So, you’ve signed up for the 90 Day VA course (YAY!), you’ve started working through the modules, and you’ve even landed a few clients. What a great feeling!
You are on the road to being your own boss and setting your own schedule. You have pictured yourself enjoying the freedom to work when and where YOU want to, as you travel the world or work around your family’s schedule.
But, there’s a catch. Sometimes, you are going to have to let go of clients.
This can be tough.
It feels good to have a growing list of clients as you build your VA business, and it can be scary to think about turning anyone down or even ending a work relationship.
Naturally, when this problem presents itself, doubts might start to creep in:
- What if that’s my last chance to have a paying client?
- Maybe I should just keep working for this person, even though I know I need to move on!
- I don’t want them to think I’m rude for asking for more money.
Here’s the good news: You’re not the first person to face this!
There is a way to navigate this crucial step (learning to let clients go) and come out on the other side, ready to move forward and keep adding to your VA skill set.
Let’s take a look at how to move on from a client and recognize the signs telling you it’s time to say goodbye to a client.
Sign #1 – You Have a Scarcity Mindset
A scarcity mindset is when you think this is it – nothing better is coming to you.
Whether it’s time, money, a new job, etc., having this “lack of” mentality can mean that you are afraid to make changes because you believe there’ll never be anything better.
This mindset can keep you stuck, and it can prevent both you and your client from making the changes needed to keep growing personally and professionally.
Personal growth coach Rebecca Patterson wrote about this for Forbes recently, noting that a “lack of” mindset can make people interpret even positive situations — such as finally getting to work as a VA! — in a negative light, out of fear of being unworthy.
This fear causes people to clamp down when maybe they need to let go instead.
Many businesses out there would benefit from your services, so don’t feel like you have to hold on tightly to one if it isn’t a good fit.
Sign #2 – You Are Rejecting Better Offers
If you find yourself saying no to clients or projects you really want to take on – because you are afraid to let go of a client or a situation that’s not working – then that’s a sign that you probably need to make some changes.
It can show up like this:
- You are clinging to your first VA client even when you’ve outgrown them.
- You want to niche down, but you’re unsure how to break the news to your current client(s).
- You have a new client willing to pay more, but you’re not sure you’re ready because you’re second-guessing your capabilities.
One technique for changing this is to embrace an abundant view of your VA life.
As you build your portfolio, you will have more opportunities than you can imagine. Embrace them!
Sign #3 – Your Stress Level Is Off the Charts
If you’re overworked and stressed all the time, that’s a definite warning sign. Beware!
Some examples are:
- Have toxic clients
- Working outside the scope of your initial agreement
- There is a giant gap in communication between you and the client, and you’re trying to put the puzzle pieces together.
- The list can go on!
It can also go the other way where you’re overcompensating because you’re just grateful for any work, and you want to impress the client.
Hello, increase in stress levels!
Sign #4 – You’re Feeling Bored
Remember how nervous and excited you felt when you first became a VA? Well, those feelings can slip away once you’ve been working in the field for a while.
Maybe you landed a dream client while you were still finishing up 90 Day VA. That client wanted you to do lots of blog posts and weekly content repurposing tasks.
But now you’ve been doing that for a while, and it no longer feels like the best fit. Don’t worry.
You don’t have to work in the same position forever as a VA. That’s one of the benefits of being one! One tip to overcome boredom is to clarify your own goals and make sure the work you’re doing is a good fit.
Sign #5 – You’re Avoiding Difficult Conversations
I get it. Most of us would do anything to avoid having difficult conversations – especially with the people paying us to work for them.
As women, we are often taught that it’s rude to speak up or express ourselves directly.
So we hem and haw and, then, months go by, and we are still stuck doing something we don’t want to do.
Or, maybe you have another client lined up that you are excited to work with, but you don’t know how to let go of the one you need to say goodbye to so that you can freely start your new gig.
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, that’s perfectly okay. These feelings are normal!
Learning to recognize when you need to let go of a client is an integral part of expanding your career as a VA.
Now, the question is how to do it. Let’s go over the next steps you need to take when you’re ready to move on. You can do this!
Here are five ways to get started.
1. Have That Difficult Conversation
If you run into a problem with a client, your instinct might be to run rather than address the situation at hand.
But wait. Try to move past discomfort instead of avoiding a difficult conversation. This could help you find a resolution that works for both you and your client instead of just pulling the plug and walking away.
Key points to consider:
- Don’t stop responding to a client’s emails
- Don’t just disappear when there is a conflict
- Stick around and have the hard conversation; it’s worth it!
Maybe you just need to tweak your hours or ask for more clarification about a project that isn’t going well. Being a VA gives you the flexibility to do this!
2. Stay on Good Terms
Don’t just dump your client and leave. This is terrible for you and terrible for them. There is a better way!
When you communicate with your client, keep these three tips in mind: be honest, transparent, and direct.
You want to end things on a positive note to protect your reputation in the industry (hint: so you get recommended for future jobs).
The VA world is small, and word gets around. So, be professional and mature about it and end on good terms.
If you have an issue with the client, address the client politely and be specific.
Double-check your contract to see how much notice you are supposed to give on your way out.
3. Adopt a PSS
A PSS is an asset for every VA, and it means you approach issues with a problem-solving spirit.
Maybe you just had a baby, or your spouse got transferred, and you have to focus on moving for now, or you just want a more flexible schedule – adapting to your environment is key.
Make the decision, and prepare your current client for the move. This could mean offering to help hire a replacement and then spending time training the new VA. Or, it could mean putting together a spreadsheet of all the tasks you do to help ease the transition.
4. Create and Stick to Boundaries
You’ve decided to leave, but your client keeps begging you to stay. Or, they keep piling more work on, but your new gig is ready and waiting for you, hoping and expecting that your focus will now be on their needs.
What do you do?
You make boundaries, and you stick to them. This is great practice for future conflicts! Be very clear — with yourself and your client — about your time frame.
If you need to start working with your new client on the first of the month, then make sure your current client knows you need to have everything wrapped up before then.
5. End on a Positive Note
This is so important! Remember that you are a professional, running your own business as a VA. This means you can make changes with clients in a firm yet friendly way.
Before you send your goodbye email, check in with yourself and think about what you could have done differently to make the situation with your client go more smoothly. Take notes so you can keep making changes and moving forward positively.
Then, when you are ready to sign off via email, acknowledge the positive and express gratitude.
Remembering that letting go of clients is all part of the process. It’s the way the online world goes.
The critical thing to remember is not to burn bridges when doing so. You never know when these clients or have people in their network who will need your services.
You can say goodbye to clients with grace and still move on to bigger and better things. There is so much space for you in the online world, so have no fear!
If you’re still unsure if working online is right for you, check out my FREE masterclass. I cover everything you need to know to get started working online as a virtual assistant.
Sign up TODAY and get started learning the SKILLS you need, including what you’ll need when it’s time to let go of a client.
In 90 Day VA, Esther teaches her students how to research and repurpose current content into blogs for the VAI website. Sarah is the student we’ve chosen this week to feature what she’s learned in the course. Get to know her:
Sarah Lahm is a writer and virtual assistant here to help you learn more about working online.
When she is not helping small businesses manage their content and maximize their marketing, she can be found hanging out with her family or walking her big, fluffy dog.
She’s a member of 90 Day VA and assists with everything from copywriting to social media support and marketing campaigns. To get in touch or learn more, check her out on LinkedIn!