What to consider when launching your VA practice

Photo credit: Peter Korff

What skills do you need to be a great VA? Excellent question.  Immediately, skills like being organized, disciplined and a creative problem-solver come to mind.  Right? Creating kind boundaries is a skill you might not think about in your excitement to get started, however is essential to your success as an virtual assistant or entrepreneur.

A kind boundary is an expectation, rule or policy that you set in your virtual assistance practice.  It’s how you teach your clients how to best interact with you.  Read that again.  How to best work with you.  This is not about tolerating.  Your goal is to build a working relationship that nourishes you so you can do your best work and delights your client so they become loyal, raving fans.  That’s what makes it kind.

Set Kind Boundaries

Focus on creating kind boundaries to keep yourself and your clients stress-free, productive and dare I say it happy.  That’s part of the reason you became an online business consultant right?  To be happier at work.  Well, you can have that but not by wishing for it.  You have to create your own recipe.

Strong fences make good neighbors. ~ Robert Frost

Strong expectations make great clients! So often I hear VAs upset because their clients treat them like ‘the help’ and not the partner they really are. You have a chance from your start (or wherever you are) of your VA practice to make your role and expectations clear.  Here are three ingredients you need for whipping up your yummiest client relationships.

1. Think about who your best client is. Not the market. The personality type. How does your best client interact, make decisions, deal with setbacks or frustrations or give praise.

2. Decide who is a toxic client for you. What triggers, annoys, depresses, or frightens you?  What situations do you find challenging? Hint: everyone struggles with non-paying clients.  Half the battle is identifying which clients don’t work for you, which is hard because every client looks golden when you need the money.

3. Create a system for spotting red flags.  Doesn’t have to be elaborate, long or mean.  You just need to recognize when you’re about to say yes to someone who is likely to become a disgruntled client later.  A gut check works in a pinch, but often we dismiss our intuition as silly or wrong and end of in trouble.  Better to have something written you can easily refer to during those initial sales conversations.

I consider these to be cooking basics like salt and pepper.  You want to get the seasoning just right for your tastes.  Some clients wont like your boundaries.  That’s ok, they don’t have to eat your cooking.  You can send them off with directions to another VA where they can be better served.

What client relationship boundaries have you set? 

What works for you?  Please share in the comments so someone else can see the path to where you’re at.

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Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. Dina Eisenberg
    4 years ago

    Girl, you’re as serious as a heart attack and I LOVE it. If you don’t draw the line, you can’t be mad when clients step all over it. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Deidre
    4 years ago

    I don’t work on weekends, and I tell clients that upfront.

    I don’t take calls after hours. I do this by telling them what my hours of operation are.

    I let them know when I normally meet, i.e., the initial consultation, halfway through the assignment, and at the end. It helps them realize that there is a structure in the process and keeps them from being tempted to run the situation.

    This and many more guidelines are presented in writing at our first meeting once they decide to hire me. The client must sign it. They take me seriously then. Yes, it includes the fee schedule.

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