This ‘rant’ is for all VA’s or any service provider out there who find themselves in a similar situation. ….
About 5 years ago, I was in a bind and wanted to bring in some clients asap. I offered a $250 a month package; and picked up a few clients with that. Figured 10 hours a month…easy peasy everyone wins.
(disclaimer: i did have some GREAT $250 per month clients that didn’t take advantage)
Well not everyone. The client was easily the winner in this scenario….receiving my services and talents for $250 a month! And me….Slap an L on my forehead.
I actually believed that this one particular client was not only a good client; but a friend. I worked with this client for several years! Then, I started noticing things, like when I was going to be out – I would let all my clients know I was out and how long. This client would always have a crisis right before I was leaving or during my trip. It literally took me a few times to notice this pattern. I had to start leaving this client out of the list of who I told I was going to be out. And guess what? No crisis!
The tip of the iceberg was this past summer – I tried to bring up the ‘crisis’ behavior to said client and she made all kinds of excuses, and the behavior not only continued..it got worse. On vacation weekend with my husband ‘crisis’, enjoying July 4th ‘crisis’… out shopping for the day ‘crisis’…on and on and on. Finally, I quit. She still owed me a balance..a whopping $100.
Through the years I was so NICE to this person that she went from being a retainer client to ‘pay me when you can’ client. Not only that I even dropped her rate for about 6 months! There was a time period I didn’t even bill her!
I know I know…What a FOOL I am ! I truly believed she was a friend and I was helping her by doing this!
Anyhow…..I sent her the ‘final’ invoice..no payment, no email, nothing. Oh really? So it was a stand off.
One thing I can say about this person she always paid her invoices and on time. Usually the same day. For this last I emailed her and guess what..she was on VACATION and couldn’t be bothered with my invoice. True Story.
Oh…so all the times I was having Thanksgiving, or Easter, or July 4th…, and on vacation, or just at the grocery store …where I dropped everything to help you through a crisis (that wasn’t a crisis at all) ..didn’t matter…and paying my invoice didn’t matter because I finally stood up for myself and said NO MORE. Lesson Learned.
Why am I ranting about this now -? Because first and foremost, I know that my value (not only my skills) as a HUMAN is worth so much more than the CRAP I endured while working for this person.
It’s okay to have 10 hour clients; it’s okay to charge $250 a month. I always treat my smallest package clients like the largest clients -everyone deserves to be respected and treated fairly.
What is not okay is to be taken advantage of in such a way that you lose your self worth and allow anyone to make you feel less than!
Learn from me….stand your ground...be fair with your clients..but be fair to yourself!
I fell into a ‘trap’ with this client. I had other GREAT clients at the time (and still do) and if I didn’t have them I might still be working for this person – under valuing my skills and myself.
Sometimes a true client ‘crisis’ can’t be avoided. You can put a plan in place when you take time off so the client doesn’t text you or call you and ruin your time away. Bring in a team member to answer emails and even phone calls for you while you are gone. Many clients like this thrive on anxiety and panic. Don’t get swept up in the drama. Someone needs to keep a level head. Even planning way ahead, I found with this client, didn’t matter. There was still a crisis or fire to put out no matter what.
If you have a ‘Crisis’ Client…but can’t afford to cancel their contract….start planning your next move. Look for other clients, once you replace the soon to be missing income it will be easier to dump them.
Now that I am no longer working for this client, I am happier and have more work from higher paying less demanding clients!
When one door closes, another opens ….couldn’t be MORE true. Especially in this case.
Sometimes the things holding you back ….are what you have been holding onto..LET GO and see what happens!