I’m Back from Self-Imposed Exile!

I’m back from self-imposed exile!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written here. Truthfully, it’s because of lack of time in many ways. As you all know, I work a regular 9-5 job and that means it takes time from being able to consistently blog here. I have been able to keep up with my new blog, which I will be launching very soon. Okay, enough babbling on. Let me share with you what I’ve been up to as of late!

First, I have been furthering my freelance education. To me, education is very important even when you own your own business. I have signed up for a course on transcription, retaken a couple of classes on being a great virtual assistant and also retaken a class on freelance writing. This has all been in preparation for taking on new clients in the coming year. When I look back at this year, which has been lean on clients, to say the least, I find myself realizing that it’s my own fault. There are things I can do to up my clientele list so it’s time to get cracking!

I’m also working on a new website. I’ve put it together and started posting. I’m hoping it will launch in January of 2018. Right now, I’m focusing on good content. I’ll give you all a hint though. It’s about working from home! I’m excited to launch it and share it with you all and my future clients.

Finally, during my exile, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do when it comes to freelance writing and VA work. I have always loved the field of alternative medicine and have discovered I still have that passion. In addition, I’ve also realized I love blogging about working from home and learning all I can about this amazing opportunity. Right now, I’m looking for clients in these two niche markets. I’ve even tweaked my hire me page to show my services and rates. I encourage you to take a look and then head over to my contact page to reach out!

So, in short, I’m back from self-imposed exile! I look forward to more entries to come and launching my new site even sooner! Until then, in case you need a refresher from the last entry all the way back in August click here!

Transcription is AMAZING!

Transcription is amazing!

I just found out about this amazing freelance opportunity while puttering around Pinterest. I was pinning one day and had been looking for additional things I could offer as a freelancer. Transcription was at the top of the list!

But Rob, what do you mean by transcription? What does a transcriptionist do? I’ve gotten these questions and much more since I told my Facebook friends and others about this amazing work from home option. I will break it down for you!

 

Transcription at a Glance

  1. So, what do I do as a transcriptionist?
    • I basically transcribe (duh) audio and video files for clients so they can use them in the future.
  2. What is the pay?
    • That’s a tricky one because it depends on what company you decide to work with as well as the client. Some clients pay more than others. You can expect to make from .05 cents per audio minute (not the same as a working minute) up to .65 cents per audio minute. I am currently working with Rev.com and make about .40 per audio minute.
  3. How do they pay you?
    • Most companies pay either on a weekly or biweekly basis via Paypal. It is easiest for them and they have no need for your bank information. It is the securest way to get paid and many companies like it.
  4. Can  I really make a living at this?
    • The honest answer is yes. There is a caveat here. If you can get enough work and have other freelance work to back you up, you can add this to your income stream. Most files do not take long and depending on how quickly you type, you can make some great extra cash.
  5. How do I start?
    • The best place to start is Google. Just type in Transcription jobs or something like it. Here’s a link to an article on where to find jobs.
    • I do suggest Rev.com because you get paid each week and can pick your projects. You do have to apply and pass a transcription test. If you don’t pass the first time, you can retake it in 45 days. Full disclosure, I didn’t pass the first time but did the second time. I even got my first payment last week. Granted it was only a few bucks because I did two short files but they paid me!

Well, time to end this post. I highly suggest transcription because it’s fun, you can pick your projects 99% of the time and expand your skills all at once! Take a look around the web and find out if it works for you! Good luck 🙂

 

 

Rejection

Rejection.

Freelancers never want to hear the word no. It sucks! I had an experience this week when I pitched to a new client. I had a great opportunity that came into my inbox. When I pitched, I did so because I figured why not? I got myself in too deep with the project starting with the pitch. A valuable lesson was learned. I want to share that lesson with you all.

I did my best to avoid rejection, however, it happened. We all do our best to avoid rejection, but sometimes it’s inevitable. The potential client was amazing. I was excited to work with her. I always operate under the guise of “I have nothing to lose” and this was the case here. The rejection came pretty quickly but I was strangely okay with it. The content was way above my head and I knew that going into the project.

So how do you handle rejection? Let me share a few nuggets of wisdom:

  1. It’s not your fault
  2. Sometimes it’s just not a good fit
  3. You’re still a great freelancer!

I know this all sounds trite, but it’s true! When my email dinged with the rejection, I knew what it was. It takes a thick skin in the freelance business. I learned that again this week. You can do one of two things when this happens, cry about it or grow from it and move to the next client possibility. I chose the later. This does not mean I didn’t respond to the email. I did. I sent a thank you email and asked them to keep me in mind for other projects which they said they would do! The point is, I made a new contact.

When a freelancer gets a rejection, it is okay. In fact, it is to be expected from time to time. The key is to look at the rejection as another opportunity to grow.

In short, take the rejections you get as a freelancer with a grain of salt. Learn from them. Most of all, remember that you’re still a great writer or freelance VA. Dust yourself off and move to the next opportunity!

To conclude I’m going to give you a call to action. Next time you get a rejection, thank the potential client for the opportunity and ask for them to keep you in mind for other things. It can help grow your business!

