We all know the famous song, and it should be inbuilt in all of us right?  People say that money makes the world go round – but our VIP VA member Lucy Messaritis talks us through why for her it starts with respecting each other, collaborating and building relationships…

“R.E.S.P.E.C.T. While Aretha Franklin may not have had Virtual Assistants in mind when she wrote that song, the sentiment behind it can be transferred to most situations we as business owners find ourselves in on a daily/weekly/monthly basis – whether it’s with clients, colleagues, suppliers, friends, strangers or family.

Respect, understanding and a general appreciation for each other helps make working life a lot easier to deal with.  When we respect each other as business owners, we an build fruitful relationships and strong alliances that can only see us prosper. In all societies, a mutual appreciation and respect for another is absolutely key, and in business the same rings true.

So what happens when you come up against a situation where someone who doesn’t share these values or doesn’t value the importance of respect?  It can really side-swipe you and make you question what on earth you are doing and why you bother to care so much when other’s might not.  And how do we ensure we are respectful to others at all times? The important thing to remember is that your actions need to match your words.

Be true to yourself.

In this age of hashtags and one word missions like ‘integrity’, ‘authenticity’, ‘respect’, the true meaning of those words can often be lost or indeed ignored. Calling yourself authentic doesn’t automatically mean you ARE authentic. Equally, saying you show respect for your clients, your suppliers, your VA or indeed your fellow industry co-workers when in fact your actions say otherwise can raise questions from others as to your own mission and business.  Keeping it simple – do what you say you will do.

One person’s trash is another’s treasure.

What to one person might be ‘a nightmare client’ or a ‘unsuitable VA’ might to another be their dream partnership. It’s all down to personal preference. In the same way, how one business owner runs their business might to another seem disorganised, frantic or too relaxed, however, or more importantly to the business owner themselves, be the right way to run things even if only at that moment. Unless we have walked a mile in their shoes, understand their mission in full or have been invited to do a TED talk on how to reach total and complete business enlightenment, it’s probably best to accept that we are all different, and show compassion for your fellow man/woman.

Business is hard – but easier if you know who you want to work with.

It’s no secret that running your own business is tough. Boy, is it tough! There’s legalities to be on top of, networking to keep up, clients to find and keep happy, financial processes to work out and ensure run smoothly, IT to keep safe and up-to-date. As business owners, our to-do list is literally endless. We as VAs tap into this rolling tide of to-dos by offering a safe pair of virtual hands to take away the small stuff so that business owners and entrepreneurs can concentrate on the ‘big stuff’. It’s a fantastic, exciting growing market with an abundance of potential clients that need expertise in our field. But at the top of my CV, first and foremost, is that I’m a business owner too. I have my profit-and-loss spreadsheets, I have my contract folders, I have my insurance documents PLUS I have my wonderful clients who need me. If they didn’t respect my ability to wear both my VA and business owner hats at the same time, we wouldn’t be working together, guaranteed.

And similarly, working with or alongside other VAs who get how tough it can be, and who DO show integrity, authenticity and respect, makes life so much easier. So know what you want to attract and who you want to work with.

I’m proud that our VA industry is about respect. After all; working together succesfully with anyone is about collaboration and respect.  Aretha got it right.”

Lucy Messaritis, Nixon Executive Support

If you want to get in touch to find out how the VIP VA community can support you on your journey then please contact us at info@apva.org.uk.