So we’re proudly pioneering the setting of industry standards for VAs – but what does this mean to the VAs on the ground?
Uber-VA and VIP VA member Kathy Soulsby of Personally Virtual gives her account of how working to industry standards has madde a difference to her VA journey…
“As a member of VIP VA I often talk to people about raising industry standards. No I really do, in the pub I am a total bore. Should I care? My clients know what I do, appreciate it most days and that should be enough. I get on with doing my work, selling some new stuff and just doing it.
But actually since being a VA I’ve found that looking outside of my own client base and to the industry as a whole is important to me.
My first experience of other VAs was not at all what I expected. After all, we’re competitors. In a normal job would you sit around drinking hot chocolate and sharing your hard gained experience with people who could potentially take your next client by setting up doing exactly what you’re doing? Probably not. And yet we do. Most VAs are incredibly generous with their time and experience. We value what we do and understand how much our clients need us. And we know it’s hard work!
But these VAs are experienced people. They may specialise in one area or be generalist but they are good at what they do having done it for a long time – perhaps not freelance but in some way. They also have a grasp of business and what it takes to run one which is hugely important for their clients. I identify with these people. They are my tribe if you like and it is therefore important to me that other people get and value them as I do.
Sometimes, even with testimonials and client referrals it’s difficult to explain to a potential client why they should pay my rate rather than the £10 per hour so and so said she’d charge for “a bit of admin”. And sure, some clients just want that one-off bit of admin and if they get a mate to do it, well great, it is a bit of extra cash to them. This is my business and my livelihood. Much as I can and do help friends for free or a bargain, clients are charged.
And I want my clients and other business owners to know that there is a place where they can be sure their VA can do what she or he says. Has had their references tested. Is going to have that industry experience and level of commitment – they aren’t just filling time and likely to head off into the sunset with a half-done project in their wake. So I tell them about VIP VA. They now have the choice to go cheap or to think “ah, she’s on this list”.
And the clients I want – the ones who appreciate quality, don’t penny pinch (I hate that!) & if they want my brains, ideas and input, they will want a VIP VA. They will appreciate a benchmark standard because they are smart people! It works both ways for me. Industry standard VAs get to work with gold standard clients. And I like those clients!”
If you want to find out more about Kathy’s story, the VA industry standards and how VIP VA can support you, please get in touch!