It was suggested to me via a recent comment posted that I should post some Case Studies and I think that an excellent idea – it will help demonstrate to both wanna-be VAs, and prospective clients, just how a client-VA relationship works. So, enter Lorraine, one of my longest-term clients.
Lorraine is a Business Coach who specialises in showing people how to better organise their working and personal lives. Her business name is The Office Organiser and her catch phrase is “How to Have Less Mess, Less Stress and More Success”. Her business is just over 10 years old. We’ve been working together for at least 9 years after she saw my business card at a networking event and rang me to find I lived around 5 minutes away from her.
I do many, many things for Lorraine, most of which is virtual – and occasionally I will go to her office to provide onsite support in the form of installing new software, fixing a computer problem, modifying her database layout and/or showing her how to use a program. I also attend a monthly public workshop she presents at a local function room to provide support on the day.
Here is a list of some of the things I do for her:
- Manage her database by entering business cards (which she faxes to me – several to a sheet), or entering new clients from online sales, send out emails on her behalf to people on the database and modify the database as needed. The program we use is ACT! and we can synchronise via email whenever it suits us – usually 2 or 3 times a week. We also use 1shoppingcart.com for maintaining her list online.
- I have an email address set up from her domain name that comes to me (admin@….) and I use this to respond on her behalf to emails, and to send out emails for her – people often respond thinking it’s Lorraine that’s sent the email and I will either action what they want and/or forward it on to Lorraine for her input.
- Because I also provide webhosting and webdesign services (not all VAs do) I also host her website and maintain it for her on a weekly basis, uploading the latest newsletters, updating workshop dates, updating product information, and creating payment links via Paypal – I also manage her Paypal account for her.
- Send out mailed items for her – usually thank you items to key clients she has or perhaps products she has sold.
- Modify/update her Powerpoint Presentations.
- Create any Word documents she wants and/or reformat ones she has started.
- Take photos at her workshops, type up delegate testimonials.
- Prepare nametags and look after registrations for workshops.
- Periodic research via the internet.
There are other things from time to time but this will give you a good idea. Lorraine and I live 5 mins apart but usually we only see each other face to face once a month at the workshop. We occasionally speak on the phone but email each other almost every day, and sometimes several times a day. If I didn’t live close by she could have someone else provide the computer support at her premises and support her at the workshop. So our working relationship is about 95% virtual.
Because Lorraine is all about efficiency and not wasting time, a virtual working relationship is what works best for her (and me ;-)) and, as time goes by, she finds more things that I can do for her, on her behalf. I used to do just a couple of hours a week for her but as she and I have developed an understanding of what I can do to assist in her business I now average around 10-12 hours a week for her.
I have a couple of other public speaking clients and I do a variation of similar items for them – although much less hours and more ad-hoc. I’m open to questions via the Comments if you’d like to know more about how this working relationship is handled. KMT