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  • Writer's pictureCelise Downs

The General Workflow Process for my VA Business

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. But, I only recommend products or services that I genuinely like and trust.

If we get to work together, you gotta know what to expect, right? So, check out my super-detailed workflow process that will give you the scoop on what’s about to go down. Get ready to be impressed (or at least have a clearer idea of what’s going on).

If you’re a fempreneur…

1) Initial Inquiry

You fill out the contact form, answering the most basic of questions.

2) Send New Client Questionnaire

This is a more in-depth questionnaire you’ll receive 24-48 business hours after filling out the contact form, where I ask you about your business, who you serve, if you’ve ever worked with a VA before, what led you to hire me, the length of time you need me, blah-blah-yadda-yadda.

3) Send Draft Brochure

Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you’ll receive a Draft Brochure. This includes the service you chose and payment options. For one-off projects, you have the option of paying in full or a 50 percent deposit. If there is a major word count difference when I receive the file, it may change the final invoice (50 percent deposit) or you may receive another invoice (payment in full) upon project completion.

This quote will disappear like unicorn farts in three business days. I hear unicorns fart rainbows and since those things are damn pretty, I wouldn’t mind if they hung around. Hopefully, they smell like cotton candy or something. Once you make your choice and send it back, I will send you a contract/invoice combo to sign.

4) Send Contract/Invoice Combo

The contract/invoice combo is exactly that: a contract for you to review and sign, along with an invoice for you to pay. You’ll receive this after the Draft Brochure and the invoice will either be your payment in full, the 50 percent deposit, the one-month trial rate, or your first month’s retainer. This combo will also disappear like unicorn farts in three business days.

5) Send Welcome Email

Once you come aboard, I’ll send you a Welcome Email that will include your Client Welcome Packet and one or two things to look out for: Getting To Know You Questionnaire or the Curb-Kickin’ Project Form.

  • Client Welcome Packet - An 8-page booklet that is a must-read for my clients because it provides a shit-ton of info like office hours, office closures, important links, how to prepare your files, etc.

  • Getting To Know You Questionnaire - This is me, asking personal questions about YOU. I want to know who you are, especially if I’m going to be working with you for months at a time.

  • Curb-Kickin’ Project Form (retainer clients only) - This will tell me about the projects you’ll be uploading. Unless otherwise discussed, you will receive this every Thursday evening to fill out for the following week. No projects? No problem. Just indicate that on the form.

6) Send access to Client Portal

HoneyBook is the project management tool I use to manage my projects. This is where we will communicate with each other. And by communicate, I mean, via email. No Gmail, no Outlook, no Yahoo, no phones. Just Honeybook. Why, you ask? That’s a blog post for another day. You will be required to generate your own username and password, which you’ll use anytime you need to log in to the portal. The link to this will be in your Welcome Packet.

7) Setup folder on Hightail

Hightail is my preferred file sharing site. For retainer clients, you will be using this site to upload and download your files. Why, you ask? This, too, will be a blog post for another day.

8) Send a gift - for retainer clients only

9) Start Project

As your project start date approaches, I’ll reach out to make sure you’re still set to start on time. Upload your files AT LEAST 48 HOURS before the project start date. You will receive a reminder one week prior to your project start date (depending on how far out your start date is), and 48 business hours prior. If I don’t receive your files within 48 hours of the start date, the project is deemed canceled by you and your slot in my schedule will be released.

If you’re a retainer client, you’ll receive:

  • Weekly progress reports of projects completed

  • Monthly Client Satisfaction Survey to fill out

  • Word count email (if it’s close to being reached)

10) Project Delivery

Upon completion of retainer projects, I will upload them into your secret-coded folder on Hightail.

Upon completion of one-off projects with a payment of 50 percent upfront, I will send you a final invoice. Once the invoice has been paid, you will receive your project files via the Client Portal.

Upon completion of one-off projects paid in full, you will receive your project files via the Client Portal.

11) Project Follow-Up

The magic number here is 30, GoddessBoss. You have 30 days to get back to me with any questions you may have and one final round of revisions. I’ll also send a Client Satisfaction Survey for you to fill out.

For retainer clients, you’ll get an email inquiring if you want to renew your contract. If so, fuck yeah! I look forward to kickin’ more errors to the curb for you. If not, #BootothefuckingHoo. Your Client Satisfaction Survey email will also include your Client Buh-Bye Packet.

If you’re an indie romance author…

The process is a smidge different after you submit your initial inquiry.

What’s the same?

The Draft Brochure, the contract/Invoice Combo, the Welcome Email, access to the Client Portal, Start Project, Project Delivery, and Project Follow-up.

What’s different?

1) Send Author Intake Questionnaire

I send this after the initial inquiry. It’s a more in-depth questionnaire where I ask you author-y things like your pen name (if you have one), book title, website URL (if you have one), book blurb, your author journey, etc.

2) Request 500-word sample

If I’m not feeling you, then I’ll let you know. If I’m intrigued, I’ll request a 500-word sample to edit, preferably from the middle of your short story. This allows me to determine the status of your material and the type of services you really need.

You could request proofreading, but maybe you meant copyediting? I dunno. We’ll figure it out. I will return the sample within 72 business hours of the upload date. If you like how I work, then we’ll move forward.

3) No Hightail access

Unless you’re a client on retainer, you won’t get a secret-coded folder on Hightail. The Client Portal allows you to upload files, and since that’s how I communicate with all my clients, you’ll just submit your short story through there.

4) No gift

Sucks to be you. Unless, of course, you’re a client on retainer.

And voilà! There it is. If you’re a female entrepreneur or independent romance author, bringing someone new into your business can be both exciting and overwhelming.

You are not alone, sister!

And heytherehey, indie romance author, if you’re not treating your writing like a business, then you shouldn’t be in the business of writing. Because it is a business. Just sayin’.

This wild and crazy entrepreneurial journey is totally doable (maybe even enjoyable at times!), but the seemingly never-ending list of tasks required to build and grow your business don’t have to be intimidating.

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. But in sharing how I tackle onboarding new clients, I hope I gave you a different perspective on how you could create your own process.


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