An Expensive VA Mistake by Chloe Adler

VA Mistake

Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Chloe Adler as she shares with us “An Expensive VA Mistake.” Enjoy!


I made a recent VA mistake that I need to share so that you don’t make the same one. And it’s perfect timing since I recently I blogged about how to hire a VA in a two parter, which you can find here.

I still have my 3 fantastic VAs from the Philippines. They’re all amazing, no problems there. What makes that especially nice is that I can monitor their work through Hubstaff and can pay for only the work they’ve done. We communicate frequently over Skype. And I’ve recently hired another amazaballs VA, but more on that in a few…

Now onto the huge (and expensive) recent mistake.

I was looking for a social media manager and needed someone both fluent in reading and writing English. I had it in my head that it should be someone in the US for time-zone issues as well.

I asked around and my cousin referred someone she’d personally worked with. You can’t get a better referral than that!

So I contacted the woman and had a phone meeting with her. She quoted me $300 up front for a $75 discount. She said that she’s usually $25 an hour but was running a special if I jumped before the 1st of the New Year. I jumped and sent her $300 over Paypal immediately. But, I did not sign a contract.

The woman seemed legit. She had a business name (VA-XX), a great website, and that golden personal family member referral.

And yet after 30 days, close to nothing had been done. I estimate she spent less than an hour of time on my project. There was basically no work to show for it.

When I emailed and asked her about it, she would ignore me for days at a time and then write an excuse and apology and promise to start working on it.

This went on for weeks but nothing changed. Nothing was done.

The time I spent chasing this woman is time I could have spent completing the entire job myself.

Over 2 weeks ago, she completely stopped responding. The woman ghosted me! A person I hired and paid $300 up front! What? Does this happen?

I was shocked, angry and obviously upset. And of course the answer is: Yes, it happens ALL the time!

Luckily I filed a grievance with Paypal, explained what occurred (in detail), and yesterday my money was returned to me. Yet the woman has still never contacted me.

No explanation. No apology.

guess that makes sense though. What can she say at this point? “I’m a thief and tried to rip you off, but you’re a squeaky wheel and called me out. My bad for getting caught.”

I have no doubt this woman has done the same thing to other people and will continue to hone her lying, cheating, and stealing skills.

I assume many new business owners would write off the money or wait until maybe she gets to their project in who knows how many months down the road. Or maybe she puts people off for months and months and they’re too timid or scared to call her on it.

I’m not that person. I started my first business when I was still in college with my first hire and I’ve had several businesses since then and over a dozen employees. I’ve made many mistakes but I thought I was smart enough not to repeat any of them. This one was new (to me).

The take-away: Do NOT pay for services up front. This is certainly not “across the board.” I recently paid for 3 other things up front. Two writer’s retreats, both led by people I know. And something else writer-related. But in all of these instances, I signed a contract FIRST!


  1. Do NOT pay for services ͞to be rendered͟ up front.
  2. DO pay your contractors through Paypal because you will have a record and Paypal can intervene if need be. Unless they are truly your friend or you’re fine with kissing the money goodbye, do not use the “friends and family” feature to pay with Paypal.
  3. Have a contract! (even a simple one).

So you’d think I’d be gun-shy after that experience but no, I leapt back on the horse and posted in one of my Facebook author groups asking for a VA/PA.

A woman I know responded and I’ve hired her. We’re on a 30-day trial, which I ask everyone to do because who knows, they may not like working with ME!

This woman invoices after she does the work, just like all my other amazing VAs. 🙂 What’s more is that she did more in 2 hours than the other woman did in 5 weeks and her work is far superior. Plus she keeps in constant communication.

There’s the happy ending! Without the troll, I wouldn’t have found the unicorn.



Chloe Adler image for Launching as a First Time / Debut Author, One Author’s Experience by Chloe Adler, Spicy Romance with a biteFor the past undisclosed amount of years, Chloe Adler has thoroughly bucked the system. She lives in foggy Northern California with her dead fish Larry and a bouncy bunny rabbit named Fred. After selling her rock collection, she amassed enough money to buy and move into a small motor home where she developed a strange fondness for striped socks.

Prior to her infamous writing career, Chloe was an overachiever, amassing a slew of unimpressive letters after her name. The trouble is that the five people who know what the letters mean, don’t really care.

When she’s not writing, she can be found picking trash up off the beaches, offering rides to the homeless, and roasting her own coffee beans.

Chloe has completed her first paranormal romance series, Distant Edge, which is a genre mishmash guaranteed to rotate heads. If you sign up for her newsletter, not only will you find out more, you’ll also make her jump up and down with joy for at least 3.5 seconds. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Connect with Chloe Adler

Twitter: @ChloeAdlerWrite

You may also like...