Description

So you’ve hired a new Virtual Assistant and it’s time to take your business to the next level.  Delegating task, freeing up time and having someone to regularly brush ideas off of is a clear improvement. That said, just because you hire someone doesn’t mean that you will build an effective business relationship.  Communication is the key. Keep the following tips in mind so that you create a work environment  built on trust and respect with a team mentality.

1. Build trust by getting to know your VA on a personal, but professional level. Ask them about their hobbies, why they wanted to become a VA, what it’s like living in SE Asia, what life is like before being a VA, etc. Ask them what they like to do on the weekends and in their free time. I’ve found it best to view your Virtual Assistant as someone who COULD come in and work with you in an office every day. Just like with a physical office, a virtual team needs to have open communication and sometimes non-business, small-talk can help.

2. Ask for their opinions. Even though this may be your first virtual team member, it is most likely NOT your VA’s first time. If you found a virtual help through LibertyVAs.com, then all of our VA’s have previous experience and might be more experienced with certain tools or processes than you are. Ask for their feedback and what potential hurdles they foresee. All good relationships are mutually beneficial.

3. Be Flexible with Their Schedule. Stuff comes up; family emergencies, pet problems, internet outages or cultural traditions that you aren’t familiar with. You most likely work a flexible schedule and it’s recommended to extend the same benefit to them. My VA staff will request to come in early/late and will always send me a message when they start. This is one of the BEST ways to earn trust and respect from your virtual staff.

4. Be Patient and Understanding. Working with virtual staff in a different timezone and culture can be very demanding. Without eye contact or body language, things can be taken out of context or easily misunderstood. Giving your VA the benefit of the doubt when they don’t complete a task exactly as you expected is a great learning experience if you are able to stay patient.

5. Stay Humble and Ask for Constructive Criticism. You VA is experienced and can give you feedback on a wide array of topics. Remember, they may have much more experience than you in certain areas and can essentially give you advice and feedback that you would not get otherwise. Instead of hiring a coach, try asking your VA how you can improve and become a stronger leader in your company or field.

6. Ask for Confirmation. If you have a high priority task that you need focused on or you have some really important information to discuss, ask your Virtual Assistant to confirm that they understand and have no questions. Always create a safe environment for questions so that everyone is on the same page. Getting confirmation from your VA is essential to eliminating wasted time and miscommunications.

7. Give Compliments and Praise (when appropriate). Who doesn’t like being told that they are doing a good job? If your VA is impressing you with their work, let them know! It’s important to have a healthy mix of praise and constructive criticism when building a virtual team. Don’t just bring up the difficult moments, but enjoy and celebrate when things are going really well.

8. Ask Them to Create Tasks For You. Not only will this keep you better organized, but also show that task delegation goes both ways. This helps remove the feeling of “superiority” that often plagues the Management and Staff relationship. Use a Project Management tool like Asana.

9. Share the Same Playing Field. Your VA sees you as their CLIENT. This is important. You will see them as part of your staff (which they are), but they see you as their client. They’ve had several clients before you, but you are their current client. Remember, you both work for each other. Again, try to set a more level playing field instead of a hierarchical relationship. Nobody likes feeling below someone else; it’s just not necessary and can easily create resentment. If you want to be respected, then you must show that you are able to respect.

10. Ask them how you can help or what is holding them back from completing their tasks. As an entrepreneur you are always looking for feedback from your clients and staff. Your Virtual Assistant, if given the opportunity, can be a great source of learning and growth for you and your business. Ask them what is holding them back from completing their tasks. What is annoying them or a source of frustration? Even questions like “what tasks do you really enjoy and which do you have to just push through?” are very helpful. You are there to support each other and build your business.

