Yay! You’ve made the decision to work with a VA, how exciting…or is it a bit scary? It’s a big investment in terms of money and trust. You may feel pressure to make sure the investment is worthwhile and adds maximum benefit to you and your business. I’ve written this article from the perspective of a VA to guide you on the steps you can take to get the most out of working with your VA.
This is important, especially when you are working with a VA on an ad-hoc basis. Most VA will confirm a turn around time as part of their agreement with you, my terms state turnaround of ad-hoc tasks within 72 hours (working days). There will always be tasks that pop up last minute and I try to be a flexible as possible to help my clients. However, work booked in advance will always take priority. I have a great relationship with one client who will often email a week in advance with tasks that she wants me to schedule in, she might not have the information ready but as an example will ask me to work on a proposal in 5 days time, I’ll schedule the time in my diary and she’ll send me through the information the day we agreed. It works for her as she can book my time, and it works for me as I can plan ahead and schedule it around my other commitments.
Provide clear briefs
When sending a brief for a new project or task make sure that you provide a clear and detailed description of what you would like to achieve. It’s dangerous to assume that your VA will just know what to do, especially at the early stages of your relationship. Remember that a VA will usually charge for reading and responding to emails so any back and forth will be chargeable time, get the brief right and you should minimise these charges and your budget can be better spent on the task or project itself.
The most important thing is to establish the best method of communication for you and the VA, there’s no point you sending urgent messages via WhatsApp if the VA doesn’t check these messages during the day. It’s also best to establish the VA’s working hours, if they work Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm and you work a lot of evenings and weekends you may not get a reply from the VA until the next working day. It’s important to establish the rules of communication between you at the very start so that there are no misunderstandings.
Thoroughly proofread work on receipt
I include a point relating to this in my terms and conditions, I’m sure most VA will have something similar. My terms state that errors must be reported within 48 hours of receipt of completed work and those errors generated by Helen Porter PA will be rectified free of charge. Amendments or alterations requested by the client thereafter will be charged at the standard hourly rate. Therefore it’s important that you check any returned work promptly and thoroughly to avoid any unnecessary charges.
Finally, my last piece of advice is to be consistent, it’s the best way to build a strong working relationship and ensures that the highest quality of work is achieved. The traditional PA/EA will sit with their employer and build the relationship via years of personal interactions. In a virtual world, this isn’t possible and not necessary as we have all the tools to operate effectively and efficiently remotely. As a VA, I work with a number of clients and those that I find it easiest to work with are very clear with what they expect and want to achieve. This allows us to work together in collaboration and achieve their goals.
Keep these tips in mind and I hope your relationship with your VA will quickly develop so that any scary thoughts are quickly replaced with the amazing feeling of weight being lifted from your shoulders due to the simple feeling that you know someone has your back.
Take a look at my website for more information about the services that I offer to support business owners, here.