who lived a few doors down from us. They all thought I would grow up to be a hairdresser. Virtual assistants didn’t exist back then.
The point of this story is two-fold. First, recognize the traits you have early on in life. Think about how you look at things/events and how you solve problems. This will inevitably direct your career moves. Are you a problem-solver and take risks or do you always need someone else to help you solve your problems?
Second, are you the type of person that enjoys repetitive tasks and doesn’t like changes or do you relish the chance to do something different and try new things?
I knew that was the only doll I had. I knew that the doll’s hair would not grow back, but I was willing to try and make a change for the better and make my doll look cool When I decided to cut the doll’s hair, I pulled all of the information I had in my head.
I remembered all of the haircuts and smelly perms that my aunts gave each other in the name of beauty. I would sit far away in another room, but I would watch what they did and how they did it. When it was my turn, I felt comfortable trying to do it.
Virtual assistants work in the same way. They need to constantly update their knowledge about a variety of topics: software, hardware, people skills, planning for deadlines, fair pricing, always being an asset and giving added value to their clients.
Virtual assistants have the ability to analyze their clients’ needs and provide them with solutions. These solutions come from the education and experience of the virtual assistant and the desire to support, assist and at times, direct their clients to a better workplace or toward development of a product or service.
As a virtual assistant, I realize that every time I meet with a potential new client, I have the opportunity to use the same skills I used, when I gave my doll the haircut. I see the problems the client is facing and as a virtual assistant, I use my skills and talents to give the business a “new look”.
I have to get rid of redundant tasks and duplication and find a way to streamline the process, while still maintaining deadlines and keeping up with the workflow. Just as I looked at the doll’s hair, I look at the business and what’s holding it back from succeeding and growing. I hear the company vision and goals and then try to decide what I need to do to get them there.
Once I started cutting my doll’s hair, I knew I couldn’t stop. So too with a client, once I begin partnering, I strive to address every issue and obstacle and commit to finding solutions that work and are in keeping with the company’s idea of success.
I never thought that cutting my doll’s hair and becoming a virtual assistant would utilize the same mindset and skills, but it does. I constant utilize and enhance my skill set, so I am ready for the next challenge. All of this has helped me achieve great results and be successful in the ways that are most important to me.