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How do we find REAL people?

21 posts in this topic

How can we really trust people all over the web to do business with sincerely? There are lots of SCAMS out there that ask for money to help you first. Who can we really trust besides large companies with big names such as Microsoft, Verizon, Apple etc.?

Edited by chanaschwartz

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Well, first of all, GOOGLE them. Get their name, and if you can, where they are and Google them. Look them up on LinkedIn and Facebook. I would say Twitter, but for some reason their search capabilities lack a lot. You can usually find out a lot by Google and LinkedIn.

 

Don't sign a contract with anyone until and after you've done your due diligence by looking into who they are.

 

And ... everyone say it with me:

 

GET IT IN WRITING!

GET YOUR MONEY UP FRONT!!

 

Contracts keep everyone on the up & up and if a client balks at signing a contract - let that be a warning sign. I advice do not bill them for work you perform. You might get lucky and get paid, but there's rare instances. At the very least, ask for a deposit so you have something in hand for what you do.

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Dana is right, plus if you network locally that is always a good start. And then you get to knwo them

Research them and contract and deposit are a must!

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I Google every one of my clients, and I learned why it was important with my first potential one ever.

 

After I received a call from a perspective client she had big talk and all kinds of needs. After a quick Google of her name and business alone I found tons of poor feedback and information on her. Feedback from her customers who were treated poorly/did not get their product as well as designers (she ran a jewelery store) that were ripped off and never got payment for supplying their product.

 

After finding that it was obvious she was not someone I could fully trust to do business with. I did end up working with her in the future, but I made it a point to only accept prepaid services from her. She balked at this, but eventually did it anyway.

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You have gotten great advice so far - I echo what Dana and Kathy say - you must research your client, you should speak with them via telephone consult before you work with them, and you must have a contract in place so that everyone knows what work will get done, for what amount of money. Although I would recommend getting paid in advance, I also remember starting out and not being able to ask for that money up front (I didn't understand the value of that, but now I do!).

 

The most important piece is that find (and market to) an industry that is familiar with working with VAs - you will have much better success with the whole process. There are some industries that just don't get it yet, and these are the people that you may have more trouble with than they will be worth to your business.

 

There are plenty of industries that use VAs regularly, and know the value of the expertise they are seeking, and that even know about retainers and contracts.

 

Hope that helps!

Tracey

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Is it advisable to give a "1-week trial" for a potential retainer? Or is this a bad practice?

 

As long as you're paid you can do whatever you like. I often will get clients that want to give me a project or two to see how I work out. I just signed a new client (along with another VA) to do about 1/3 of what he needs/wants done. The other VA will do about 1/3 of it, and the 3 of us are going to figure out what to do about the rest of it since we're all lacking the knowledge or time to do it.

 

Flexibility is key. But being paid is a bigger key.

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Absolutely Dana, I agree you are running a business and providing a service, hence you must be paid.

 

It is quite poor when clients/customers feel they have the *right* not to pay.

 

Michele

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Although I have just recently obtained my first client, I knew from reading everything on the forum that a retainer was definitely required. The clients I am looking for would not balk at this so this will be my first sign of whether I will work with them or not. I was lucky that my client has no issues and I get my retainer when my last one is coming close to the end. They are a new business and soon I will be asking them for a minimum of 10 hours a week guaranteed for my retainer.

 

Just my thoughts.

 

Nancy Lynch

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I agree with all the wise advice. I was contacted by someone who purported to be an Ontario lawyer and realtor. Despite the individual having what looked like a credible website, the person was not registered with the law society nor TREB. The individual was offended by my lack of trust. We both elected to moved on (needless to say - lol).

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Do most of you bill hourly or request payment up front? I'm just starting out and am thinking I should probably bill hourly to start off and then in the future when i'm more established I'll move into requesting upfront payment.

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I usually go to websites that are credible and there I find prospective clients or you can get referrals from people that you know who also know people looking for services that you can give...

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Great to see people use the search button and it refreshes up old topics to be discussed.

 

After I've been contacted by a prospect to work with me, I always first do my research on them through social networks like Linkedin, Facebook, reviewing their website and googling them. The real key for me though is talking on the phone with them for our client interview to see if we click or not. I can usually tell within the first 10 minutes if this is a client I would trust and want to work for. But if you haven't had many clients yet, this may not come naturally for you. Trust for me is always given in the beginning (after my due diligence) and as long as I'm paid upfront for my retainer, I'm ready to start work with them. If over time, I lose trust in them for whatever reason (slow payments, high maintenance, etc.) then I take action and confront them with whatever is my issue and if we can't resolve it then I'll let that client go.

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I do the same - I research the client. I've had a couple opportunities come my way to apply to work with clients who were hiring. I absolutely had the skills to do it; but when I researched the client to learn more about them - I chose not to apply.

 

One thing I like about being a business owner, in the field I'm in, I can choose who I work with.

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And if they don't want to give you any way to contact them other than a generic email address (like "whosyourdaddy@yahoo.com") - meaning, they won't give you a company name, their actual FULL name, or anything like that, then run ... far, far away.

 

But, I've learned the really hard way that even if someone is well known and supposedly well-respected in their field, you can't always trust them to do right. I got SCREWED OVER by a well-known author marketing service to the tune of about $2500 earlier this year. I made her pay me in advance (like I usually do), I proceeded to do all the work she wanted, then she filed a charge-back for the money, saying she didn't receive what she paid for. And I have copies of emails where she's said otherwise.

 

I'm still fighting this battle with her bank, my bank and her "business manager" and I'm really close to saying forget it and filing a law suit against her. I also have very intuitive searches set up so that if she writes anything about me anywhere, I'm going to slam her for libel and slander. I think she's smart enough not to do that, but I'm so mad at her about this whole situation I'll do it.

 

So, in reality, you really don't know who you're going to be dealing with. Listen to your gut and put protection in place so that you have yourself covered.

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