Best Of, Tools of the Trade, Virtual Assistant, WAHM

Cultivating Clients that don’t Suck your Soul

I remember in the early days of my virtual assistant career spending a lot of time worrying.

Money worries.

“Am I good enough?” worries

And the list goes on.

On top of it all, I had a client that was starting to wear thin on me. The work I was doing was no walk in the park either.

But here’s the rub, this client (as prickly as he was) was also consistent, fast paying, and *mostly* easy to work with. The main issue was ME. A little over three years in, I was starting to get bored and starting to truly feel invisible as far as a team member.

But I also remember wondering what was at the root of this upset. Was I stressing about this client because I have truly outgrown them? Was I fed up with the minor disrespect that gets sent my way? Or did I lose sight of what they truly were: a means to an end?

Back then, a crystal ball would have been lovely.

What to do When Client Suck Your Soul

I admit back then that I had fantasies about giving my notice to this client….which were quickly followed by feelings of sheer terror when I thought about this chunk of change going bye-bye every month. So that night, as I lay in bed fretting about this issue for the 167th time this week I decided to ask for help from my Higher Power.

And by golly, it WORKED.

As the sun came up the next morning,  the first thought that came to mind was the work I needed (yes NEEDED) to get done for this particular client. And it filled me with DREAD. I paid attention to this feeling hardcore for the first time.

But when I popped open my email, one of the first things I saw in my Inbox was a podcast from the Freelance Writer’s Den (oh, how I heart “the Den!”) called, HOW TO BALANCE WRITING FOR LOVE AND PAYING THE BILLS from Jennifer Goforth Gregory.

An answer to my request for clarity! So I clicked and listened. Thirty minutes later and I can happily say YES, THAT was what I needed to hear.

Fast forward over 6+ years and I now know that being a freelancer is amazing and tough all at the same time. It is, without a doubt, business ownership and being the CEO is a blessing and a curse. BUT, I also know that I do have choices and the power to mold my business how I see fit. This includes the kind of people I choose to work with.

My clients now fall into the Clients that are a Delight and their work is just as Delightful category.  If you have any clients in this category, congrats- you are BLESSED. If you have a great client, that pays good (and on time) and the work is super rewarding and fun (I have at least 3 of this kind of client, hang on to them for dear life. BUT, the reality is that probably only about 25% of your customer base will fall into this category.

Do Your Client Fall Into these Categories?

#1-The Client is a Delight, but their work is Boring as Heck: Again, this is not horrible and you should count your lucky stars. As long as you are part of a team that is doing good work, and you feel like you are a respected member of this team, then these clients are an asset to your business.

#3-The Client is a Troll, but their work is Delightful: Assuming this client pays well and on time, their downside would be that they are the Cruella di Ville of the client world.  I personally can look past a little “troll-y-ness” if the work is enjoyable and fulfilling. And I feel respected at some level.

#3-The Client is a Troll and their work is Drudgery: I have a hard-n-fast rule in my virtual assistant/freelancer life when it comes to clients. The moment I start dreading hearing from them…they gotta go. Also, if these types of clients get mean and abusive, they totally need to hit the road ASAP. I tend to have at least one of these every year and proud to say separating from them were among some of the smartest moves I ever made for my business. These are the clients who are also Boat Anchors. They suck your time, your energy and your soul leaving your exhausted and feeling pretty crappy. If you find yourself with one or more of these, seriously begin an exit plan. If you are worried about a loss of income, just think of the hours you are designating to this client and how that time could be better served directed in more productive and profitable directions.

After listening to Jennifer’s podcast I have decided to make an effort to re-frame my view of this quasi Category 3/4 client. It’s amazing how a little attitude adjustment can show things in a different light! My decision at this moment is to work on viewing this client not as who they are, but for what they do and how they offer amazing opportunities for business and people to have the spotlight shined on them.

I like being able to share the work/creation/products of amazing people and this job has put me in the position of working with people who inspired me and make me a better me.

Now go forth and be FABULOUS.

ONE MORE THING! Grab this freebie too.

My FREE VA Starter Kit

Tons of “getting started” info from what kind of gear will you need to where are the best places to find clients. Did I mention it was free?


More Resources to Help You Along Your Side Hustle Journey

MOM BOSSING

MOM BOSSING: The Freedom to Create the Business You Love is a book filled with personal stories, resources, support, wisdom, and encouragement from a solopreneur who has been in the trenches as a mom boss. This step-by-step guide shares the truth, fears, tears, and cheers of being a mom who is building a business empire on her own terms. If you are looking for a new career for the “second half of life,” venturing into direct sales, rocking a home business, or dreaming of leaving a dead-end job, this book provides the building blocks needed to move forward with a healthy dose of humor authenticity. In many ways, this book could also sport the tagline of Building a LIFE on Your Own Terms.

I was lucky to have Becky Flansburg join us at Multicultural Children’s Book Day when we first began our nonprofit. She was the “head elf” which meant she did everything from project management to help us get sponsorships. In the early years, we weren’t able to keep her busy for more than a few months a year and even that was very part-time. Becky’s contribution to the team helped us grow our nonprofit, and, in turn, we were able to keep her busier. Now, as a “mom boss,” Becky is sharing her journey and her wisdom for moms who want to try solopreneurship.  It’s particularly helpful for anyone who wants to become a VA (Virtual Assistant).~author and mompreneur, Mia Wenjen

Also available on IndieBound.com.

 

FREElance FREEdom: Creating the Work-From-Home Life You Crave

Have you ever dreamed of working from home on your own terms instead of being confined to a corporate cubicle or windowless office? Have you ever dreamed of earning a steady and honest income while still having plenty of time for friends and family?

Lucky for you, it is all very possible. It’s a life that I have successfully been living for over 7 years…and I can’t imagine supporting my family (and following my dreams!) any other way.

Within the pages of this robust 90-page e-book and resource guide is the motherlode of excellent information about working from home (on your own terms) all rolled into a handy read-at-your-own pace guidebook.
Whether you are looking to pursue a career as a freelance writer, virtual assistant, graphic designer (and more) this Resource Guide will provide the insight, tools, guides, advice, and strategies that can apply to any freelance business. If you want the very basics of getting started without the benefit of support and coaching, this eBook is for you.

 

For anyone looking to start their freelance career, or up their game, this book is the perfect place to start. Jam-packed with actionable items and details about even handling unruly clients, well-meaning visitors, and kids while working from home – this book has it all! Highly recommended!~author and mompreneur, Carissa Andrews

For those who are contemplating the freelance lifestyle but need a guidebook with baby steps, this is your manifesto! Becky Flansburg shares her tips for balancing a freelance career with a family including the nuts and bolts such as the online tools she uses for networking and running her business. Becky is a gentle and realistic cheerleader for anyone who wants to work at home as a solopreneur.~Mia Wenjen

FREElance FREEdom is Available on Kindle

Also available on IndieBound.com.

Available in Paperback on Amazon: mybook.to/FREElanceFREEdompprbk

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