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  • Writer's picturegilliansmith

I knew you were trouble when you walked in…

Updated: 6 days ago

So I like to think I know my clients quite well by now. And I like to think I know what makes a good one.

However, in prep for this blog - I did a little further research and found that even I had missed some useful nuggets. More on that later.

Good communicators - it’s hard to find this out until it’s too late but take the initial comms as a sign. Even if their comms are a little sporadic, as long as you get answers when you need them in order to do the work - that’s all you really need.

Good payers - the only client I’ve ever had issues with re payment is the same one who I had to chase to submit their signed contract - quelle surprise. Hello red flag.

Not arseholes - my fellow VA Gemma talks about this a lot. Basically, don’t tolerate rude people. Honestly, it’s not worth any money. You left employment to avoid this s**t.

So how can you find all this out ahead of working with someone?

The communicator part is tough. You’ll have to base it all on the discovery call and initial email exchanges and hope for the best a little bit.

Financially - it’s not easy but try to gather a sense of how a business is doing financially. Are they in a sector that’s thriving? Are they on a stock exchange (indicating liquidity)? If it’s a charity, their financials are all publicly available and you can see if they tend to file their annual reports on time - usually a good sign. Are they shouting about their bookings/numbers/how busy they are backing it up with numbers? Companies House can be useful too.

How about the arsehole piece? Well, back to my earlier reference. Google can be your friend here. I think it depends on the type of client but if you work with companies or charities in the public eye, the c-suite - if that’s who you’re supporting - tends to be quite researchable. They’ll have given interviews, been on TV, had articles written about them, quotes attributed to them, spoken on podcasts, given multiple interviews, posted thought pieces on LinkedIn etc. Find those and try to get a feel for them - even if it is a polished version of the real person. Similarly, if there’s been… let’s just say publicly reported “issues” you know what you’re getting into. Meeting minutes and annual reports (if available, e.g. charities) can throw up a lot of useful information.

Any aspiring VAs - get in touch. I offer affordable “Power Hours” where you can pick my brains on how to get started and find out more detail on what I’ve said above.

The next blog is on the (semi-related) subject of building your profile as a business owner/CEO/Founder, why it’s important and why you should prioritise it (even if you don’t want to or think you shouldn’t), and how us VA’s can help.

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