There is often much discussion over on the VA Handbookers Facebook group as to whether it’s worth having a blog on your website or not. On one hand people hear that it’s good for search engine optimisation (SEO), but on the other hand they don’t want to write one if they don’t really need it – plus they’re not really too sure what to write about even if they do decide to start one.
Posts Categorized I’m already a VA – learn
Difficult clients can undermine your business, knock your confidence, feed your insecurity, make you doubt yourself and even make you start to hate freelancing – so it’s really important you know how to identify and manage all the different types. Remember that you work with your client, not for them so be proactive, steer the process and manage the relationship. Here’s how to do it with ease:
I’ve said it before but Gmail is just invaluable for VAs. One reason is that they have a whole section called labs where you can find useful add-ons to make your inbox a lean, mean productivity machine. Some are simply handy, some are just for fun and others are absolute lifesavers that will make you bow down and worship at the alter of Google!
Once you decide you want a website for your VA business (and it’s definitely good to get one at some point) you’ll need to buy the domain name and then find a place to have the website hosted. You can buy the name from anywhere (I use Go Daddy) but then you’ll need a place to keep the site. Think of your domain name as the name of your shop and hosting as your landlord – they’re the person who makes sure your shop stays open!
Today I’m going to share a MASSIVE blunder that I made with my main client earlier this year just so you can see that it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, it’s how you respond and deal with it that matters to the client. And this was a HUGE mistake!
I often meet up with another VA called Rachel Brown. I’ve known her for a few years now and our chats are always really productive. We have coffee and cake and discuss how our businesses are doing, our plans for the future and to generally find out how each other is getting on. Last year I discovered that Rachel makes an absolute killing from taking minutes at local meetings. Obviously I was intrigued and wanted to know more… loads more!
As a freelancer you are legally required to keep accurate financial records and expenses going back over the last six years. My trainees often ask me how they should record both their own financial records as well as their client invoices, so I thought I’d show you the system I use myself.
When my VA trainees are about to be signed off and released into the world of freelancing, we often discuss what it’s like to work for yourself, pitfalls and ways they can better manage their time once they’re working with multiple clients. I’ve learned a few time-management tricks over the years, but I also have some advice on how to make the most of freelance life in general.
Annoyingly, you will regularly be contacted by people who have absolutely no idea what they want you to do. They know they need help, but they’re often so busy they can’t think straight and really aren’t sure of the best way to use you. You obviously need to fix this or you won’t end up doing any work for them at all!
Although Pinterest is the third most popular social media platform, a lot of people still think it’s just a load of women planning their ideal wedding and designing an imaginary dream home. Although it kind of is (guilty!), like many think Twitter is just folk talking about what they had for lunch, Pinterest is way more than that and can be used in many different ways depending on who’s using it and why.
A good VA service to offer is credit control – i.e. chasing invoice payments. You might initially shudder at the thought of calling strangers to chase money, but it’s actually completely painless if you know what to say. A lot of small businesses and freelancers like to outsource this task because it creates a buffer between them and the other company – plus it makes them look more professional if someone else is doing the calling for them.
Your website is pretty important. It acts as a ‘shop window’ for your business and if it’s really shonky then potential clients will think you’re really shonky too. I’ve seen some truly shocking VA websites, so read my post, find out if yours might be one of them, then calmly but quickly log in to your site and tart it up immediately!
Another popular question from new VAs is what services they should offer their clients. Obviously this will depend on lots of things such as demand, your niche, your skill set, your interests, your work history and your location, but here’s 30 services you can consider providing to start you off.
Like August, December can often be a quiet time for VAs. Your clients are usually winding down for Christmas themselves and, although it’s great to have a couple of weeks off, if you spend some time during the gap between Christmas and New Year (I think it’s called Twixtmas but I call it Chrimbo Limbo) putting your house in order, you’ll start the coming year way ahead of the game.
One of my readers recently sent me an email suggesting I write a post on how to qualify a new client. Only two weeks into her new career, she’s already encountered a complete time-waster and wanted to share her experience in order to prevent others having the same experience. This is what she told me:
Because Outlook is a crusty old dinosaur, I use Gmail as my one-stop email account. I import five other accounts into it (three of my own plus two that clients have set up for me) and I switch between all the Gmail accounts from my inbox by granting myself user access from the others. Nobody knows everything is going through Gmail and I get to use all the fantastic features that come with it – one of which is the phenomenal wonder-bomb Rapportive.
Once I needed to remotely show a client how to do a couple of things. My client had lost an email and I thought they might have accidentally clicked the ! icon which means ‘report spam’. So I took a screenshot of my Gmail inbox with this button highlighted in order to ascertain if they had indeed done this.
And I actually drew arrows on the screenshot.
When I’m trying to talk a client through a task it always helps if I can either see what they’re looking at on their screen or they can see what’s on mine so I can show them what to do. A really easy way to do this is to use the free screen-sharing facility on Skype.
At some point during your VA career you’re going to get some late payers. I wish I didn’t have to just tell you that, but it’s just the way things are. Some clients are really good payers and some clients are a pain in the rear – it’s the way of the world. There are a few things you can do to mitigate the damage however.
When I first started working for myself, it never once occurred to me that I could or should fire a client. I’d worked as an employee for years and employees are the ones who get fired not the other way around – plus I was new at freelancing and thought it was important to take all the work I was offered. Rookie error…