Let’s set the scene. You love your business and things are going well. You’ve identified a need for administration or marketing assistance and have decided a Virtual Assistant (VA) is the best way to go. Great! Well done on getting your business to such a level whereby you now need some support, and can afford to pay for that support!
It could be that you need someone to manage your social media accounts, format and proof read your documents, manage newsletters or complete data entry. Every VA will have a slightly different skill set, and knows what they are good at.
Your business is my business
I’ll let you into a little secret…
...great VAs will grow to love your business as much as you do. I know for me, I get such a rush of pride when my clients succeed. I feel good when I see that something I worked on allowed them to grow their business or gain back some time for themselves.
Allow me to indulge and share a recent example involving a client of mine who is growing her training business.
I spent several hours creating some documents she needed for an upcoming program, and painstakingly editing the PowerPoint slides to get the look she wanted. A few days later, I saw some photos she posted on her social media channels, of her presenting her program and in the background, I could see on the large screen some of the documents and slides I had created. Seeing them look so good, and seeing them in action honestly made me feel so proud and incredibly happy. I had created something that enabled her to focus on the course content and deliver a superb program. I get the same rush when I see a graphic I created get many ‘likes’ on their Facebook or a pile of data finally get entered into the client system.
How does it work?
Working with a VA is slightly different to an employee. Yes, we often complete the exact same work as someone in your office might do, but we love working virtually and it’s a win-win because you only pay for the work agreed. So rather than paying a wage, and superannuation and providing a computer, your VA will complete all tasks and then invoice you for the time or perhaps agree a package rate beforehand.
VAs work with multiple clients and this means we are constantly practicing our skills and learning something new. I do more training and up-skilling as a VA than I ever did as an employee. Each VA has a different way of charging – I usually charge by an hourly rate but some may charge a package fee or outcomes-based fee. As an independent contractor, I cover all my own taxes, superannuation, equipment upkeep and training, so when I quote my price, you know the value you are getting.
Just like any professional relationship, there are some basic ‘rules’ or tips that can ensure a fantastic working relationship between client and VA.
Top tips for freelancing/outsourcing:
1. Both the client and the contractor need to be honest at all times – the client must be honest about desired time frames and agree these with the VA; and the VA must be honest about capabilities and speak up if a task is beyond their area of expertise (a great VA will have a network of other VAs to call on to assist).
2. If the project is taking longer than expected, keep the lines of communication open. Again, this goes both ways, if the client has promised to provide the VA with data or info and is running behind time, or if the VA is finding a task is taking longer than originally thought.
3. As mentioned above, the VA should only take on jobs they are qualified for, unless in some extreme situations. Much better to do the jobs we are good at, and consider letting another VA take on tasks we are not so experienced in.
4. The client must explain clearly what they require, what the end goal is and give as much assistance as needed. Likewise, the VA should outline any support they need to get the jobs completed.
5. The client should pay on time. This might sound obvious but remember, VAs are small business owners and it’s really not on to take 3 months to pay the invoice/s.
Follow these simple rules and everyone will be happy!
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