Why You Should Always Wear A White Hat And Be Suspicious Of Clients Who Encourage You Otherwise

educateAs a virtual assistant it’s never a good idea to wear a black hat. This colour of headwear was associated with the “baddie” in those old cowboy flicks, but today the black hat represents all that’s bad about our industry. In short, people who operate by constantly seeking shortcuts, artificial ways of gaming the system and outright cheating may have a very short-lived career in online marketing and virtual assistance. However, they are definitely “out there,” but you shouldn’t be one of them.

In this business we have seen very recently just how much you can get into trouble by taking unreasonable or unrealistic approaches to various tasks and procedures. The people who control our search engine traffic flows have long sworn to try and eliminate spam and bad quality websites, the type of online garbage that may be the output of the black hat marketer.

Yet what are you going to do if a client wants to push you to change the colour of your headwear? A number of potential customers these days may be aware of what it takes to game the system and may be impatient for results themselves. They may not have the patience, or in fact the budget, to enable you to do your job, on a long-term and consistent basis. They may not accept that today you need to establish authority, trustworthiness and relevancy in any niche and that a good virtual assistant will always work towards these goals.

This could be seen as a clash of professional personalities. You could ask yourself whether they’re likely to be a long-term client anyway. Do you even want to build up any kind of relationship with them, even though you have explained just how important it is to be above board with their marketing?

Sometimes black hat methodology is abhorrent to any reasonable person, quite apart from being a way of trying to technically gain an advantage. There are some out there, for example, who try and manipulate social media profiles, or play on others’ misfortune by getting them to sign up for some type of deal, simply because it earns a commission for the black hat marketer. This particular type of approach is unethical and you certainly don’t want to be taking on clients who suggest that you be unethical in order to help them.

Of course it’s possible that the uneducated client-to-be simply needs to be educated. You need to explain to them how from a long-term perspective they have a lot more to gain by employing a white hat approach technique rather than trying to do things the old way or the unethical way. You may be able to defuse or head off difficulties in the future simply by paying attention to pre-contractual education first.

Never compromise your standards, or be willing to employ any underhanded tactics. Whether or not you retain this type of client should you proceed that way, you may sully your reputation in the eyes of other people in the industry, as well as future customers.

Have you ever been put in a situation with a client that just didn’t feel right?