Being that driving force
When Gayle Bu first became an assistant at the Gap, she helped other moms who worked there with whatever they needed — even when it meant going above the call of duty.
Now this working mom is a virtual assistant who makes it her business to see her clients succeed.
When one of Gayle Bu's clients needed to hire a personal chef, Bu researched organizations, found candidates and prescreened them. Then she set up personal interviews between her client and the top three candidates. "It took out that entire layer of stress," says Bu. "It’s basically just freeing up their time for whatever is important."
Bu is a virtual assistant who works with 10 clients. Four of them are moms. Even before she became a mother of two, Bu always believed in going above and beyond for her clients. "One of the people I was working for [she] needed to interview nannies. But the interview process was lengthy," says Bu. "My job is to help her. If it means that I have to spend time prescreening nannies or setting up pediatrician appointments so she can spend more time in the boardroom, so be it."
Having a mentor can help you achieve more >>
Freeing clients up
Bu understands how things like setting up appointments and finding contractors can take away from a busy working mom's time — both at work and with her family. So she works hard to take away that stress from them. "They are definitely appreciative and that’s why I keep doing what I do," says Bu.
Beyond personal tasks, Bu also handles a lot of business-related matters for her clients. "My title is virtual assistant so primarily what I do is business oriented. It’s a lot of setting up newsletters and business, etc."
Thinking of getting your own assistant? >>
Bu herself is a mom to a 7-year-old and an almost-5-year-old. That's a job she takes very seriously. And with her kids changing schools this year, she's shifted her business to meet their needs. "This year I restructured my business so I can drop them up at the bus at 8:15 and pick them up at 4," says Bu.
"At the end of the day, I close the door and that’s it."
She holds herself to strict working hours and literally shuts down when her work day is over. "I take client calls 9-3:45 on Monday through Thursday," says Bu. "My office is my office. So at the end of the day, I close the door and that’s it."
Of course, like many people these days, Bu says she finds it hard to resist checking her email after hours... just in case. Still, she tries to hold herself to a standard of not dealing with anything that's not urgent when she's off the clock for the day.
Bu tries to keep her time sacred so that she gives her all with whatever she's doing. "When I am with my kids, I am 100 percent with my kids. When I am with my clients, I am 100 percent with my clients," she says.
Still, she also does some multitasking during her brief lunch break. "I genuinely love what I do. The cool thing is that my office is upstairs. I will run downstairs, make lunch quickly, toss the laundry in, toss a chicken in and it’s cool," says Bu. And that frees her up to spend more time with her own family.
"Childcare is key. You need to find good childcare. My thing is in my opinion it’s really difficult to work efficiently when the kids are home. It’s not fun for you, it’s not fun for the kids and it’s not fun for the client," says Bu.
More from Chasing the Dream