Slow Downs-How to Handle Them

Slow downs are bound to happen for any freelancer. It is in these times that we need to remember how to go back to the basics of what made us want to do this great work, to begin with. For me, slow-downs mean looking at what my business can do to grow and improve. With the new year approaching, it will be a goal of mine to grow my business in 2017.

This past year has been full of ups and downs for me and my business. I started the year with a couple of clients, unfortunately, throughout the year, things happened that were not entirely in my control. Experiencing personal setbacks that made keeping my business afloat was also a theme for this year. I did not once consider abandoning my business but I did decide to take a break for a while. Giving up on something I feel strongly that I am good at was simply not an option. It takes a special person to look at slow downs and how to work with them.

I often speak of my roommate who is also a freelancer. He gives me great advice and is an inspiration. He kept me from giving up on something I still feel passionate about. Clients came and clients went this year and sometimes I think that made things more difficult for me. As my good friend says, “the wheel turns”. This is true of freelancing as well. The new year will be one of great change and growth. So for the new year, my goals are below:

Goals:

  1. To pitch at least 5 times a week
  2. Work on gaining one new client a quarter
  3. Continue to balance my work and freelance life with everything else
  4. Remember I started this journey for a reason
  5. Above all, take each slow down or setback as a way to grow

Keep this in mind, my freelance friends, when you get slow downs in your business, use them to your advantage. Grow and learn from them the best way you know how and don’t give up!

Creativity Strikes

They say when you least expect it, creativity strikes. Well, in this case, I think they got it right. Let me explain.

A few days ago I signed up for a course on how to create a course of my own. What I’m developing is a course for people who have no idea what freelancing is about and how to get started. I’ve been working hard on my business and in the last six months I’ve learned so much about this crazy business. Now I want to share that with other new freelancers.

I know this will take a ton of work and I’m prepared to do it. I want to not just share the info with others. I want to give newbies support along the way. I will be developing the course to be easy to understand by breaking it out into about 25 lessons from where to start to how to gain and keep clients. There are so many options for an intro to freelancing course I didn’t know where to start. The course I’m taking should help me with that.

Some of you are probably wondering why I would pay for a course on how to set one up on my own, right? Well, let me tell you why I did it this way. I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to this. There, I said it. There’s no shame in saying you have no clue as a freelancer. In fact, it makes you an honest freelancer and if you play it right you can learn as you work. With my course, I want to show even the newest freelancer that it CAN be done. Encouragement is key for any newbie in this crazy and fun field. What I want to do is give that encouragement to as many people as possible.

There are pieces of the puzzle that I need to get going such as an email list and setting up the right delivery system for the course. That will come later. Right now I’m going to focus on the content for the course and make sure it’s the best it can be. That will give my students a great course at a great value.

If you’re interested in learning more I’ll be sending out feelers soon. Keep your eyes open!

I’m a successful freelancer!

I’m a successful freelancer!

That’s right. I am a successful freelance writer and virtual assistant. I’m working my business every single day. It’s not just a business for me. I love what I do. I get to do something amazing each day by just opening my laptop and working on a client request. That’s right, I get paid to do what I love to do, write and help people be as successful as I have been as of late.

Why can say that I’m a successful freelancer?

This week one of my clients asked me to do a bit more for them. She wants me to potentially set up her social media accounts and manage them so she can get more traffic to her amazing blog and website. I was very surprised and again, humbled that another client likes what I’ve been doing for her and wants me to do more. To me, this is the definition of success.

What do you see as success?
  • Getting paid?
  • Getting a new  client?
  • Recommendations from a client?
  • Is someone telling you that you’re successful? (Hint: you need to believe in yourself to be successful.)

See, there are a ton of different ways to see yourself as a success. For this freelancer, it’s all about running my business all the time. I’m always looking for new clients, writing, doing blog comments, and anything that will keep me on my path to success. I just invoiced a client this week for a pretty darn good sum. I’m thrilled that they already like my work one week into the position. There is even potential for more growth in the position in a virtual assistant role! This has made me look at what has been happening and realize that yes, I’m a successful freelancer!

Have a great week, everyone 🙂

Freelance Fatigue

Freelance Fatigue. I bet that’s a term no one has heard of before. Well, I would make the argument that it is a real thing.

I’m not talking about normal tiredness that comes with doing the job you normally do. I’m talking about a special kind of fatigue that sometimes plagues us, freelancers. We’re working a lot and putting our heart and soul into our business, that’s true, but the problem is that we do not often take the time to realize we need to take care of ourselves. It’s a sad truth that I’m talking about here and I know we have all had it happen many times.

I’m still new to freelancing so I have not really experienced this freelance fatigue yet. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now and while I know it’s kind of funny to think about, it doesn’t make it any less of a legit topic to bring up. So how can freelancers fight this evil condition? Here are a few tips.

