The first virtual handshake between a client and a Virtual Assistant should ideally be the start of a productive and mutually beneficial partnership. It can also be very new territory however for the majority of new clients.
The definition of “delegation” is “the assignment of responsibility or authority to another person.” A new client who’s testing the waters with a new VA might understandably have the heebie-jeebies at the prospect of handing over tasks when they’re so accustomed (although burned out) from doing everything themselves.
This is especially the case when your new client has never worked with a VA before, and is unclear and a bit anxious with how a working partnership can even remotely work! (pun intended.)
Having recently started with a new client, I think it’s worth noting a few things as I’ve been going through the process. Here’s a few factors I always consider to ensure a smooth transition from a VA perspective:
- Get clear on communication strategies. With so many options now for connectivity, determining what platform to default to for regular connection is key. Skype? Email? Text or phone? Asana, Trello or Evernote? This major detail almost goes without saying, but finding a text from your client sitting in your Skype chat 3 days later is not great.
- Meet them where they’re at with their technology comfort level. I know better than to overload and demand we use certain programs they’ve never even heard of. I go very easy on the technology overload and let them lead the pace. I hear again and again that in addition to everything that’s involved with the running of their business, clients are in constant catch-up mode with technology, and feel intimidated and overwhelmed. I think we can relate. Whether it’s their reluctance to signing up with Lastpass, an avoidance of Skype, their confusion with the mind-boggling array of CRM and Project Management platforms, the learning curve involved of working with a VA is its own stress for some. Just fully utilizing their google accounts and cloud sharing applications can seem daunting. As a VA, I find scenarios like this are a great opportunity to flex my coaching skills, and I find quick and easy video tutorials for them to watch (they already have enough to read). Of course, talking them through things with a screen sharing application can do the job.
- Reassure them with the flexibility to slowly share their login and password information a bit at a time as they’re comfortable, for access to their various email, website, CRM or newsletter accounts. It doesn’t have to be all at once. This allows clients to get a feel for how I work on their behalf, so they’re more confident over time with my abilities.
- Understand each other’s schedules of availability, and expectations for turn-around times, especially when there’s a time zone difference between us.
Is starting with a new client always a flawlessly smooth process? No. But the details get ironed out when there’s a big picture to work with.
There’s much more to consider with each individual partnership, but as the learning curve in the first weeks passes, a working rhythm is established between us. And off we go to get things done!
Any other tips or considerations out there when starting up a new VA partnership? Fire away.