Etiquettes for Virtual Assistants and Freelancers

Show Notes:  Episode 17

What kinds of quality do you expect when hiring virtual assistants or freelancers and they are working remotely? Ever notice that some of the remote workers have really great communication skills while others make you wait for days on end to get their attention or response?



[Music intro]

The 8th Level Podcast is about being self-employed, entrepreneurship, and bootstrapping it. It’s also about unwinding and relaxing, and when we are not working in our business, to discover ways of connecting to our soul and self-care. My name is Lourdes, and I am the host of this podcast. Thanks for tuning in!

Hi, thanks again for joining me today, and I’m so grateful that you are here listening to this episode! And today, I decided to talk about the etiquettes of a virtual assistant or freelancers. Now, as you know or may not know, I have been in business since 2014, and at times when I get really busy, I do subcontracting work and I hire virtual assistants and a couple of freelancers here and there. And I really wanted to cover the etiquettes of freelancing and of virtual assistants.

The first thing I wanted to cover is communication. Just like in a regular office, working remotely, I expect someone to have good communication skills. As someone from the US, I’ve hired VAs and freelancers globally to help me and my business on short-term basis. When I do look for someone, I specifically ask that they communicate with me. A good communication for example is when we e-mail.

No more than 3days should pass. And if you are ill, going away on vacation, or going out for a quick weekend trip and not be able to work, please send me a quick note and let me know that you’re out for a few days. Don’t leave me hanging and then wonder if you’ll ever come back! I’ve had this experience with a couple of young women who didn’t even bother to e-mail me, respond to my e-mail, or on Skype for days. They had assignments that were coming up with a due date, and I was getting worried if it was going to be completed on time because I never heard back from them. Then, on the 8th day, I received an e-mail from the VA.

Naturally, I asked what happened and why she did not respond. And then she told me she had a very difficult and painful period. She had some type of endometriosis. And of course, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. However, I am running a business. I ended up doing her work and completed everything on time. So, unfortunately, as much as I liked her, I had to let her go. I mean, if you’re laying in bed for 8 days because of a difficult period, don’t you think maybe – maybe it’s just me, that she would look at her phone or have her phone at her bedside? And she could’ve just sent me a quick e-mail or Skype message to let me know she’s not feeling good.

And I would’ve appreciated that. So that’s my number 1 thing, communication. Communicate really well. If someone sends you an e-mail, or if a client sends you an e-mail, please respond between 24-48 hours. If it goes past 2 days, let them know that you can’t get to something, or you’re not feeling well, or you wanna go out on a trip. I mean, after all, you are working your own hours. But let us know if you’re working or not. If you don’t feel like working for a couple of days, that is fine, just communicate it well.

Okay, the second one, trustworthy. How well can you trust your VA or freelancer? They need to keep things confidential and not violate any rules that might cause legal action. Okay so, I live in the United States, and when I hire subcontractors in the United States, I always send them a subcontractor agreement that outlines any competitor agreement, confidentiality or NDAs, and more. You might want to speak to an attorney to get one of these agreements drawn up for your business, but again, you gotta have trust with the person you hire.

Now, if they’re out of the country, you’re gonna have to listen to your gut telling you whether you can trust this person or not. The other thing that I’ve always worried is when I hire them, but then they turn around and try to steal my client. So you need to put down in your subcontractor agreement how long or how far away in the future your subcontractor, virtual assistant that is, can work directly for the client.

Most people in the United States have a two-year wait before a client can hire your subcontractor to work for them directly. The other thing that helps me with trusting the VA on the other side is having a Zoom meeting with them, and they turn on their cameras. And during our interview I ask a few questions and I see how they answer me. I can kinda get a feel of them being trustable and a lot of them are pretty honest, I must tell you. It’s because they need the money. They need the money to work, and why would they wanna screw that up?

Alright, to the next one. Asking questions! Usually, when I hire someone, I train them on Zoom or on Skype, and I also provide a recording of the How To’s. So when I’m training them, I record it on Zoom and I give them that training recording link. Now sometimes, the freelancers or the VA, they send me work back that has mistakes. I ask, I ask them, why did you do this? And they were not sure.

So I encourage all the VAs and freelancers to ask questions, don’t just assume and give me work that is full of mistakes. Please ask questions, because I appreciate that you’re here to help me, and in order for us to work sufficiently together it’s communicating and asking the right questions, and of course I’d be happy to show you again. So don’t feel bad if you ask questions, I love them! Ask away!

Okay, the next one. Time management. How well does a VA manage their time? Most freelancers or virtual assistants, but not all, have more than one client, and they’re dealing with a bunch of clients that they’re trying to please and they’re completing assignments or meeting deadlines. So work should be turned in on time, and not the last minute. Because I notice when I get last minute work, I see a lot more mistakes.

So for example, I’ve received work that had the same hashtag for every post, which was awful! I’ve also received work that were missing some elements, which just tells me it was a rush job. So please manage your time well, don’t rush your job and then turn it in with some mistakes.

Because y’know, we really depend on you to be the expert, and that’s why we hire you! So if I hire you for social media because that’s what your expertise is in, I expect you to give me hashtags that match the post. Or if I hired you to create an e-book for me, I expect that you know well how to do justifications or formatting of the e-book. If you’re managing your time well, you would have time to just double-check your work before you send it over to us.

And the last one is being adaptable. Look, we all need virtual assistants and freelancers here and there. Sometimes I hire them permanently if they work out really well. But, I don’t believe that every freelancer or VA knows every single technology out there. But in order to grow, you need to be open or willing to learn new things. So, the business owner, it could be me or a business owner, we might wanna teach you some new skills or even pay for your training of the new technology. So it would be really nice if you were adaptable to situations when we need you to do these things. And if not, just speak up if you don’t wanna learn this new technology, let us know, and then we’ll find somebody else to do that technology.

And that’s really it. So etiquette of a freelancer or virtual assistant: Having good communication skills, being trustworthy, asking questions, time management, double checking your work, and being adaptable. And that’s it! So join me next week when I have a guest that talks about alternative healing that releases emotional issues!

[Music outro]

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All the episodes in this podcast provide general information on starting your remote service business.  Individual experiences are unique.  The views and expressions from the show and our guests is their own and we are not liable for any business outcomes or your success. Please to seek professional advice from tax preparers, legal, financial counseling, and other services you see that fit in your business. For a more information of our terms and disclaimer, please go here.

About the Host

Lourdes McCombs is passionate about helping you take your unique skills into the online world, learn digital strategies, and scale.   She is a Business Mentor & Success Coach and helps men and women transfer their local business online to create a global impact and to attract more clients.  She is spiritual transformation coach that helps people make changes in their life without compromising their mission and their soul.

If you need clarity, or defining your life’s purpose, visit her business website:   click here for her website at:


*****Disclaimer:  All the episodes in this podcast are for information purposes only. The views and expressions from the show and our guests are their own.  8th Level Podcast, its subsidiaries and owner are not liable nor guarantee any business outcomes or your success. Seek optional advice from tax preparers, legal, financial pros at your own discretion. For more information of our terms and disclaimer go here.


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