In my years in the Virtual Assistant / Online Business Manager industry, I have seen lots of less than perfect pairings of Virtual Assistants and Clients. Sometimes, it is the fault of the Virtual Assistant, whether it be their lack of experience or know how. Sometimes, it is the Client and their unrealistic expectations. Sometimes, you can simply chalk it up to the lack of chemistry between the two. In my opinion, a great Client/Assistant scenario is sort of like a marriage with a learning period, along with a willingness to grow the relationship so that the relationship will prosper into a strong union..
Even though the Virtual Assistant/Online Business Manager industry has been around for quite a while now, it is still not completely understood by most potential Clients. Many Clients think that working with a Virtual Assistant is like hiring an employee. Many potential Clients think of Virtual Assistants as “cheap labor” or a cheaper alternative to a traditional employee. While it is true that you can save money by hiring a virtual assistant as opposed to hiring a traditional employee, only a select few potential Clients understand that many Virtual Assistants come from Fortune 500 corporate backgrounds and are equal to the most experienced office personnel in background and experience. It takes time to understand this. Which brings me to my reason for writing this post: “Who is a good fit to work with a Virtual Assistant and how do you gain the most benefit from it”? The following is typical of the types of Clients of whom who would gain the most from the Virtual Assistant relationship.
- Clients that plan ahead - Most Virtual Assistants/Online Business Managers work on retainers. A flat fee is paid in advance of the month for an agreed amount of hours. The Client benefits most from this agreement by forward thinking their needs and planning ahead with a work schedule. This enables the VA to schedule their workload appropriately without any last minute surprises. These last minute “rushes” are almost always charged at a premium “rush fee” by most virtual assistant companies.
- Clients that know what they need – You have taken the time to prepare the project before you delegate it to your assistant. This way you can realistically describe your needs to them and make sure that they have any collateral information that they need to complete the project in a timely manner. You have conveyed all website logins that they might need as well.
- Clients that are open to adjusting how they work – Many Virtual Assistant who are experienced have many ways you can improve your work habits and work flow. Being open to this input and this creativity will greatly benefit you and the productivity of your business. This is the true essence of working with an online Assistant. The creation of a master process and the perfecting of it over time is priceless.
- Clients that are not a “last minute person” – Everyone has emergencies and extenuating circumstances from time to time and this is to be expected. However, if this is a normal “day in the life of” for you, you may not be a good fit for a virtual assistant. Dealing with Clients like this is not fair to the virtual assistant or their other Clients. Your considerations and pre-planning enables the Virtual Assistant to give you and their other Clients the personalized attention that everyone deserves.
- Clients that communicate well – My favorite Clients are the ones whom convey ideas well and communicate well. This ability enhances efficiency 200% as there is no time lost on trying to understand what the Client means or needs.
So, there you have it. It’s a process of learning, trust, and communication. All Online Business Managers are Virtual Assistants. Although, not all Virtual Assistants are Online Business Managers like our company of whom is able to service Clients on very highly diversified levels pertaining to multi-media, creative and all inclusive administrative needs. By choosing the right Virtual Assistant/Online Business Manager company to work with, Clients can enjoy the many diversified benefits that our Clients have come to expect and know on a daily basis. An Online Business Manager is not just a Virtual Assistant.
And remember, time is money, and you are worth it!
Author bio: Taryn Merrick is a Professional Mac Virtual Assistant and Online Business Manager (OBM). As Principal of Merrick Management And Media Services, she has over 20 years of administrative management experience. Taryn works to promote the Virtual Assistant industry and to make it stand out as a true profession of excellence. Her style is easy going, yet precise, with emphasis placed on exceeding customer expectations, client communication and satisfaction.
©2004-2012 Would you like to republish this entire article? You are free to do so in .pdf format as long as you include a link back to the full post, attributing the author, Taryn Merrick.