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For virtual assistants (VAs) who have been employed in the past, firing a client is not something that pops into their mind regularly.

Their mindset is preconditioned that it is the boss who does the firing, not the other way round. This is a rookie VA mindset.

You can actually fire a client if you feel that they are not working out for you.

Remember that in the first place, you became a virtual assistant to avoid being bogged down by employment.

Imagine having a client who is rude to you, don’t pay you on time, and whose communication with you is poor. How are you going to work with somebody like that while most of your work is done remotely?

What Type of Clients Should You Fire?

1: Customers that Micromanage You

The first set of clients that you should fire are those who micromanage you without giving you enough information to work on.

These are the type of customers who will knock down your confidence by actively showing you that you don’t know how to do your job. They will destroy your virtual assistant business from within by ensuring that you don’t have the confidence to even approach new clients.

When most people start out as freelancers, they have some unfounded fear that their abilities are not up to par.

If you get a confidence knocker as a client, they will just confirm your suspicions that you’re not good enough and that will be the beginning of the end of your virtual assistant business.
Get rid of such a client before you get into a spiral of self-doubt leading to an implosion of your business.

2: Customers that Rubbish Your Work

If a customer rubbishes your work instead of giving you some guidance on how to do it better, you should get rid of them.

They will just continue making you feel bad instead of helping you improve the quality of your work. Nobody should make you feel unworthy and incompetent.

3: Customers Who Give You Uninspiring Work

If you find yourself dreading waking up to do a task, it is probably uninspiring and boring.

Such tasks usually don’t fit in with your other work and are not in congruence with your long-term vision of work-life balance. Sometimes you will be given tasks that do not utilise your skills. Get rid of such clients.

It is important to note that you will occasionally have work that you don’t enjoy doing. However, if you find that you are constantly taking on work that doesn’t inspire you, you should review your situation and ask yourself why.

These situations usually arise earlier on during your virtual assistant career because you don’t have enough work to keep you busy and so you pick up any client that will give you work.

Having something to do is not enough. Remember why you went into freelancing.

4: Customers You Honestly Dislike

If you’re working for a business or a client whose business practices you don’t like, ditch them. Whilst you can continue taking the money and working for them, you will be doing a disservice to yourself and you’ll eventually hate yourself for disliking them so much.

If you find you have a customer who you can’t please because they really don’t know what they want from you, stop moaning and ditch them.

The customer will continue making you feel like a therapist because they are always complaining. It will be a massive weight off your back.

5: Rude Customers

If a customer is disrespectful, don’t be surprised if they fire you without a second thought. You can never manage a customer that is rude.

Every time they call you, you will skip a heartbeat. Don’t allow a customer to bully you. You are a freelancer, not an employee.

6: Customers Who Delay Your Payments

If a customer keeps on paying you late, they might be having cash flow problems and will eventually fail to pay you for work done. Remember that as a freelancer, you rely on a steady income to cover your costs. You are not running a charity.

7: Customers Who Give You a Hard Time

If you have agreed on the scope of work to be done but the customer keeps changing the goalposts without additional payment, leave them. Customers who keep on asking you to work outside the agreed contract or who keep changing their mind in between the process of working will make you crazy.

Another kind of customer that you should not entertain is the one who calls you at odd hours because it is a clear case that they don’t respect your time. Even if you like such a customer, they don’t fit in with the way you work.

8: Customers You Instinctively Know are Going to be a Problem

For some reason, you will find that there are customers that you continually misunderstand. If your gut feeling tells you that the customer is going to be a problem, don’t take them up.

The world will not end just because you decide to walk away from a customer even if they were paying you good money. Not all business relationships will work even when both parties really want them to work

How VAs Can Fire a Client

  • Put it in writing – If you decide that enough is enough, write a polite email to tell the customer that you have decided to end the contract. Even when a customer is rude, be professional. You can, for example, give them 48 hours to look for a new virtual assistant before you call it quits.
  • Save face by saying you are not a good fit – You can save everyone’s face by saying that you are not a good fit instead of telling a customer that you can’t stand them. Say that you are not the right person to meet a customer’s goals. This will help them to introspect and see if they did something wrong to you.
  • Don’t badmouth the customer – It is unprofessional to badmouth your clients either on the internet or in the business community. You may want to give other VAs heads up about a bad payer or an abusive client but don’t do it in an unprofessional manner.
  • Get them someone else – Sometimes you may decide to fire a client not because they are rude or bad pairs but because you are not suitable for their kind of work.

    If that is the case, you may recommend to them another VA. Before you do it, ask the client if you can refer somebody else to them.
  • Learn from the experience – If you find that you are having problems with all the new clients that you take on, then you are the problem. Take a look at your terms and conditions contract and ensure that they are clear about what you expect from customers.

    Sometimes a problem will arise because you have not communicated your style of working properly. Learn from bad experiences and make sure they don’t occur again.

In conclusion, while it may seem unfortunate to fire a client, it is necessary. You are running a business whose long-term health is in your hands.

Eventually, you will get good at spotting good clients. It is natural to make some mistakes when you’re beginning as a virtual assistant.

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Katrina McKinnon

I'm Katrina McKinnon, the author behind Small Revolution. With two decades of hands-on experience in online work, running eCommerce stores, web agency and job boards, I'm now on a mission to empower you to work from home and achieve work-life balance. My passion lies in crafting insightful, education content. I have taught thousands of students and employees how to write, do SEO, manage eCommerce stores and work as Virtual Assistants. Join our most popular course: SEO Article Masterclass

1 Comment

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