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jpymento

Need some advice

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I have to go meet a sole practitioner tomorrow and he wants me to work for him 20-25 hours per week at his office. He also wanted to know if I would be able to assist a friend of his who needs some administrative assistance. I thought this might be a good time to see if he would go for the idea of me working from home but I dont know how to put this across to him. This way I would be able to assist both him and his friend as well as meet the needs of my family.

 

Any ideas as to how to broach this topic with him?? This is my first time and any suggestions are appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

 

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I have been a similar situation where the client wanted me to work onsite. For me it wasn't a big deal - their office was 10 mins away, and I charged my normal rate. I was sure to set the boundaries - so if for example I had another client meeting, I would just say "I'm unavailable" on XX day. At first it was a little hard - I felt like I should have been asking permission, but had to remind myself I wasn't an employee.

 

Over time, I have been able to extract myself from their office - and they have seen that isn't difficult at away for me to work offiste. I do however find it useful still working out of the office at times - especially in terms of communicating with the rest of the team.

 

Perhaps explain that you normally work off-site, but say you would be happy to start an arrangement working onsite to begin with, then slowly showing which tasks can be taken offsite. Explaining that you are more efficient offsite, better setup with equipment etc call all be ok.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I agree with Judy, make it very clear upfront that you normally work off-site on a virtual basis. I have a friend who recently started her own VA business and is currently working in this type of situation and has found that they sometimes try to revert back to the employer/employee mentality. I would make it perfectly clear that you would be willing to start out this way for say 3 months or so with the understanding that this will eventually turn into a "virtual" relationship. My friend is having a hard time trying to juggle all of her other work because she has to go to their office, so make sure you don't get yourself in that same situation.

 

Good luck with your new clients and congratulations on getting the work!

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I was in this situation when I first started out. I explained to the person that Virtual Assistance meant just that, working virtually from my home. The person still wanted me to work out of her office, so I explained that because on the days I would be in her office, I would be unavailable to my other clients so I would have to charge her more to be there for her. She still wanted me in her office so I when I gave her an invoice, I also gave her the amount of what it would have been if I had done the work from my office instead of hers. She quickly came around to me working from my office instead of hers. :)

 

I still go to her office every now and then because it is necessary but for the most part, I do her work from my office. (We've been working together for 3 years now).

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Janice:

 

I have found that if you agree to work on site at the beginning of the relationship, transitioning to virtual is difficult. It is much easier when you broach the idea with an attorney for whom you have worked for a long time - one who is already aware of what a great legal secretary/assistant you are! ;)

 

For instance, when hired you agree to work xxx amount of hours; that attorney is going to expect you to work those in house. If you throw in anything virtual, it will be the extra work that they need done and then you will be working more hours for one on site client, instead of locating or servicing others virtually.

 

You may be able to get the best of both worlds if you agree to work for the attorney on site, and help their "friend" virtually. By setting it up this way, if you do a great job for the friend, they will tell the attorney, and thereby give your virtual work a huge boost of credibility.

 

I know how hard it is to secure a client and therefore be in a position to speak not in hypotheicals (I do xxx for clients, instead of I can do xxx for clients). This is why I always recommend to those just starting out to contact former employers to let them know you are virtual and can assist if they are ever in need.

 

Of course, you need to have your practice's processes in place - from pricing and turn around information; to technology - and you must be able to exchange the work in a secure manner - which means if you are using e-mail - encrypt, encrypt, encrypt! Finally, let's not forget the contract. For every client you secure, you should have a signed contract outlining that you are an IC and not employee, your invoicing and payment terms, etc.

 

For anyone who is interested, I am doing an in depth presentation on Working Remotely with the Right Technology for the OIVAC in May. This presentation will will cover the exchange of information between VAs and their clients, security, etc. Visit www.oivac.com if you'd like more information or to sign up.

 

 

 

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