Deadlines – Why are they important?

As virtual assistants we all work for more than one client, or on more than one project or task simultaneously. Virtual assistants are commonly known for their ability to organize and prioritize their workload. But if all else fails and your organization skills are a bit over whelmed than it is best to get clear deadlines.

Don't get stressed make a deadline

As virtual assistants we all work for more than one client, or on more than one project or task simultaneously.  Virtual assistants are commonly known for their ability to organize and prioritize their workload.  But if all else fails and your organization skills are a bit over whelmed than it is best to get clear deadlines.

As VA’s we organize our workload according to which project came in first or has been in our inbox the longest.  In some cases a VA might look at a project and use their own judgment to priorities projects based on the initial discussion they had with their client.  However nothing works better than having a deadline.

Deadlines or project delivery dates, are great to establish with clients either your expected completion date or when the client would like their work completed.  Setting clear end dates gives you the VA the ability to priorities your work schedule more efficiently and increase your productivity.  Having a deadline is also good for planning weekly ongoing tasks that you do regularly.

Productivity can be greatly increased by having clear deadlines.  Many people work better when they see an end to the task they are doing, psychologically knowing that something has to be completed by a certain time makes us focus, and for those of us who work best under pressure then deadlines are great for them too.  Being focused therefore increased your production and therefore increases your business goals also, as you can effectively do more with your available time, you become better at managing your projects.

Another aspect of setting deadlines is that it helps in making realistic priorities.  Being able to prioritize your work schedule according to deadlines makes it easier for a VA to schedule and manage their time with the projects that they have on hand.  Deadlines also helps in making advanced plans for the coming week. If you have your work schedule for the coming week, making deadlines will inevitably make it easier for you the VA to see what time you have available to work through your schedule or if you are able to take on any new projects for that week.

Deadlines and setting priorities makes a VA more organise, and makes an organised VA extremely efficient. Deadlines are important because they make a VA efficient, focused and proactive in planning. These properties will then help you the VA to efficiently serve your clients and build your client base.

Set deadlines with any project your working on, even if it’s just for your own personal peace of mind, or your client hasn’t specifically requested one. This will help you to plan your work load and schedule your week or day more effectively so that you can be more efficient with your time.

Deadlines are important but are also flexible. In the first instant they are the time that either the client would like to have the finished back by, or when the VA would like to complete the project and take it off their list. If you do, which does happen, need to reschedule a deadline just make your client aware of the change and renegotiate a new date or time. Most clients can be flexible with deadlines that they give as the have a prefered time and then their absolute latest deadline, which is usually the latest that they are able to get their completed project back by.  The flexibility of a deadline is what helps with scheduling, but if you set clear deadlines and can stick to them then that is half the battle won.

So remember set a deadline either for yourself or for your clients so that you can effectively organize your time.

Should you allow new clients to test your services?

To test or not to test? That is the question for virtual assistants to ponder.

There are always interesting blogs and articles about the VA world.  I find this one quite interesting and I hope it helps you to make a decision on what you offer your new clients when it comes to testing or samples of work.

Enjoy

Althea

To test or not to test?

questionmark

That is the question.

A discussion at one of the VA forums I belong to raised a query about being ‘tested’ by doing small jobs for free at a site before being accepted as a VA for potential clients.

I find that sometimes clients come via my job leads request form and attempt to do the same thing. Give 4 or 5 (or more) VAs a small portion of the task to be done just to ‘try them out’ and before you know it, they’ve gotten the whole job done free and not paid anyone.

That’s not on!

As was mentioned at the forum, you don’t tell plumbers or electricians or other tradies that you want to ‘test’ their abilities first before you’ll give them the job.  You expect that they know what they’re doing, you find out their fees and then either accept or find someone else.

The same applies to VAs.  No client or VA membership site should be asking you to do something for free to test your abilities.  There are intern programs out there where new VAs can be taken under the wing of an experienced VA in order to gain knowledge and experience and usually for low payment or in return for training, but otherwise no VA should be expected to do something for free just to show what they’re capable of doing, at the risk of being exploited.  There should be some sort of value returned for the effort the VA has put in.

Do the research and ask questions at forums. Join VA networks or organisations that you know are reputable and if you can’t find that information, then research the founder or owner of the group.  If they’ve been in the industry for a few years they will show up on the web.  Their reputation should speak for itself.