Are You Really Stealing The Client?

advice Oct 26, 2023
Are You Stealing Clients?

This one is for the sub-contracting among us who work for a VA business owner.

Ever been in a pickle where a client you've been assisting wants to work directly with you to cut out the middleman? Or the other way around where you've reached out to a client directly to work with you?

Tempting, isn't it? Like who doesn't want to get paid more, right?

Hold that thought!

Let's unravel what might seem like a desirable shortcut that could actually be a dead end that scorches your reputation and undermines the relationship you have with the VA business you're subcontracting for.


The Client Isn't Technically YOURS

It might sound unusual, but when you're a subcontractor under a VA business, the client you're supporting isn't technically your client, even if you're their primary point of contact. They belong to the VA business. Your client as a subcontractor is actually the VA business. 

Think of it this way: when you rent a house, it's temporarily under your care, but selling it would be illegal. Similarly, attempting to 'steal' a client would be a significant breach of ethical and contractual boundaries.

The Temptation of Illegitimate Excuses

It's easy to justify and rationalise your actions with statements like "The client reached out to me directly!" or "No one needs to know!"

However, regardless of how you frame it, stealing remains stealing, and poaching clients is not a legitimate path to business growth.

It's a risky road filled with potential pitfalls that outweigh any short-term financial gain.

Contracts Hold the Key

Besides the damage to your reputation, you could also be opening yourself up to legal trouble. It's essential to carefully review the terms of your contract. It may include clauses about the duration before you can work directly with a client or the penalties for breaching the agreement.

So, dust off that contract, put on your reading glasses, and thoroughly examine the clauses to avoid hidden pitfalls.

The Consequences of Your Actions

Crowning yourself as a client liberator might sound exciting, but it can lead to severe consequences you'll want to avoid.

The disgrace of being "the one who poached clients" will make you the headline no VA dreams about.

Remember, word spreads quickly in the VA world, and taking shortcuts can damage your reputation, making it harder to attract genuine clients, collaborate with other VAs, or receive referrals in the future.

Navigating the Direct Work Dilemma

Let's address this tricky question that's likely been on your mind  "But what should I do if a client wants to work directly with me?"

Open and honest communication is key here!

  • Politely explain the situation to the client, making it clear that working with them directly would breach your contract.
  • Inform your VA business you work for about the client's proposal. This approach preserves trust, demonstrates honesty, and showcases your integrity, making you a shining star in the VA world. 


Building a successful VA business relies on trust, transparent communication, and upholding professional ethics. While 'stealing' a client might offer short-term gains, it's more likely to tarnish your reputation faster than you can imagine.


Remember, professional integrity is the cornerstone of your VA journey, ensuring consistent growth, a stellar reputation, and enduring partnerships.


Sam + Jo xo




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