Real Assistants in an Online World

9 Things Your Virtual Assistant Wants You to Know

My team & I love our work as Virtual Assistants and Online Business Managers and truly love all our clients. Once in a while, I hear stories of less than ideal VA/Client relationships. If you’re working with a VA or are looking to work with one in the future, here are a few tips that will help keep your relationship in calm waters:

  1. We’re business owners too and will set our own policies and hours. Even though we sometimes choose to work on your project in the evening or on the weekend, that doesn’t mean you should expect it every time. We have families and personal lives too (just like you!).
  2. Mind readers are only in science fiction. Seriously. As much as we’d love to anticipate your every move, sometimes we need you to be direct and tell us what’s on your mind or what you need from us.
  3. Paying a rock bottom price per hour does not necessarily mean you’re getting a better deal. Will it take that person longer to do the same task? Are they proactive in looking out for your business and offering suggestions for improvement? Will they drop you the minute they get a full-time job offer?
  4. We tend to be perfectionists and strive to meet that goal in all our work, but once in a while we fall just a bit short. Be gentle when pointing those items out and be assured that we won’t repeat the same mistake twice.
  5. We hate asking why our payment is late. We love working with you and worry that non-payment is a sign of your unhappiness with our work. 99% of the time it’s simply a cash flow issue – communicate that and we’ll work with you to find an agreeable resolution!
  6. We love to hear your praise once in a while!
  7. Micromanaging is not helpful. We understand that this is your baby and you’re having a hard time letting go. Let’s work together to develop processes so you feel in the loop and we don’t feel our hands are tied.
  8. Your referrals will not mean you’ll lose our full attention or your work will suffer. You’ll always be a top priority on our schedule.
  9. Trust our areas of expertise. You hired us for specific skills and knowledge, don’t be afraid to trust our advice!

Continuing Education for Virtual Assistants and Virtual Professionals

Continuing education is important in any business. I’m always learning on my own via webinars, reading articles and books, hands-on learning of new programs, etc. But there’s something to be said for more formalized training sessions like conferences and courses. A few things I love about conferences:

  • Networking with peers & experts.
  • Learning about hot industry topics.
  • One price for tons of learning!
  • I get to pick and choose what I want to hear (especially when there are multiple sessions at once).
  • For virtual conferences, I get to listen to recordings later!

The IVAA Online Summit is one of my favorite (and one of the least expensive) Virtual Conferences to attend each year. Granted, I am a bit biased since I was one of those who helped get it started and off the ground! This is actually the first year I’ll be paying to attend (instead of being a volunteer, in charge, etc.) and I’m excited to experience it without fighting all the fires that come with running an event. :)

Check out the preliminary speaker and topic lineup at Early bird pricing is in place now and there are some great prizes you can win if you sign up early!

What’s Your Secret Business Weapon?

Do you have a secret weapon for your business? Speaker Felicia Slattery says her secret weapon is a Virtual Assistant. See why here!

Quoted in recent article

One of the perks of being President of the International Virtual Assistant Association this year is that I periodically have the opportunity to speak with reporters from around the country. I recently spoke with Luara Raines of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and am pleased with this latest article about the Virtual Assistant industry. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Cindy Opong wins VAccolade Award

Wow. I am totally speechless this morning. I woke up to the announcement that I was nominated for and chosen to be the recipient for January 2009 of VANetworking’s distinguished VAccolade award. This is a huge honor as it means I’ve been recognized by my peers for outstanding service in our industry. I am so appreciative and feel undeserving. When you love the work you do and enjoy volunteering to make an organization (or multiple orgs!) better, you certainly don’t expect to be recognized in this manner.

You can see more information about the award here and also here.

And you’ll want to also check out VANetworking’s homepage. An awesome forum for Virtual Assistants and businesses looking to find a VA.

Thanks to Tawnya and everyone behind the scenes at VANetworking – you rock!

More VAs in the News!

ABC recently published a fabulous article on their site about Virtual Assistants. Several of our industry leaders were interviewed – it’s great exposure for our industry!