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Meet the hosts

Ashe Whitener is the founder and host of the Liberty Entrepreneurs Podcast which aims to provide an alternative perspective to achieving individual freedom through the creative, entrepreneurial process rather than through the tried and failed process of politics. Ashe has two BS degrees in Engineering and is also an original member of Peter Schiff’s Euro Pacific Bank where he is currently the Head of Business Development. Much of Ashe’s experience has come during his time living in Panama and he continues to consult global teams on various projects including tech startups and offshore asset protection.

discussions

  • I know that project ideas are a dime a dozen. They are useful only if someone takes them and executes a plan to make them a reality. The idea I’d like to share with you would require more skill, energy, and time than I alone could devote to it. So I’d like to get your feedback and measure the interest. Here it is. Since bitcoins can be paid in fractions (e.g., .0001 BTC) and since payment transactions carry little or no transaction fee, it is feasible to create a micropayment website for digital. As you also know, for most of history, artists were supported by patrons, not by property rights in copies of their works. Well, with bitcoin micropayments, nearly everyone can afford to be a patron of the arts, and they can reward the artist according to the value they perceive they got from the work (there are some songs I just cannot do without), and according to their own financial ability.I am convinced that if copyright was less restrictive, artists would benefit in ways that perhaps they cannot now envision. The idea is simple. Creators upload digital content to the site. They assign certain hashtags to it and post in one of several categories. Videos, music, photos, datasets for 3d printing, writing, art, advocacy and causes. Any content posted to the site is downloadable if a bitcoin tip of any amount is paid for it. The content can be played/viewed on site for free, but to download and copy, you need to tip the creator at least, say, .00001 BTC. Imagine a musician who posts a song in either audio or video or both. The more tips she earns, the higher she gets ranked. The higher he gets ranked, the more tips she receives. It’s a relatively frictionless way for a creator to get content to the end user and get paid for it in a way that could work in a filesharing world. So the concept is similar to twitter, instagram, tumblr, with hashtags that enable searching, but it also employs other performance ranking methods like the bitcoin tip data. Content creators are paid through a voluntary payment system. It’s sort of like crowdfunding in that regard. All content uploaded is royalty free and can be used for any purpose by anyone who gives a tip of any amount and downloads the content. Maybe you use a creative commons license to make sure nobody else claims it as their intellectual property. I really don’t think artists need the governments’ guns pointing at folks who copy their works. I think people would reward them anyway. Say someone uploads a dataset for a 3d printer to the site. Folks can tip him/her in increments that would be too small to pay via paypal, credit cards, etc. The transaction fees are too high. You could tip .0001BTC for a download and pay no transaction fee. Revenue for the site would come from advertising and/or by charging artists a small commission on their monthly or annual gross bitcoin tips. Creators could even assign a portion of their gross bitcoin receipts to be used in advertising on site to get featured ranking, ala Google or Facebook. Say you’re in Copenhagen, across the street from a building you’re curious about. Your phone alerts you that the 3d dataset for the building is available on gratuity2. You’re feeling generous so you tip .001BTC for the dataset. Back home, a 3d printer spits out a scaled down copy for your desk. Imagine that a kid in Latin America puts together a little music video with his phone. He uploads it to gratuity2.com and it goes viral. A million kids throughout the world tip him .00001 BTC. A small thumb drive he bought at the local market holds a free bitcoin wallet in it. The next time he plugs it into any internet device, bang, he has 1000 BTC in his wallet. Say an artist posts an original song and it goes viral. Fans around the world tip her because they love the song. The higher her ranking, the more BTC tips she receives. Now say some advertiser grabs the song and uses it in their commercial for something (let’s say shoes). The terms of the license require only that the creator get credit (Maybe her QR code for her bitcoin wallet is on screen in the corner for a few seconds). More people hear the song in the ads and decide to download it and tip her (confession – I bought a Lady Gaga song because I heard it in a car commercial and liked it). There is the potential for a frictionless, direct relationship between artist and fans. And no strong arm copyright police. No centralized power in the hands of a few media companies. Maybe it turns out that copyright law is not needed because it is clear that this system both rewards creators and is an incentive to innovate. I.P. need not be a political issue. If a system like this took off, copyright law could become irrelevant. It’s a pro voluntary payment system. That’s the idea in a nutshell. Maybe it would fit somehow within liberty.me. It’s actually pretty close to what liberty.me is already doing. I invite your feedback and any interest in collaborating to make something like this a reality.

