On March 8th 2018 I became a mother. It is something that I had wanted for a long time and along the way I had given up multiple times and left it to God to handle. When I found out I was pregnant I was over the moon but giving birth on the 8th? New level of joy unlocked. New level of gratitude and appreciation for life too. Since then I have come to realise how much being a mother has not only changed me for the better but given me a new appreciation for anything and everything that happens to me. Everything changes. Everything is a learning experience, painful at times but worthwhile most of the time.
One area of my life that changed was work. I loved working. Still do. It gets my blood pumping, my brain revving and thoughts flowing. What I wasn’t fully prepared for was the valleys and peaks that I would come across when establishing myself as a working mama/stay at home mama/ work from home mama. The journey was not easy. Just when I thought I had a plan, the plan changed and faltered, needing a new plan every other month or so. In addition to the fact that I had moved countries to join my husband? Nothing seemed to be easy. How do I run a business from another country? Sure digital media should be the easiest industry to work remotely in but the country where the majority of my clients are? They do not do remote. They do IN-PERSON meetings. Small meetings. Big meetings. Meetings to determine whether the next meeting will be big or small. Meetings to agree on payment. Meetings to discuss fine print. Meetings. Meetings.
Then my business partner needed to take a sabbatical. I broke down. Cried in the shower every morning for three days because she was my right hand woman but what sort of friend or business partner would I be to stand in the way of her dreams? So I had to let go and begin the arduous task of starting over. I put my head down and started making plans to invest in myself. Be clear about the dreams and goals that I had.
The picture above is the picture that reminds me that help can come and it can be more than you ever wished for. This hamper was put together by my remote Executive Assistant, Debra. This wasn’t something she has been dreaming of but somehow fell into. I met Debra on a project a couple of years back and we have always kept touch. She’s also part of a group of young men and women who called me mother during the project (they still do). I’ve had one remote assistant and soon abandoned the idea because of the headache to keep track of the person. But here came Debra who has fast become a vital member of my team. The hamper was something Debra pulled together after I quickly came up with the idea (she runs a business on the side called P.S Fleurs). Her professionalism, her ability to not only complete tasks in time but also to add to what I do not see is heaven sent.
There are some actions we do not appreciate how they can help grow our business and impact it. I had asked Debra to curate a list of photographers to use in the future. That was two weeks ago. A week later a client needed two separate photo shoots. We were able to assist by forwarding the list and the client was happy and grateful. Today as we hosted our first ever LinkedIn Webinar session for another client, the same photographer was in the room with Debra. I was not. That is huge to me. African internet tried to embarrass us and wanted to be an enemy of progress but it was done. What I requested was delivered. Two young Zambian women delivered, while I did my part and logged off. A dream I didn’t think I would ever live, made into a reality.
I wanted to say thank you to the Debra’s and the Namukolo’s in the world that help working mama’s still be efficient, manage deadlines and deliver to the client above and beyond. Because of this I wanted to tell you all before you go out and get a remote assistant remember the following:
- Pay Remote Assistants/Creatives what they are worth and on time.
- Remember data costs and calling costs.
- Remember that their time is just as precious as yours.
- Guide and help them as much as you can by being clear with your instructions.
- Reimburse them for any amount outside the requested expenses.
- Have clear roles/responsibilities and a contract.
Did I forget anything? What is your advice for someone interested in getting a remote assistant?