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How to Set your Virtual Assistant (VA) up for Success from a VA's Perspective. Part 1

How to Set your Virtual Assistant (VA) up for Success from a VA’s Perspective. Part 1 | Ep. 41- Business Podcast

How to Set your Virtual Assistant (VA) up for Success from a VA’s Perspective. Part 1 | Ep. 41- Business Podcast

How to Set your Virtual Assistant (VA) up for Success from a VA’s Perspective. Part 1

Summary

I’ve had a virtual assistant or executive assistant for over fifteen years. I was lucky enough to find Gia about five years ago. 

There’s a lot of buzz about having a VA for years now. It may have been Tim Ferriss who really lit that flame. But here’s the thing…

To make the relationship really pay off there are some things you should do.

Gia and I thought it would provide you value by doing a two part series on working with VA. 

In this episode Gia offers some HPTs from an Assistant’s perspective and in Part 2 I offer some HPTs from an Entrepreneur/CEO perspective. 

We also drop some HPTs on how to find a good VA. Check out this episode to learn have to leverage a VA to help build your business

Hello, 

Brandon: 

friends. Welcome to another episode of Build a business success Secrets. I am your host, Brandon. See, White. And today we are joined with G A B, my executive assistant. And we’re talking about how toe work with a virtual or remote assistant. 

Brandon: 

From the perspective of an assistant, you’re gonna enjoy this episode. And if you don’t have a virtual assistant or a remote assistant, you should think about getting one. 

Brandon: 

If you’re listening to this podcast because likely you’re someone who values your time greatly and having a team member like this has been immensely helpful for me over the years. 

Brandon: 

You’re gonna love this episode. 

Brandon: 

Let’s not waste another second. 

Brandon: 

Let’s get to it away. 

Brandon: 

Right, everyone, we have g A here to give us a perspective of what are we? 

Brandon: 

What are we doing with 18? How to work with the remote assistant from the perspective of a remote assistance? 

Brandon: 

There you go. 

Gia: 

And I think this is a really good perspective because G and I have been working together. 

Brandon: 

How long? Six years, five years, every six years. 

Brandon: 

I think in January, six years and up and well, I would say 85% of our work is remote. 

Gia: 

Sometimes when before co vid g would come out and do like a week or two when we needed to get our project or something like that done. But that has not happened since the beginning of the year. 

Brandon: 

That is not all right. 

Gia: 

So I think this is going to be really good. 

Brandon: 

Advice to you is put together some tips not only for assistants who are working remotely and how to do that, but also people who have assistance and how to set that up. 

Brandon: 

What would you say? 

Brandon: 

JIA is probably the hardest struggle that you struggle with trying to keep up with things remotely Well, I think the hardest thing for anybody to keep up with working remotely quickly for a start up or a small business or something of that nature is just that the work is always gonna pile up. 

Brandon: 

And zero inbox is a myth for people in this kind of situation. 

Brandon: 

I mean, maybe if you work for a Fortune 500 company and you have hundreds of people working under you with a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, you could get to zero inbox, but that just doesn’t happen. 

Brandon: 

And this kind of business environment. 

Brandon: 

So you have to be really good at prioritizing and staying on top of yourself and staying on top of all of the tasks that are going to get thrown at you just so that you know the important things don’t start slipping between the cracks. 

Brandon: 

And that’s a very delicate balance and definitely something that you can’t really teach. 

Gia: 

You just kind of have Thio get a feel for it over time. 

Gia: 

Well, in the beginning, because now it’s easier, right for us, for sure, for sure. 

Brandon: 

So in the beginning, What What do you think the biggest hurdle was? 

Gia: 

Because it’s hard to get in the flow when you’re not around. 

Gia: 

All in, physically around Thio over here, things and things like that, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Gia: 

I mean, I I think that that can be a big challenge, but especially cause I’m from the East Coast. 

Brandon: 

So I am from a section of the country that until co vid was not particularly receptive to the idea of telecommuting at all. 

Brandon: 

So it wasn’t like, you know, I have a ton of friends or anything who are 100% telecommute, and I could kind of look to them for advice on how to settle into working exclusively remote and some tips and tricks toe stay on top of productivity and to keep myself motivated because it is, you have to have a lot of internal motivation to work completely remotely. 

Gia: 

And I know a lot of people are struggling with that right now with Cove in and Productivity’s a disaster at the moment in in general. But I would think that just learning just basic life skills of always being able to motivate yourself and always being able thio stay on top of yourself and hold yourself accountable are the biggest things that were a challenge in the beginning. 

Gia: 

Because, you know, it’s one thing to have accountability in your personal life. 

Gia: 

But it’s another thing entirely to have accountability in your personal life and your professional life and everything in between. 

