How much would it suck to spend hours upon hours applying for virtual assistant jobs, then get a job (maybe your first job!), just to lose it again over a stupid mistake? I’ll tell you: it would suck a whole lot. So let’s make sure that when you do get a job you can keep it, if you want to.
Let’s go through a short list of the best ways you can quickly lose your Virtual Assisting business (and clients):
Don’t Keep Time
Let’s face it: you need to keep track of the time you spend working…all of the time. Not some of the time. ALL OF THE TIME. Got it? Good. You also need to be able to show your clients what it is that you are working on. Some clients have investors, partners, or other means that they use for different projects.
So, if you provide more than just, say, copywriting services for them, you need to keep track of the different types of tasks. Some VAs, like myself, even charge different rates for certain tasks. Most good timekeeping software (like Freshbooks), will allow for not only multiple clients, but multiple tasks and projects to help you itemize.
How quickly will a client drop you if you just bill them for “virtual assistant services” with a $500 price tag attached? I’ll let you figure that one out, because I’m certainly not taking that risk.
Don’t Get It In Writing
Before you go to work on ANY job, get a written contract that details the scope of your services. Are you an employee? A contractor? How much are you paid for each task? When does your “employment” end? Are you being paid per hour or per job?
You need to have all of these questions sorted out before you start working for any client, especially a new one.
Any client who is not willing to put the tasks and expectations in writing is not worth your time.
Just Address Everyone As “All Y’all”
There’s a time and a place for colloquialisms, however…
Professional communication with your clients (and their clients) is not that time. Make sure that you double-check your grammar and punctuation before you hit send on any emails or documents.
You don’t want them to let you go after a single project just because you can’t figure out how to use the “spellcheck” feature.
Of course you would never think to miss a deadline…or would you? If your client is working against the clock, then you should be, too. When you accept projects, make sure that you ask your client if they have a deadline, or a priority for each task.
You may be surprised by what your client says is important. We all view things differently, and as a virtual assistant, it’s important that you see things through your client’s eyes. It’s our job to make them look good, and by default, this makes us look good, too.
If you are asked to estimate a number of hours or time that you feel will be needed to accomplish a specific task, always err on the side of caution and quote a larger block of time than you think you’ll need. No one has ever been fired for completing a task professionally BEFORE the deadline (as least, not to my knowledge).
Avoid Performance Reviews Like The Plague
If your client wants to “meet with you” to “discuss the project” (just picture air quotes, okay? Okay.), you really do need to take that meeting. Likely, you’ll receive some praise, and along with that, some criticism. No one likes to hear what they’ve done wrong, but if you don’t, how can you fix it?
When you’ve completed a project, ask your client if they’d like to discuss your work, or if they have questions, which not only shows that you stand behind your product.
Charge For Fixing YOUR Mistakes
If you’re given a task and YOU screw it up, it’s up to you to fix it…for free. Basically, if you make a mistake, then you need to fix it.
That being said, if a client is hiring you fix someone else’s mistakes? Go right ahead and charge them whatever your agreed upon rate is.
Do Not Protect Your Business
If you’re in business, take some time and create an LLC, sole proprietorship, or even go so far as to trademark your business name.
Trust me when I say that you will not regret it. Yes, it’s a hefty investment, but you can save a small amount of money by using online services like LegalZoom for these documents instead of a law office.
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