So as my work as a Virtual Assistant has been building, there’s one super key element that is absolutely critical. It’s:
Sounds simple, right? Well, when I take on a new client I have to familiarize myself with their accounts, what I’m responsible for, and pull all of the elements together.
Here are where things go sideways:
1) Half directions
What do I mean by this? Well, here’s an example. A new client told me that she creates text images in PicMonkey. In her email she sent over, she said:
“This is the video explaining how to get the info you will need for the picmonkey collage. She explains how to get the names. I found the easiest way to organize from highest to lowest is loading them into a google sheet or excel sheet and arranging highest to lowest that way.“
When I went to complete this assignment I was given further instructions in a separate email that said, log into her XYZ account and get the info for the text image.
These emails came 4 days apart, in a separate thread. Keep in mind, I have multiple clients that I manage and I don’t memorize everything they all tell me.
How could this been alleviated? Clear, concise directions. Such as:
“Watch this video to learn how to obtain the names from the XYZ account. I will be sending the login information for XYZ in a separate email. After you watch the video, on Thursday, you will need to log into the account, create the text image, and then post the image on her Facebook (both personal and business pages).”
When Thursday arrived, I had to inquire about the login for XYZ account, and when I went to complete the task, I realized I had to go back and ask for directions on how to get the names. It was then that I was told that the instructions were in the video. Ok, cool. I then created the text image and posted it on Facebook. The client sent me an email hours later, upset. Why wasn’t it posted to her personal Facebook account?? Well, I wasn’t told to post to her personal page. In the end, who takes the fall for the error? Hint: it isn’t the client.
Organize, organize, organize. How do you manage all the details of multiple clients, projects, accounts, etc? Project management software. There a few out there, but the ones I use the most are Basecamp (I love!) and Asana (it does the job but it’s too left brained and not visual enough for me).
I have another client who is the go-between between me (the social media person) and the client. Hmph. This creates a whole other set of issues. Why?
Quite simply, there are questions and details that she wouldn’t think to ask for from the client because she doesn’t handle any social media at all. On a recent project I had to do, boy did it go sideways. I was instructed to create custom digital media for the client’s facebook postings. I was given a spreadsheet with quotes that were approved (so I was told). I then created custom image quotes. The images were then forwarded to the Project Manager who then sent them to the client.
The client came back and was upset because they were not the quotes she wanted. Huh? And, YIKES!!! The files were all over the place and emails were strewn about my inbox.
How could this been avoided? Management, & organization to start with. Had this project been in a project management software like Basecamp or Asana, the client could have reviewed the quotes, signed off before I worked on them, all of the images would have been in one location, and instead of using a go-between, I could have gotten the feedback and direction I needed directly from the client without having to wait to hear back from a line of people. All of the key stakeholders would have been involved and up to date on the projects, at the same time.
Before you hire a Virtual Assistant, it’s wise to ask how they manage their projects. And, it’s also very smart to make sure you take the time to prepare to hand off your project with as much detail as possible. In the long run, it saves you both time, energy, and money.
Moral of the story: communication is critical when working virtually. Not taking the time to provide your Virtual Assistant detailed, explicit instructions, and managing a project by email crumbs only sets both of you up for a future mishap.
Work smart! Not harder.