Friday, July 24, 2015

Typing Information

What is involved with offering Typing as a service?

Can anyone type, yes but can everyone offer typing as a service? Typing can be more than just copy typing. Typing can involve creating spreadsheets, graphs, charts etc or even creating graphics. So you need to ask your prospective client what is involved with the typing before quoting.

·             Is the typing just plain copy typing, what you see is what you type, is there any tables, graphs, charts as they must then be created, you might have to create a graph or chart in excel and copy it across to word, that is time taking and is not straight copy typing, as you must create the graph etc. Sometimes you might have to scan an image from an book, so that means you need to scan it on a scanner and then resize to insert it into your document, this is not straight copy typing. You might need to find an image on the Internet, so that will involve research, finding the image. You might have to create a graphic, the client might have drawn an image, maybe a flow diagram, you will need to recreate this in the document this can also involve using graphic software then copy and insert within your document, and also this is very time consuming.

·              A client might send you to copy a PDF document for typing. Not all PDF conversion software works nicely when you convert a PDF document into word. You might find you still have to reformat the document this is time taking and often much quicker to just type the document from scratch. Note here the client will know the document is not typed from scratch, they will know you have used conversion software to convert the document and often this is not the quickest route to take.

·              You might need to firstly print out what the client has sent you so that you can type from it, it takes time to print out a document, and it costs to print from a printer.

·              At the end of your document you need to proofread and perform a spell check, this should be part of your quote or terms and condition; this task must always be done. Make sure you list this so that clients can see that you perform this task.

·              Sometimes clients might want their document saved to a memory stick (flash drive) you need to charge for this as it is time taking and maybe you need to a buy the memory stick.

·             If you offer typing as a service make sure you state that you can create graphs, tables, charts, brochures, graphics, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations. Do not assume all typing is simple copy typing, often it is more involved.

·             You may need to insert equations, this takes extra time to do this, so make sure you feature this time into the length of time it will takes you to complete the typing. Maths Equation typing is not easy and is time consuming, it is not straight copy typing as you need to go into the maths equation to get symbol etc you need.

·             You can no longer send large files through email and often you have to make use of Google docs, Dropbox, Send this File etc so make sure that your Internet bundle (capped or uncapped) can cope with offering typing. Files will need to be downloaded and uploaded. A file with graphics, graphs etc will take time to load and is very time consuming loading to Send this File or Dropbox etc, especially if it has more than 20 pages. A large manual with graphics, graphs and flows, a large spreadsheet, a PowerPoint presentation can take a few hours to upload, you have to remember this when it comes to your deadline and getting the work back to the client in time.

·              If you contract typing out to a subcontractor make sure you check the work thoroughly and ask the subcontractor to make sure they proof their own work then you double proof the work when you get it back. Often a subcontractor will just do the work and send it back to you and tell you it is proofed, don’t make the mistake of sending it to the client without you doing a proofread and spell check. You are the one the work is sent to from your client and not the subcontractor so it is up to you to make sure you send back a quality document.

·             When offering typing services sometimes you will get in tasks that you don’t like doing, maybe lots of figure typing, this can be boring for some, listen to music as you type, this will help the time go a bit quicker.

·             When pricing, look at the task at hand and charge accordingly for how long the task will take and what is involved in doing the task. Most typing is charged on a per page basis but it can also be done on an hourly rate, whichever works out best for you, is what you offer.

·              Authors and students may ask you for a charge per word, roughly you normally get ±750 words to an A4 page at Ariel at a size 12 font.

·             If you have a table within the document, check out the other tables within the document, maybe you can just copy and paste your first one and just change the data, this can save you time.

·              Know how many pages you can do in an hour, day, or week so that you can let the client know if you can reach their deadline, remember if you have graphics, graphs, charts etc within a document it might take you longer to create these so therefore affecting the time it takes to complete your document.

·              Ask for client preferences: fonts, size of text, colour in graphs, flow diagrams, spacing, justification, ask if the client can provide you with the company logo’s/graphics, templates if required. etc.

The Concept of being a Virtual Assistant/Person running your own Business

A virtual assistant runs their own business from a virtual location/area. When you run your own business you will do the same tasks as management would do in a larger company, the difference is you might be doing these tasks yourself unless you get assistance from other like-minded people. The concept of running a VA businesses is that you are running a business, you are doing the marketing, bookkeeping, networking, the work, debt collection, invoicing etc, you do it all yourself.
You are your own boss.

As you are running a company you are on the same level as other company bosses, CEO’s, managers, directors etc. You are no longer in the situation where you are a PA or Office Manager getting instructions from a Boss, you are not working for someone else that can give you instructions, you have to get the work, you have to draw the clients to you through having presence on social media, online/offline advertising, website, blog, networking, advertising in your area etc.

You organise your company, one of the tasks you organise is, your pricing structure, you as the company owner need to have prices/rates for the services you are offering or the products that you are selling. Part of running your company is setting up your pricing structures. You do not contact a potential client and wait for them to give you a price for the services you are offering, you have a pricing structure ready and you tell the client your price.

To run your company/business you need to have a company structure and follow set procedures to be organised. Specific things need to be done at specific times, like your office administration, invoicing your clients, keeping your work schedules up to date etc. You need to have a structure of how you are going to deal with clients; how you are going to be doing the work, a structure of dealing with subcontractors should you need to use them. You need to know how long it will take you to say transcribe a 1 hour file, how long would it take you to type up a 100 page document, how long will it take you to organise an event etc. These are things you need to know as working for many clients you need to be organised and be able to schedule the work and be able to meet deadlines that are set by your clients.

As a VA you need to be able to do multi-tasking, you could be working for a few clients at the same time, this is where you will use your time management and prioritising skills.

Being a VA is about running a business, being your own boss, scheduling your work times and procedures yourself. You are an Entrepreneur in a worldwide industry that is growing daily.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The life of a Virtual Assistant: Part 1 – coping with urgent work

The life of a Virtual Assistant: Part 1 – coping with urgent work


More often than not we do urgent work for clients. To meet the work deadlines we have to work long hours, public holidays and weekends. As VAs we have to be here for our clients and we often need to work our schedules around our clients, if we don’t the client can simply move onto another VA, who will work the hours they want.

As I work from home, I don’t mind working extra hours/time. I am safe in my own environment and don’t have to travel to and from work, my office is a minute away. I can schedule my family around the hours I work. When I put in extra hours I can also take that time off when I am low with work, or take an hour off here and there to suite myself.

Some deadlines can be negotiable, often a client does not know how long a particular task will take to do, it helps the client by you knowing how long tasks take, therefore, you can negotiate your time sometimes.

If you cannot do an urgent task, talk to your client, explain that you must finish what you are doing first and then you will attend to their work next, explain you want be long and give the client a rough estimate of when you can start their work and when you can have it ready by.

If you are organised you should be able to handle urgent work with your normal scheduled work and be able to cope. If you know what work you have for the day and know your deadlines, dealing with urgent work should be easier.

You can also ask for assistant from other VAs that you know who are not as busy.  Subcontracting the work out can be another way of coping with urgent work.


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