Tips to fight Freelance Fatigue:

  • Step away from the computer
    • Yup, take the time to step away from your project and refresh your brain. Go for a walk, talk to the cat (or dog) sitting next to you. Anything that will get you away from the computer for a few minutes.
  • Talk about how you’re feeling
    • If you have someone in your life that you can talk to about how you’re feeling, do it. It’s never good to bottle things up, especially if you’re running your own business. So speak up!
  • Be honest with clients
    • Tell your client(s) if you’re starting to get fatigued. As for an extension if it’s possible. Clients understand that we’re human and things just get to be too much. Take the time to let them know what’s going on. In that same vein, let them know you might need a break. Any good client will understand.
  • Use your freelance support network
    • If you don’t already have a support network of other freelancers, get one! Facebook and LinkedIn all have tons of them. Just a quick search on both sites should net some great results. Once you find a good group/network, pick their brains (after introducing yourself of course) and see if anyone else feels the same way you do.
  • Give yourself permission to get tired
    • This final tip is something that many freelancers are not comfortable with. They feel as though their clients are more important than themselves. This is not true. You’re just as important (I would say more so) and you need to give yourself permission to get fatigued. Don’t let expectations weigh you down.

These are just a few of the tips when dealing with freelance fatigue. Remember to honor yourself as you honor your business and relationships with clients. After all, a fatigued freelancer is often an unproductive one.

Have a great week!

 

 

Finding Quality Clients

Quality Clients

Being a freelancer is not always easy. Many people ask, “what is the most difficult part of being a freelancer?” Some people may say keeping track of your money while others say it’s getting paid. I say that finding quality clients can be the most difficult part of the equation.

I can hear you all now. “But, Rob, clients are clients, right?” Actually, no. Not all clients are created equal. You can have a ton of freelance clients but ask yourself how many of them are quality clients. What makes a quality client?

Traits of  Quality Clients:

  • Respect. The client has to have respect for you as the person they are collaborating with. This means open communication and honesty.
  • Another facet of a quality client is one that sets their expectations clearly. If you know what they want from the start, you are more able to deliver.
  • Last, but certainly not least, a quality client will pay their invoice on time. That’s right, I am mentioning money in this post. It is not all about the money but if you’re making a living as a freelancer it’s a large part of it. Quality clients will pay you on time and hopefully more than just once because you will do an amazing job for them.

Finding quality clients may seem like a catchphrase in the world of freelance work. I would agree to some extent, but I also believe that it is an integral part of being a smart and successful freelancer. Look for those quality clients all over the place like Twitter, Facebook, and go through your LinkedIn profile. I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll find at least a handful of quality clients that will be a great fit for you.

Finding your Freelance Balance

Some of us freelancers have other jobs besides our writing/virtual assistant careers. I am one of those people. I work in the mortgage department of a local credit union and honestly, I love my job. The people I work with are fantastic, my boss is wonderful, and I get to challenge myself every day. All that being said, there are some instances where balancing your freelance career and your office job can become a bit difficult. Let me share the rest of my story and you will see what I mean.

As I stated a moment ago, I work in a bank. That means 8-9 hours a day of staring at a computer screen full of numbers, endless printed reports that you need a darn magnifying glass to read, oh and handling all kinds of crazy stuff as it comes across my desk. I am getting tired just writing about it! This usually means that by the time I leave at 5 PM each day I am not exactly wanting to jump on my laptop at home and starting writing or pitching for new jobs.  There have been nights where I have not even turned my home computer on for that exact reason. Shocking, I know!

What my point here is that I learned quickly as I began my freelance journey that I need to find the balance between both careers. At least for now. If that means taking a night off to recharge, so be it. If that means bucking up and doing pitches or writing a new blog entry for my site, I do that too. The core point here is keeping the balance between the two. It is not easy.

Here is where it can get even more interesting. Deadlines are a large part of a freelancer’s world. We have deadlines with clients all the time. It is managing those deadlines against our fatigue that can make this balancing act all the more difficult. Thankfully, more clients are going to be understanding if they know you also work another job to pay the bills. This does not mean you should neglect the client until the deadline comes looming and then e-mail them saying you cannot make the deadline. Heavens no, do not do that! E-mail them a couple days ahead of time to check in. If the deadline is firm, and sometimes it will be, just buckle down and do the assignment. After it is done, let the client know if you need to take a couple days off to recharge. As I said, most clients will be understanding. Let them know you are trying to keep a balance between two careers. Just do this at the start of the relationship and not halfway through.

For those who have other careers besides their freelance work, how do you keep your balance? Let me know in the comments below!

When a Project Ends

As freelancers, we’re usually sad to see a project end. This is especially true if it is one that we have enjoyed and our client has been fantastic. This recently happened to me. My very first paying client and I have finished the first project we set out to do a couple months ago. While my relationship with the client is still going strong (we are working on a new project right now), it is still a bit sad to say that part of the project is over for now. I think we will be doing more in the new year because we both have some great ideas.

I am still learning some of the ropes of the freelance career but,  it’s wonderful to be working with a great client and writing about something I love. When the new project comes along, I will be ready for it!

What do you all do when a project comes to an end? Do you mourn it for a while or do you say “wow, that was great/wow, I’m glad it’s over” and move on. Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Freelancing!