Knowing what to expect when you start working with someone new is CRITICAL. It builds trust and improves workflow. Here’s a detailed overview of what you can expect, including the answers to my most common FAQs. Remember, I'm always here to help if needed and answer any questions.
HOW I WORK
I ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS
Research and analysis are my bread and butter, which means I'm always asking questions and challenging your perspective. I do this for two reasons:
- I need to get to know you and your preferences/idiosyncrasies/strengths/flaws; and
- I am most effective when I know exactly what it is you're asking for and I fully understand the issue. Clarity at the beginning will save us both time and money down the road.
QUALITY IS MY FIRST PRIORITY
I know we both value exceptional services and work products and quality work will always be my first priority. There may be times, however, that we're faced with a deadline that requires some compromise. Let me explain. Let's say you ask me to research a complex issue and I say this will take me about 5 hours. Unfortunately, this was a last minute investor request and you need the information in 3 hours. In such instances, I'll let you know that to make that deadline we'll need to refocus on a few key points instead of covering the entire topic. I'll also make you aware of what you're loosing so that you're always in the know.
Q: HOW LONG IS IT GOING TO TAKE?
A: Any time you ask me to do a task or project I will outline exactly when I can complete it and whether or not I need additional information, from you or another team member, to complete it. You can help expedite the process by telling me what your deadline is in advance and letting me know where the task/project fits, priority wise, among the other tasks/projects I'm working on for you.
Most small tasks/projects (under 2 hours) will be completed within 24 - 48 hours of your request and often sooner. For medium to large tasks/projects (i.e. 2+ hours - 2 months), I'll always give an estimate of how long its going to take me. I'm also happy to discuss how to amend the task/project, as needed, to make your deadline.
Regardless of the task/project size KNOW THAT I WILL ALWAYS KEEP YOU UP TO DATE ON MY PROGRESS AND WHERE YOUR TASK/PROJECT STANDS AND YOU WILL NEVER HAVE TO CHASE ME DOWN FOR ANSWERS. To help us with this, I use the project management app Asana. It makes it super easy for you to see exactly what I'm working on, and where we're at progress wise, at your convenience day or night.
Q: WHEN WILL YOU RESPOND?
A: I'll always try to respond to your inquires within a few hours during my standard business hours. Outside of these hours, or if I am exceptionally busy, I will respond within 24 hours between the hours of Monday 9:00 a.m. MST through Saturday noon MST. I generally do not check my email on Saturday evenings and Sundays. This means that if you send me an email at 6:00 p.m. MST on a Saturday, you may not hear back from me until Monday.
Q: DO YOU TAKE EMERGENCY/RUSH JOBS?
A: I GET that no matter how perfect our planning, sometimes clients ask for things last minute or some other unpredictable thing happens. Sometimes you need help NOW. I'll always do my best to be there for you. Please note, however, that I reserve the right to refuse rush jobs if I am unable to clear my schedule. In these instances, I'll do my best to find an alternative solution.
Additionally, I charge a 25% surcharge for rush jobs that are given with less than 24 hours’ notice and a 50% surcharge for rush jobs that occur on weekends and holidays. I will always let you know what your surcharge will be before I begin work on your rush job.
Q: WILL YOU WORK DIRECTLY WITH AND/OR MANAGE MY OTHER EMPLOYEES/CONTRACTORS?
A: Definitely! I'd love to meet and work with or manage any of the other employees/contractors you've hired to get your business to the Next Level. I have a lot of experience autonomously managing contractors and employees and handing this over to me is a great way to get stuff off your plate.
Additionally, I'm not an expert in everything, so the best way for us to grow your business is often to bring on specialty employees or contractors like a web developer, business development consultant, etc. If you're already working with other contractors or employees we'll discuss what my relationship will be with them in our first meeting if we haven't done so already. If you're currently a Solopreneur, I'll likely recommend down the road that we contract out some of your needs so that you get the best advice and the most bang for your buck.
