Welcome to life post-covid! The only beautiful thing to come out of the pandemic is the shift in workplace dynamics – location, expectations, video call etiquette and flexibility.
As remote workplaces have quickly become the norm, so has the change in business arrangements. Being a self-employed contractor means you have the ability to structure your week as much or as little as you need to.
To accommodate unexpected interruptions (like illness or injury), giving yourself some breathing space in your turnaround times and some flexibility in your working hours is a great idea.
We appreciate this isn’t possible for all client types. And that is the beauty of working as a VA – you get to choose your clients!
Your ideal client and your target market can be based on a multitude of factors, for example:
- your experience
- your availability
- your goals
- your desire to try something new or upskill
- your client’s care factor about you continuing to work while your kids are at home sick
- your desire to take time off instead of trying to work while your kids are at home sick
- and, of course, your financial needs
Remember – your ideal client isn’t fixed and can change with the seasons of your life!
Your idea to work on agreed weekly tasks so that you have the flexibility to get them done any time within each week is a great idea, and we’ve included it below in our examples of common VA working arrangements that provide flexibility:
Job sharing – two VAs and one client
This can work really well and provides a ‘point of difference’ in your service offering. Of course, you’ll need to find a VA with the same work ethic, values and standards as your own to feel confident in sharing a role. In this scenario, your client essentially gets a ‘2 for 1’ deal, and you get back up. Both VAs work in the same way, follow identical systems/processes, have excellent lines of communication and offer each other a flexible working arrangement.
For example, VA #1 could work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday AM with a scheduled ‘handover’ at midday on Wednesday when VA#2 would take over Wednesday PM, Thursday and Friday.
This is an excellent arrangement and means there’s someone to ‘step into’ your shoes when the unexpected happens.
Minimum and maximum turnaround times
A great way to build work into your own schedule is to take on the nitty-gritty time-consuming tasks that business owners need done, that usually don’t have the pressure of a short deadline.
This includes (and is only limited by your imagination!) data entry, word processing, spreadsheet creation, graphic design, website creation or maintenance – any task that doesn’t require a timely response.
In this scenario, your client would allocate tasks, and you would work on them in your own time after providing your client with a minimum and maximum turnaround time.
It’s up to you to turn away the work that requires you to work to deadlines you can’t guarantee will be met. Feel free to send them to the VA Lead Network to find an alternative VA!
These are bulky assignments, usually requiring multiple tasks to be completed and handed over as one.
Projects can be broken down into ‘chunks’ or ‘stages’ that come together over time to complete a larger project.
Similar to providing minimum/maximum turnaround times for single tasks, you would allocate a larger timeframe to hand over each ‘chunk’ as it’s completed. For example, as a social media manager, you may be engaged to create a 3, 6 or 12-month schedule… The project could be broken down into projection/planning, content creation, drafts for review/edit in bulk, and final handover.
This could open the door to further engagement by offering implementation/scheduling, ongoing management and reporting, continuous planning or marketing support. If you wanted to keep your flexibility by limiting your offering, you could align yourself with a VA who provides the “next steps” (find them here) and sell yourself as a VA with “connections”.