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The Secret Framework!

I love being a virtual assistant because my work offers me the diversity, mobility, and flexibility I crave. Along with the opportunity to wield my creativity and widen my knowledge, I enjoy content creation projects and one such project led me to discover a ‘little secret framework’ which is applicable to any freelancer, virtual assistant, entrepreneur, or anyone in general; it’s really simple to follow and makes perfect sense.

Known as Neil Gaiman’s “Secret Framework,” he bestowed this little knowledge nugget during his keynote address to the graduates of the University of Arts. He himself has never graduated from any such establishment, and he “escaped” school as soon as he could, going on to become a writer who has received numerous international awards. He is a best-selling author and one of the top ten living postmodern writers… according to the Dictionary of Literary Biography. During his career as a freelance comics writer, he perfected his "Secret Framework." This is his framework in a nutshell.

Anyone can be hired, but they continue to work, their work is recognized, and their business grows because:

  • Their work is good

  • They are easy to work with

  • They deliver on time

Take a moment and take this in. Apply this in any setting, and you will hear the penny drop. I have had the opportunity to work in corporate settings, family businesses, and finally as a virtual assistant, and in every case, the people I enjoyed working with had two or all three of these characteristics as individuals. This is true for any service provider. It all comes down to these three elements.

But Neil Gaiman goes a step further, claiming that you only need two of these three to succeed. He is straightforward in his statement:

“People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good, and you deliver it on time.”

“People will forgive the lateness of the work if it's good and if they like you.”

You don't have to be as good as the others if you're on time and it's always a pleasure to hear from you." – Neil Gaiman

This is profound and practical at the same time. I'm sure we've all been here at some point. And we've forgiven people for their shortcomings because there were aspects of their product or service that we really valued.

  • As an individual or business, where do you stand on this simple scale?

  • What is your unique part of the puzzle?

  • Which two areas do you find you constantly overlap in?

  • Which area do you need to develop?

Work on your strengths while improving your weaknesses – yes, this can be a simplified SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of sorts. Of course, the ultimate goal for an individual or business is to land right in the middle... where all three circles overlap. You can up-skill with a little effort!

As a virtual assistant, I've discovered that each factor is equally vital. To be successful as a business, we must be able to seamlessly integrate and deliver. The success of our business is defined by the quality of our work, consistency and timeliness, and the ease of communicating and working with us. Perhaps this is why, when I first saw this "Secret Framework," it struck a deep chord with me!

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Written by Tatum De Souza

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