Regular readers will have noted my recent absence but hopefully they will have known or realised I was away on leave – well and truly overdue and very much enjoyed. I went to Japan with my husband to visit one of our daughters – if you read my family blog you’ll see some of my posts there with photos.
Whilst I was away there was an innumerable amount of emails, even with my going ‘nomail’ on the chat forums I belong to, and so I did check regularly in case of important matters, i.e. family needing to get hold of me or one of my team who were looking after my clients for me.
I received an email from someone in another country seeking to explore how they could develop business with me. I responded briefly to say I was away and will get back to them – they replied and sent a whole lot of information for me to go through on my return but it really was not clear why they contacted me or what they wanted. In the end I asked them a direct question what did they want and it soon became obvious they were seeking to get work through my VA business. At that point I felt it was important to advise them that even if I did have work to give them, I couldn’t for the following reason. I’m sharing my response to them here because I really feel it is very important for anyone seeking work/business from others that they do the best they can to present themselves well.
To start with, the weblink they sent wasn’t correct and I had to ask them to resend that.
Next I made a suggestion that they carefully spellcheck their email before sending them. Our emails are often the only thing that clients see to assess our abilities and if you are wanting to provide services to English speaking/reading/writing clients then it is most important that you spell correctly and use the correct words. I honestly could not forward any work to them even if I wanted to simply because the email they sent did not instil any confidence in their English writing ability and the majority of work we do is very much embedded in written English. When I do receive work that is for another language I make sure that only those VA team members who have a suitable background (native speaker/writer or have done extensive studies in that language) receive the work.
I appreciate that there are times when those doing computer based work may just be copy typing but frequently clients depend on us to correct their spelling and grammar, as well as to format documents properly – whilst the latter wouldn’t have presented a challenge to this person, based on the samples they sent, the former, i.e. spelling and grammar would have definitely been a challenge. When I pass on work to my VA team I connect them with the client. I am not involved in the work passed on, nor do I spend time checking and correcting errors in that work – if I did it would mean I’d have to charge much higher fees to cover my time and it would put me in a role of ’employer’, rather than someone who manages a VA network.
I did finish of with that if, however, they were just having a bad day with their typing, then I can understand that, we all do, but again, I reminded them that when you’re prospecting for business it is most important you put your best foot forward.
Now, granted I knew this person wasn’t native English speaking or writing, however they were promoting in their paperwork their high level of skill in the English language. What they sent to me though definitely did not match what they were claiming and I was giving them the opportunity to correct that instead of just saying ‘no’ and not explaining why.
When you approach prospective clients or places to secure work, make sure you check everything and present yourself in the best possible way – sometimes you only get the one chance. KMT