Making a Negative a Positive

This week began with a call from a potential client.  Excited at the possibilities, I listened closely as they explained what task they were looking to have completed by a virtual assistant.  And my heart sank.  A contract with a current client clearly would make this task a conflict of interest. I explained the situation and sadly let them know i would not be able to provide that particular service. 

 What a strange feeling it was to reject a potential client, no matter how necessary it was. It got me to thinking about how I could turn a potentially negative situation into a positive.
Luckily, without much thought at all, I immediately offered the caller my assistance in finding him someone that could help him.  I answered several questions related to the task, offering insight into what type of experience he might be looking for in a VA,  took his contact information and explained that I knew a virtual assistant that could most likely help. After letting them know I would e-mail a follow-up, I immediately called my fellow virtual assistant, explained the situation and gave them the potential client’s contact information.  I then followed up myself with the potential client, giving them my colleagues contact information and letting them know if they had other, non-conflicting work, not to hesitate to contact me. I did all of this pretty automatically, since as a virtual assistant this type of service is a part of what I do.

It was a disappointing situation for me, but it made me feel good that I had a.) helped someone find the help they were needing and b.) possibly helped a fellow virtual assistant gain a client.  I believe I behaved in the manner than any true professional would. And although it wasn’t the motivating factor behind my actions, it is entirely possible that both my fellow VA and the potential client may remember me if or when a situation arises where my services could be utilized.

Too often we only see the negative aspect when something like this happens, but each situation we encounter as business professionals can be turned into a positive.
Yes, even rejection. 

If you’ve offered  your services only to be turned down or passed over for another professional, it can certainly sting. The key to turning it into a positive is to separate your personal feelings of rejection in order to examine the reasons behind it.  Politely ask for possible reasons for the the rejection.  Were you not offering the service they needed?  Did you not have experience that another VA had? Were you unable to answer questions or were you nervous during your consultation with them? Usually with a little effort, you can see just what might have kept you from gaining the client.  Once you’ve determined that, you can focus on what you can do differently next time to improve your  success rate.  Perhaps it comes down to being a bit more prepared for the consultation, being more self-confident in your abilities or getting past the fear of ‘selling’ your services. Maybe there was nothing you could have changed, and it’s all about excepting the fact that rejection is a part of business, and doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on you and your business.

The next time you’re faced with a negative situation, take a moment to feel the disappointment and then investigate just how you can turn it into a positive.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.


  1. halosecretarialservices on July 2, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    What a great and positive post!

  2. halosecretarialservices on July 2, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    What a great and positive post!

  3. Merrick on July 8, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    How great it is to listen that you have helped client in getting good virtual assistant and VA in getting client in turn you are acting acting as a virtual assistant in between them.

  4. Merrick on July 8, 2008 at 7:47 am

    How great it is to listen that you have helped client in getting good virtual assistant and VA in getting client in turn you are acting acting as a virtual assistant in between them.