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As a virtual assistant, we are often asked to manage big projects for a client. It might be migrating them to a new email system, building a new website, or moving them to a cloud-based solution to manage their business.

While big projects can be fun and exciting, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lost in the details. But in order for the project to be successful, we need to lead the way for our clients.

Here are some tips for making project-based work a big success:

1. Outline the project goals. What does your client want to accomplish? Take some time to discuss this together (write it down). The goals might change during the course of the project, but they will anchor you and your decisions.

2. Look for the right solution.Google the top applications which might be a good fit, read the reviews, read the reviews, look at the features list, ask your VA friends what they recommend. In other words, do your homework!During this research phase, make sure you also consider pricing and compatibility with systems your client already has in place. Consider issues like calendar software, accounting software, the web site back-end, and the ability to use a solution on their phone or tablet.

3. Try it out. This is the time to dive into the details. If there’s a free trial period offered, sign up. Start to set up the software with dummy client information and see how it works. Look at the project goals again and see how closely this meets the requirements. If there is no trial available, ask an account representative to give you a tour of both the client experience and how you’ll manage the day-to-day details of your work.This is also the time to try out support. How responsive are they to your questions? What hours are they available? Is it chat, email, phone or some combination? Whatever you discover, don’t be afraid to abandon ship and consider other solutions. That’s what trials are for and whatever you choose, you’ll be living with it for a long time!

4. Run redundant systems. Usually, jumping to a new way of running your client’s business requires a lot of changes. If they’re used to keeping a paper calendar, for example, and you’re moving to an electronic one, run them both in parallel for a few weeks to make sure the new approach is working and that both of you understand how it works. Same for finance tracking. If your client is accustomed to tracking revenue using Excel and you’re moving to QuickBooks, continue to run them in parallel for a while.

Making improvements and streamlining your client’s business is a never-ending and (at least for me) fun thing to do! Just make sure you move slowly and smoothly along the way.


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