Some of you may not want to take a risk taking a dive into the virtual business full time. You may want to keep your full-time job while you find your footing around the VA market, see if it suits you. Well, firstly, it will suit you unless you are addicted to office flings and the thought of no dude in close proximity depresses you. Secondly, no need to worry. You can become a part-time VA and test the waters before deciding if it’s something you want to take up full-time. Let me show you how (obviously, it always has to be me!!):
- Take on “projects” that have a definite end date to them rather than ongoing tasks. This way, you know how much needs to be done and by when so you can work at your own pace after office hours. You also don’t have to worry about being online all day long so you don’t miss a task from your client.
- Be honest with your client and only offer to do tasks that you can complete while working full-time on your day job. If you plan to subcontract to other VAs, tell your client. Chances are, so long as she is getting what she wants for her money, she wouldn’t mind you getting someone else to do it.
- Try nail a client who is on a different timezone. For example, I try and keep a balance between clients in the UK and the US. This gives me greater flexibility to be available at their timezones and for their work not to overlap. By the time my US clients wake up, I am already done with the ones in UK. Pure genius, eh? 😉
- Get organized! If you want to take on more than one small time project you better keep a record of what project you have taken on, what are the hours you are dedicating to it. Use dear old Excel or if you would like to get a bit fancy, use Google Spreadsheets.
- I keep stressing how important it is to keep a good communication with your client. If you are working part time it doesn’t have to be a problem. Use your lunch break or the time you spend at the coffee machine to send a quick note to your client informing of your progress, any queries you may have regarding the task, etc.
- Keep the tasks you are doing for your client at hand at all times. Carry them on a flash drive, in your laptop, use DropBox. This is important because you never know when she might want something. This way you don’t have to suffer from a stroke and see a sad ending to your already miserable life. 😛
- Right from the beginning work out with your client the best times to reach her and how she likes to be contacted. This way you don’t loose time trying to reach her when she is shopping at Bloomingdales while you are toiling at her credit card bills. I already hate your fictitious client.
- Do you use GMail? I advise you to create an email address on it. It has lots of cool tools that can make life easier. For example, it’s very important that you set aside a time for checking and responding to emails. Its important to stay focused at that time especially if you have multiple clients with very different tasks for you. The chances to go wrong are many. Trust me, I know. Google allows you to Label messages with certain keywords like the address of the client or the name of the project and differentiate them from the rest of the emails so you can easily find the ones you are looking for. This also helps you keep a track of how long it takes you every day on just emails form that particular client so if it adds up to a lot you can ask to be paid for that time.
- Use voice mail when at work so if a client wants to reach you she’ll know you are busy, and you’ll also get an idea of what she wanted.
- Do yourself a favor and check your end product before sending it to the client. As a VA you are supposed to be saving your client’s time. If you only add up to it by having her proofread and send back for corrections you are not much use to her.
Phew! That’s a lot to chew. I don’t mean to scare you. You’ll inevitably make mistakes – we all do. But it helps to know what to do to avoid them. So, best of luck.
Plus, my blog finally got a 100 hits. Yayyyy … happy day.