5 Steps to Productive Meetings with Your VA Clients

5 Steps to Productive Meetings with Your VA Clients

Do you find yourself spending (or losing?) a lot of time in meetings with your Virtual Assistant clients?

A lot of VAs I talk to get trapped in a corporate type of working relationship with their clients. What I mean by that is that clients get into the habit of wanting meetings for every little thing they need.

This might seem innocent, but it’s a really bad habit that can get out of hand easily if you don’t handle it correctly.

When a client asks you for a meeting, the very first thing you need to figure out is if it needs to be a meeting at all.

It’s up to you as an independent contractor to put policies and boundaries in place for how clients request work to be done, and how they should communicate with you about it.

Not all work requests need to be meetings. In fact, most of them don’t.

In the event that you do need to meet with a client, here are 5 tips to help you make your meeting as productive as possible:

1. Schedule the Meeting

Make sure that you always slot meetings into your schedule when it’s convenient for you. Don’t do last minute meetings with clients – it’s a hard habit to break once you start it. When a client wants to meet with you, put it on the calendar. Set a start and stop time for your meeting - the shorter the better.

2. Take Charge

When you let the client take charge of a meeting, you run the risk of wasting more time than necessary. For all meetings, make sure you are the one leading the meeting. Come prepared with your objectives and run the meeting.

3. Follow an Agenda

Most meetings run longer than they need to. With every single meeting you host, create and follow a simple agenda. A meeting should be held for a specific reason. If it’s about one topic, cover that topic and then end the meeting. If it’s a weekly meeting and you have a number of things to discuss, continue to hold to the agenda and time limits as necessary.

4. Stop at your Designated Time

Always end a meeting on time. When you allow a client to ramble on for hours, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. Be clear about the objectives of the meeting at the top of the call, and stick to the agenda you created, and the time you allotted.

5. Charge the Client for the Meeting

I can not tell you how many VAs tell me that they do not charge the client for meeting time. It’s billable! Anything the client needs you to do for them – including the communication between the two of you – is billable to them. They have to pay you for your time. When you charge the client, not only are you more aware of how much the meeting time is costing them, but they are too.

As I said, not all conversations need to be meetings. To keep your VA business productive and efficient, use the steps above to run faster, more efficient meetings when necessary.

You may need to adjust your other communication methods to make shorter meetings work in your business, but once you do, you’ll wonder why you ever spent hours in meetings with your clients to begin with.

Your VA clients are paying you to get their work done. So don’t spend it in meetings, spend it doing their work!

If you need help with procedures, boundaries, or improving communication with your clients, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

How to Get Things Done In Your VA Business

Does your to-do list seem to be never-ending in your Virtual Assistant business?

Whether you are trying to get your VA business off the ground, full with great clients, or somewhere in between, the task list sometimes just seems to get bigger.

One of the things that many VAs I know struggle with is setting goals.

I remember when someone taught me to set goals ‘way back when’. They taught me to have a 10 year goal, a 5 year goal and so on. I found it totally overwhelming to set a goal that far away – let alone figuring out what I needed to do to reach it.

I started setting short-term goals instead. Of course they are connected to the long term vision I have for my business, but I find that setting short-term goals helps keep things much more in focus for me. And maybe it can for you too.

Because you can get so many more things done in your VA business when you set a goal, and then put the action steps in place to do it. Here’s how:

We’ll use the example of finishing your website (it’s a big thing with so many VAs, that it keeps them stuck!)

1. Define the big goal.

Write down what it is you want to accomplish. Launch website. That’s it. Step 1 done!

2. Identify the action steps to reach the big goal.

Here’s where the work happens. Write down every single thing you need to do to reach that big goal. There are lots of steps for this goal – make sure you write down all of them – domain name, host, theme, pages, content, images, graphics/logo, etc.

3. Break those steps into actionable tasks that you can do every day.

By breaking your activities into small tasks, you can fit something in every single day to help you reach your goal. Choosing your domain name can be one. Buying it can be another. Choosing a theme. Deciding on pages. Creating an image. Calling graphics contact about logo. Small activities that take 15 to 20 minutes a day.

4. Create a checklist with your daily tasks.

Putting things together in a checklist can help you organize the order in which you need to get things done. And it helps you to assign deadlines to the things that you need to do. And of course, you get to check things off as you do them – is there any better sense of accomplishment?

5. Assign the daily tasks into your calendar.

When you have broken down your tasks to a small chunk of time, you can do a little bit every single day – instead of trying to work on it for 2 hours on a Sunday night, you can do 15 minutes every single day, and accomplish much more in less time.

6. Complete your small daily task every day.

You will find yourself moving closer to your goal every single day when you are focusing on it daily. And if you do miss one day, you are only 15 minutes ‘behind’. Not like if you miss that 2 hour block on a Sunday night!

7. Reach your goal!

It really is that simple. The easier you make things for yourself, the easier it will be to set and reach goals.

And I promise you when you take this approach of task and time management, you will get more done.

Whatever you need to do, use these steps and see just how well it can work for you!

If you need help with time management and other business tips, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

3 Things for Virtual Assistants to Consider Before Taking New Training

When starting their business, many Virtual Assistants think that taking training for an in-demand service is the first thing they need to do before they can get clients.

But you should always start with what you know first.

Selling yourself to clients is a challenge to a lot of new VAs, and trying to sell a service you actually have no experience in providing to other clients, makes it even more challenging.

Most VAs start their own business because they have administrative experience of some kind. And that’s what you should be starting with.

