Going virtual or operating remotely is becoming the new way of working.
As a service provider, you have to be positioned to work for clients whom you have never seen and may never even see.
However, virtual working has its rules.
Are you aware of the rules?
Are you sure you are ready to keep by its rules?
I see loads of young people trying to work remotely, but refusing to acknowledge and play by the rules of virtual working.
Accountinghub grew massively by virtual working. I have only physically met less than one-quarter of our clients. Most of them, I will never meet, because they are located in different states and even outside of Nigeria.
I strongly teach virtual working.
However, I see several people who understand its potentials, but refuse to understand its rules.
Let me share a few of the rules here:
1. Amazing email ethics – you must reply email very quickly, not 72 hours later
2. Communicate the progress of work – Client has paid for you to file taxes, when you process the payment to tax office, you write. When you submit the forms, you write. When you get the tax receipts, you scan them back. You cannot keep quiet for too long.
3. Good relationship – Call the clients for non-work reasons and say hello. Drop a WhatsApp chat once in a while. Add value when you can.
A client recently launched their website- I clicked on it, it did not properly capture what they do. The English was big-big grammar which would get anyone confused about what they do. I called her for about 15 minutes to give some feedback. She absolutely loved it.
4. Work quickly and closeout quickly – Virtual working is intended to allow you serve a lot of clients and grow very quickly. You also need to close out quickly so that you do not lose the trust of that customer.
To file tax at the tax office should take only a few days and you allow the client to be chasing you for weeks?
5. Disclose timelines and other expectations – At the time of on-boarding the client, please disclose how long the work will take and the scope of the work, very clearly. Sign a contract if possible.
It is best to even deliver far ahead of the timeline agreed.
6. Build trust and display expertise – please do not use a Yahoo mail to work virtually, write from an official email, issue proper branded invoices, use a corporate bank account. Except you are doing the virtual work under a company like Freelancer or any of those platforms, then they issue their own invoices and payments go to them.
7. Have a proper close out process – Get the client to sign a job completion form and offer some written review. Do not close a job quietly, announce the close out.
You will be shocked that a client who received the job was planning on telling you to make some changes, he didn’t get back to you for so long, you assumed work was closed.
Please do not assume. Announce the close out in a completion process.
8. Be ethical – polite, offer greetings, show empathy, understand deadlines, be warm, be low-headed, be human.
9. Have good online presence – be found, be seen, let your Resume be available for them to see and build trust in you.
I hope this helps someone who is setting up a home office and planning to start a small hustle, where you would hardly meet the clients.
by Chioma Ifeanyi-Eze, CEO Accountinghub.ng