It is easier for virtual assistants to land clients now because of the great demand for virtual assistance services. But running a successful virtual assistance business isn’t just about having clients. You should focus on landing right-fit clients. These are the ones who are aligned with your values, subscribe to your purpose and share the same vision.
It becomes difficult to find right- fit clients if you are blinded by the prospects of making money. It is perfectly fine to focus on improving income but not to the point of clouding better judgment. A right- fit client will be a client for life.
Here are 4 ways to find right-fit clients:
Ask to be Interviewed. There are some clients who make the interview part of the selection process. And there are some clients who don’t. When a client does not request for an interview, consider this a red flag. E-mail and chat messages are fine but an interview is better.
If a client does not require an interview, request for one. An agreement is a contract between 2 parties with different interests. You should always know who you will be working for.
If the client agrees to an interview, do one better and make it an audio-video interview. This is less about trust than it is about transparency. Anyone can put up an account with a name on it. It is always advisable to see the person behind the name.
A client who does not agree for an audio-video interview or comes up with excuses is a potential red flag. You can take the chance but institute safeguards in the agreement such as conducting work through a bonded platform like Elance or a progress payment set up with an upfront.
Request for a Contract. If you are reaching out to foreign clients, you should be aware that there are nationalities where a “handshake” is considered a contract. They operate with the principle, “Your word is your bond”.
In the virtual world where a handshake is not possible, some clients believe an e-mail exchange should suffice as a contract. You should approach the job professionally by covering it with a contract.
A contract is a document with provisions that are designed to protect both parties which is why it is always negotiable. If the client does not have a contract, give a copy of yours.
Good clients know the value of a contract. It may not be enforceable but it is the legally binding reference point for both parties and keeps everyone honest.
Iron Out All the Payment Concerns. It is better to get out all the rough stuff in the open before formalizing any agreement. Oftentimes, payment concerns become a stumbling block during negotiations. Among the usual issues involve:
- Negotiation of rates or fees
- Payment schedule
- Mode of payment
- Payment of add-on charges
- Interest on late payments
Money is not the root of all evil but it can throw a curveball in the proceedings. Finalize all payment concerns then put it in the contract and move on to the business at hand.
Be Tolerant….but Not to a Fault. There are clients who are sometimes delayed or remiss in payment. If a client does not pay you on time, send a friendly worded message:
“Hi! I hope things are going well with you. Would like to know the status of the billing statement I e-mailed 2 weeks ago. Kindly advise if you need another copy in case you overlooked it. Thanks!”
If the Client responds in the affirmative and guarantees prompt payment within 24 hours, e-mail your appreciation and hope for the best.
You should tolerate delinquency only to a certain point. If the client has not paid, terminate the agreement and move on. Chalk up your uncollected earnings to another one of life’s lessons.
The key take-away in finding clients is not to focus on which client will pay you the most money. Instead focus on clients whom you can build a long term relationship with. They may not pay you what you want at the start but that’s how it should be.
Before you demand, prove that you can deliver. If you consistently render high quality work, the right- fit client will not only pay you more he or she will give you more business.