When new software becomes available many new VAs are keen to upgrade as soon as possible, or buy the latest and greatest. But I want to encourage you to stop and think for a moment. Will this mean that you are no longer compatible with prospective clients? Will this cause some difficulty in clients being able to read files you send to them? Not always, but there are times when it will cause problems, and if the client is not very computer literate the challenge for them may prove too much.
When software is updated by various companies, the new versions are not always compatible with the earlier versions and it is really important that you look into this. Will your clients be forced to upgrade if they want to keep you as a VA? Will you lose the client because they can’t upgrade, whether it be due to the financial cost, their computer not having sufficient space, speed or not new enough, or something else?
I’ve had to face this issue each time Microsoft brings a new version of Office out, or the database program I use has a new version. Not to mention any other programs that I use for client services.
It’s not always necessary to upgrade straight away, and in fact, I prefer to wait at least a year and let all the ‘bugs’ be ironed out first before purchasing the latest. Most programs are not going to die out in 12-24 months, and in fact many can be used for a good 3-4 years or more. So it’s important to consider the people you may be dealing with, and once you do upgrade, ask the people you’re emailing whether they can read version …. or if you need to do a ‘Save As…’ in an earlier version? You will save yourself and others some headaches. KMT