It’s very common for new virtual assistants to get nervous when thinking about working with their first client.
It can be scary to work with a new person and a new business (especially when you’re just starting out). But if you do this one thing, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and scrambling when it’s time to set up and work with a new client.
What is it?
It’s planning and documenting your client processes.
You might be already actively looking for clients or just about to, but do you know exactly what to do when a potential client wants to work with you?
What steps will you take to decide whether they’re a good fit or not? What will you do when you decide to work together? What about your service? What are the steps you’ll take to complete it? Do you know what you’ll do when your project is complete or how you’ll get feedback on your service?
Your head might be spinning right now, but don’t panic! We’re going to work on figuring out these steps, so you know exactly what you’ll be doing.
WHAT ARE CLIENT PROCESSES?
Processes are the big-picture elements of your business. They’re the main steps you take to complete a task.
In order to create a process, think of all the big steps it takes to complete a task.
In this article, we’ll be specifically focusing on the client processes.
THERE ARE FOUR MAIN CLIENT PROCESSES YOU’LL NEED
- The Pre-client process is the steps you take to determine whether a prospective client is a good fit or not and if so, turn them into a new client.
- The Onboarding process includes getting paid, signing your contract, and getting organized to start your work.
- The Service process is the steps you take to complete your work.
- The Offboarding process includes the final steps you take to wrap up your time together, like getting feedback, asking for a testimonial, and possibly sending a thank you card or gift.
Let’s dive into each of these and talk about what you might include in yours.
SOME ACTIONS YOU MIGHT INCLUDE IN YOUR PRE-CLIENT PROCESS:
- The prospective client fills out a ‘work with me’ form on your website
- You create a Google Doc to copy and paste their answers and take notes
- You look over their answers to determine if you’re a good fit
- If you’re a good fit, you set up a time to talk
- You have a free 20-minute discovery call over Zoom
- If you’re still a good fit, you start the onboarding process
- If you’re not a good fit, you’ll tell them and part ways
SOME ACTIONS YOU MIGHT INCLUDE IN YOUR ONBOARDING PROCESS:
- Sending your invoice and contract
- Setting up a recurring invoice in your invoice software
- Sending a questionnaire to gather materials needed for the service
- Scheduling a consultation call to gather information needed for the service
- Asking for passwords
- Setting the client up in your project management software
- Anything else you need to do to get organized and start your service
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR SERVICE PROCESS:
The service process includes the steps you take to complete your work.
You may have several service processes if you offer a variety of services.
For instance, if you offer a package of blog services, like writing and formatting blog posts, you would have one process for writing and one for blog formatting.
Sometimes you’ll need to include your client’s way of doing things in your process.
For example, your client will probably have a way she likes her blog posts formatted. She may like her subheadings a certain size and color and have a particular way she likes lists in her posts to be bulleted.
You’ll find that the service processes will be longer than the other client processes because it’s the meat and potatoes of it all.
To determine what needs to be in your service process, you’ll need to write down all the main steps you take to complete your service.
And lastly, the offboarding process.
SOME ACTIONS YOU MIGHT INCLUDE IN YOUR OFFBOARDING PROCESS:
- Sending an email or setting up a call to announce the job is complete
- Answering any questions the client has or doing a short training or video
- Sending a questionnaire asking for feedback and a testimonial
- Sending a card or small gift to say thank you
- Asking for a referral
- Letting the client know you’re available to continue working together
- Scheduling a date on your calendar to check in with them in a month to see if they have any questions
- Following up with them at a later date and asking if they need any more help
- Anything else you need to do to wrap up your service
If you have ongoing retainer clients, you wouldn’t need to do all these steps. You might need to just send a feedback form, get a testimonial, and ask for referrals.
Once you set up your processes, you’ll need to figure out and set up the tools to carry out your processes, like DropboxSign for contract signatures. Then consider doing some beta testing to test out your processes and systems. After that, it’s time to bring on the clients, baby!
Want to make your life easier? Join the Introvert VA Club and gain access to my contract templates – just edit and send to your clients! You’ll also find tutorials on how to set up the tools for your processes and support from fellow VAs!