10 Red flags for prospective clients🚩🚩🚩
Updated: Jun 21
Let’s face it.
You are becoming a virtual assistant for financial freedom, a healthier work/life balance and probably to do something that feels worthwhile.
Having those big aspirations and the fact that most new virtual assistants with no reviews struggle to get their first client...can make any client look desirable.
However, I urge you to BE PICKY.
It’s important to remember that when you are on the hunt for clients, you aren’t on the hunt for a job. Most of these clients will not need enough services to fully supply your income. You’ll need to have more than one and so having just one bad egg in the bunch can derail all of your work.
So...how do you know if a client is good?
I’ll be honest. You cannot predict the future, but there certainly are some big red flags that can tell you that this is going to be a bumpy road.
That’s why I’ve compiled my top 10 red flags for prospective clients that ALWAYS make me run for the hills.
And you know what else? Every time I ignored one of these...I regretted it.
1. They don’t want to have any phone call or Zoom prior to hiring you.
I get it. Most of us work from home so that we can get our tasks done in our pajamas (sans bra) with the messiest of buns. But...like I always say, you really need to show your face at least once in these meetings to build trust with your clients. The same goes for them! If they aren’t willing to let you see their face or hear their voice before hiring you….they are probably a scammer!
2. They refuse to fill out your questionnaires.
Questionnaires and forms are how virtual assistants gather information in order to do their job better. Yes, they take some time and thought to fill out...but without them there can be a SERIOUS lack of communication. If a potential client isn’t willing to fill out your onboarding forms, that speaks volumes to how willing they will be to fill out other information. What happens when you need questions answered to finish a task? Or they promised they would write captions so you could publish their content? Trust me, I’ve been there and it is a world of stress that you do not deserve.
3. They are late on their FIRST payment.
Things happen. None of us are perfect and I know that some payments will inevitably be late throughout my time with a client. However, I charge a high late fee because I want to discourage this kind of behavior so that I can pay my bills on time. Clients that are late on the FIRST payment are usually showing you what they are going to do for all future payments. Not only can this cause you some serious headaches, but it also shows a lack of respect for you and your company if this becomes a consistent problem.
4. They are quick to speak very unprofessionally about their previous assistant.
I’ve been the hero for some clients when their other assistant didn’t work out and it was nice to know that I really saved the day. But I learned really early on that the clients that talk a lot of trash about their previous assistants and employees are usually not telling the whole story and by the end of our time together….I start to wonder if their last assistant was really bad at all.
5. They want to pay with a check or money order.
Immediately no. Immediately no. There is absolutely no reason why a client should insist on paying with a check or money order. Always only take payments through YOUR invoicing system. This helps to keep you safe because checks and money orders are pretty easy to fake.
6. They won’t sign your contract.
No contract, no assistant. Plain and simple. There is (again) absolutely no reason why a client should insist on not signing a contract. It costs them nothing to sign it and helps to outline your business relationship. Without it, it’s a he-said/she-said situation of what you were supposed to do, how you were supposed to do it and how much they owe you.
7. Their messages to you are full of grammar and spelling issues.
Again, nobody is perfect. I misspell the word receive at least once a day (thank god for grammarly). However, if your correspondence with a potential client is littered with grammar and spelling issues, there's a good chance that they are a scammer (especially if they also fit another one of these red flags). Better safe than sorry!
8. They request for free or discounted work.
JUST SAY NO! There are lots of successful virtual assistants that seek out clients to do discounted work in exchange for a review. This is perfectly fine, but it becomes a red flag when the discounted work wasn’t what you originally had in mind. If a client offers to hire you only if you work for free or at a lower rate, they already don’t value you or what you do. They believe that what you are worth is that discounted rate that they offered you...and they will treat you as such.
9. They don’t have any questions for you.
Discovery calls are a two way street. It’s not an interview, but you should both be reeling with questions to ask each other. On your end, you should be asking about their company and how you can help. But, on their end, they should probably be asking about your business, reviews, pricing, etc. A quiet client will probably not be getting back to you.
10. They are unwilling to respect your professional boundaries.
As a freelancer, social media manager and/or virtual assistant you need to set professional boundaries. This includes how you will be spoken to, how you will receive criticism, and your office hours. There are many other boundaries that you can set, but these are the top 3. A client that is unwilling to respect these can be a real headache. You ditched the 9-5 to have freedom, so don’t let a single client take that away from you.
Have you noticed some of these red flags for prospective clients IN YOUR OWN PROSPECTS?
There are plenty of fish in the sea, so if your prospective client fits any of these red flags, it’s going to be okay.
You will find another client who is ready and willing to benefit from what you bring to table and respect you not only as a business owner, but also as a human being.
We’ve got tons of live lesson replays that have already helped over 5,000 budding virtual assistants just like you for $0.00!
Until next time,