Working With a VA

Posted by in Enjoy Your Job or Start a Business

Photo Credit: Idol

I am in the process of writing a workbook to help husbands communicate with their wives their want to start a business. I am great at regurgitating information, but I am not great at grammar, punctuation, etc. To help this, I hired a friend to review it for me. I learned a lot from this experience, and I would like to share it with you.

There is a difference in writing styles, and it is hard to see unless you have someone revise your work. My professional writing experience is on the technical side where the goal is to be very specific, saying what you need to in the least amount of words, and no vagueness. Add to that my style of being very direct and action oriented I tend to write in a cold manner. If you are going to hire a VA be sure you understand that that your writing styles may not be the same, and if that is important to you then you you need to be sure you hire a VA with similar writing styles.

Over the last 6-8 months I have retrained myself to only use 1 space between two sentences. I learned it was a relic of the type writer and it is no longer needed, so I eliminated it. I did not communicate this to my proofreader and the end product had both double and single spaces between sentences. I need to communicate this next time.

When more than one person is working on a project you have to be sure there is continuity for a good product. Even with our differences I believe we created a book with good continuity.

We each have a different perspective on the world. In one section of the book I was trying to push the reader to brainstorm the steps to reach a goal and the proofreader thought it was a section on brainstorming methods to reach the goal. It is not a huge difference but the little nuance there affects the goal of the writing. I need to consider stating the goals of each section so that they are clear through the revisions.

When working with a VA, expectations on both sides should be set. You have to be sure what you are asking for is the same thing the VA thinks you are asking for. We use many of the same words but the definitions we apply to the words can be quite different. This might sound silly, but I assumed a proofreader was someone who checked grammar etc., but doing a search on the web helped me to understand there is a wide range of definitions. So instead of saying I want a proofreader I need to say that I want someone to check spelling, grammar, and sentence structure.

I feel my friend did a great job on proofreading my book by taking my technical mess and making it more relational. Now I need to figure out a name.