Dane, my virtual assistant in Manila, says good bye.
This blog was written by Dane, a stunningly intelligent assistant I have had the privilege of working with. Her English is better than mine and she has had amazing insight into my business. I haven't changed a thing.
I’m Dane, one of Erin’s virtual assistants. I wrote this piece as a tribute to my experiences working with The Happy Wardrobe team, as due to personal circumstances, I am soon moving onto another career. I look back at everything with fond memories, and I hope you would learn something from my experiences as well.
Working with Erin has been an incredible learning experience for me. As time went by, puzzle pieces in my head were starting to fit together. I was getting a better feel of Erin’s mission to empower women. She is, after all, an empowered woman herself.
It was my first time doing remote work, so it was certainly very different from working in a corporate environment. I got to be up close with the owner of a business--a solopreneur--who was still growing and establishing her presence in the world. It made me feel like I had the front row seat to an entrepreneurship class. I was learning some entrepreneurial mindsets from her just by working with her.
She found me through Riah Gonzales, owner of Linq (formerly Admin Prestige) along with some other lovely Filipino VAs. (Thank you, Riah, for connecting me with Erin! And thank you for streamlining the hiring process for her.) From the moment I met her, I have been showered with adoration, and it really felt like she was a friend as much as she was a boss. It is no wonder her clients love working with her.
Her business is unlike any other I have seen before. She has such a unique take on mixing the aspects of life, fashion, business, and personal development all in one VIP experience. There were times I have been inspired to develop marketing strategies for her business even though it was not part of my initial job description. It’s just that I’ve seen a lot of potential for her business, so I could not resist!
What led Erin to start working with virtual assistants (or VAs) were two influential books, namely, The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss and Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker. Both books have shared concrete steps on how to get started with outsourcing. They’ve also painted a picture of the life you desire (more time, more money, more freedom), showing you how it’s possible when you use outsourcing to maximize the growth of your business.
I’ve been asked to read these books, which was weird because I was the VA. But then, it has opened up my perspective and has made me realize that we are not JUST assistants. We are here to help her grow her business in a POWERFUL way! We are experts in our own right. As long as we have a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset, we can become incredibly powerful as a team.
Realizing this, I have felt so honored to be part of her mission. It wasn’t always smooth-sailing, however.
Since everything was new (for both Erin and the VAs), one of the main challenges was to develop structured SYSTEMS that would help everyone become efficient. Often, we have had to improvise. At times, these messy beginnings have led us to collaborate towards building the company culture of The Happy Wardrobe.
What Erin taught me was that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as we continually show up and take action. The more we keep at it, the more the systems will fall into place, and the more we will become the experts behind Wearing Happy (I look forward to the day when that becomes a household phrase). :)
Another challenge was the time difference. We as her VAs live right on the opposite side of the globe. Theoretically, time zones shouldn’t be an issue. But since we were a team who was still just finding our footing, there were times we needed LOTS of communication. Now, there is usually enough hours of overlap for us to all be online for a video call (which is the best method for communication), although we have also seen that being clear with written instructions will make the difference between confusion and maximum efficiency.
Over time, we have also become acquainted with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. While a business owner can dream of a superhero VA that would always save the day, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all VA. Therefore, I urge new employers to make your applicants jump through a few hoops by being ultra-specific with your job requirements.
Now, I am sharing all this because I want to communicate that there will always be a way to overcome these challenges. Please always remember that with every challenge, there is a potential to transform ourselves. Never fear the obstacles you may come across in your journey. They are what will lead you to greatness.
I just cannot stress how much I’ve learned from this experience. I’ve since realized how fashion could be a catalyst to personal and professional transformation. I’ve since learned that having a strong and clear vision can lead you to take consistent action steps towards your dreams and goals. And I know I am not the only one who can benefit from these realizations. You don’t have to be her assistant to realize how precious and powerful you are! (If you still doubt that, I urge you to give her a call.)
It has been a long ride for me, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, I am soon moving onto a different career. While I am sad to let go of this experience, I am sure we have left an indelible mark on each other, filled to the brim with lessons and wisdom. Erin, I wish you and The Happy Wardrobe all the luck and love in the world. Thank you.
Dane, you will be very much missed.