Being a Virtual Assistant has many advantages, but still requires you to maintain a certain amount of professionalism. Although others aren’t able to see what’s going on at your home office doesn’t mean they can’t hear what’s going on in your home office. Aside from the obvious background noise that may occasionally occur, being unorganized and unsure of yourself will also come through to the person on the other end.
There are initiatives you can take as a Virtual Assistant to ensure a successful virtual relationship with your clients.
- Communication is Key. I think I mention this in every blog I write because IT’S SO IMPORTANT! Transparency is essential with a virtual relationship. Be sure to ask on day 1 what your clients expectations will be for you and how they want to communicate. The first day you start working with a client you need to have the preferred form of communication in place to help the beginning stages of the relationship run smoothly. Determine the best form of communication whether it be email, text or an instant messaging system like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter; whatever will work best for both of you.
- Plan Your Updates in advance. Find out whether the client would like an update on a daily or weekly basis and be sure to adhere to that schedule.
- Progress Tracking. This is important in the beginning to build a healthy virtual relationship. It helps both sides understand how much time is being spent on a task or project. This not only allows you to see where the most time is spent, but can help your client plan for the coming months. You can use a time tracking program like myhours.com where you can create a free account and track your progress. You will be able to create separate client accounts and within those accounts you can create different projects or tasks that you’re working on. This also allows you to pull a report that you can then email to your client showing them the tasks that were handled, where time was spent and the progress that was made.
- Ask Questions. If you don’t understand a task or project, don’t hesitate to ask. Keep all lines of communication open. Always take the initiative to communicate with your client.
- Keep Distractions To A Minimum. Avoid background noise. Although it can’t always be helped, finding a quiet place to talk when you’re on the phone with your client is always preferred. Having a crying baby, kids fighting or dog barking in the background while you’re trying to ask a question or provide an update is not only distracting to you, but more than likely annoying to your client on the other end. This could also give the impression that is what a typical day is like working for them. If the call comes at a bad time for you, at the very least give a brief explanation & apology if necessary.
- Be Confident In Yourself. Most VA’s are experienced across many channels from executive assistants to digital marketing specialists. If you’re given a task that you haven’t done before but know you are capable, don’t be afraid to tackle it. Google is a wonderful learning tool and there is always information out there that can help you learn something new. Think of it as an investment in your future by adding another skill set to your resume.
- Be Honest. Being confident doesn’t mean lying about your capabilities. If you haven’t done something and know you can or are willing to learn, that’s half the battle. Be honest about not having the experience. Consider learning the task on your own time so the client knows upfront they aren’t paying for your training. It’s a learning experience that will look good on your resume.
- Keep yourself organized. If you don’t have a complete home office available to you, set aside an area of the house that can be designated as your office. Have a system in place whether it’s on your computer or via hard copy where you can keep your work safely stored out of reach and view of kids, animals and house guests.
- Have A Designated Computer. You don’t want to share your laptop with your 13 year old that is forever downloading the latest app or games. With these come viruses and with viruses comes loss of information.
- Back Up Your Files. No file is forever safe in the “Cloud” no matter what anyone tells you. Always back your files up on a hard drive in addition to a cloud application for double coverage. I’ve lost years’ worth of pictures and files due to viruses that I didn’t back up; hard lesson learned.
Open communication, being transparent in the time it takes you to complete your tasks and having confidence in yourself and your work are the best ways to start off what is sure to be a successful relationship with your clients!
Laura is the founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you’re looking for information on working with a Virtual Assistant, or you are a Virtual Assistant looking to join a growing company, give her a call today at (440) 973-7005.