What Boundaries Are Holding You Back As A Virtual Assistant?
You must have boundaries as a virtual assistant. Not only must you have them but you must communicate them with your clients and enforce them. However, there are times when boundaries hold you back as a VA.
Years ago, when I still worked in an office as an executive assistant, I had the most horrible migraine. While migraines are something I am accustomed to dealing with this one was in a category all its own. My medicine was not working and I had to leave work early in order to miss the long commute home before crawling into bed where I would end up for the next three days.
The following Sunday I started to feel some relief. I wasn’t as sensitive to light and I was even trying to eat solid foods. After being in such misery, and although I wasn’t nearly one hundred percent yet, I desperately wanted to get out of the house. I decided to go for a walk and even visit my sister to take my mind off things. It was only noon when I could feel the pressure on my shoulders. The pulling on the back of my neck and the strain in my forehead. My migraine was coming back full force.
I was in so much pain and so fearful at the same time. There was no way I could endure another three days like I just had. I thought if I could just get a massage it would make me feel so much better. The masseuse could work out the kinks and rub away all the tension and strain. My problem with this plan was that it was Sunday. Either the establishments were closed or booked solid. The options weren’t in my favor.
As I frantically called every place in town, literally going down the list on my phone I reached a yoga studio where the masseuse had just left. The owner said there might be a chance she could turn around and come back. She asked me how long it would take to arrive at the studio. I told her that I could be there in ten minutes and would get in my car and start driving in case the masseuse agreed. She did!
I’ll never forget walking in, looking as though I had just been in a car accident, hunched over, my hair in a tangled mess, no color in my skin let alone makeup, and bloodshot eyes from the lack of sleep. There she stood waiting for me and told me that I would feel better when she was done. Much better than when I arrived.
That was almost six years ago and I still remember every detail. She came back for me. I don’t know what she had planned for that day, maybe nothing, but she was off and still turned around to make time for me. I’m her biggest fan and over the years have referred everyone I know to her, thrown countless clients her way, now to the point sometimes when I’m in town I can’t get in to see her, but all I want to do is promote and support her. I’d easily pay double what she charges without batting an eye.
I will also never forget she broke her boundary of time for me. I’m still one of her most loyal customers even though she is on the other side of the country. I never visit town without trying to get an appointment. I’m not always successful but I can’t help but think there is probably someone who needs a massage more than I do and if I really needed to be seen by her she would make time for me.
We all have personal boundaries that we don’t let clients cross. It could be for any number of reasons and there is no right or wrong. However, when you think about the best service you have ever received or the time someone stayed open late for you, made a special exception what they were doing was removing their boundary to serve you.
When you become so rigid that you never allow boundaries to be removed be careful because ultimately you are holding back your business from the clients you claim to want to serve so desperately. The clients who will be loyal for years to come. Don’t let a single bad experience when someone took advantage of your kindness and services affect your future clients and future opportunities.
When I answer emails, texts, and calls on weekends or “after hours” for my clients I know just what they are going through. I’ve been there and likewise, someone else has been there for me. It’s about paying it forward and meeting the other person where they are – in some kind of pain.
Now, are their guidelines you should follow when you let down your boundary? Yes! Here are three things to keep in mind when you are providing service outside your boundaries. Watch the video below to learn when and how to handle these requests.
Melissa is the bestselling author of Hire the Right Virtual Assistant and Become A Successful Virtual Assistant. To learn more about hiring the right VA or be matched with a client looking for a VA just like you, contact Melissa here.
She has gained international recognition and has been featured in CareerBuilder, The Muse, Spark Hire, Thinkific & Woman’s World.