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  • Hi All, If you haven’t yet heard of the Life Liberty Advocate program, you might like to check this out: https://lifelibertyadvocates.com/ They have a program where you can earn part-time and full-time income promoting the principles of liberty. I’ve listened to many of their materials and it is some of the best liberty education materials I’ve heard. Anyway, if you are looking for a way to be able to afford to devote more of your time to the cause of liberty, this may be a great opportunity for you. Cheers! Pat

    Jump to Discussion Post 25 replies
  • Hi everyone, My partners and I recently opened an online store with liberty-oriented Tees and stickers — www.WryGuys.com — and we’re now exploring our options for marketing and promotion. To date, we’ve started Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, we’ve done some SEO work, and we’ve also run a handful of banner ads on Antiwar.com and the Libertarian Reddit. (We’re donating a portion of the profits to AW.com and the Future of Freedom Foundation.) My partners and I are exceedingly busy with other responsibilities — i.e., full-time jobs, grad school, families, etc. — so this venture is simply a fun side business for which we have limited time. However, we’re intent on success, and we hope to build a venture that 1) consistently covers its monthly expenses, and 2) provides a source of reliable funding for AW.com and the FFF. The Internet’s awash in opinions about marketing methods and techniques, and we’re newcomers in a notoriously competitive market segment (i.e., Tees and stickers). We want to ensure we’re making wise use of our limited time, so we’re looking for a knowledgeable, liberty-minded marketer with experience appealing to libertarians, AnCaps, Constitutionalists, and Voluntaryists. For now, we’re simply looking for an initial, strategic consultation, but if we find the right person, it could certainly develop into something more. QUESTION: Do you know of someone who fits the bill? If so, please post below, or drop me a line at info AT wryguys.com. Thanks, Scott …

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  • Idea Lab is a place to share and develop your entrepreneurial ideas.

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  • I’ve recently embarked upon a new type of social experiment around social reputation in business. After I was scammed by a provider I had many mutual connections with to the tune of $5,000, I was shocked that she was so willing to risk her reputation just to take my money this one time instead of giving me a refund so we could walk away peacefully. And then I realized the reason she thought it was okay to do this was because she didn’t think I had enough of a voice to make a difference to her reputation. So I made a decision in that moment that I would do everything reasonable in my power to warn others that she was not to be trusted as an ethical professional. Since then, James Guzman and the Borderless team have been kind enough offer me their platform to get the message across (https://borderless.liberty.me/how-getting-scammed-out-of-5000-inspired-me-to-write-and-self-publish-my-first-book/), and perhaps even more interesting has been the public response I’ve received since attaching my own name to this controversial story. I’ve basically received two diametrically opposite responses. I would say most people who I have contacted or who contacted me directly have been supportive and thanked me for sharing the story about Shola Abidoye and her company Converport so they would know not to do business with her. Even people who did not know her previously were glad that I was bringing her crimes to light on principle alone. Some others, maybe 10% to 20% were astonished or angry that I would dare name her publicly for what they considered to be a private dispute. Many of these were people who had promoted her previously, so their own reputation could be harmed if she was outed as a criminal. Others were just offended at the concept, and thought anything negative like this should be kept between the disputing parties. As an entrepreneur and someone who works to help others establish their brand message, I think reputation and identity are everything in business. Furthermore, if we are ever to have a society which does not rely on state intervention to right the wrongs of others, reputation becomes vital for how we choose to interact with each other. Besides sharing my story in the case study above, I have been posting on sites like Ripoff Report and anywhere else someone might look before doing business with her so they can be warned – and she will possibly be incentivized to make restitution for stealing from me.  I wanted to hear other opinions about the best way to handle situations like this where professional reputation is the only tool we have against fraudsters. What other steps should people who have been wronged take to reduce these cases and possibly solve their problems? Gregory

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