I have been a virtual assistant for 4 years now and there are a myriad of reasons why I love the work I do day in and day out. For one, no day is the same as any other. Each day I am performing different tasks that arise and tackling different aspects of my clients’ businesses. Of course, there are the routine tasks but it is up to me to determine how I shape my day to achieve those. The most important part of my job is being my clients’ “right hand.” It is crucial to be thinking ahead as to what they need and fulfill the tasks they expect. In order to be their “right hand,” I focus on communication, learning, and being proactive.
Communication is important to any successful business relationship but essential for a virtual assistant and their client. Knowing what the client wants and expects helps me structure my day and accomplish what they need done. For some clients, I have a weekly set check in where we run down the latest and greatest. We review any items from last week and go over what needs to be done for the upcoming week. These check ins do not run long and have a set agenda to ensure that the routine tasks are reviewed. These have always been done either on the phone or via a video conference platform like Zoom or Go to Meeting.
Email or texting is another way to communicate in a quick fashion. I do caution that tone does not always come through in an email or text so this should be reserved for quick questions that can be easily answered without any interpretation. Most of my clients are overwhelmed by their email, so we do use text more so if there is a quick scheduling question or need. They know that I don’t abuse the texting so usually reply quickly. I caution against relying solely on email and text as my best client/ assistant relationships have had personal, routine check ins to ensure continuity and understanding.
Be a Learner
It is important to continue learning as a virtual assistant. I find myself always learning new tricks. New online platforms come out all of the time and past ones are improved. I try to educate myself on what is out there to meet my clients’ needs. Since I consider myself an extension of them, it is my job to find if there is a better way to handle one of their systems.
For example, at Freedom Makers we use Asana. It is an amazing project management tool that binds a team with their projects and communication. There are free platforms and paid. Currently, I am incorporating that into another client’s workflows as I feel it would be more beneficial than the system they are using currently. In the meantime, it is my responsibility to learn as much as I can about Asana so I can best help my client and his needs.
In the end, hard work wins the day. This is the best advice I give to anyone wishing to become a successful virtual assistant. It is your job to learn about your client, learn their needs and expectations. To be truly successful, you need to be one step ahead of them. If you are privy to their emails and you see that they are thinking about a meeting in Miami, FL in the next couple of months, it is not a bad idea to think about your role in that planning so that you are ready to assist when you are asked.
When on your weekly check ins, offer to take things off their plate that they have not even thought of. For example, I am responsible for all of the expenses for a client and his team. I was continually having to remind him to approve the team members’ expense reports. Every time I went into the system, I saw the number of approvals pending grow. I suggested to him that I review and approve those since I have a good understanding of the company’s expenses policy and now those approvals are a thing of the past for him. It all comes down to how you can lighten their load. If you can think of creative ways to do that before them, you truly are their “right hand.”
Over the years, I have learned that communication, learning and pro activity benefit your client the most. But it is also with my work at Freedom Makers where I have been a part of the internal team for over 2 years that I learned the BEST Freedom Makers are the ones who incorporate communication, learning and pro activity into their clients' work.