Everyone always loves to talk about all the skills you need to be a virtual assistant.
Raise your hand if you’ve read countless articles, blog posts, and think pieces on “The Top 5 Skills Any VA Should Have” or “How to Use Your Current Skills to Work as a VA”.
Though I understand how valuable that information is while trying to figure out how to start your remote work journey, I feel that people aren’t touching on the most important thing any virtual assistant should have.
Throughout my time working online (wow, it’s about eight years now!) I learned first-hand exactly what clients are looking for when it comes to finding a rockstar virtual assistant for their team. And trust me, it’s not what you think it is!
So, let’s talk about integrity.
Integrity is one of those elusive virtues that confuses a lot of people. Maybe you already know what it means, but have only really applied it in your 9-to-5. You might be thinking, “but Esther, what does it mean to have integrity in the remote work world?”
Well, I’m so glad you asked!
Here are 4 ways to make sure you have integrity when working with clients.
1. Honestly Report Your Time
Clocking in and out is a thing of the past, girl!
One of the best parts about working online is that you don’t constantly have a babysitter (sorry, manager) watching over your shoulder making sure you show up on time, don’t go over your hours, or aren’t slacking off. You are the master of your own time!
A lot of people assume that this means you can just do whatever you want with client time. I mean, they’re not gonna find out how much time you really spent working, right…?
One of the foundations of VA integrity is being honest about the time you work. It may not seem that important to you, but it sure is to the client who’s paying you!
I know how difficult it can be to stay focused on a task that isn’t particularly fun (did somebody say research?). Add to that the kids needing help with their homework, or all those Instagram notifications on your last vacation photo, and suddenly you’re spending more client time on personal stuff than actually working.
Only charge your clients for work time. Any time you spend doing additional research or learning new skills to complete your task should be done on your own time as well.
Be resourceful! Don’t waste your client’s time by asking for help with things you can find out on your own.
A great way to keep time-track is to use software like Honeybook, which not only keeps track of any time you spend working but also automatically fills out an invoice for you! That way, you’ll get an idea of how long it takes you to complete a task and how much you should be charging, and assures your client that they are only being billed for time worked.
2. Make Sure There’s Always Open Communication
The cornerstone of any good relationship is communication. This also applies to the relationship you have with your clients!
It is so incredibly important to be able to communicate openly with your client from the very beginning. This will assure you both that there will be no disappointments on either side during your time working together.
Make sure you are always honest and upfront about your expectations and encourage your client to do the same. This can range from financials to hours to the tasks you are expected to perform.
Please don’t promise your client a result you know you won’t be able to deliver. It’s okay to learn new things along the way, but always be clear about your limitations.
If you require clarification on a task, don’t be afraid of having that conversation with your client. As long as you’ve exhausted all resources available trying to figure out how to do something, it’s okay to reach out to them!
It’s much better to ask your client to clear up a question for you than to make an incorrect assumption about what they’re looking for.
Having open communication with your client will also help you two avoid miscommunications. It’s important to both pay careful attention to your client’s needs and to be able to express yourself clearly.
Trust me, this will make your life so much easier when working with new and different types of people!
3. Follow Your Client’s Instructions
If there’s one thing I know from personal experience, it’s this: a business owner’s biggest pet peeve is someone not following directions.
No wonder why learning to follow instructions is one of the first things they teach you in school!
It can be so easy to let laziness take over and to disregard the details of the directions a client gives to you. But don’t forget that part of your job is to help your client get as close as possible to their exact vision.
It’s an unfortunate situation when a client has to fire someone for not following or ignoring directions. This is why it’s so important to have the foundation of good communication.
Instead of glossing over directions you don’t understand, you can always feel comfortable asking your client to clarify them for you.
If you think you might have a better suggestion for a task, offer it as advice, but never just take a task into your own hands without asking first.
4. Be Trustworthy
Sometimes, your clients may have confidential tasks for you. By hiring you, they are trusting you to safeguard their work and ideas. Never betray that trust!
Clients are looking for someone who is trustworthy with strong personal integrity.
Even if a client doesn’t have you sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement, it’s always good practice to check before using any of the work you did for them in portfolios or social media. I can promise you, they’ll be so thankful that you did, even if they don’t take issue with it.
Being trustworthy is not just for the benefit of your client though!
A virtual assistant that can be trusted is a huge asset in any business, and that can be the key to more responsibilities and higher-earning positions. I like to personally start my VAs with smaller tasks while we build trust with each other, and gradually allow them into more private and confidential spaces.
Not everyone is going to have the skills to be a virtual assistant from the get-go, but anyone can have integrity. All you have to do is treat your client the way you would like to be treated if you were in their position!
I know there’s some of you wondering, “Esther, I already have integrity! What are the skills that I need to work online?!”
Don’t worry! I got you!
That’s the exact reason I created 90 Day VA. My course goes over all the skills you need in order to make the transition to working online. And the best part?
It’s Open Enrollment!
You can join right now and start working online in as little as three months. If you’re still on the fence about joining 90 Day VA, you can check out my FREE Masterclass here!