Gia: 

You know, everybody gets to that point where they’re just like I want to turn off my brain and shouldn’t watch TV, and you cannot do that. You have to stay on top of it. 

Gia: 

I think the irony is that when we started a long time ago, and I was a big proponent and have been of remote teams. 

Brandon: 

There was a lot of pushback, wasn’t there? A lot of people gave us prize, and it’s amazing to me that it seems to be working. 

Brandon: 

I understand people are some people are struggling with it, namely because they’ve got to get used thio this home office idea and creating space for yourself and things like that. 

Brandon: 

But I just find it really interesting that companies air still working and still making money right well and companies are still working. 

Brandon: 

Companies are making money, but the fact that it’s catching on even in non pandemic times, I think is very telling. I think you actually were the one who told me Halo ice cream is a completely remote company and their giant, they’re sold in in food stores all over the country and they’re making it work. 

Gia: 

So yeah, they made it work from the from the start. 

Gia: 

I think they have the last I read they had 400 employees remote and the other example I always used and I’m sure you’ve heard me say it before is we have this operating system called Lennox and ah, lot of people use Lennox, and I think it was built by and still kept up by five or 7000 developers around the world who have never met and do it part time, and it seems to work. 

Gia: 

So I don’t wanna harp on that. 

Brandon: 

But I do find it quite interesting that it’s still working. 

Brandon: 

And I think people will get used to it. 

Brandon: 

And you make mistakes and, you know, it’s not always easy. But I can tell you that I don’t mind not commuting. 

Brandon: 

I certainly don’t either. I didn’t tell the community leads to a 100% happier work for There you go. 

Gia: 

So what are your three tips? HP? 

Brandon: 

Okay, I three h p t s that I sat down and thought about for everyone is the first one on. I think this is the most important one is that as a remote assistant and as with any assistant, But I think even more so as a remote assistant cause you’re not physically there, you have to hold your ground. Oh, you were hired to be an accountability system. And CEOs are very busy typically decently scatterbrain people and they need that. 

Gia: 

They need you to be like we have to stay on track. You know, you said you were going to do this. We have to do this. You know you can’t be. You can’t be afraid, Thio, I guess Be assertive and a little aggressive because at the end of the day, you need to get shit done and it’s just not getting done. 

Gia: 

Then you know you have toe. 

Gia: 

Take it there. 

Gia: 

I think that’s good advice. 

Gia: 

Do you think Do you think that we’re scatterbrained? 

Gia: 

What do you think that it’s Is that another word for O c. 

Brandon: 

D. Or I’m just curious. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, maybe Scatterbrain isn’t the best word. I think she but she But I I know what I mean, but I don’t think there’s one word for it. 

Gia: 

So what I’m trying to say is that she is You have a million ideas an hour and just not all of them were destined to come to fruition. And you have to be able, Thio, I guess cut through all that noise and be like, OK, well, but these were the ones we already committed. 

Gia: 

Thio. 

Gia: 

So we have to work on those first. 

Gia: 

Then we try all this new stuff. 

Gia: 

Very good. 

Brandon: 

Politically correct answer. 

Gia: 

What is your number? Two H d. 

Brandon: 

P. The second one is that being a remote assistance is not a Leave it at the office job. 

Gia: 

When you walk out of whatever space that you have designated for work, your job is not over. 

Gia: 

I’ll give you a really good example. One time you were flying into Reagan and you the plane was delayed. There were some whether or something you were supposed to be landing at three o’clock in the morning and because your plane was late, they had canceled your car when you got there. So guess who was on the phone at three o’clock in the morning making sure you weren’t stranded. 

Gia: 

That’s how it works. You know, you’re a team, and you have to be Justus in it as the people that you’re working for. Otherwise it’s not gonna work. 

Gia: 

Yeah, I appreciated that. That was a long night. 

Brandon: 

Yes, it was. 

Gia: 

What is tip number three? 

Brandon: 

Tip number three is that you have to be ready to learn being a remote assistant. And I think being an assistant in 2020 It’s becoming less and less of a traditional role, like I have never gotten anyone coffee or picked up. 

Gia: 

Anyone strike cleaning, never. It’s never happened. You have to be ready to learn because you’re going to do so much more than just answering a phone or handling scheduling or being like the front desk person that smiley last. 

Gia: 

Nothing wrong with that? 

Brandon: 

Well, no, not no, not a damn thing in the world. But, you know, being a remote person, those aren’t really things that you’re gonna encounter. You know, you’re not sitting behind a desk to be, You know, that face that somebody sees when they will walk into an office because your remote So I think, more so in a remote position than you would see in an impersonal position. You have to be agile. You have to be adaptable. Like, for example, last week we I was, and we still are working on a huge data integration for our CRM and our email client and a couple of forms that we have and the lead magnet hosting service that we use. We have to put all that together, and I’m doing that, and that’s not necessarily something that’s traditionally an assistant role. 

