No matter what field you’re working in the threat of being terminated is always there. There are a lot of different names it goes by. We no longer need your service, the position is being retired, we don’t have enough funding, and the list goes on. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the top of the proverbial business food chain or hanging around near the bottom, being ‘let go’ from your job can be one of the most heartbreaking situations in any career. Aside from the obvious financial blow you take being unemployed, there are emotional repercussions that can leave a lasting impact. But even rock bottom can have its perks. There’s nowhere to go but up, right?
Cynthia Dixon, founder of Cynassists, LLC, had built a long career out of helping top-tier professionals manage their day-to-day business lives. Even with superb worth ethic, Dixon met the fate many fear. “I’ve been an Executive Assistance for over 14 years. I began as an admin at the local emergency room while attending Langston University in Oklahoma. Since then I’ve managed front desks, became an office manager, and even supported the President of the United States’ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation in D.C. I took pride in it mostly because I was a Latina assisting all the powerful Latino business owners and dreaming one day that I would be in their shoes. It wasn’t until I worked for Microsoft where I truly found my passion for supporting top executives and their teams. I assisted with internal and external meetings, managed calendars, emails, catering, training, travel logistics, you name it I did it. I was the go-to person. Once our group transitioned out of Microsoft and into another organization I became the Executive Assistant/Facilities Manage/Office Manager. I coordinated our move, managed relationships with vendors, event planning, budget planning, and I was fully invested. I even worked the day before I was due to give birth to my son to make sure the office was prepared for my absence. They were so prepared that a month later I was informed that my assistance was no longer needed. I was devastated. Because I’m a faithful person I knew God did not make mistakes with my life so I stood still. God knew I needed more flexibility as a new mother, gained family time because it’s important to me, not to mention the commute killed my soul. So I took my invaluable experience and gave life to Cynassists.”
A virtual assistant can take the slack off of many business owners. Whether you’re running a huge operation with all hands on deck or simply need a little extra help with your daily tasks as a small business owner, having a VA is a great way to make sure you don’t fall behind. Dixon understands how invaluable a VA on board can be, “They are your off-site administrative professional. I like to refer to myself as a trusted, silent business partner who you can confide in – your go-to person for your every need. There are a lot of benefits. Normally when you’re hiring someone in your office, with a VA you don’t have to provide office space with a VA. You don’t have to provide any taxes, insurance, or benefits. They take it upon themselves and they budget themselves for that. You’re not paying into someone’s 401K.”
Knowing that you need help is a true skill when it comes to being an entrepreneur or business owner. Understanding your weakness is a definite strength. Dixon has advice for anyone looking to move forward. “Do an analysis of your business activities over the course of a day. Write down your mundane tasks that are taking up your time and delegate them. Know who you’re hiring. You have to have a system in place but make sure your assistant knows your language and is invested in what you do and the service you provide. You have to lay out clearly what needs to be done. The instruction is the key. In the beginning you may do step-by-step instruction on what needs to be done. Your business is your baby. If they want to offer feedback then make sure you’re open to that. Make them feel like they’re part of the team. Make sure you over-communicate and you’ll greatly increase their productivity as well as yours.”
Being in a place which gives business owners and entrepreneur’s access to essential tools to run their company can help businesses reach greater heights. “The DMV is a good place to be an entrepreneur because it’s a melting pot of all walks of life. There’s a constant flow of population moving to and from the DMV. There are a lot of people that were in government that are getting out of that and becoming entrepreneurs. I can have a conversation and listen to their story and get involved…’hey, I can help you with that.’ I get to tap into different fields that I’m interested in. It’s a great place to be because it’s constantly changing. There are entrepreneurs out here hungry for whatever service you provide that will assist them. There might be other people who offer the same service but no one will do it like you.”