One of the questions I get asked aaaallll the time is this:
"Where did you find Erin???"
If you've interacted in some way with my work, chances are you've met Erin.
Erin is my Chief Joyologist. And she's SO good at it.
Our relationship started two years ago, around this time of year.
It all started with this photo of her fridge.
At the beginning of 2013, when I was relaunching my business, I knew I needed help.
(Probably in all senses of the word).
I didn't know what I needed. I didn't even know if I could afford it.
But I had a suspicion that I just couldn't do this alone.
I asked the Universe to hook me up with the PERFECT assistant. An assistant who would not only answer emails, but who I could consider to be my support network.
A tall order, I know.
Undeterred, I posted an ad on eLance, and I had some pretty insane applications.
But one caught my eye.
It featured a photo of the applicant's fridge.
Maybe it was the way the beverages were all lined up on the top shelf. Or, maybe it was the plastic containers, stacked neatly at the bottom.
This girl was on top of her game.
Of course, I hired her without even reading the rest of her resume (only kidding. Or am I...?).
I remember telling Erin that I could only afford her for a couple of weeks. There was no guarantee of ongoing work.
That was two years ago, and our working relationship has never been better.
The truth is, I didn't hire an assistant. I hired my support soulmate.
Although this post isn't intended to be a gush-fest (although it quite easily could be), I still can't believe how lucky I am to have someone like Erin by my side as I try to figure out this thing called solopreneurialism. It makes everything so much easier when you're not so...solo.
Not only does Erin take care of making sure everyone is happy, answering emails, and keeping me organised...she also supports me emotionally, keeps me motivated, and encourages me during my low times of anxiety and depression.
I didn't go into hiring a VA looking for someone with great social media skills. Or a friendly demeanour. Or even a particular hourly rate.
I knew I needed help, but I was TOTALLY open to the outcome.
I resisted the urge to have any expectations.
I was completely trusting that if I kept an open heart and an open mind, that this would become a mutually-wonderful relationship.
And that's exactly what happened.
I know this might sound so simplistic, but I really do believe that hiring the perfect VA has everything to do with intention, and very little to do with credentials.
(Not that Erin didn't have the credentials. She had plenty).
Don't go into looking for help with the intention of hiring someone to just answer your emails.
Set an intention to hire the PERFECT assistant...for you.
Even if you're not sure what their responsibilities will be - or how much work you'll be able to offer them - be upfront and honest about it. Let them know you're looking for a collaboration, and give them the space to explore their role within your business.
(Oh...and don't forget to ask them for a photo of their fridge. If they have mouldy salad in the crisper, you'll know they're not the one for you).
Have your own VA story to tell? I'd love to hear it in the comments below! :)