On some of the business forums I belong to (not just VA forums) I see discussions amongst members who sub-contract work out to other service providers. One of the big turn-offs for some in using a sub-contractor is that some of the sub-contractors overstep their boundary and show no respect for the original relationship between the client and the person sub-contracting the work out. They make direct contact with the client seeking continued work.
In the corporate world contractors or staff, when leaving that role, are required to sign a non-compete contract which lasts for anything from 6 months to a couple of years. It’s to help prevent that very thing to happen. And most people I know wouldn’t even dream to overstep that mark.
I know in my early days of business I was also keen to gain clients of my own but I was very careful not to actively pursue as clients, those I was engaged to provide support to through a temping or contracting role. It didn’t feel ethically right to do this and I knew that if I was doing this I would have lost the temping or subcontracting role very quickly. It just wasn’t done. It also meant that to get continued work would have been very difficult because word gets around very quickly. And so it does in the VA industry and any other industry for that matter. Why risk ruining your reputation as a service provider?
So, what has changed? Has people’s ethics? Are they so desperate for work that they just don’t care about how the original working relationship began? Do they not see it as unethical to cut out the very person who introduced them to the client and work to undercut that person? Or is that we are so desensitised by all the things we see on TV and read in the papers or online that these days it no longer seems a big deal and we’re all out to get what we can without any thought for the person who originally brought us into the equasion.
Our consciences should still be working actively and it’s important to survive in an industry to do the right thing. Those who provide good work and act conscientiously will get more work simply because a good word is put out about them. I’m a firm advocate of ‘what goes around comes around’ and that works for both good and bad. What do you think?