Posted By Aimee Wilson - Occasions To Savor

VA Blog Hopping and Podcast Tour (continues)

5. What are the challenges to not working face-to-face with clients that VAs work around?


One of the major challenges VAs face is feeling isolated, because they work alone, from home, without personal touch and “water cooler” conversations. This challenge is often combated by participating in local “Meet Ups”, chamber of commerce meetings, etc., and online networking. In addition, VAs may create “seat mate” relationships with other like-minded VAs.


Another challenge is the ability to “trust” that clients will pay for services provided, especially in non-retainer relationships. There have been occasions when VAs complete assignments and at their conclusion, clients claim to be dissatisfied and refuse payment. VAs often have a difficult time getting compensated, especially when they have do not have a signed written agreement that outlines the specific parameters of the relationship and tasks. At a minimum, I recommend that VAs obtain credit card details so they can assess the account for services rendered, if necessary (of course include this provision in the written agreement). Secondly, I recommend the VA forward “drafts” of the project and upon completion require payment before the final is delivered.


When completing “web-based” assignments; I recommend the VA perform work on their server or testing site (if possible) and allow client access to review the work before loading to their server. Again, collect final payment before release work. Of course, if the client makes payment on a retainer basis, the VA should already have, at minimum, a portion of the cost in advance of beginning work.


A third challenge is the client’s concern the VA is either overcharging or uneducated as to the amount of time or involvement it takes to actually complete assignments. While clients should not want to know all the “nuts and bolts” of completing an assignment, they may inquire, generally, in regards to your processes and technologies. I recommend the VA use a time tracking system, such as TimeTrax, myHours, etc., so all time spent on the assignment is fully documented. Some VAs submit a detailed report to the client that outlines the specific breakdown of time spent on each segment of the tasks; others only provide the combined number of hours and a general description of tasks performed. VAs determine which option to use, based on their own comfort level and the parameters of the written agreement.


Well Aimee, I’ve enjoyed my visit and hope my responses to your insightful questions shed a bit of light on the virtual assisting industry and a few of the issues VAs address when launching their practices.  Now, it’s time for puzzle clues. Friday, we stopped by Karen McGreevey’s blog, Kreative Ramblings, and tomorrow we visit, ah, our home blog – I always look forward to visiting home, and we’ll even leave a clue there too. Today’s clue is a great one: elkegwconda.


Thank you Sharon Williams of The 24 Hour Secretary and OIVAC.


Savor life's best,


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2 Comment(s):
Aimee Wilson said...
Thanks for visiting Karen! I love the information Sharon shared about the VA business. I hope it helps people become more informed and see there are lots of ways to work from your home. Savor life's best, Aimee
April 28, 2009 12:01 AM
Karen McGreevey said...
Aimee, You had some really great questions for Sharon about the VA business. These ought to come in handy for anyone just starting out...and even for someone in the business for a while. Thank you for being part of the OIVAC Blog Hopping Tour.
April 23, 2009 4:00 PM
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