HOW MANY CLIENTS SHOULD VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS HAVE?

I have some exciting and aggressive business goals this year...one of which is to continue growing my practice as a Virtual Assistant Coach and V.A. Course Creator, helping people who want to start a new V.A. business or expand their existing practice. Last year, two of my coaching clients asked me an interesting question:

How many clients do you have?

The answer changes for me from month to month and year to year, but the truth is: The most clients I have taken on at one time was 7-8 different business owners. And at my lowest? This always surprises people: I had just TWO clients.

Are you wondering which was better? The truth is, there were good parts and bad parts having LOTS of clients and also to having very few. If you are just starting out or thinking about scaling up or wondering if it's better to seek out a smaller number of prospects...there is no 'right' or 'wrong' number of clients to have, but there ARE pros and cons to consider.

The Pros and Cons of Having LOTS of Clients

When I had a LARGE number of clients there were many people giving me shorter tasks or a smaller number of hours each week. I was choosing to work about 35 hours per week and was generally dividing that time between a lot of different clients and tasks. There are things I enjoy about working that way and things I do not:

PROS:

  • There is always work to do and very few 'slow' periods
  • If one client moves on they are easy to replace
  • You learn a LOT from all the different programs and software used by multiple clients
  • You get lots of referrals to either take on more work or offer to other VA's.
  • Lots of opportunities to do new things and rarely stuck doing a project or task you don't like for very long.

CONS:

  • It can be overwhelming when multiple clients are launching or working on big projects at once
  • You spend a LOT more time doing admin (invoicing / time-tracking / etc) for multiple clients
  • Can be hard to balance your schedule between clients
  • Need more lead time for new tasks so you can plan and prioritize your schedule
  • It can be hard to switch gears as you jump from task to task throughout the day
  • You need quite a bit of contingency space in your day to take on 'urgent' or unexpected requests.

The Pros and Cons of Having Very Few Clients

Having a smaller number of clients comes with its own set of joys and challenges. For several years I ran my business with just 2-3 clients who gave me a large number of hours each day. Note: One thing I would stay away from is having just ONE client. This would make you more like an employee rather than a business owner and can create all kinds of headaches at tax time! There were definitely some great things about having fewer clients and some struggles as well:

 

PROS:

  • It's easier to manage your time when you can focus on just ONE client for many hours at a time.
  • There is less of a learning curve as you only have to be familiar with a handful of programs that your clients use
  • You can get very good at what you do since most of your time is spent on the same tasks for the same clients
  • There is less time wasted on admin tasks and scheduling

CONS:

  • If one of your clients decides to move on, it can leave a huge gap in your business (and income)
  • It can be hard to replace a client who is using a large number of hours each week
  • You may not learn as much as you are generally doing the same tasks and using the same programs most of the time

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