Because I genuinely believe starting and running a VA business is just as valuable as the clients it helps.
Contrary to popular belief, a VA business doesn’t have to be a side-hustle for stay-at-home moms. A VA business can be an actual, full-fledged online business–a successful one at that.
In order to take our VA business to the next level, it is of vital importance we are working with clients that share our values and missions. I like to call them high-vibe clients. (Afterall, you’re a high-vibe VA.)
Matching with a dream client is #goals, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Most times, it’s just a personality mismatch. There’s nothing wrong with you or them. You may even share the same mission, the approach is just different.
And as hard as we try to filter those mismatches during the discovery call process, sometimes we don’t catch it until we’ve been working with someone for a few months.
Kinda like, dating–am I right?
The first time I let a client go…
It took weeks and 14 pep talks with friends and colleagues. I was terrified of losing the money (sound familiar?). And although the client was very nice, I was not working in my zone of genius.
I was doing more personal and executive assistant work, making many silly mistakes which left me extremely unhappy. I eventually mustered up the faith and courage to send a gracious email saying:
“I want you to have dedicated team members and I do not feel I am the right match for you.”
I took responsibility and said nothing that could be interpreted as negative. More importantly, I emphasized that what I wanted was what was best for that client’s business, which was not me.
Not very long after, I had a couple of clients seemingly appear out of nowhere because the universe saw that I made space for my dream clients.
If you’re currently in a similar predicament, don’t panic.
With my easy to follow steps, you can lovingly let a client go without any hard feelings or bridges burned.
1. Review Your Contract
The first thing you want to do is review your contract with a fine toothed comb. Your contract might have a clause for termination you can refer back to. Perhaps they require two weeks to one month notice. Let that be the first thing you do.
If no notice is required, do the right thing and leave with some notice and an appropriate amount of time for them to find a replacement.
P.S. – If you do not have a termination clause in your contract, I recommend updating it to require at least a 2 week notice.
2. Do NOT Make it Personal
Because it’s not. It’s business. And business is sometimes as simple as:
“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to provide the level of service you deserve.”
Which is code for:
“We’re not a good match.”
You do not owe them a lengthy, detailed explanation. Definitely do not lie. Keep it professional and direct.
If you’re having a really hard time being upfront and honest and you find yourself saying, “I feel bad”, that’s an internal issue worth exploring.
Because when we do things or don’t do things because we “feel bad”, what we’re really saying is we hate confrontation and will do anything to avoid it. *ahem, it me*
But the beauty of entrepreneurship is we get to face all of our people pleasing issues (YEY!) and grow as professionals and individuals (double YEY!).
3. Offer to find and train a new person
And would you look at that. You can be direct AND kind. Wow. Why didn’t anybody tell me this in my early twenties?!
Now, offering to find and or train a replacement is something I would only suggest if I had the time and space to do it.
Sometimes, you just won’t, and giving them ample time to find a replacement is enough.
But sometimes, the stars align, you really do love the client (just not as YOUR client) and you have the energy to provide this level of service.
Or maybe it’s a prominent client in your industry, and although they weren’t a match for you, leaving an exceptional impression right before you leave may be what firmly plants you on their “People to Recommend” mental list.
Show them that you’re a caring person (because you are, obvs) by letting them know you care about them and the future of their business.
4. Do Not Leave Them Hanging
Think about how you can make this transition as smooth as possible for them. Remember, we don’t want to leave with any lingering negative feelings.
Breaking up is hard enough.
Make sure any pending projects are complete on your end. Take it one step further and leave them with detailed SOPs of your current duties.
Meticulously tie up any loose ends before your last day.
5. Always Leave Their Business In a Better Place Than Where You Found It
Cue the Golden Rule:
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
To the best of your ability, leave their business in a better place than where you found it.
Before leaving, you can send them links to helpful resources that can help them and your replacement complete the work.
Let them know how much you appreciate them and the opportunity they gave you to work with them.
“I appreciated the opportunity to work with you.”
“I enjoyed learning about you and the work you do.”
Above all, always keep it professional and leave them with a good thought.
Now that the hard part is over (phew), it’s time to find that dream client replacement with ease and confidence.
As a VA mentor, I offer an array of programs and services to help you attract your dream clients. From a 90-minute intensive to personalized 1:1 coaching to a FREE masterclass series, I have something for every VA need and budget.
If you want some more of these high-vibe VA tips, follow along with my soulpreneur journey, or see some cute dog videos, let’s be internet friends!
Whether you’re a high-vibe virtual assistant starting out and wanting a roadmap to build your business or a step by step plan to ROCK your discovery calls, a soulpreneur wondering what an online business manager can do for you, or you want a discount on my favorite business tools, check them out here!