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How To Break Up With A Client – 3 Virtual Assistant Exit Strategies

Michelle Dale - Monday, February 21, 2011

Have you ever worked with a client and discovered after a period of time that you made a wrong decision to accept them into your virtual business?

There are an infinite number of reasons why you may be feeling this way. Perhaps they have started treating you poorly, or with little respect, maybe they are more demanding than other clients, perhaps they consistently question your invoices or rate, they might be defaulting with payments, whatever is causing you to regret your decision to work with a client, you need to decide whether it has got to the point where you have to face facts, realise it’s never going to change and start implementing your exit strategy.

Exit strategies are never comfortable or easy. Implementing them means you have got to a point where you can no longer continue with the client, whether you feel like they are driving you crazy, undermining you, disrespecting you, undervaluing you or just plain making you miserable, you need to show them the exit, whilst being careful not to rock the boat too much. It needs to be a clean amicable break up.

# 1: Raise Your Rates.

It could be that you might be willing to stay with the client if you were getting paid more for the hassle of working with them. If it’s feasible, you can raise your rates. Certainly if the client is on a lower rate to your standard rate, you will either make more money in compensation for dealing with a difficult client, or the client will leave of their own accord. This is an exit strategy with compromise.

# 2: Lack Of Availability.

If the client is on a pay-as-you-go bases and is only doing adhoc work, you could say that you require a minimum commitment from them due to the popularity of your business. Explain that you will be offering retainer packages to all clients who use under X amount of hours per week or month, and unfortunately you will not be able to service pay-as-you-go clients any further. Apologise for any inconvenience and provide a list of other suitable VAs who could replace you. This is an exit strategy based around a change of circumstances.

# 3: The Absolute Lost Cause.

The other 2 techniques could still result in the client staying, but on different terms which you may consider more favourable, however if there is absolutely no way that you want to have to deal with the client ever again you are going to have to amputate them from your business once and for all. In order to make a clean break, you have to craft a short letter explaining that you will no longer be able to service their requirements, as of the termination notice required in your service agreement, here are a list of things to add to the letter:

  1. The date services officially stop.
  2. How you will deliver any files or other information back to them.
  3. Advise they change all of the passwords and logins they have provided you with as of that date (you don’t want any repercussions later on).
  4. Explain the duration of time they have in their client area before it’s closed down and everything is permanently deleted (around 6 months is average).
  5. Apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and wish them the best of luck for the future.

Once you have crafted the email click the send button and don’t look back, there are plenty more clients out there who need your services, and there is no use draining time and energy worrying about the ones who were not a good fit in the first place.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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