Clients, they’re the one thing you need for your VA business, if you want to have a successful VA business. But as any VA who has been in business for a while will vouch, not all clients are created equal! There are some clients that are an absolute dream, whilst others may be less than ideal for your business. But what makes the two types of client different?

In particular, if you’re a VA who is just starting out, you may feel that any client is a good one, right? It can be tempting to take on any client that comes your way, as you want to get started and/or need the money. But the reality is that, just because a new client comes along, it doesn’t mean they’re right for your business – and you may not be right for them. 

So how can you tell whether a client is a good or bad one, and why does it matter?

Is there such a thing as a bad client for your VA business?

Firstly let’s make it clear – there is such a thing as a bad client. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new VA business or an experienced one, you need to be aware of what makes for a bad client. But the answer isn’t as simple as you may think. There are actually two distinctly different types of bad client – the general ‘bad’ client, and the client that isn’t really bad at all – but is totally unsuitable for you.

The business owner who makes for a bad client

Typically, this type of client can be relatively easy to spot, both before and after they become a client. They’re the type of business owner who shows any of the following tendencies:

  • Never pays on time.
  • Treats others badly and/or badmouths other business owners.
  • Knocks other people’s confidence.
  • Doesn’t show appreciation for your work or your boundaries – or those of other contractors and/or outsourcers.
  • Is rude or belittles you and/or others.
  • Cannot help but micromanage everything.
  • Has no clear goals and targets in business – changes direction more times than you can count!

This type of person will be a bad client to anyone. If you do end up being hired, you will find them a nightmare to work with and quite stressful to be around. Long term, you will end up doubting your abilities to do a good job and will end up feeling constantly on edge and under fire.

The business owner who is unsuitable for you

The second type of bad client is the person who is wrong for you and your VA business. They aren’t really ‘bad’ at all, but they are unsuitable, if they fall under any of the following categories:

  • Not in your niche or within your scope of expertise.
  • Constantly gives you tasks that are either rubbish or you dislike and/or find the work uninspiring.
  • Has a business niche, model or attitude that goes against your own ethics and/or values.
  • Someone you just don’t feel a connection with.
  • You simply dislike them!

There may be times when you feel obligated to take on this type of client, as they seem fine in themselves. Often, this is driven by a need to address money or confidence issues, or out of a sheer need to either get a client or start your business, but hiring them would be a mistake. Why? Because you’ll be doing yourself and them no favours, by taking them on!

Why you need to turn down unsuitable clients

When you take on a client that isn’t suitable, for whatever reason, you’ll find it a struggle to work with them. That struggle will be evident in many different ways. It could show up in how you act with them, the quality of work you produce, or simply in your lack of motivation and/or patience – but it will show up in some way. 

But not only that, you’re doing the client a disservice by taking them on. If you want to help them in the best way possible, ensure they’re with someone who is the best fit for them. 

If they’re just not suitable for your VA business, they deserve to be with a VA who can offer them the right level of service, expertise and even enthusiasm, for their tasks and needs generally.  And if you’ve come across a business owner who generally makes for a bad client, the best person they may need to be with, is someone who is more than able to deal with their issues and behaviour – even if that turns out to be themself! 

Make better clients, by managing expectations

One of the best things you can do to help your clients, is to help them become an awesome client. Set up the right expectations for each of your clients, by ensuring they understand how to work well with you and how to communicate their needs. Take a read of our blog on how to manage expectations and gain high client satisfaction, to see how you can effectively work together to do this.

Ensure your onboarding process is both thorough and carried out, for each and every client. Hold regular reviews with your clients and ensure you’re doing all you can, to be an awesome VA for them.

Unfortunately, there are both good and bad clients in business, and it’s no different in the VA business world. However, if you know what to look out for, you can protect yourself and your business. 

But more than that, you can protect your reputation and that of your clients too. By ensuring you run your own VA business well and onboard those clients that are most suited for you, you’ll be in the best possible position to provide a great service – and be seen as a good VA – to them!

If you’re looking for help and support to grow your VA business, why not check out our VA Membership? Not only does it give you access to the ongoing training and support you may need, it also gives you access to a supportive community of VAs – and great place to find a VA that may be better suited to those good clients who aren’t the perfect fit for you!