Hey! This is your host, Dean Soto. In this episode of the Freedom In Five Minutes podcast, I will be talking about the lessons I learned after firing our gardener. What does this experience have to do with hiring a virtual personal assistant? Check the episode and find out!
All that and more, coming up!
Overview & Episode Content
- Delegating the Landscaping and Gardening Tasks on the Homestead
- Are Skills the Primary Basis When Hiring The Best Virtual Personal Assistant?
- The Best Virtual Personal Assistant Understands Your Role in the Organization
- What Type of Personality Does the Best Virtual Personal Assistant Have?
- The Best Virtual Personal Assistant Knows How to Gently Say NO
- The Best Virtual Personal Assistant is Fiercely Protective of Your Time
Delegating the Landscaping and Gardening Tasks on the Homestead
Not too long ago, I wanted to grow more food around the house and take advantage of the opportunities to build a gardening infrastructure around the property. A great way to achieve that for my family was to hire the best person at growing food and using the terrain we currently live on.
Now, for those of you who have been following the podcast for some time, we live on the hills here in California. And the soil around here is mostly decomposed granite — definitely very rocky over here. Knowing what plants can grow and what cannot takes a lot of skill and experience.
Before I hired a gardener, I had some garden beds set up. I have grown some peppers and a few different food. But ultimately, I do not know everything that can be done here. So I hired a gardener who was recommended by a friend. The gardener was a very well-meaning, kind, and gentle soul and extremely knowledgeable in planting.
The plan was for him to start planting things around the house but not super close to the house because my wife had her own landscaping plans for the areas closest to it. She had landscaping plans for beauty — and not so much for food.
That was totally cool and fine — at first.
Are Skills the Primary Basis When Hiring The Best Virtual Personal Assistant?
We started our gardening projects and I assigned him the areas to work. He pretty much stuck to the assigned areas but later on, he began work on a spot near the house. My wife was fine with that as it was a slope anyway and not immediately too close to the house. It was fine.
I reminded the gardener time and time not to plant too near the house. Also, to just be good-mannered when working at the homestead. But he would just walk into the house — without knocking. Say “Hi” and “Hello” of course and mumble under his breath all the time. He was kind of an odd duck in general.
Now, when you have nine kids at home, that is the last thing that you want. But despite all that, he is really good at what he does. He knows how to grow food with the type of soil that we have here. But the problems with his personality and how he does things was starting to become apparent.
One example was the way he set up the water system. He was laying hoses all around that would connect to the sprinklers. There was no underground system installed. Also, the hoses that were scattered on the ground did not look nice at all. It did work but from an aesthetic point of view, the project looked like spaghetti all over our property.
So I said, “Hey, at least on the walkways. Can you bury the hoses?”
And he said, “Yes. Sounds great.”
But he did not.
He did things that he only wanted to do and ignored what I actually asked; he had his own way of doing work. Needless to say, it was frustrating and the straw that broke the camel’s back was when I went on a business trip.
The Best Virtual Personal Assistant Understands Your Role in the Organization
The day I left for the business trip, the gardener brought steer manure and applied it to the area he was working on which was a bit close to the house. And it stunk so bad.
There were flies all over the place. My kids could not go outside and my wife just had enough.
“This is not going to work!” she said.
So when I came home, I fired our gardener. I had to let him go because it became clear that he was not there to take-in what we were doing — in our goals and in our mission from a family point of view. He was not there to do that.
Ultimately, he started doing only what he wanted to do — what he thought was best. And doing things without understanding what the family wanted and how the family worked. It simply felt like he did not care how his actions affected everybody else.
So when he wanted to put manure on areas near the house, he did not take into consideration that kids play in those areas. That led to huge issues for the family. And that is what happens when you pick the wrong virtual assistant — especially a personal virtual assistant.
A virtual personal assistant is there not just for you — they understand your role in the organization as well as everyone else in the organization. They understand how the different roles work together so that whatever is being done, these VAs are aware of how their actions affect the entire organization as a whole.
