Question of Ethics?


I just turned down a job offer that was probably the best of my VA career so far.

A potential client offered to bring me to their location to show them how to set up and use social media for their business. They indicated they weren’t much good at learning online and would prefer meeting face-to-face. They were located in one of the world’s most beautiful locations, and one I have longed to visit. And I said no.


I’m the first to admit there is a bit of bravado in business – especially when you’re starting out. ‘Fake it till you make it’ does the rounds in every avenue of business. You might tell a potential client you can look after something for them, even though you may have limited experience in that particular area. You then quickly go about skilling up and getting on with the job. But I think when it’s likely to cost the client – as it was likely to in this case – then the decision is a moral and ethical one, and not purely a business one.

This potential client knew their limitations – and I know mine. Sure, I could have taken the offer, jetted over there and shown the client what they wanted to know – up to a point – and jetted home again after a nice holiday. But where does that leave the client? Even if they weren’t actually aware of it, I would know they didn’t get their money’s worth because their requirements were not something I could meet 150%! So I referred them to another VA who I knew was a master in what they needed.

Whilst there may be certain jobs you can quickly get a handle on and provide an excellent result for clients, it’s important to also be aware of your limitations and know when to say no and refer to other practitioners who do have the required skills. You’ll find this concept included in industry codes of ethics – but in this case, I acted from my own personal ethics. I couldn’t stand knowing that a client had received a half-baked job – even if they thought they got the best advice and training ever! I just couldn’t do it. Could you?


©Lyn Prowse-Bishop,


  1. Caroline says:

    Totally agree Lyn, don’t downplay yourself – know your strengths but also know your limits. I’m really sure this pays off in the end. Now that client knows you are someone to trust, you never know how this will come back to you, and even if it doesn’t you are better off for it.

  2. execva says:

    Yes my experience is definitely the same Caroline and I’ve found after 12 years in business that these decisions definitely pay off in the long run.

Leave a Reply