There are good and bad aspects of working with one exclusive client. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Working with many clients allows you to be exposed to different industries. #vatipGotta Tweet!
Don’t put yourself in a position where all of your eggs are in one basket. #vatip Gotta Tweet!
Hello virtual assistants. Welcome to episode number 23. I want to talk to you today about being a virtual assistant to one versus being a virtual assistant to many.
Now, most of you listening consider yourselves a virtual assistant business owner, and you may have not even considered the fact that an opportunity could come up where a client wants you all to themselves. On the outside, this could just be the best opportunity that has come your way, and maybe this client is willing to pay you top dollar.
Maybe they’re not saying they want you exclusively to themselves, but the time that they need you makes it so that you aren’t able to serve other clients. Or if you try to squeeze in other clients, you’ll be squeezing out your life and your business will become overloaded. You will become overworked, but at the beginning you may not know that.
I’m speaking firsthand and how this actually happened to me a few years ago. It was one of my best clients. I had gotten lots of referrals from her. An opportunity came up to be full-time a part of her team. At first, it was a full-time contractor. Obviously, once you transition from contractor to employee, you are no longer working, you know, as a virtual assistant in your business because if you’re being a VA full-time for someone else, at that point they may ask you to be exclusive.
Think about what would you do if one of your best clients, your ideal client, a client you haven’t had yet but in your mind this would be my ideal client, wanted you to come be a part of their team full-time as a contractor. Meaning you would be doing, let’s say almost 30-40 hours a week, but you know, be a contractor. You wouldn’t be full-time. No benefits. So in a sense you’re still having your own business because you’re a contractor. You’re still 1099.
Realistically, in that case, how would you serve other clients? It really depends on the services that you offer and your lifestyle and the life you want to live.
If a client wanted you to be exclusive to them and take on no more new clients, they are asking you to put down your business, to put down your love for serving other clients, and just work with them.
Now, depending on what your situation is, at the time this may be the best thing ever. Woo Hoo! Yeah, opportunity, let’s take it. Let’s go for it. But let’s look at the long-term picture. Short-term, that is phenomenal because now you can drop back from marketing and just work with this client, and you’re going to get your invoice paid and you don’t have to worry about that, and you can schedule your day and things are set. Oh yes, short-term looks really good.
But what happens long-term? Now, when I say long-term in this example, what happens a year from now? What if the client decides to change their business structure? Maybe they want to bring you on full-time as an employee now. Maybe they want to bring someone in-house local, and that would mean you get dropped or your hours get dropped. They’re your only client.
What happens in that case? What do you do in that case? You haven’t built your backup. You’ve been exclusive to them. You haven’t been marketing your business. You’ve been exclusive to them. You haven’t been keeping up with your blog and social media. You’ve been exclusive to them. Not because you can’t blog and you can’t do social media when you have an exclusive client, but your mind, your thoughts, are wrapped up into their business as opposed to your own.
There are good and bad aspects of working with one exclusive client.
For me, I would never do that again. For me, it’s like creating a job for yourself, and if you’ve ever experienced being laid off from your job, it’s the same situation because at any point that client could make changes that affect you, that affect your family, that affect your finances.
Did you come into business so that one person could determine your future, that wasn’t you, that wasn’t God? No. You came into business so that you could create and build something of your own.
Now, let’s look at a virtual assistant that works with many clients, and many is more than one. That could three. That could be five, especially if it’s ongoing. Let’s say ongoing monthly clients. You could probably manage, let’s say, three to five clients ongoing monthly, something every month. Not a one something. Not a newsletter once a month. Not those.
Let me not say once a month, but somebody that needs you to do something either every day or every week, because it’s easy to forget about the monthlies. It’s very easy to forget about the monthlies. But they need you to do something every day or every week – ongoing, ongoing, ongoing.
Let’s just work with three to five clients that you’re doing this for. If it’s five clients, this is an awesome structure for you. If one of those clients decides to change something in their business that affects you, either giving you more work or less work, if it’s less work they have to give you because of a change, you still have four other clients that you’re working with. You’re still in mode marketing your business. Maybe you have these five ongoing clients that need you every day or every week, but you’re also taking on projects that may be one-offs, you know, a one-time thing that you do in addition to your ongoing clients.
That’s the structure I like where I work with three to five clients every day or every week and then I also have the one-off projects, because that keeps things fun and exciting and different. Versus when you’re working with one client, you’re working with one system, their tools, and nothing else.
Working with the many, it’s different industries that you get exposed to. You see the different ways that different people are doing things, all to help you grow and learn for the next project, the next ongoing client, and for your own business.
Let’s say one of those five clients wants to give you more. Then you’re able to look at your schedule and know whether you can handle the more, and most likely if you’re working with five and they need you on a regular basis and one wants to take it up and you enjoy working with them, you’re going to be happy to do it.
I think the biggest difference with the one to many is if something happens on the downside where they need less of you.
You don’t want to put yourself in a position where all of your eggs are in one basket, and that’s what it’s like with having that one client. All of your eggs are in one basket.
From the client’s perspective, I don’t know if they realize that a virtual assistant is a business owner. There are some virtual assistants that don’t consider themselves business owners, and I really hope that’s not you because you’re listening to a podcast called The Business of Being a Virtual Assistant, and we’re talking about your VA business.
It’s a business. It’s not where you’re creating little jobs for yourself, but your business. You determine your time. You determine your when. You determine your what. You determine your how. It is yours, whether this is your sole source of income or you have other sources of income, and just like the whole one to many with clients, you want to have multiple sources, not just this one.
You can have multiple sources of income within your virtual assistant business. I’ve named two already: the ongoing clients that you have that need you on a regular and your one-off projects. Because we can’t predict the one-off projects, but we can certainly go get them. We know where they are. They’re posted on job boards. They’re sharing it in groups. We know where they are if we want them. So those are two streams for us.
You could have passive income if you’re interested in doing affiliate links on your website. That’s another way, a third avenue. So that’s three ways within your virtual assistant business that you can generate income for yourself versus just having that one thing or that one client.
It is your choice how you want your business to look, whether you want it to be just the one client or the many.
I wanted to just paint a picture for you as to what it looks like, and this is me after being on both sides of the coin and seeing what that looks like and feeling what that looks like and experiencing the down, the crash. Not just the down, the crash, and having to work to build it back up. Not just building my business back up, but my confidence, my desire, you know, because after an extended period of time you’ve invested, you’ve given your all because you care about that client and you’re working with them. But when things crash it’s like, ah, I’ve got to rebuild. I’ve got to motivate myself. I’ve got to get back on this and remember where I started.
I started with many and that’s what I like the best. I like interacting with different clients and seeing what different industries are doing. That’s the exciting thing. For me to do the same thing every single day working with the same person and nobody else, gets old quickly because it starts to look like what corporate looked like, and you didn’t start your virtual assistant business to recreate a mini corporate. No way.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you like what you heard, stay tuned. We’ll be back. Tell me what’s going on with you. Come on over the Facebook page: facebook.com/tiffanyparsonbiz, or if you prefer a little shorter message, come on over to Twitter: @tiffanydparson.
See you next time.