Summary:

The typical virtual assistant has clients that they truly enjoy working with, along with a few they’ll never work with again. You want to be in that first category, especially if you want to build a lasting relationship with a professional who can help your business.

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The typical virtual assistant has clients that they truly enjoy working with, along with a few they’ll never work with again — even if if those clients offered double the hourly rate. You want to be in that first category, especially if you want to build a lasting relationship with a professional who can help your business in the long term.

Clear Communication

One of the most important factors for a VA in deeming a client good or bad is how clearly they communicate. A client who can make it immediately obvious what work needs to get done with a minimum of fuss makes it much easier for a virtual assistant to do their job. The simple truth is that poor communication wastes your VA’s time and frustrates everyone involved. If a virtual assistant has to spend an hour just decoding instructions, that’s an hour before they can even get to work. You’ll likely be billed for that hour, making you frustrated by the rate you’re paying for what feels like less work than you should be able to expect. The situation almost always goes downhill from there.

A Professional Relationship

Virtual assistants are contractors and prefer to be treated as such. That comes with plenty of expectations. As long as a VA finishes all the work they’re contracted to do by the deadline you set, you shouldn’t try to control the times at which she works or the methods she uses. In the U.S, at least, that’s the IRS’s definition of a contractor; trying to control such factors will actually turn a virtual assistant into an employee, leaving you liable to payroll taxes.

In most cases, VAs are not employees. They run their own businesses and manage their own affairs. They expect all clients to respect them as separate contractors and are not subject to the control of the client.

A Certain Amount of Flexibility

Virtual assistants often live quite distant from the clients they works with, so it’s not uncommon for them to require a little more flexibility than with an employee or contractor who lives just down the street. Your VA, for example, may see a blizzard when you’re experiencing sunshine, or be suffering power outages when you’re just fine. All of this means that, while a virtual assistant will do their utmost to complete your projects on time, there may be things not under their control. A little flexibility can make the relationship more manageable.

Many virtual assistants are specialists or have their own requirements when it comes to clients. If you can display these three characteristics to the VAs you’d like to work with, though, many will consider you well on your way to being an ideal client.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Leandro Agro

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