We all have read outsourcing articles particularly about virtual assistance. Many have been written about what to delegate to a VA and what not to. Some have been about the qualities and skills you need to look for in a VA. This time we’ll look at virtual assistance from the point of view the VAs themselves. We interviewed some of Pepper’s VAs and asked them to share their experiences.
In this three-part series, we’ll explore VA-client relationships, overcoming work challenges, and some best practices. We’ve often read the benefits of having a VA but no one seems to write about the benefits of working with a Western client. In our survey with Pepper VAs, we discovered how much they’ve learned from their clients. This business partnership is not just about providing service. It’s also a give-and-take relationship where both parties can learn from each other.
Work Habits of Clients
It’s important to learn how your client works. So we asked the VAs if there are certain work habits they have adapted from their clients. One VA said that her client has the habit of setting a goal every day. She started to do the same and it has helped her take her efficiency a notch higher. Another VA shared that her client always sees to it that the output should “look pretty” meaning aside from the quality, she takes time to make it aesthetically pleasing. She adapted this style and it resulted in visually attractive and professional output. A senior VA told us that she had a client that valued teamwork a lot. This helped her to lead her team the way she is being led by her client.
Key Takeaway: Being a VA doesn’t limit you to simply doing tasks assigned to you. By observing your client, you can also pick up work habits that will benefit you in the long run! In the same way, being a client doesn’t limit to you simply assigning tasks to your VA. By sharing your work style, you can help your VA perform better.
Practical Tips from Clients
No matter how long you’ve been a VA there’s always something you can learn. One of the VAs we interviewed told us that her client taught her some excel hacks that helped her speed up her use of the program. Now this is coming from someone who is already adept at using excel. Another VA shared that she has become an expert in Google Calendar and Google Docs with the help of her client despite using those platforms before. Tickboxes can be pretty simple but according to another VA we surveyed it helped her a lot when working with databases. This tip came from her client and she still uses it up to now. Clearly, she has more experience with databases but she said it was a pleasant surprise to learn something new from her client.
Key Takeaway: It’s important that you enter this partnership with an open mind that both of you can bring something to the table. As a VA, you have your skills and expertise to offer. As a client, you often see the big picture and can therefore advise efficient ways of doing things. When you give your input on how you think, things can be done easier and faster, you’re helping your VA optimize her time and maximize her efforts.
Best Advice from a Client
Receiving any form of advice from a client is very important because it shows that they’re committed to helping you. One senior VA told us that the best advice she got from her client was to always be keen on details. Every time she does quality check she is extra vigilant with the details of the project. With her years of experience, she could’ve easily disregarded that advice but it proved to be very valuable over time. One VA said that her client told her that emails can be easily misinterpreted so whenever she feels any strong emotions she should hold off sending the message. She was advised to wait for a couple of hours or even a day before reviewing and sending the email. Not that she did something harsh previously but it was something her client was very mindful of. Another client advised his VA that it’s okay to call them when something needs to be done urgently. Emailing doesn’t guarantee a quick response but when you call, you can get the answer you need immediately.
Key Takeaway: Every VA should remember that their client’s input is valuable. Whether it comes as a form of advice or constructive criticism, it has a huge bearing on the work you do. True teamwork involves passing on knowledge, exchanging ideas, and being receptive to other people’s opinions. As a client, feel free to tell your VA the best options available or the most helpful tools for the project they’re working on. They take their cue from you. Your instructions and advice will help them in producing the exact output you want.
The success of a working relationship between a client and her VA lies in their willingness to be open with each other. From constant communication to sharing work styles, both parties should be thinking of mutual success. As a VA, you need to prioritize how your work can help your client’s business grow. As a client, you need to consider that your VA, just like your other employees, benefit from your training and leadership. Ultimately, it’s about collaboration and not merely delegation.
In case you missed our previous posts on VA Chronicles, you can check them out here:
About Pepper Virtual Assistants
Pepper Virtual Assistant Services is a business solutions firm that specializes on administrative assistance, customer support, CRM, copywriting, and personal virtual assistance. We take pride in our reliable service and responsive client handling which embodies our team’s optimal performance.