If you’re in business, and not in a job, then having only one client is never enough. A recent post on a VA forum showed that a VA lost a client she had and was desperate to replace them as her income was gone. Here is my response to her.
Unfortunately this is a lesson in NEVER being dependent on one client only. Ever. It’s a lesson we all learn at some point in our businesses, some sooner than others (Yes, I’ve been there too). So important to work at getting multiple clients and spread the income load so you’re not so badly hit when losing one. So sorry to hear this has happened but you’ll need to be networking and putting yourself out there. And do the sums to work out what your base rate should be. Make sure you’re charging what you need for your current lifestyle. Register with VA networks to receive client requests and consider looking at other business networks too. Go out and network and meet business people face-to-face.
Further, network online using LinkedIn, yahoogroups, Facebook groups and so on. But don’t stick with one form of networking – mix it up! And same with gaining clients. Don’t ‘settle’ for just one or even two. Aim for at least a half dozen so that the income is fairly evenly spread. Therefore, losing one, while producing a hole, doesn’t make your pocket (wallet) empty while trying to replace them. It gives you choices and less likely to cause panic. I know, because I have been there – a long time ago, but I lost a ‘major’ client who was paying a large percentage of my income in the early years of my business. It did hurt but I learnt from it. I was never able to replace that one client alone, but I did gain several other clients in the following months. Some of whom have been with me for many years.
As the saying goes ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’, spread it around, mix it up, and depend on no single one client. Life happens, things change, be prepared for that while building your business and things will grow and you will succeed. And remember, you’re running a business, it’s not a ‘job’. Businesses have more than one client.
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.