About a year into my stint as a Virtual Assistant, I admit that I began to feel a little something missing. As much as I excel at keeping clients’ calendars up to date and managing their inboxes, I began to yearn for something more substantial – more along the lines of what I was trained for academically and professionally. And then, BOOM! Like a lightning bolt, there it was! In walked Client M. My assignment was only supposed to be temporary (don’t the best stories and careers always start this way?) But as often happens with relationships, timing is everything.
Client M was in the middle of a huge transition of rebranding and completely revamping their website. I needed to quickly get up to speed on several technological tools in order to manage content on their site. I had one week to train myself on the back-end of both the old and the new WordPress sites. I learned two e-mail marketing tools in order to publish newsletters going out to over 8,000 people each week – first MadMimi and now MailChimp. I used Eventbrite to set up and promote Client M’s events, sell tickets and manage registrations. First goal achieved: master each technology and demonstrate commitment, enthusiasm and the ability to take the ball and Run Forrest Run – CHECK!
As time wore on and I grokked each system (and somehow even picked up some HTML code along the way), it became more necessary to liaise with all of the team members (not just the person who brought me in) to make operations flow smoothly. Second goal achieved: demonstrate adaptability and the dedication to add real value – CHECK!
My interactions and communications with Client M’s community and client base increased organically over time with a very positive response. Third hurdle achieved – become the point person not only internally with my client, but externally (with their clients) as well – CHECK!
Then, I was tasked with managing the editorial calendar for their New York site as well as posting content. They began to have me train new directors on managing their regional websites and events (think the equivalent of bringing in and training new franchise owners.)
Last summer, Client M’s Blog Editor moved on – and guess who they asked to fill the role? You guessed it – and now I get to manage the relationships and contracts with both New York and national bloggers, determine what material will fit the community, uphold the clients’ standards, edit all submitted blogs, strategize on scheduling them, and post them to the site. I’ve even gone from ghost writing blogs to having a byline on some of them. It’s thrilling that Client M trusts me to have my name on their material. They even posted me on their site under “Our Team”. With the wide array of duties I now manage, Client M has awarded me the title of Blog Editor and Operations Manager. Fourth and final goal achieved: earn trust, knock every responsibility I’ve been given out of the park and therefore become indispensable – CHECK!
The way my role has evolved touches on many of the parts of my e-Learning, English, conflict resolution and customer relations backgrounds that I enjoy most. My relationship with Client M is a wonderful example of both timing and “the right fit” – they get the best of my skills and I, in turn, not only function at my best and most fulfilled, but I also get to do it virtually, which fits my lifestyle and fundamental belief that business can be done outstandingly from anywhere.
Client M recently told me, “You are such an instrumental part of our team… and we don’t know what we would do without you.” Please don’t mistake this for a Sally Field Oscars, “You Like Me!” speech. Yes, I embrace the love (and the feeling is mutual), but really, what I am advocating is this:
Virtual Assistants, don’t be afraid to stretch beyond your comfort zones. Make suggestions to your clients on how to improve their business and operations. Show them every day what you can really do and how you can add value to their businesses. Don’t hide the “mad skills” that you developed over many years in your past profession(s) – even if you’re still overcoming the PTSD of the corporate cubicle. Demonstrate what you can do because not only will it help them, but you will also feel professionally fulfilled. You might even discover a new side of yourself!
Busy entrepreneurs, I can (and will) still do anything you ask me to do at whatever level you need, but please consider the bigger picture. You could have a Virtual Assistant – or you could have a global business partner who will help you grow your business faster than you imagined. Are you ready?
Please hear me, both Virtual Assistants and their clients: EVOLVE. And reap the benefits.
Submission by Jennifer