Gia: 

And they’re they’re just other tasks that come up on a day to day basis that wouldn’t traditionally fit into that titles. 

Gia: 

But, you know, you think we’re ready for anything. 

Gia: 

I think we should also tell the listeners that your role of us working together is really an executive assistant person directly with me. 

Gia: 

Some people have. 

Brandon: 

I’ve heard and we’ve talked about it. 

Gia: 

Right? 

Brandon: 

Is getting some other quote unquote virtual assistants who are really Mawr task oriented. So I think it’s important for people to understand that you and I work together, and I work directly with you to get tasks done that are related to all everything that I do right. Whereas you could get a virtual assistance, which we’ve talked about hiring someone who might just take the social media off of your plate. 

Brandon: 

And then you manage them, right? Is that fair? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. No. Yeah, we have discussed that. We’ve done that for a couple of things. 

Gia: 

Yeah, it worked. And it and it works out. So I know. You told me you had an h p t for people who have d a s and what is that HP t today. 

Brandon: 

So that is that one. 

Brandon: 

It’s kind of a two part things. Part number one is that it takes time to develop. 

Gia: 

You know, a good working relationship that doesn’t require 73 million questions a day. For example, I’ve done some graphic design for assorted companies that we’ve run in the past, and I know to never show Brandon anything with a share a font because he hates Sarah fonts on. 

Gia: 

I told him that I had noticed that a couple months ago, and you asked me what a Sarah Font Waas and I was like. It’s the thoughts with, like, the little things like Times New Roman’s. And it’s like the little things. And he’s like, Oh, yeah, I don’t like those. So it’s like, You know, it takes time to learn those things about a person, so you do have to be patient, and then the other thing, it’s just that, you know, when you’re running your company, you know it’s your baby. 

Gia: 

You pour your heart soul, blood, sweat. Tears may be refinanced your house to make this happen. This is your dream, and you have to remember that other people aren’t going to see it that way right from the start. 

Gia: 

You have to help people believe your dream to Otherwise what you’re basically doing is expecting somebody to kill themselves. For your dream, you have to help them get there. You have to help them see the vision you have to help them believe. So when they believe you know, they’re right there and it with you. They want the success. Just that is you, dio and that doesn’t just come out of the box that’s on you to help get that person there. 

Gia: 

And have we done that well over the last six years? 

Brandon: 

I would say so I would say so. I am a believer. 

Gia: 

Now I have a question for you to wrap this up today. 

Brandon: 

What would be the one thing that you wished I had done to help you do a better job that didn’t get done and still may not have been done? 

Brandon: 

I’m not really sure. 

Brandon: 

I like to think of myself as a decently adaptable person, So I feel like when we’ve been faced with some tall challenges, we’ve always figured out a way over around them, regardless of what the circumstances were. 

Brandon: 

But I suppose that’s not super applicable anymore. 

Gia: 

When we were working in a lot of government spaces and you had no calms for days at a time, you know, that was always, ah, huge bottleneck. 

Gia: 

So I guess the way that that would apply Thio our listeners would just be always be open and available for communication. 

Gia: 

Yeah, I wasn’t really open and I was tired, but not that I didn’t realize that that shouldn’t be done. 

Gia: 

I think people shouldn’t make an effort. 

Brandon: 

As you know, I I really am an introvert. So when I come out of those situations, not to mention you don’t seethe son and six other things is you know, you’re just exhausted, so you really don’t wanna talk, But I will agree with you. There were a lot of times when I should have picked up the phone and at least communicated but didn’t do that. So that wraps up this episode. I hope. Why don’t you just summarized real quick those last three h p. T. S for remote assistance, working for a manager or CEO. 

Brandon: 

Okay, So number ones that you have to hold your ground You were an accountability system. 

Brandon: 

There are things that will not happen if you do not force it. 

Brandon: 

Number two is that you have to be prepared. Thio, take your work home with you. Sometimes you’re gonna have to work after hours and you just have to be okay with it. It’s part of the gig. 

Gia: 

Number three is that you have to be adaptable and ready to learn. You’re going to encounter Ah, lot of bizarre and challenging tasks that you probably never would have imagined that you would have had to do that. You’re gonna have to learn how to Dio. And I am so happy that I’m going to dio every single day and one of them because I am a very well rounded professional now and there you have it. 

Gia: 

Thanks, JIA Course she’s got some great tips. 

Brandon: 

Right, Gs Thanks for joining us and giving the perspective of all of your experience If you enjoyed this episode, please rate review and hit Subscribe. 

Brandon: 

So you don’t miss any of our weekly episodes until our next show. 

Brandon: 

Remember, you are just one business plan away. I’m rooting for your success. We’ll see you soon

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