And thus, they continue working towards finding ways to protect your time and your employees’ time and maximize your schedule or optimize your calendar so you can continue to be the captain of your own ship. Their support allows you to interact with clients, prospects, and your team in a very effective way.
What Type of Personality Does the Best Virtual Personal Assistant Have?
The first thing to consider when hiring the perfect virtual personal assistant is identifying the type of personality that makes a great personal assistant.
The best type of personal assistant is not the entrepreneurial type. You want somebody in the high C in the DISC assessment test — someone who is very detailed, wants to have all the information and at the same time, has a lot of intuition. This is someone who can work with people and can gather a lot of data.
Why do you want someone like that?
When somebody wants to be on your schedule, they are going to ask a ton of questions and get as much information as possible. So that they can understand whether or not they will schedule the person later or schedule now. The more information they gather, the better. But they have enough empathy and intuition to figure out how the other person is feeling and communicate in a way that is understanding.
When they have to say, “Unfortunately, Mr. Soto’s schedule is booked for this week. Would you consider 3 weeks from now?” They have to be able to frame things in a way that’s palatable and makes the other person feel like they are being understood and not being pushed aside.
The Best Virtual Personal Assistant Knows How to Gently Say NO
The next important thing is interviewing during the hiring process, you want somebody who is not afraid to say NO but in a pleasant manner. They will be saying NO a lot. So, setting boundaries with your employees, clients, contractors, etc… is vital.
On the flip side of that, they must be okay with getting rejections when trying to get bookings with people on your dream 100 list that you really want to interview, for example. Your virtual personal assistant has to be okay with getting rejections while successfully maintaining a connection with those people over time.
The more that they are okay with saying no and receiving no, the better they are going to be at becoming a successful virtual personal assistant.
Now, the third most important thing is being okay with working for you alone. That sounds weird but one of the worst things that can happen with a personal assistant of any kind is when they become friends with other clients. They become torn between helping their “friend” or helping their boss.
On top of that, when you have several managers who think that they are above your virtual personal assistants, those managers will challenge them. If your personal assistant feels that they are “under” your management team, the more likely they are going to cave-in.
The Best Virtual Personal Assistant is Fiercely Protective of Your Time
If they feel like they are completely separate from the entire organization that it’s really just you and them — that you, the boss got their back no matter what anyone says and not caving to managers; the more that you make your personal assistant feel like they are within their own ballpark. If you give them a little power and freedom, the more they will defend your time — doing what they need to do to grow your business and sense of security.
The more separated they are, the better. Because they will fight for you when they have no loyalty to anyone else other than you.
When it comes down to it, you want to have somebody who is detailed enough to ask a ton of questions and get as much information as possible through questions and research. But they must also have a sense of emotion, a sense of feeling, a sense of empathy.
The best virtual personal assistant is somebody who can set boundaries for themselves, for you, and other people. They must not be afraid to say NO and not afraid to hear NO.
Ultimately, they need to feel like they are in their own world with you. You and them are your own team and they don’t answer to anybody other than you. If you can do that, you will find and have the best type of virtual personal assistant.
Helping business owners find the perfect virtual personal assistant is exactly what we do at Pro Sulum.
If you need people like us, we have what we call Virtual Systems Architects — and these highly talented assistants can be virtually anything you need. They can be bookkeepers or virtual personal assistants.
Essentially, they take whatever you are doing right now and document everything that you are doing. Our VSAs will create step-by-step procedures and perform the tasks you need done. and become the manpower you need them to be.
Resources and Links
If you want a virtual personal assistant like that, then our VSAs might just be what you need — they will document your processes and perform those documented processes.
Now, if you decide to hire another virtual assistant then the Virtual Systems Architect you hired from Pro Sulum will become the baseline that drives your virtual assistants.
If that sounds good to you, visit ProSulum.com and we will find someone who will guard your time; someone who will be ruthless at being the best virtual personal assistant you can possibly imagine and becoming a vital part of your business.
This is Dean Soto, head over to ProSulum.com to meet your virtual personal assistant. And I will see you in the next episode!