Saw a poll in a VA forum recently asking about juggling clients and how challenging it can be and then asking how many clients members had. The highest choice was in the 1-3 bracket. I was the only one (to date) who had more than 7. I guess the real thing is about juggling time.
Perhaps the VAs who responded are still new in their businesses but it concerns me, very much, if VAs have 3 clients or less. And I’ll share the reasons for this:
- If you have only 1-2 clients, the tax office could deem you an employee of those clients – this becomes a difficult situation for both you and the client/s in respect to taxes, insurances, sick leave, etc. Best you don’t put the client in that position.
- Assuming that these 1-2 clients take up most of your time, this leaves you little time to build your business and increase the variety of what you do.
- If one or both of those clients moved on, you lose half or all your income and where would you be then?
Believe me clients do move on. Some stay long-term, some stay short-term, but they do move on, eventually. They retire, they expire, their business fails or they tire of it and move on to something else, or their business explodes and they have to engage full time staff. I’ve had ALL of these things happen and more over the 25 years I’ve been in business.
Can it be a challenge managing them? Sometimes, but most of the time not all need something to be done urgently. Usually it’s only one at a time and so I can usually do things for two or three clients in a day – it’s rare I spend a whole day on one client. And I track it all in my diary using a To Do List which I mark off as I complete things. The key is always to ask your client when they need something done by.
Is there a magic number of how many clients you should have? No, I don’t think so, but I feel you would be much better off if you have a larger number of clients, with a smaller number of hours. Or some that are add-hoc. Not all my clients are weekly, some are monthly, some just pop up when they need something done. They’re not all locked in to a guaranteed (for me) set of hours per week or month. All I know is that if I lose one of them, it’s much easier to replace their income than it is if I only had, one, two or three clients. Worth thinking about, isn’t it?
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.