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5 Reasons Why Virtual Assistants Need to Quit Working with Their Client

5 Reasons Why Virtual Assistants Need to Quit Working with Your Client

“You don’t drown by falling in water; you only drown if you stay there.” -Zig Ziglar

This is true for every Virtual Assistant who wants to be successful and yet find it difficult to let go of the very thing that’s holding them back. Ironic it may seem but part of growing your business is to know when to let go of clients. There are varying reasons why you must let go of a client, here are my top five:

Let go if you are being disrespected.

Respect breeds respect. That should always be the scenario. No compromises. The best way to show respect in a business relationship is to show professionalism. True. There is no need to establish friendship at the early stages of your working relationship with your client but that doesn’t mean you don’t expect your client to be friendly. (And yes, a client can be a friend eventually.)

When a client starts to be rude or disrespectful, treats you unfairly or is overly-critical of your work, or does something inappropriate or offensive, needs to be given a pink slip. It is best to cut quickly and to cut clean; otherwise the abuse will affect your quality of work. What do you say when firing a disrespectful client? Here’s an example:

Dear ( Name of Client),

We have been working together for ______ now.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to continue our working relationship due to personal reasons. I can no longer work with you after (give a two week period at the most).

Below are the details of work that I have completed: (state here)

And here is the scope of work I will not be able to do: (state here)

Sorry, I couldn’t be of more help. I wish you all the luck.

Always remain polite even if you leave no room for negotiations (and yes, even if your client is disrespectful 😉 ). Do not give a referral to a client who is disrespectful.

Let go if you have a better opportunity.

As your experience in the business grows, so does your talent and reputation. Inevitably, better opportunities come your way. It’s the expected result of the “Law of Attraction” wherein “like attracts like” and positive results draw more positive experiences.

Nevertheless, one must not jump fence immediately. You must first evaluate if the grass is indeed greener on the other side of the fence. Research on your prospective client’s business if it aligns with your core values, and check if their products actually do deliver on promises.

How do you say goodbye to your existing client when a better opportunity arrives? If you are still happy with your client and it’s just a matter of a bigger payday, maybe you can renegotiate your contract to either get a better pay, or give you more time to work with another client.

However, if the better opportunity is a perfect fit with your personal growth and career and it demands more of your time, it is time to let go of other clients that you have outgrown. Here’s an example:

Dear (Name of Client),

Working with you for the past ________ has been a wonderful experience. I wish we could continue this relationship, but a new opportunity has come my way that answers all that I have been praying for in my career.

It is with sadness that I must part ways with you. Rest assured I will be working with you over the next 30 days, and hopefully by then you would have chosen a VA from the VAs I will be referring to you.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Reassure your client that you will refer the right fit for them, and that you would give them enough time to ease into the new partnership.

Let go if you are not enjoying work.

A good paying job or project does not necessarily equate to happiness. Have you ever found yourself taking on a task that does not fit your capacities or core values? These can be very menial work that you do not like, or overwhelming work that drains your energy.

How many times have you found yourself taking on a good paying project that is highly stressful and demanding? Maybe it isn’t as bad as a highly stressful and demanding project that doesn’t pay well, but if you’re not happy with what you’re doing, soon enough it will affect the quality of your work.

Nothing beats getting paid well for doing something you love. So before you take on a task, evaluate if the project gives you a buzz of excitement. More importantly, choose a work that you enjoy and would like to be known for. Meanwhile, here is an example of letting go of a client whose workload is not fun:

Dear (Name of client),

We have been working together for a few weeks/months and I have come to a realization that your project falls outside the capacity of my expertise.

I would like to refer you to VAs more capable at handling your needs. Hopefully, four weeks is enough time for you to pick one as my replacement.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Here you present a credible reason for letting go, show support and sympathy, but at the same time leave no room for negotiations.

Let go if you need more time for yourself and/or other priorities.

One of the reasons why you were attracted to working from home as a Virtual Assistant is to spend quality time on yourself and your priorities. Although subconsciously, being self-employed may raise the anxiety of not earning enough, or worse, losing one’s bread and butter.

You end up taking more tasks than you can handle, and some clients may even notice your anxiety and become increasingly more demanding knowing your fear of losing a project. Some clients may very well be just high maintenance that demands your response anytime of the day or any day of the week.

First thing you need to do is handle the fear. Know your capacities and be comfortable with them, but at the same time, work on improving yourself. If you have confidence in yourself, then you need not fear losing your bread and butter while giving more time to yourself.

That being said, here’s an example of letting go of high maintenance clients:

Dear (Name of client),

We have been working together for a few weeks/months and I have come to a realization that your project falls outside the capacity of my expertise.

I can no longer work with you after (give a two-week period at the most).

Below are the details of work that I have completed:
(state here)

Sorry, I couldn’t be of more help. I wish you all the luck.

You need not refer people to a stressful client, unless you know your referral handles stress like it doesn’t exist.

Let go if your client violates terms of contract.

Almost all of the problems previously mentioned can be addressed by a clear cut contract which you should have with your client before any project starts. A contract gives you an impression of professionalism; more than that it safeguards your rights as well as that of your client.

Keep your contract simple, but always include clauses pertaining to the following:

  1. Pricing – what are your rates per hour, or rate per project
  2. Terms of Payment – always ask 40% to 50% in advance before beginning every work then split the balance between delivery of first draft and delivery of finished copy. Identify your grace period as well. 15 days should be enough.
  3. Single Point of Contact – when working with companies, ensure that you only talk to one person, even if a committee handles the project on the client’s end. Let them settle their differences, you need not be part of their squabbling.
  4. Kill Fee – nothing’s worse than spending time on a project which a client terminates. The kill fee ensures you get paid for the work you already did.
  5. Deadline – a set deadline safeguards both VA and client.
  6. Copyrights – generally, you own the rights to your work until these are fully paid.
  7. “Scope Creep” – this clause protects you from doing additional tasks outside of the “scope of work”. Should a client add such tasks, you will be paid for such additional services rendered.

If your client violates any one of the seven listed above, send them a gentle reminder on what your contract stipulates. Should your client still fail to hold up his end of the bargain, in spite of your reminders, you can let your client go. Here’s an example:

Dear (Name of client),

We have been working together for a few weeks/months now, and although the project is appealing, I regret to inform you that I can no longer offer my services beyond (give a two-week period at the most) for personal reasons.

Below are the details of work that I have completed:

Sorry, I couldn’t be of more help. I wish you all the luck.

When you have decided to finally let go of a client, always remember to give a credible reason, be sympathetic and leave no room for negotiations. Also, it is absolutely fine to not be too specific with your reason for terminating your engagement with client. This will save you from any argument, rebuttals and drama.

Watch this short video on How to Fire A Nightmare Client by Denise Duffield-Thomas : This is brilliant!

Can you think of other reasons for leaving a client? Do you have other suggestions on how to quit working with a client? Please let me know in the comments section.

If you’d want to get started working from home, read the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant.

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Gwenn Doria

Founder and Author at Virtual Success Avenue
Hey there, awesome! I started this blog because I understand the challenges of starting out and thriving as a professional working from home. My aim is to empower aspiring and fellow Virtual Assistants by sharing tips, inspiring stories and lessons learned about the Virtual Assistant industry. Get to know me more by visiting the "About Me" page. 🙂 Cheers!