#153: What To Do Before Working Together

Feb 17, 2023 | Working with Clients

This month we are breaking down the onboarding process into some easy steps. If you need to catch up, click on the links below in the resources area.

If you think you don’t need to set business boundaries, think again! Not setting boundaries is an invitation for clients to take advantage of you – at all hours of the day, every day. If you value your free time with your friends and family, you must set boundaries.

Today’s episode is What to Do Before Working Together To Cultivate Peaceful, Trusting, and Respectful Client Relationships.

Welcome back to Systems Sunday. This month we are breaking down the onboarding process into some easy steps. If you need to catch up, click on the links below in the Resources area.

I am Lisa Wells, your Virtual Assistant Trainer.

If you think you don’t need to set business boundaries, think again! Not setting boundaries is an invitation for clients to take advantage of you – at all hours of the day, every day. If you value your free time with your friends and family, you must set boundaries. Today’s episode is What to Do Before Working Together To Cultivate Peaceful, Trusting, and Respectful Client Relationships.

If the word “boundaries” sounds too harsh or impersonal, try using the term “collaboration guidelines”. This term doesn’t sound so formal or one-sided. Your guidelines will benefit both you and your client.

When it comes to boundaries, start with the basics, like your business hours and how clients can reach you. Think about how you want to handle imperfect situations, such as if a client calls you after hours, how long will they have to wait for a response? Will you give out your cell phone number or should they only call the office phone? How will messages get to you and how quickly? Will you respond to texts or emails after hours?

What about scope creep, change orders, rush jobs, or work outside the agreement?

Paying clients often feel like they deserve unlimited access to you, which includes weekends, late nights, and vacation time. During this onboarding process is the time to set the record straight and set these boundaries. It becomes much more difficult to make policy changes after clients are used to doing business a certain way.

Remember that boundaries go both ways, so ask your client about their own boundaries. Maybe they don’t answer their phone after 6pm. Maybe they devote weekends to their family so scheduling a Monday morning team call might not be the best option for this client.

Expectations and boundaries go both ways so ask your new clients for their input. What do THEY expect from you? Talk out any complications; negotiate if you feel it’s necessary; and stay true to your mission and who you want to work with.

Expectations are different from boundaries. Boundaries are like house rules whereas expectations are like a road map for the project. Deadlines may change but overall, expectations show you what’s going to happen in a certain order.

One way to show expectations to your client is to create a checklist of 30-60-90 Day Goals. These don’t need to be as detailed as your client’s goals, but it will show them what’s coming up. Add this list to your project management system or simply send an email at the start of each month with this outline.

Also, set your expectations when it comes to who you’ll work with and how as well as who you won’t work with.

For example, do you want to work with startups or those who are already established? Are there certain industries you won’t work with? For me, I usually stayed away from those who were multi-level marketers.

Who is your ideal client? Who will benefit the most from your work?

Another helpful tool that helps establish boundaries and expectations is the FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions page of your website. If you don’t have one, take a moment to add one. Use this page to pre-qualify prospects by describing exactly who is right for your services and who is not. Explain your business hours and practices as well as what you expect from your clients. If people are scared off by this information, they are not part of your ideal client group. If people read this and see themselves being described, they will likely contact you to get started.

Having those answers spelled out also makes it easier to direct clients to find answers on their own while also reinforcing that you have policies for a reason.

If you enjoyed this episode and want more onboarding strategies, check out my Client Intake and Onboarding Growth and Profit Plan. These bite-sized trainings are perfect for giving you the “just in time” information you need for an effective client onboarding system.

You’ll discover:

  • How to stop winging it and what to do when clients push boundaries
  • A great system for a smooth client intake and setting up the client for success
  • Action sheets for new client intakes and new client setup systems

You can find the product below or head over to my VA Business Builder Boutique by clicking on Shop by Type in the menu bar and you’ll see a link for Growth and Profit Plans.

Join me next week as we wrap up this month with What to do so You Never Have a Client Say, “But I didn’t know that!”

Til then.

Did you enjoy this episode and want to put it into action? Check out this Growth & Profit Plan!

Growth & Profit Plan: Client Intake and Onboarding

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Here’s what you’ll discover in this lesson:

  • How to stop winging it when it comes to setting boundaries and what to do when clients push boundaries
  • A great system for a smooth client intake and setting up the client for success from the beginning that you can model
  • Action sheets for new client intakes and new client setup systems that you can use as a resource

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  • Sample intake form for a coaching client
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PLEASE NOTE: Once you purchase, you will receive an email with your login/password to gain lifetime online access to your Client Intake and Onboarding training.

#153: What To Do Before Working Together
#153: What To Do Before Working Together

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