New, Nervous and in Need of Reassurance/Advice!


#1

Hello from Essex!

My name is Grace and I have decided to become a Freelance Virtual Assistant working from home. :slight_smile: My prior experience includes working in Property Management/Lettings (6 years) and for the NHS admin (2 years).

I am feeling very nervous about the legal side of things - I don’t want to be caught out! I’ve had a look through this site and done some research and there’s a few things I am uncertain on.

First of all is GDPR - on ICO I did an assessment and it said because I would be processing data on behalf of another organisation I don’t have to sign up, but I still feel uneasy and think I’ll pay the fee anyway! I only intend on doing work for other organisations. Is there anything else I need to know on this? I am storing files on OneDrive personal (GDPR compliant I believe) and I’m going to get a hard drive to back up as well.

I am using an @outlook.com email address at the moment and people are sending me details through on this. Is this ok??

My contact address is my home address. I do not have a website - does my address have to go on my Facebook page? I don’t really want people to know this.

Other than that I’ve signed up with HMRC and registered as a Sole Trader, and I’m looking into Professional Indemnity Insurance and thinking about getting QuikBooks…is there anything else I need to do? Am I missing anything?

If I created a report for a client and sent it across to them, how long should I be storing this for before deleting? I’m a bit confused because GDPR says do not keep data for longer than you need to. Surely once the document is sent I no longer need to keep hold of it then? But it makes sense for good practise to keep it for a while!

Should I have Terms & Conditions with clients? I am potentially going to start work for a Lettings Agency soon as a remote Property Manager through PeoplePerHour and a lot of other sites say it’s not worth having a contract in place because an email is sufficient in terms of what was agreed.

I’m sorry I know it’s a lot of questions I am just very nervous and do not wish to be sued! :slight_smile:

Many thanks,

Grace


#2

Hello!

All good questions!

  1. GDPR - you will be handling personal data, whether it’s prospects that you are marketing to, or client data which needs to be kept secure, so you need a good understanding of what GDPR entails and your responsibilities under it in terms of what is secure, valid risk assessments etc. ICO’s guidance is a bit woolly here…At SVA we take a view that as VAs it would be almost impossible to run a business without handling personal data, so you should be registered. It’s £40 a year, and your clients can check your registration with ICO (many of them will do this!).

  2. Emails - use domain specific emails. Couple of reasons for this: Firstly if someone mistypes your email address the chances of confidential data ending up with someone else is much less if it’s been sent to your own domain rather than a generic gmail/outlook/btinternet one. Secondly, it sends the wrong signal to clients if you won’t invest in your own business by having a proper email/domain…It doesn’t need to be expensive, a lot of hosting companies will let you pay monthly for about £5/month.

  3. Addresses - Under GDPR and PECR people have to be able to contact you via a proper mailing address if they have a complaint. So yup - address needs to be on there (see Selling online?) but there are a few alternatives you can use.

  4. Storage of work/T&Cs - This should be specified in your T&Cs and privacy policy which clients agree to - it solves a lot of queries down the line if you make this clear at the start. I usually keep the work till it is paid for and then delete. It’s this kind of nitty gritty detail which makes T&Cs/Client Contract essential as a VA… Don’t skip it!

Hope that helps - and good luck!!!
Caroline


#3

Thank you so much Caroline! It’s all very exciting just need to make sure I’m well set up.


#4

Top tip: Ask ALL the questions!


#5

I think I’m going to have a lot to be honest!

At the moment whilst I’m marketing myself and getting a feel for freelancing I’ve been using PeoplePerHour and bidding for UK clients. But I wondered if there is anything I need to bear in mind if I was to bid for clients out of the UK or sign up to a US site like Fiverr. If work is carried out through these websites for a non UK client is there anything I need to bear in mind in terms of letting HMRC know or my insurance company know, or something similar.

I was wondering because there is a middle man (Fiverr, PPH etc) between me and the client, and they take their fees and accept UK clients, I’m not sure if it is as straight forward as working on these sites without complications.

Thank you so much Caroline!

Grace


#6

Not really - the main thing is that YOU are based in the UK and have to comply with UK law and taxes.

Occasionally offshore US clients will ask you to sign a disclaimer stating that you pay tax on their payments to you elsewhere. You may find that your rates fluctuate or the client demand fluctuates with the exchange rate…


#7

Wonderful! Thank you