Q: ARE YOU AVAILABLE FOR ONSITE VISITS?
A: Heck yah! I'd be happy to discuss options with you anytime you feel like you need some in-person support. Sometimes big meetings and Board reports can pile up and you need someone there, literally beside you, to ensure you slay those dragons and deliver on everything you've promised.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR CONFIDENTIALITY POLICY?
A: I take my business seriously and I know that information is one of the most valuable resources an organization has. After 12+ years in Human Resources and working as an Executive Assistant to C-Level Executives, you can be absolutely certain that I understand what confidentiality actually means. To demonstrate how seriously I take confidentiality, I've included a detailed Confidentiality Clause in my Retainer Agreement. If you/your organization has it's own Confidentiality Agreement for Contractors (which it should), I'd be happy to read it over and sign it as well provided that I'm comfortable with the terms of the agreement.
Q: ARE MY PASSWORDS + LOGINS SAFE?
A: Yes, I do everything I can to protect your information. When you share your passwords and logins with me, the information is stored off-line at my home office in a locked cabinet. Should any jobs be allocated to another subcontractor (i.e. I bring on a new team member to support me), you will be introduced to the new team member and approve any changes before any of your information is shared.
MY WORK SCHEDULE
I pride myself on being flexible and available to you because I know what a difference it can make in feeling supported and succeeding in our 24/7 world. I also never work with more than a handful of Entrepreneurs to ensure I can deliver on everything I promise and that I'm able to be there for you when you really need it.
With that in mind, I do have standard business hours that I conduct most of my business during. That doesn't mean I won't respond to emails or quick requests outside of these hours, as you'll often find I will, but rather that I have set aside these standard times so that you know when I'm most often available.
I check my email regularly and at least twice daily Monday through Friday, including Wednesdays. I also check my email at least once on Saturdays. I am not always in front of my computer or near my phone, however, during these hours. We'll arrange reoccurring monthly/biweekly/weekly check-in calls within these hours to ensure you're always ahead of the game. If you need to speak with me outside of these check-in calls, I'll do my best to accommodate any quick telephone calls and am always happy to accommodate and set up a scheduled skype call. On occasion, I may also be available for calls outside of these hours.
MY TIME OFF
One of the advantages of working with a contractor is that you don't have to worry about paying for any time off. This doesn't mean that I will never need time off. I am human after all and sometimes I get sick or take a vacation. Most of the time this won't have any affect on our work together but when it does I'll always let you know. Here's what you need to know about my pre-scheduled time off:
- My business observes all Canadian statutory holidays;
- I'm getting married in June, so I'll be off from May 31 - June 11; and
- You can see all of my pre-scheduled time off for the next year in the calendar below. If it would help, I'd be happy to add these days to your calendar as well.
I generally only take unscheduled time off when I'm sick. I'm rarely (knock on wood) too sick to do any work but if I am, and it affects a deadline, I'll let you know right away. We'll need to take into account any deadlines you have during my pre-scheduled time off as well. Don't worry, we'll plan in advance so nothing's missed.
Lastly, I'll always send you a reminder before my pre-scheduled time off to ensure you're never caught off guard. If you'd like to work with a temporary VA while I'm on vacation, just let me know at least a month in advance and I'll ensure you're taken care of.
my contact information
My preferred contact information is detailed below. Although I do keep up with my social media accounts, I ask existing clients to contact me directly via one of these methods as these are the channels I check more often.
- TEXT OR CALL ME ON MY CELL PHONE @ 780.977.4208
- EMAIL ME @ CATERINALGSNYDER@GMAIL.COM
- SMS OR CALL ME ON SKYPE @ CATERINA.SNYDER1
In the 'Let's Get Personal Questionnaire' you're going to tell me what communication method you prefer. As often as possible, I'll use that method so you're not wasting time on methods you don't usually employ.
high fives, you made it through!
Now that you know How I Work, I'm going to tell you What I Need From You. If you're exhausted from all that reading take 2 minutes to laugh and grab a coffee/green juice!