Relationships are the foundation of business.
I’ve led conferences, given youtube talks, and coached entrepreneurs with this tenet for years. You are only as strong as your network -- and it’s important to make sure that you keep those relationships healthy.
Your network will be quick to recommend you, be your clients, share about your work, support your dreams, and invest in your business -- if your relationships are healthy. With a network of amazing people, you’ll have referrals and contacts in almost every possible industry. You’ll also become an authority in your own industry with a big enough audience. This is why conferences, retreats, and meetups (not to mention coworking spaces) have been skyrocketing in popularity lately. People love to be around other people.
We love to feel supported, seen, and heard. As an assistant, this is your main focus.
When a client calls me crying because their child is in surgery, I immediately clear their schedule. I move appointments, tackle anything on the day’s list, and then call the hospital back, finding out what room they’re in, and send flowers. I know their child’s name, birthday, and favorite colors. I know if they prefer dinosaurs, trains, or rockets. (Or all three!)
Client relationships permeate all spaces of my work as an assistant. Often, a client will ask me to order them something. They trust me because of relationship -- so they’ll say, “I need to order a black suitcase. Something lightweight, under $100, and with wheels.”
Is that enough information to do a task? Yes.
Would it be a generic response to provide standard options for them? Sure, if you’re a generic VA.
Relationships transform this task. Relationship with a client would mean that I know that they travel with their 17” laptop, and that the suitcase needs to have a space for that. I’d also know that they only ever carry on, so something bigger wouldn’t work. I would know that the client prefers bronze to silver, so I’d look for something with those colors. I’d know that their last suitcase was a specific brand, and broke after 3 trips -- so avoid that one.
Relationships make an agreement into a partnership.
One of my favorite tasks from my clients this week is finding a hip replacement physician/surgeon for her procedure. The fact that my clients trust me with this research is important for me. An assistant plays a vital role in their clients’ lives -- sometimes for big things, sometimes for small things -- which are just as impactful.
Just this week, clients have trusted me to:
Find a 5-foot map for their office wall
Schedule their blog writing for the next few weeks
Invoice their clients
Follow up with their clients via phone and text
Update a spreadsheet of contacts with highly sensitive information
Declutter email inboxes, reviewing sensitive material
Send staff gifts on their behalf
Research business funnels for their growing company
Manage their Facebook page with thousands of followers
Research the best Driver’s Education class for their child to take
Call their child’s daycare and register them for a few days of attendance
Plan a vacation to Napa (flights, hotels, restaurants, wine tours, and more)
Manage their Instagram account
Organize and automate grocery delivery to two clients’ houses
Import school calendars for 2016-2017 to clients’ calendars
All of these tasks would have been less successful if my relationships with clients weren’t a focus. It’s important to me to make sure that we have great rapport, trust, and conversation together.
What can you do to have a better relationship with your colleagues? what will you do to strengthen your relationship with your network of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and friends in business?