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Your Resume Is Costing You Clients

It was maybe 6 months into my business as a virtual assistant when I got the wakeup call of a lifetime. It’s one thing to find out you are doing something wrong in business but it’s incredibly humbling to find out you were doing 2 things wrong in one 5 minute conversation.

Let me set the scene.

I had just finished a start-up client contract and was working on gaining more clients. I had hired someone to help me in my VA business and we had the bandwidth to grow. I let my current clients know I had space for more and they were more than happy to refer their entrepreneur friends to me - after all - I’d been showing up and showing out! They could refer me with confidence.

I was doing the damn thing! I was on a high!

My very first business IG post. Clearly feeling myself...

As the referrals came in, I followed my process of having them complete a survey, then book their call - except this one gentleman, who I was told really needed my help - never booked his call.

When my client who had referred him asked me if we had connected and I told him we had not, he said - “Romaine, he’s not into emails, that’s why he needs your help. Just pick up the phone and call him!”

And so I did. And this is where I got the wind knocked out of my sails.

Me: “ Hello - This is Romaine from Indietemp, XX suggested I reach out to you as you may be in need of my services.”

Him: “ Oh yeah! I saw your email, but I’m looking for a high-end executive level assistant. Not a temp.”

Me: “ Oh Wonderful! That’s what I am! I’d love to learn more about your needs. Is now a good time to talk?”

Him: “Really? But your business name says temp and your website says short term support? I’m looking for someone I can grow with.”

Me - Silently - OUCH. I’d been meaning to fix that on my website.

Him: “ Ok look I’m in the middle of something so send me over you capabilities deck and I’ll book a call when I have time.”

Me: “ Absolutely, no problem, I will send over my resume …”

Him: “ I didn't say resume - I don't care where you have worked - I want to know what you can do! Send me a capabilities deck and we will take it from there..” CLICK

I can still hear that dead silence. This was the first time I had experienced anyone being rude to me in my business.

It stung.

I sat there in disbelief, especially since the person who had referred him to me, was the complete opposite in personality style. I was not expecting the conversation to go down the way it did. So in frustration I called a friend to share what had just happened and in the middle of me venting she said:

Her: “ Well……”

Me: “Well what?”

Her: “Well your business name does give the impression you are temp or a temp agency. I thought that's what you were and what I had been telling people you do.”

Me: “ Really?”

Her: “Yeah.”

We wrapped up our call and I sat at my desk for a moment. I tried to get past my anger and annoyance and I thought; What can I learn from this?

The first thing I realized was that I was going to need to change my business name. I loved the name of my business, I had been fantasizing about the future of my business centered around that name. But at that moment, I realized, it was not serving me. I had to let it go.

The next thing I did was google what a Capabilities Deck was. I mean I understood what it meant, but I had no clue what one looked like. Most of what I found was geared towards agencies, but when I downloaded a free online template - I got it right away. This was a simple way for people to know what they could delegate to me.

At that moment I went from annoyed and agitated to energized. I sat down and created my first capabilities deck that day and used it that week to close two new clients. I’ve used my capabilities deck to help me close every client since.

It has been a game-changer in my virtual assistant business.

So in this post, I want to share with you 3 key ways how, if you are still sending out your resume as a virtual assistant, it could be costing you, clients!

Related: Want to See The Finished Product? Check Out My Capabilities Deck!

1. You are positioning yourself as an employee - not a business owner.

It seemed only natural to me when I first started my business to provide potential clients with my resume. It’s all I’ve ever had to show my experience in the workforce. Except, I had transitioned from employer to employee to business owner to client, without transitioning my mindset or my strategy. As a service provider, your clients don’t care where you got the knowledge. They do however want to know what you know and how that can help their business.

When sending a resume, you are positioning yourself as an employee, when you want to be seen as a business owner providing a vital service. I noticed an instant change in the caliber of conversations I was having with potential clients once I started sending out my capabilities deck. From the beginning, you want to steer the relationship in the way you want to be seen. A resume does not send that message.

2. You are missing opportunities to upsell.

One of the first compliments I received after transitioning to a capabilities deck, was that it made it so easy for them to figure out what they could delegate to me. Which was usually more than they originally imagined. Which leads me to my next point.

Sharing with your clients all of the areas where you can make an impact in their business opens you up to a bigger conversation. It’s no longer limited to what they originally thought they were ready to delegate and opens the opportunity for more well rounded and better-paying opportunities. Use this as an opportunity to toot your own horn and share all the amazing skill sets you have acquired over the years.

3. You are putting yourself in a box.

Becoming a business owner is about possibilities. What you can bring to the table. What you could implement. However, a resume tells the story of what you have done, in a very limiting way. As your potential client reads your resume they could be putting you in a box of the industry you have come from.

Most administrative skills are easily transferable across industries, however, if your resume shows that you have been applying those skills in, for example, primarily banking and you are pitching yourself to holistic coach, that coach may feel your background is way too corporate to be a good fit for their environment. You have put yourself in a box.

Sharing your capabilities deck removes the box and expands the ceiling of opportunity. You are now able to have an in-depth conversation with the client about what you can do for them now and in the future.

I hope sharing my experience has helped you and if you don't already have a capabilities deck, be sure to grab the download to get started on building yours today!

You are one step closer to bigger contracts, bigger opportunities, and bigger rewards!

Your virtual biz bestie,


PS: I know you may be curious if I sent my capabilities deck to that referral- and the answer is no. However, I will forever be grateful for those five minutes. Those 5 minutes have probably helped me earn over $400K in revenue.

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