You’ve just landed your first virtual assistant gig. Now what?
To successfully complete your assignment, both you and your client must be clear on the scope of the project. Communication upfront will eliminate stress and misunderstandings later. Ask questions. Do not assume anything.
The following items should be discussed before beginning work and should be included in your contract. This list is not all-inclusive, but will give you an idea of questions to ask and areas to cover. You will need to tailor the list based on your specific business and services.
Virtual Assistants: Understanding Client Expectations – Due Date
What is the due date for the project? Is time for revisions built into the schedule? Can the project realistically be completed in this timeframe? Sometimes clients have no idea of how long things take. It is your job to educate them about expected lead times based on your professional experience.
Virtual Assistants: Understanding Client Expectations –Price
Is the project to be billed hourly or at a flat rate? What are your rates? Based on the estimated time to complete (discussed above), what are the estimated fees? What if the project takes longer than expected? What if the client changes or expands the scope?
Virtual Assistants: Understanding Client Expectations – Payment
How will payment be handled: paid in full upfront, partial deposit, or paid on delivery? When will the client be billed? Does the client use a purchase order or will you send an invoice? What forms of payment do you accept? Will expenses be billed separately?
Virtual Assistants: Understanding Client Expectations – Deliverables
What is the client expecting in terms of deliverables: emailed documents, printed or bound material, slide show on disc, etc.? Will you deliver the final product or will the client pick up from you? Is use of a delivery service preferred or acceptable?
Virtual Assistants: Understanding Client Expectations –Communication
Are daily or weekly status updates required or expected? What is the client’s availability for you to ask questions or obtain additional information? Use face time (or phone or email) with clients not only to discuss problems, but to build on your relationship and obtain additional work. Clearly state your office hours and your availability to the client. Do not lead the client to believe you are on call 24/7.
One of the keys to success as a virtual assistant is understanding what your client wants and then providing quality work on time and within budget. Deliver what you promise, and don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
Clarifying the scope and spelling out the details of the project upfront will lay the groundwork for success in your virtual assistant business. Remember, happy clients become repeat clients. They are your best form of advertising, and may lead to referrals, which, in turn, lead to more money in your pocket!
Other relevant articles from this author:
Starting Your Own Virtual Assistant Business – 4-part series
Going Rates for Virtual Assistants
Creating a Virtual Assistant Contract
Virtual Assistants: How to Track & Bill Your Time
Pitfalls to Avoid as a Virtual Assistant
Use Your Current Skills to Work From Home…Today
Finding a Market for Your Current Skills
Work From Home Do’s and Don’ts