Running a successful virtual assistant business is not about how many clients you have or the income you’re making; it’s about the systems you have in place. There are so many different services that need to happen on a regular basis, and if you’re neglecting your own business admin tasks, it’s going to backfire on you. In this article, I’m going to share with you 3 onboarding mistakes that you’re probably making and steps you can take right now to fix them.
The Top 3 Onboarding Mistakes You’re Making as a Virtual Assistant
Whether you’re a virtual assistant who’s new to the industry or you’re a veteran, you might be making some onboarding mistakes that are costing you clients. Here are the top three onboarding mistakes you might be making:
- Not Communicating Enough
One of the most important things you can do as a virtual assistant is to keep your client updated on your progress. Whether it’s through weekly check-ins or daily reports, your client should always know what you’re working on and how it’s going.
- Not Asking Questions
When you first start working with a new client, it’s important to ask lots of questions. This will help ensure that you have a clear understanding of their expectations and needs. If you’re not sure about something, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
- Not Being Proactive
As a virtual assistant, it’s important to be proactive in your work. Have you ever tried offering suggestions on how to improve your clients’ workflows? You have a unique spot where you can see how many people run their businesses and try out new systems. Share that knowledge with your clients to not only make things easier for yourself but also you’ll show your clients that you’re invested in their success.
What are the factors and signs of a Unicorn VA?
A Unicorn VA is not the virtual assistant that does every task known to man. It’s actually a virtual assistant who is high-performing. There are a few key factors to determine this after the initial onboarding process. Firstly, they should be able to demonstrate excellent time management and organizational skills. They should also be proactive in their approach to work, and be able to take initiatives when needed. Furthermore, high-performing VAs will have strong written and verbal communication skills, as well as the ability to build good relationships with clients. Finally, they will be able to adapt to change and handle new tasks and challenges in an efficient and effective manner.
Tips for creating your own process steps and systems in your VA business
If you’re running a virtual assistant business, then you know how important it is to have systems and processes in place to keep things running smoothly. But what happens when you don’t have any systems or processes in place, especially during onboarding? You end up making mistakes that can cost you time, money, and clients.
Avoiding a client because of a miscommunication or missed deadline carries a lot of weight, but can easily be avoided when you have the right templates, systems and routines in place. You really have to find what works for you OUTSIDE of the tools your clients use to communicate with you. Luckily, there are many resources that you can use to get their systems to talk to your systems.
Unicorn VA onboarding processes that make you stand out
If you add in these extra onboarding systems, you’ll be seen as a Unicorn VA in no time. Most importantly, before you start working with a new client, familiarize yourself with their business. Take the time to understand their products or services, their target market, and their overall business goals. Without this knowledge, it will be difficult for you to provide the assistance they need to grow their business.
Set Expectations – you have the ability to control the delivery part of your tasks. One of the most common onboarding mistakes is failing to set expectations with your client. Be sure to discuss what type of assistance they need from you, how often they can expect tasks to be completed, and what communication schedule works best for both of you. By clearly defining expectations from the start, you can avoid misunderstandings and frustration down the road.
How do you handle awkward client conversations?
As a virtual assistant, you will inevitably have to deal with awkward client conversations at some point. It happens all the time. Your client emails you and you immediately feel uncomfortable. You know you’re going to have to confront them and confrontation is not your strong suit. Even if you aren’t shy or an introvert, knowing the right thing to say is hard.
Some emails are difficult to write, like when a client is overstepping boundaries. You immediately get emotional. But your gut, emotional response is not the right response in this instance. You need to be professional and clear. You need to be respectful and that can be really hard when you aren’t feeling valued and appreciated.
If you’ve had a smooth onboarding process with clear expectations, those awkward conversations are easier. However, having a complete template of what to say in these moments – without the emotions – is so beneficial in keeping communication strong and your relationship positive, even if you are firing a client.
Here a few awkward conversations you might have with clients that could be avoided with a strong onboarding process.
- Your client asks for something that is not in your scope of work
If a client asks for something that is not in your scope of work, you need to be clear and concise in your response. Explain to them why it is not in your scope of work and offer alternative solutions.
- Your client requests a last-minute change
If a client requests a last-minute change, try to accommodate them if possible. If it is not possible, explain why and offer alternative solutions.
- Your client is unhappy with the work you have delivered
If a client is unhappy with the work you have delivered, apologize and offer to make changes.
As a virtual assistant, you are responsible for your own onboarding process. This can be a daunting task, but it is crucial to your success as a virtual assistant. There are many mistakes that can be made during the onboarding process, but there are also many ways to avoid them.
- Take the time to understand the client’s needs. It is important to ask questions and get clarification on what the client wants before beginning any work.
- Set clear expectations from the start. Be sure to communicate what you can and cannot do, what your availability is, and what your turnaround times are likely to be.
- Create a system for yourself so that you can easily keep track of deadlines, assigned tasks, and progress reports. This will save you a lot of headaches down the road.