A few weeks ago I found myself in an awkward position. After playing ‘nurse’ all night to my daughter and her flu bug, I suddenly found myself getting a stomach flu like nobody’s business. Being the type of person who likes to exceed my client’s expectations…I needed to finish just one project. So I sat there on the phone with some technical support person trying desperately to control my nausea long enough to solve this one little issue.
So why share this gross experience? Because it got me to thinking about ‘my back up plan’. What is a Virtual Assistant to do if she suddenly finds herself sick or injured and unable to work? What sort of ‘back up plan’ should we have in place? Are we required to have a backup plan? You might be surprised by my answer.
Yes, in my opinion you should have some sort of backup plan as a courtesy for your clients. For me personally I like to keep a network of other VA’s who I can call at a moment’s notice to take on work. These are people I trust and people I would feel totally comfortable handling my client’s projects if the need should ever arise.
I also make it a point to always make sure my clients have been given their passwords and login info immediately after I have set something up for them. It is there own responsibility to keep that info on file for themselves. I also have hard files with all of my customers contact info and password information stored in a filing cabinet that my husband has access to. Should anything serious ever happen to me he would at the very least be able to provide that info to my clients.
Finally, it is probably a good idea to have outlined in your agreement with customers what will happen if you are suddenly unable to work. It should be clear to your clients from the start about what they can expect if you end up on queasy street or get hit by that proverbial bus. They have every right to ask you that in a consultation and you should be prepared to answer them confidently.
However, when all is said and done – it is only partially your responsibility. Your client has to have their own back-up plan in place in case you are suddenly unable to work. No business should be relying on you so heavily that they would be unable to function without you – and every business owner should have their own ‘backup plan’ ready if you are suddenly unable to provide services to them.
Luckily for me (or perhaps it was UNLUCKY) – my flu hit on a Friday afternoon and mostly only wreaked havoc on my weekend and not my client work. But I took it as ‘hint’ from the universe that this was something I really need to address. So what’s your backup plan? How will you answer that question if a client asks you during a consultation? I would love to hear your plans in the comments!