A long-term and successful Virtual Assistant business is always built on business ethics and honest behavior and values. The VA industry is service-based, so we are dependant on relationships and reputation! If you ruin your reputation with unethical behavior your business won’t survive.
This blog post is part of The Ultimate VA Success Guide: 8 Tips On How To Get Clients As A Virtual Assistant. Below is an overview of all the posts it includes:
- #1: How Do I Find My Ideal Virtual Assistant Clients? Ask Yourself 5 Questions + Solve The Mistery!
- #2: Learn How To Attract Clients Instead Of Chasing After Them
- #3: Using Social Media Marketing Correctly To Find + Get Clients
- #4: Create Your Virtual Assistant Benefits Flyer + Stand Out In The Crowded VA Space
- #5: Sub-Contracting For Other Virtual Assistants: The 5 Things You Should Know Beforehand
- #6: Interviewing Potential VA Clients: Use My 3-Steps Discovery Call System + Close The Deal
- #7: 8 Tips To Help You Spot Your Dream Client + Identify The People You Don’t Want To Work With
- #8: Business Ethics + Honesty Are The Foundation Of Any Successful Virtual Assistant Business
First… be forewarned that this is going to be a rant post and something I feel needs to be addressed because lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on social media similar to this.
“A new client just hired me for social media management, and I’m not sure how to do what they want. Can someone walk me through what I need to do?“
This type of post makes me cringe. Now, I know I don’t have the whole story on this particular post but more times than not what is happening behind the scenes is someone told a potential client that they knew how to do something when in fact they didn’t.
Don’t Offer Services If You’re Not Qualified
That means they closed the deal and then jumped on social media to ask “what’s next”. This is NOT the way to do business – especially as a service provider! The last thing you want to do is tell a potential client that you know how to do something when you don’t know how to do it, take their money and go out and ask on social media how to do what you’ve already said you can do.
This practice is dishonest and unethical. If you’re doing this please stop. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then don’t take money from somebody to do a job or a task or a project. When people do this, it hurts the reputation of our entire industry.
Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m talking about those who are dishonest and take money for something they’re not qualified to do. In other words, they don’t have the knowledge needed to get the job done let alone get it done right.
Yes, There Are Some Exceptions
- And yes I know that sometimes the person that posted in Social Media has been honest with their client and the client is okay with them learning this service through them.
- Or maybe an existing client has asked them to learn something. (This is how I learned Infusionsoft)
If this is the case, by all means, reach out for support!
What If The Client Finds Out?
This post is focused on those dishonest and unethical people (yes they’re out there), that tell a potential client what they want to hear, take money for something they don’t know how to do, and then ask for help on a Facebook group full of their peers.
How do they know the client that just hired them isn’t in the group they’re posting in? This actually happened in my free Facebook group! Someone posted that they got a new client, they needed help doing X, Y, Z because they didn’t know how to do it. The client was in the group and saw their post.
Think about how that client felt! Personally, I’d be livid. I’d feel cheated and taken advantage of. This happens far too often. The end result is people thinking the VA industry as a whole is dishonest and unethical when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I don’t know about you but I don’t want people thinking that, about our industry.
Unfortunately, a few bad apples can (and do) spoil the whole bunch. We end up with client’s who have trust issues because they’ve been:
- Taken advantage of,
- Lied to,
It’s up to all of us to help stop these dishonest individuals from tainting the VA Industry. I do my part when I see these posts. I’ll ask questions to see if they have the knowledge to get the job done and just lack experience, or they are completely new to the task.
Knowledge But No Experience Is Not The Same As No Knowledge At All
There’s a big difference between having the knowledge and not yet having experience and NOT having any knowledge of the skill at all. If you don’t have the knowledge, don’t sell it as a service. However, if you have the knowledge but don’t have the experience, be honest with your potential clients. You’ll often be surprised!
Would you allow someone to work on your car who had never seen an engine up close? Again I’m not talking about experience here, I’m talking KNOWLEDGE. Do you really want someone who is “learning on the fly” to be your Social Media Manager or to build you a WordPress Website? Imagine the damage they could do to your business.
I know there are other VA Coaches and Trainers who teach the “figure it out”, “learn on the fly”, and “fake it until you make it” methods. I personally disagree with these teaching methods – they’re unethical in my opinion. What happened to honesty? Please don’t use your clients as guinea pigs, it’s not “on-the-job training”.
There’s A Huge Difference Between Watching Someone Do It On YouTube + Doing It Yourself
Just because you watched a couple of YouTube videos on Infusionsoft or Click Funnels, doesn’t give you the knowledge you need to sell it as a service. You don’t know what you’re doing until you get your hands on the tool and get actual experience using it. I know this from years of teaching computers and software systems.
I got a ton of business due to these unethical practices. I was known as the Infusionsoft cleanup queen for years. Because people would watch a few videos on Infusionsoft and then “figure it out” after the client hired them. Only to disappear because they realized there’s way more to it than what they saw on YouTube. I was hired to clean up the mess made by someone else because they didn’t have the knowledge to do the work and had no business selling it as a service.
A Few More Tips On Honest Behavior + Business Ethics
Here are a few more things I feel need to be touched on.
- If you subcontract to others, be honest about who’s doing the work. If you take on new tasks and then give them to somebody else, your client should know who’s doing the work. Even though it’s your business, they still need to know if somebody else is doing the work.
- Communicate when you may miss a deadline or need to change it. If you know you’re going to miss a deadline date for a task that’s due, tell your client. Don’t just disappear or let the due date pass without a conversation.
- Please don’t bad-mouth others that do the same thing that you do.
- And it’s never okay to take a client’s money, then disappear when you realize you can’t do the work promised.
If your business is your livelihood, be honest and ethical. Post your business ethics on your website, add them to your business policy document and share them with your clients. Let them know you’re a Service Professional and not someone flying by the seat of their pants. Ethics and honesty are where it begins and ends.
Remember, at the end of the day this is a relationship-based business and your reputation is everything. It just takes one bad move to ruin it all. Clients will not hesitate to share their experiences with others: “This person took advantage of me – I do not recommend working with them”. There goes your reputation and your business.
What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to post your comment or question below and let me know.
Thanks for reading – Susan
P.S. If you want to learn the in-demand skills that clients are looking for, have a look at my Techie VA Training Vault. It includes in-depth video training on WordPress and MailChimp and also teaches you how to sell them as a service. You can try it for 5 days for USD 5 to see if it's for you.