Turning down a client

One of my social media clients and I were on the phone the other day for our check in call and he told me he recommended me to a fellow Amazon seller.

I was flattered - it always makes me feel good when a client recommends me to someone they know. And it’s how I’ve landed quite a few of my favorite clients!

My client didn’t know much about what his colleague was looking for, so I texted this potential client, introducing myself and he responded wanting to set up a call.

As I talked to this man, the questions he was asking and the role he needed to fill were so far out of my wheelhouse, I ended the call by saying, “to be honest, you’re not looking for me, you’re looking for a person who can do this, this and this. Here’s where to potentially find that person and I will keep an eye out for you as well.”

While I didn’t sign another client from this call, I did gain some respect. I got to interact with someone I otherwise wouldn’t have, and I learned a few things along the way.

Its okay to test the waters and not dive in.

Knowing myself, and my love of learning, I could probably learn the software he needs a VA to be proficient at relatively quickly.

In some cases I wouldn’t worry too much about having to learn one or two new applications when a client lists it as a desired asset for the VA they are hiring. But in this potential clients case, he was specifically looking for someone who could hit the ground running - that person was not me.

There is enough to go around. Operate in your zone of Genius.

When you are first starting out and you want nothing more than to book that first client, you are willing to take on anything. Stop. Do not do that. You will end up overwhelmed, underwhelmed, burnt out or potentially a mix of all three.

In my mentorship program for the Collective, one of the first things we do is figure out what you love to do, and who your ideal client is. That person is out there. Once you have worked with them and done exceptional work for them, that’s when you can start to branch out more to figure out more things you like to do (or things you don’t like to do!)

But please, don’t just take on work to take it on. Your ideal client is out there - trust that the universe has your back on this one.

Honesty is the best policy.

Sure, I could have told this potential client “I’m highly proficient at that application,” he could have hired me and then we both would have ended up in a tough spot. Instead, I was honest with him - I told him what I liked to do. That’s one huge perk of being your own boss. You get to decide what you want to do and work with the people you want to work with.

Plus, there was no time wasted, like there would have been had I fibbed about my skill set. We just spent 15 minutes on the phone, gaining clarity, insight and connecting.


In the end, I know there is a reason why this client didn’t work out. I may not fully understand what that reason is today, tomorrow or even a year from now, but I can go to sleep tonight with a clear conscience and no more stress than necessary. That to me is a win.

So, tell me, have you ever had a consultation call and you ended up turning the person down?