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.

Expanding Your VA Business

keep it safeAs a virtual assistant it’s very easy to fall into the trap of working around the clock and doing everything all on your own. If you’re getting lots of clients and repeat work, that’s fantastic and speaks dividends about your services. How about now using that to your advantage?

Expanding your VA business makes sense on all levels – you’ll have the ability to grow a client base, you’ll have a pool of other VAs to help you on a regular or as-needed basis, and you can slowly make the transition into being more of a manager rather than doing all the work yourself.

Here are a few tips to help you expand your business.

Don’t turn down clients.

If you’re getting so busy that you’re turning down clients, it’s time to expand. Find a VA or two to start which you know provide quality work. Contract work out to them on an as-needed basis. This means that you deal with your clients and they remain your clients at all times, but you sub-contract some of your work out to other virtual assistants. The VA’s deal with you (not the client) at all times and you pay them for their services.

The best way to do this efficiently is to systemize the process right from the start. Set up a simple yet efficient billing system so that you pay subcontractors on the same day each month. Ask your subcontractors to submit invoices to you to help make record keeping easier, and keep track of all assignments so that you can check the accuracy of all hours billed.

It’s also important you keep efficient records of all projects. You can use an online system like Basecamp to help you do this or a simple calendar – it’s really up to you – just make sure that you can easily track all projects.  

Drum up new business.

As you build up a database of VAs who are available to take on new work, start drumming up new business. Market your services online and offline to gain new clients. Use online forums to let business owners know that you’re available. Advertise your services strategically both online and offline. Write and distribute articles on topic with your business. And basically let potential clients know that you and your team can help them with their projects.

A professional, well-laid out website will play an important role in helping you build your business. Include a full FAQ about your business and services. Let clients know that you have a wide pool of assistants that can help with a large number of tasks. And give them a detailed list of all your services. And don’t forget to make contacting you easy – include an email address, postal address and telephone number where possible.

Build up a great team.

The key to making your expansion a success will be a great team working in the background. To do this, ensure that you treat your subcontractors fairly – offer good rates for their services, be respectful and try to give them new projects as regularly as possible.

Communication is also extremely important. Set up a system so that there are no chances for miscommunication. Ask your subcontractors to confirm new projects. Set clear turnaround-times and ask them to notify you in case they can’t meet their deadlines as soon as possible.

Building up your VA business is possible. It’s just a matter of thinking “big” right from the start. Good luck!