That doesn’t mean that you should not take new training – it just means there is a good time to do it – and before you start your business usually is not the best time.

Start your business using the skills that you already have – that you have experience providing, either for clients or for a former employer.

Then once you have money coming in, make a plan to shift to a new service offering, or upgrade your current ones.

Professional development is a good idea for any business owner – including VAs.

Putting a plan in place to continuously improve your skills is the best way to go about getting new training.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about getting new training:

Timing

Timing is one of the most important things to consider when thinking about taking new training.

First, do you have the time to complete the lessons and homework assignments? So many people purchase self study programs and then never complete them. You need to make sure you have the time to complete the course content.

Timing also comes into it when you think about the level of program you are taking. Does it fit with where your business is at the moment? Don’t get ahead of yourself by taking courses that are too far ahead of where you are right now.

Content

What is the content of the program? Whether it’s a paid program or a free webinar, consider whether the content is applicable to your business right now.

While it can be tempting to enroll in a Facebook Ads webinar, if it’s not something you need in your business right now, it’s not a good idea to sign up.

Make sure anything you decide to take part in is a good use of your time in your business. There will always be another social media webinar (and honestly, things change so quickly, that what you learn today will probably change long before you need to use it!)

Implementation

Can you implement what you learn easily? It is very important to implement anything you learn as quickly as you can.

If you don’t, you will lose the momentum and knowledge from the program.

No matter whether you attend a free FB Live or a webinar, find a way to implement at least one thing in your business right away. Or at the very least, get a plan in place to implement it within 30 to 60 days. Otherwise, you are likely wasting your time.

Taking training – free or paid – is a great idea for your VA business.

But you need to be strategic and focused, so that you are using it properly, and managing your time well.

We all have the same amount of time.

Most of your time should be used finding clients, and doing the work they pay you to do.

Of course you want to grow your VA business – and training is one of the best ways you can do that. So use the tips above to make sure you are doing it the smart way!

If you need help with prioritizing training opportunities and other business tips, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.

How Many People Is Your VA Business Helping?

How many people do you help in your Virtual Assistant business? I’m not talking about how many clients you support. It’s a bigger question than that.

I was recently at a networking event and I spoke with a fellow who is in MLM. I’ll call him Bob, though that wasn’t his actual name.

Bob was a nice enough guy. I don’t buy any MLM stuff at this point in my life so I wasn’t quite sure what we could possibly have to talk about, but he engaged me at my vendor booth so I obliged him.

We talked about what each of us did. Bob told me that the reason he was involved with the company he works with, is that he has philanthropic interests that are very important to him, and that the business he runs helps him to support those interests.

Hmm. That made me think for a moment.

I often talk about working hard at your business because THAT’s the thing you love.

I never really thought of it as using your business to fund something else that you love. Very interesting perspective.

We chatted more.

Bob asked me what my bigger vision was.

I am in a growth period in my business, and my big vision, although coming near, is not established yet.

My mandate in my VA training business has always been that I want to help people to build and grow successful businesses. I don’t have a specific number of people I want to help do that, so that’s where the big vision is not quite in focus, but I do know that I love what I do.

I love having the impact on other’s lives that I am able to have, by teaching them, by helping them to do better with their business.

The impact of that is spiritual of course, but it’s also economic.

You’ve heard the saying, ‘When you buy local, you are helping to support a kid’s piano lessons or dance lessons.’ And other sayings to that effect.

It’s really true.

And this is where my conversation with my friend Bob went – what is the impact that we, as VAs, have on our client’s businesses?

Well, there are many.

We can help them free up their admin time so that they can go and find more clients to work with. That means more money for them.

We can help them to bring in new processes so that their existing clients can become repeat or long-term clients. That also means more money for them.

But looking past the financial pieces, what else do those things do for them?

It helps them to live a better life. It helps them to sit down at the dinner table with their family or friends and feel less stressed.

They may even be excited to have the details handled so they can free up much-needed brain space to do some planning for their business.

And if they work with their own clients, that also means the work we do also impacts those clients, who might get better energy from our clients. Or maybe better service offerings, or better products.

Sounds a bit like an MLM after all, doesn’t it?

Think about how many people YOU are helping - impacting - by doing good work in your business.

You are affecting your clients – their families and friends – and their clients. And it goes beyond that, in a web effect. It’s quite amazing when you sit and think about it.

And of course, the more work we do for them, the more money we make. And the more money we make, the better it is for our family and friends to be around us, and it’s better for our clients too.

I suggest getting really invested in your clients’ businesses – figuratively, of course – so that the work you do really helps them to grow.

When their business grows, yours does too.

If you ever need to lift your attitude or your outlook on why it is you do what you do, look no further than this quick little synopsis.

You are important, you are valuable, you are impactful. Every single day!

If you need help with getting mindset boosts and shifts like this, look no further than your VA community! An annual membership in CAVA is the answer. CAVA is a professional association for Virtual Assistants in Canada. We provide community, visibility, resources, connections, training, client opportunities and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits here: https://canadianava.org/join-cava/

About the Author: Tracey D’Aviero is a Virtual Assistant Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author. After operating a busy VA business of her own since 1996, Tracey began teaching others to run their VA businesses in 2010 through Your VA Mentor. In 2016 she purchased the CAVA and GAVA VA associations and now teaches and coaches VAs exclusively. She has a vast amount of experience working in many different industries which helps her to offer her students and coaching clients a unique perspective and sound advice. She is a proud advocate of the Virtual Assistant industry. Learn more about Tracey’s journey in the VA industry here.