Finding your first clients can sometimes be the toughest obstacle to overcome on the outset of starting your REVA Business. When many Real Estate Virtual Assistants (or any Virtual Assistant) first start out, many times they turn to subcontracting for other VAs to get their feet wet in the industry and get some initial client work. We think subcontracting is a great way to get your start in the real estate virtual assistant industry and start making some money while building your practice. And if you do good work as a subcontractor, you will get great testimonials to use to help build your business further.
At REVA Academy, some of us at one time or another, have been in both roles, either as as a subcontractor or as the Lead VA utilizing a subcontractor. And since we've been around the block on both sides, we wanted to present you with tips and tricks to being a good subcontractor and how to have an excellent Subcontractor/VA relationship. So here are some Do's and Don'ts...
Do remember that the Virtual Assistant that hires you as a subcontractor (Lead VA ), IS your client and should be treated as a valued client. Just because they happen to be a VA also, should not diminish their value as a an actual client of your business.
Don't lack the sense of urgency or attention to detail just because it is not YOUR client that you are doing task for. Take the work handed over to you from your Lead VA as seriously as you would from any other client.
Do keep communication going in a regular basis. The key to a good subcontracting relationship is communication on both sides. If you haven't heard back from your Lead VA on a question, follow up. If you are stuck on something, contact your lead VA. Skype, email and Facebook are your friends. Regular checkins are good.
Don't disappear. It is not cool to take on a project or task, and then disappear off the face of the earth with no communication. When this happens, not only does the subcontracting VA look bad, it makes the Lead VA look very bad to their client. It is understandable that emergencies can come up, or life changes, which is why communication is VERY important. (see above)
Do pay attention to and hold to deadlines and time constraints for tasks given to you. Many of your Lead VA's tasks given have deadlines given by their clients, and for a good reason. It is important that you stick to them, and if you are running in to problems, let them know ASAP. If your Lead VA has not given you a clear deadline, ask them.
Don't go over your time allotted on tasks unless you have been given permission to. It is understandable that sometimes you may get stuck on a task or it is taking slightly longer than expected because it is unfamiliar or more information is needed. If that is the case, communicate this with your lead VA ASAP. It is not right to keep the time clock going for 4 hours over the limit because your computer broke down while doing the task and it took you that long to fix your computer. (this has actually happened)
Do read the instructions or directions for a project thoroughly. Many Lead VAs have worked hard creating process documents with task instructions so that they do not have to repeat themselves. And one missed detail can mess up a whole project. If instructions for a task are unclear, ask.
Don't leave a lead VA hanging when a challenge related to the task arises. Be proactive and help find solutions, or communicate the Lead VA well before the deadline about the challenge. Nothing is worse than having a sub take on a project and when things get sticky or they can't figure out a part of it, they just give up and email the Lead VA less than an hour before the deadline that "I couldn't figure this out, sorry!" and vanish. (this has actually happened)
Do have realistic expectations about an acceptable subcontractor rate. Your subcontracting rate should be much less than the normal rate you charge your own clients, but still affordable and worth your while. The Lead VA has spent much time, money and other resources in marketing to reach those clients, fostering the relationship with those clients, and project managing their tasks. As a subcontractor, you are being handed tasks without having to spend the dollars and time doing the above so consider your subcontracting rate accordingly.
In a follow up post (Part 2) we will have even more Do's and Don'ts for subcontracting. Stay tuned!!
Have some Do's and Don'ts for subcontracting of your own to add? Leave us a comment below and tell us all about it and we will feature it in our follow up posts.