Collaboration is the key

Collaboration is the key

Since I started my VA business just over a year ago I have had an amazing success. I started just one day a week, six months later I went full time and six months after that I now work with a great team of Associates.

This could so easily not have been the case if back in the early days I had fallen into the trap that awaits unsuspecting VA wannabes.

I googled the subject, I researched the subject, I read up on the subject and I asked lots and lots of questions, not least because I am a canny Northern Lass and very tight with my money (not that I had any when I started up), but because I am a cautious girl as well.

I came across a multitude of sites that offered me qualifications, directory listings, training and more, all in exchange for my hard earned cash.  If I hadn’t been so canny I could seriously have spent thousands at the outset thinking that was the only way to get my VA business up and running.

Then I made an amazing discovery.  Delving deeper into the world of VAs and you will find this huge community.  They don’t compete against each other in the way that a standard industry would and they have the vision and the foresight to collaborate with each other. Working as a team makes the individual suddenly a much stronger force. You only have to look at the humble ant for example, on his own he can’t do much, but by working together look at the incredible weight that they can carry.

I first came across SVA – The Society of Virtual Assistants, founded by Caroline Melville.  Their forum was full of people doing what I wanted to do and helping others along the path.  I had never come across this sort of help and support before, especially so freely given.

I then met the lovely @DeeVAS on Twitter and she took pity on me and invited me to join this amazing group called VASG on Skype. The difference this made to me was astronomical. All of a sudden there was this instant support by a complete group of strangers all of whom had something in common and believed that in order to achieve their goals, you had to collaborate.  By being given access to a fantastic group of VA’s at all stages of their business from Start Up to many years of experience, my business has gone from strength to strength because we love to talk! A lot!

We talk about the latest software, the most efficient way to do things, answer tech questions and introduce each other to great ideas whether we are in start up phase, growing a business to get out of the rat race or being a full time VA with many years of experience.

You know how I feel about collaboration and this is a huge part of why the VA industry is so strong and growing.  VA’s are not there to make other people money; they are smart, savvy, switched on Entrepreneurs in their own right.  We ask questions, we make demands, and always ask for more than we have, and we like to test things to destruction. It’s in our nature. That’s way when we recommend a product or service to our Clients they know they can trust our recommendation.

I have been working with three companies lately in order to take some existing excellent products and to enhance them for the VA industry, they have listened to our feedback and responded accordingly, some things they have been able to do for us instantly and others will take longer, but what shines out is their eagerness to work WITH US, the collaboration, it will enhance their products, make our lives easier, more efficient and allow us to share their great products with our Clients and make them more efficient and effective as well.

The support and feedback they have given us has been outstanding, their customer service has exceeded our expectations and they are genuinely a pleasure to work with.

I would like to publicly thank Xero, CapsuleCRM and MinuteDock for their efforts and support over these past few weeks.  We aren’t always the easiest bunch to please that is for sure, but between us we have some great collaborative integrated solutions to look forward to over the coming months.

So, if you are a supplier out there and think the VA community may be able to further your companies interest please do get in touch, we will be happy to test your products and services to destruction.  We are not for the faint hearted and we don’t approve products of every company that comes our way.  However, we will offer constructive feedback, to let you know whether we think it worthy of our Clients, to tell you what works and what doesn’t, we will even introduce you to our existing suppliers so you can talk collaboration and integration. 

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