When I started out as Virtual Assistant the only thing I could think of was how to keep my clients. Many times I wondered if they saw my value, understood my mindset, appreciated the multiple hours not billed for. I was just happy to have work, not recognising my feeling of unworthiness. Now being more wise, older, more balance conscious with a mindful spirit, a lot has changed for me when working with clients. I realised I am good in what I do, and I do add value, that is why my business is still thriving. These days I feel confident to raise my opinion or speak out when I do not agree (in a respectful manner). I can help you, sometimes it just takes 3 easy (and I mean, easy) steps:
Remember that people differ
As a virtual assistant people think that we sit in front of a computer and do not talk, see or meet with clients. Some weeks it felt like I have had more “personal” meetings with my clients than I ever had when I worked in corporate. These meetings can be draining and stressful when you start out. But as time go on, short weekly update meetings, schedule planning and strategizing will leave you with more time to focus on the job to be done.
- Before your meeting, write down pointers to keep you on track, keep it short, and raise any concerns you have had that week.
- We all see and experience problems differently. Remember to focus when an issue is raised and try to stay open minded. At first, I got frustrated when my client’s suppliers could not understand me. Now being more open to the language barrier and time difference I know when to contact them, and remember it is for them just as difficult as it is for me.
- If you feel you need to discuss certain issues with your client more, then bring that up and keep discussing it until a mutual agreement is reached.
Remember you know what you are doing, it is not about what you are saying, but about HOW, WHY and WHEN. These days you do not need to study Human Relations to be an effective communicator or understand people, you can just google and find online courses that can help you right now. Only a few of many:
Stop Multitasking, start Batching
Early on I was multitasking so much, I sometimes called my clients by the other client’s name. Earth please swallow me. I was stretched thin, making mistakes, working crazy hours and got very near to burnout. During one December some of my clients went on vacation the same time and I could focus on one wanting something done urgently. I could focus on the project for a few hours and got the job done smoothly. When the others returned, I was in a routine of focusing on one client’s projects for the first 2-4 hours of the day, that I had no other choice as to leave the other projects for later. After the first 3 hours, I started to work on the other client’s projects, and guess what, I got that done quicker than I thought. Realizing that I should focus on the one client, and not try to multitask multiple clients at the same time, made me suggest time frames to my clients that I am available to them. This made them conscious of when to call, text or email, not being annoyed if I did not respond out of those hours. Now I group my similar tasks in batches and can get through the projects quicker. This helped my clients to eventually batch their tasks better. Yes, sometimes something is urgent and its needs my time now, but then I can focus, and reschedule my time around that.
Let me train you in my skillset to make your life easier
You may be the CEO of your business, but you appointed me for my skills to make your life easier. Please allow me to modernize, edit, update and change your logistic process my way. I know what I am doing. And after that (and usually this process takes a few months to tweak and get correct), let me train one of your people/you to work and understand the system. Nothing is as frustrating as having to communicate mundane answers when the system is put up in such a way for you to easily access and understand it. Especially after a long day, and I just want to spend time with my family, I am not going to give attention to something that can wait till tomorrow when I have energy.
It all boils down to respect. We differ and all have bad days, but we can still work together to get through it whole and happy. Talk to me, work smarter and remember I can help you in a way that makes your life easier. I believe both our chapters will be interesting, sometimes stressful, but all the time respectful. Then the outcome will be faster, smarter and hopefully profitable for us both.