These are five things you should discuss with your potential clients before you enter a business relationship as their virtual assistant.
In The VA BluePrint I recommend creating a “How to Work With Me” document that is sent to clients before they sign on the dotted line. However, if this isn’t your style, you’ll want to communicate these five essential points to any potential clients.
Discuss working hours with clients before signing
Sometimes, clients who are not familiar with virtual assistants and the definition of independent contractors versus employees will assume you’ll be available from 8 am – 5 pm like a traditional job.
No matter what work hours you choose for yourself – make sure they are clearly spelled out prior to the contract start.
If a client needs you to be available, to take calls in the morning, let’s say, then you would not be a good fit for that client. And it is unfair to either of you to continue talks.
Scope of work should be discussed as early as possible
While it can be tempting to agree to whatever tasks a client needs…money is nice, right?!…if there are certain tasks that you hate it will do neither of you any good.
You need to know what tasks the client needs to be completed and what tools they use most often. If any of these tools are out of your scope of experience, you should be transparent about that fact.
Clarification early can prevent confusion later.
Always discuss due dates with clients
It can be difficult to plan your work week if you don’t know what is due when.
Discuss with your client the overall project due date and when they need small parts of the project completed. Discuss which parts of the project are the most important and which ones are of less importance.
Give realistic estimates on how long each part of the project will take and be honest if you are not sure. Put dates in writing and clearly communicate if there is a delay for any reason.
Discuss payment amounts and due dates
Payment discussions should take place as early as possible. Nobody likes to waste their time, clients, or freelancers.
Always charge what you are worth and discuss pay along when it is expected. There will always be exceptions to the rule but be clear before they sign.
Limitations and Expectations
Do you travel often? Are there certain hours you are definitely not available?
Before starting with a client you will want to have a frank discussion about when and how often you might not be available. For example, if you will not respond to texts or emails from when your kids get home from school until after bedtime be sure to express this. There is nothing worse than a client texting and calling during hours you are spending with your family.
Are there any other points you think should be discussed prior to signing with a client?