Virtually Anything

Archive for February, 2008

Working With A VA-Third In A Three Part Series

Posted by collinsadmin on February 26, 2008

Working with a VA – When It Doesn’t Work Out 

There may be occasion when the client or the VA feel that there is a major compatibility issue between them and when/if that time arrives it should be dealt with professionally. If compatibility is a problem then both the VA and the client will feel increasingly frustrated, and work will be impaired – this can be harmful for both the client’s and the VA’s business.

If it doesn’t work out, the following standard of professionalism should be observed:

  • Both parties should give each other a reasonable amount of time to discontinue working with one another.
  • The client should pay any remaining fee pertaining to work that has already been done by the VA.
  • Once payment is received, the VA should return any and all materials provided by the client, and when necessary, facilitate a smooth transfer of needed information to another VA.
  • Emotions should not overcome either the VA or the client in which either party starts to spread rumors or complaining publicly about either one.  This is both unprofessional and may result in legal action if harm is done to the business of the other.
  • The client should seek out another VA if they believe that those types of services could benefit them.  

No one wants to have a business association that just does not work out. But sometimes it does happen. Keeping things professional, and following through on the details helps to avoid personal trauma, and potential legal liabilities due to harm that is caused to the business of another.

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Working With A VA-Second In A Three Part Series

Posted by collinsadmin on February 26, 2008

Working with a VA – Once The Contract Is Signed

All VAs should have a contract outlining their processes, their liabilities, their confidentiality pledge, what is expected of the client, warranties, return of materials, terms of the contract, payments and any other issues that are necessary for that particular situation. The VA should then go over the following with their clients:

  • Instructions on how to get files from point A to point B.
  • Any usernames and passwords that are required for back office access.
  • If necessary, begin learning new software required to manage documents and projects.
  • If required, invoice for first month’s retainer. Retainers are standard in the industry, and may be required for many months.
  • Ask if there are any questions, comments or concerns.
  • A contract WILL contain legal language. It cannot protect your interests if it does not!  

The First Work Assignment 

Once the contract is agreed upon and signed by both parties and the necessary information is given, now is the time for the actual work to begin. By following the next set of procedures, it helps to ensure a long, successful partnership with a virtual assistant.

  • The VA and client should be prompt in returning phone calls and emails (24-48 hours).
  • The VA should be willing to send updates on projects when/if it is requested.  The client should also be willing to send updates quickly if they require additional or different information than previously discussed for that particular project.
  • A VA should be able to supply clients with some type of documentation showing exactly when and how long a project was worked on, when requested.
  • A VA should address any concerns, comments or questions promptly with the client should the need arise.
  • Both VAs and clients should take suggestions with an open mind from either party. A good VA will make suggestions to help you, while still listening to how you do business. 

The first few assignments are a time of getting to know one another, testing the waters, and learning a new way of working, for both parties. Patience with one another helps to facilitate the process of growing into a strong working team.

Once a VA is found to satisfy your needs it can become an extremely profitable and smart business move. Working with a VA not only relieves your stress, it also helps take some of the anxiety away that comes with running a business and being a solo-preneur.

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Working With A VA-First In A Three Part Series

Posted by collinsadmin on February 26, 2008

Working with a VA – Before the Work Begins 

Many business owners do not understand how to work with a virtual administrative assistant (VA) – it is a fairly new industry, and involves fairly contemporary use of technology.  While many different variables can occur with each process there are some standards within the industry for working with a VA.

Before work can even begin, a virtual assistant should offer a consultation.  This consultation should be about learning about the potential client as well as giving the potential client the ability to learn about the VA.

 What a VA hopes to achieve 

  • Information about the potential client’s business such has what type of business, how long been in business, where the client would like their business to go, etc. This helps the VA offer more personalized service.
  • Challenges that the business is trying to overcome such as marketing, competition, administrative etc. This helps the VA know what services will benefit you most.
  • What the business owner expects from their virtual assistant. This information helps the VA meet those expectations more precisely.
  • The client’s personality type and compatibility, so the VA can work with the client more successfully.
  • Closing the deal – the last point of this meeting is generally an agreement to work together, if such a decision has been reached.

     What a consumer should hope to achieve 

  • Information about the VA’s background such as business, experience, history, client satisfaction, etc. This may have been given earlier, but here you have a chance to ask specifics.
  • How to work with a virtual assistant. A VA will let you know if they have an online back office for your convenience, whether project documents are typically emailed, and how, or in what manner project specifications are delivered and returned.
  • What to expect from the VA such as communications, project updates, etc. They may have a policy for deadlines, and usually have a policy for issuing updates or reports. You’ll also learn their billing and retainer policy.
  • The VA’s personality type and compatibility. You’ll learn whether you can work with this person, or if they just drive you nuts.
  • Getting the biggest bang for your buck. A good VA can offer suggestions for streamlining the work to keep it as affordable as possible.

Once the initial consultation has taken place it is then the VA and the clients’ responsibility to decide if the VAs services can benefit the client, if working with a VA is a right step for a client, if the clients needs are something that the VA can address and provide solutions for and most importantly if there is compatibility between the client and the VA.

Compatibility between the VA and the client is extremely important because if there is an issue of trust, micromanagement, or just two completely different personality types there may be issues in the future and then both the VA and client will be frustrated and nothing will get accomplished.

An initial consultation can take place over the phone, in person, or occasionally, by email. It is an important first step in beginning to work with a VA.

Working with a VA is not just a quick 10 minute process. It takes planning, consideration and dedication.  VAs are there to help businesses succeed for the long haul.

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