We have started a new month and that means a new theme! Last week we outlined 3 Reasons to Track Your Leads which wrapped up our series on how to get clients. What paperwork does a virtual assistant need? The theme for this month is paperwork and we will look at what is needed for you to keep things running smoothly and legally. There are four specific types of paperwork I recommend as a VA which are proposals, contracts or agreements, policies and procedures, and a How I Work document. You may not have heard of the last one because it is unique to me and something I learned from a veteran VA. Some of these will have their own episodes over the month.
1. The Proposal
We’ll first talk about the Proposal. If you have a system for your paperwork, the proposal comes first. You can create one yourself! We will briefly cover this one because it has its own episode. You’ll need:
- A short introduction from yourself.
- Any tech requirements including specific programs or software clients need to use.
- Scope of your work and what will you do for clients.
- Payment terms, which cover the client’s cost and what the payment terms are.
If someone accepts your proposal, then you send them a contract or service agreement.
2. The Contract
This is not legal advice. While I cannot provide you with legal advice, I’ll share what I include in my contract.
Service provided | Hourly rate | Package policy | Disclaimer stating that I’m not a lawyer, agent, or publisher, and what I’m providing/not providing | Expectations (what I can expect from you and what you can expect from me) | Terms that will cover how long the agreement is for (30 days or ongoing) and how to terminate | Timelines | Payment | Refund policy | Confidentiality clause
These are the main points in mine, and you can put more or less in yours.
I have three different agreements:
- Service agreement for ongoing clients who will renew package every 30 days
- Service agreement for one-time clients. They can let me know if they would like to renew after 30 days
- Separate service agreements for websites because they are more project-based and not continuous work. I require a 50% deposit and the other 50% when complete. The payment arrangement is different and needs to be outlined in the agreement
What paperwork does a virtual assistant need? Well, they certainly need a contract or service agreement!
3. Procedures and Policies
I have an operation manual for the purpose of outlining everything, so if something happens to me, I have a clear statement of what is agreed upon with the client. If I decide to add a team member and want them to understand the way my business runs, I can share the info with them as well. Here is what could be included:
Company name | Ein | Business account | Website | Ideal client description | Services provided | Policies and procedures | Monthly business expenses | Types of tasks you do
Then you could outline your client relation procedure which would include:
- How you track your leads.
- Your leads strategy and process.
- Your new client onboarding process, strategy, and system.
The above are the main pieces of your policies and procedures, which is a great thing to have on file to know your systems for each piece of your business. You can refer back to it and/or share it with potential teammates.
4. How I Work
Finally! This is my favorite document because it has done so much for my business. I got this from a friend who is a long-time VA and helped me create it. It’s one of the best things I’ve created, and I use it frequently. This will have its own episode, but I’ll cover the main points:
What you can expect when working with Alyssa | Outline of hours | Outline of policies | Hours of operation | Rush jobs policy | Holidays I observe | Referral program | How I share files and info with clients | Instructions on how clients need to share tasks and projects with me | Timelines | Confidentiality | Invoicing policies | Rates and packages | Wrap up and a thank-you note for actually reading through the long document
My How I Work document used to be pdf and text, but I’ve started using HoneyBook. A great benefit of HoneyBook is that documents look professional and streamlined. Images can be used to take clients through the processes. As a HoneyBook educator, I’ve put my How I Work on Flows, which is currently in beta. Before Flows, there was a way to use a brochure. There was an electronic way to walk through the brochure and it had a streamlined, professional feel. Alternatively, a Canva pdf will work as well. We’ll talk more about How I Work next week, and if you are interested in HoneyBook I have a 50% discount.
What paperwork does a virtual assistant need? This month we will take a closer look at paperwork!
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