Set Boundaries to Stay Sane
This is an article from Donna Toothaker from StepItUpVA who is a coach
for other Virtual Assistants and really knows her stuff.
Set Boundaries to Stay Sane
by Donna Toothaker on FEBRUARY 24, 2011
As a Virtual Assistant, you have the fortunate circumstance of being able to work from home, and work with clients from all over the world via e-mail and phone. At the same time, as an upstart business owner, you also rely on new and longstanding clients for income. Sometimes it can seem like you started your own business only to discover that you have multiple bosses! Here are a few tips to ensure that you always have the ball in your court:
Set expectations early. Be extra clear with potential clients about your services, your work style, what they can expect from you and what you expect from them. Be explicit in defining what you don’t do – as in your services or work style. Things to consider not doing: having an “open door” policy (an invitation to be micromanaged), giving out your mobile number,
or giving the impression that you are in any way “on call”.
Feel free to ID. It may be difficult to let voicemail pick up when you’r e trying to service your clients, but voicemail and caller ID are great time management tools that will allow you to maintain some sanity in your day. Caller ID is also a great barometer for assessing the “neediness” of those clients who tend to micromanage. Outline your voicemail and e-mail-checking routines with clients, and within what period of time they can expect a response, leaving wiggle room for true emergency calls.
It’s nothing personal. Keep your conversations via phone, e-mail, and social media primarily on a professional level. It may be comforting to your clients to know a little bit about you personally, but giving too much information or getting to know your clients too personally opens up a “grey area” from which it is difficult, if not impossible, to return.
So, if you use Facebook for your business, avoid posting personal information, photos, or posts that may be considered off-putting to your clients, even though your friends might respond with an LOL. Use security features to restrict what your clients can see, if necessary.
Say no. When you were just starting out as a VA, you may have said yes to clients, projects and situations that really didn’t serve you in the long run. You may have done it to get experience in a certain area, build up your client roster, to impress a potential client, or in the hopes of getting more business. However, rarely does saying yes to something that doesn’t suit you or pay you a fair price truly help you. Don’t continue to burden yourself by saying yes to clients who demand too much of you and your resources, who constantly haggle or question your fees, or who push you to provide a service outside your scope.
You will find that letting go of them will open a space for a better client to sign on!
Keep the reins of your business firmly in hand by setting boundaries from day one. Doing so will ensure that you will build mutual respect, turn new clients into long-term clients, and truly enjoy working with them.
Donna Toothaker is CEO, founder and coach of Step It Up VA Coaching. These highly sought-after VA coaching programs have been created for established, successful VAs who wish to create the 6-figure business of their dreams. Visit HERE to receive the free report, Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid in Creating a 6-Figure VA Business.
thanks, Donna, for another great gem I am glad to share with my visitors.
This question goes out to other Virtual Assistants AND our customers:
Where do you draw your lines – what boundaries do you set and expect to have set for you? I would love to hear comments from both sides of the fence.
Why not Schedule a Project now?