Do You Understand the Difference?

Sometimes I’ll read things from other people in our industry, and I have to wonder whether they understand the difference between a project and providing support.

In case you’re confused, I thought I’d talk about it here…

A project is something that is basically one-off, one-time work. It has a start and a finish.

Web design is a good example of project work. It’s a one-time gig where you are hired specifically to do that one thing and that one thing isn’t ongoing because there is an end date, which is the completion of the site design.

Support, on the other hand, is something that is ongoing.

In the case of administrative support, it’s a body — a package — of any number of administrative tasks, roles and functions in a business that are recurring and continuous throughout the life of that business.

For example, you don’t just return one customer’s call and that’s it, you never have to call another customer in your life, right? Of course not.

So customer service is just one aspect, one area in a business in which you will have to engage in any number and kind of tasks and actions throughout the life of the business. There is no beginning and ending like with project work. It is ongoing.

When you understand the differences clearly, you can begin to better distinguish categories of work and services in your business so that you can create more revenue streams and make more money.

That means you can group all kinds of administrative support into retainer packages and then charge separately for specific projects and other work unrelated to administrative support.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Danielle. You seem to cover this topic every few weeks. What could be so hard to understand the difference between a project and ongoing administration tasks. All VA’s in their corporate PA lifetime would have handled both aspects. I don’t know…….

  2. Yeah, you’d think they would understand this simple distinction, yet so many really don’t, amazingly enough. That’s why I try to help them understand. Because it will make an immense difference in how they figure out how to make money in this business and better serve clients. When they get stuck in project mode, they think too transactionally and compartmentally instead of how they can more fully and truly support the client’s overall business and vision and goals.

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