I’m Scared to Fail

I’m scared to fail.

There, I said it! I’ve been in business for over two years now and I’m still scared. Does this stop me? Nope! I know that I’ve got the drive and ability to be successful. This is not just a hobby for me. This is my passion! I’m just not cut out for what I’ve called the cubicle life. I get too antsy too quickly.

I thought about what my passion truly is over the last week. What I realized pretty quickly is that my passion is to work from home as a business owner and blogger. First, I thought about why I felt this way. I came up with the fact that I want to be my own boss. Next, I thought about why I want to be my own boss. For that, I came up with the reason that I’ve always answered to myself and no one else. I want to keep it that way. Lastly, my passion for writing, freelancing and blogging have grown over the last two years.

First, there are always going to be doubters. Second, people will tell me/you that it’s not possible to be successful as an entrepreneur. I respectfully disagree! I see some of my favorite people doing this and being so great at it. In fact, check out Horkey Handbook or Believe In a Budget for proof that people like me (and you) can do this! The keys to success (many of them) are below and they work! Another thing you may be told is that you’re not talented enough to succeed. Believing that is believing in BS! We are all talented in our own amazing ways!

The keys to success (many of them) are below and they work! Another thing you may be told is that you’re not talented enough to succeed. Believing that is believing in BS! We are all talented in our own amazing ways! A big reason I have been able to continue when clients don’t come to me so quickly is that I believe in myself and have the passion for what I’m doing. First thing’s first, what are the keys to success? These are my top four but it’s not an exhaustive list.

Keys to Success

  1. Passion
  2. Drive
  3. Love of yourself
  4. Love of your Brand

Failure is bound to happen from time to time. Success usually follows. Fight for your business, fight for your brand, fight for yourself! When people get you down, pull yourself up and continue on. I’m scared to fail. You’re probably saying to yourself “Rob, how can you still say that after all this?” Easy, I’m still human!

Until next time!

Beginning the Transition

 

Beginning the transition to full-time freelance work has been on my mind for a long time. Today at my office job I had an epiphany! When I looked at what I was dealing with each day at my current job, I realized I wasn’t as happy as I am when I’m freelancing.

I’ve made mistakes in the past as a freelancer, we all have but I learned from those mistakes (which were all on me) and am striving to work harder than ever. The best thing about starting the transition now is that I have a small list of current and former clients that I can reach out to thanks to my networking skills. I also just took a new class and will be offering a new service to my clients very soon. It was after taking this class that I found a renewed passion for what I do and I decided to begin pushing myself even more.

To start the transition, I’ve decided to start this weekend by reaching out to new and prospective clients. It’s imperative to get my name back out in the community, begin working again so I can bring in the income needed to sustain myself and pay my bills. It goes beyond that for me, though. I feel truly happy when I’m freelancing and working for myself. There is something freeing about making your own hours, being able to work wherever you’d like, and taking control of your career!

Beginning the transition will be a fun and scary process but I’m ready for it. I know deep down that it will be the best thing for me and those I care about. I want to end my day on a high note as often as possible so my partner and I can just enjoy each other’s company without the added stress. Here is to working hard and succeeding with my transition to freelancing full-time!

Moving on from a Client

Moving on from a client. It’s never easy especially when that client is the one that started your entire freelance career/journey. Well, that’s what happened to me this week. My first client and I decided to part ways. This was not done lightly nor was it for negative reasons. In fact, it was for a very good reason. She felt that I had grown beyond what she could pay me. She told me that I deserved to be paid what I am worth and with the experience I’ve gained. I am beyond grateful for the amazing gift she gave me as my first client. She helped me set up my career and get it going. I count her as a colleague and friend.

Some of the best things to do when you and a client part ways are to remember that there are other potential clients out there. That’s not to say that the relationship you built with this client is not valuable. On the contrary, it’s more valuable than you may ever know. However, when it comes to the next steps after parting ways I want to offer some advice.

Moving on From a Client? Do These Things:

  • Thank the client for their business (do this right away. it shows professionalism and integrity)
  • Mourn the loss for a bit then move on
  • Start pitching to new clients! That’s right, get your name out there again if you haven’t already been searching to add to your business.
  • Evaluate what went well with the client and what you can do to make your new and other clients happier. Even if the parting was on good terms as mine was, we can all learn from the end of client relationships. Take stock and make changes if you can.

When you move on from a client, no matter the reason, it’s important to remember that it is usually for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s just not a good fit, other times it’s because you as the freelancer have grown or the needs of the client have changed. There are so many different reasons but don’t always go to the worst case scenario. Most of the time it’s because of some kind of growth or change on your part or theirs. It’s always wonderful if you, like me are able to count your former client as a friend as well as the client. Who knows, you may even work together again some day.

As always, to our continued success!

 

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!

Hard Work Pays Off

Hard work pays off. That’s right. When you work hard, put yourself out there and you follow up, you can get clients!

My story for this week follows this formula. What formula is that you may be asking? Let me share it.

My Formula

  1. Get a referral from a network colleague
  2. Reach out to the potential client
  3. Set up a meeting with the client
  4. Ace the meeting
  5. Make a great impression
  6. Follow up if need be
  7. Let them get back to you and say they want to hire you!

Yup, it’s not exactly easy or simple but it works. I am speaking from experience this past week. I had an interview with a potential client about a week ago. It went really well and I waited patiently for the client to get back to me. It was not easy, trust me. I wanted to know if I could count this new company as a client. I was excited to get going and do something new and fun. It’s a combo job of both writing and VA work. Well, this week I received an email that my rates were reasonable and that they want to bring me on board. I have another call with the owner this weekend and I am supposed to start on Monday. In short:

Hard work pays off!

When I think about how my business takes some of my time each day, it makes me smile. That means I’m doing something right. There are companies and people out there interested in the work I produce. That is not to say I’m going to abandon those who gave me my first chances. Just the opposite. I want to show not just loyalty to those who gave me my first shots in both VA and writing for pay, but also remember where I started my business, which was from nothing. That’s right. I put up the money for my website, thought of my business name, and worked my butt off to get new clients. I push myself every day to succeed and that is how hard work is paying off for me!

If you want to learn more about my experience as a writer and VA, please look at the website, or check me out on LinkedIn.

 

Growth It’s a great thing!

Growth. It’s not always a word you hear a freelancer use. Thankfully for me, I’m experiencing this in spades.

In the last month, I’ve been able to secure a VA position after a very successful trial run, and I’m on the cusp of securing another brand new, more lucrative client in the next few days! When I set out on this journey, I knew I wanted to be successful. I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.

When I think about all that has transpired and is continuing to happen, I’m encouraged by what my work brings. Being dedicated, professional, and willing to push yourself is a key to success. It’s not the only key, mind you. There are different paths to success but it’s not always going to be easy.

I expect that I will hit some struggles along the way. I’m not thinking that everything will be roses and candy. What I do know is that I will continue to work hard and see my business grow because I have the drive to do it.

Steps to Growth

  • Figure out what pace you want to grow at (be realistic)
  • Chart out a plan for how you want to grow your business. Put this on paper and keep it tangible. That’s the only way you will succeed and not give up on it.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people that want to see your business grow just like you do!
  • Give yourself permission to take a break if the growth happens too quickly. This does happen sometimes and getting overwhelmed will not help you to continue growing without burning out.
  • Find what works for you. If you find that your growth rate is higher than you expected and you’re not comfortable with that, it’s okay. Remember, this is your business & you’re in control.

Finally, when you are looking to contain or monitor the growth of your business, remember to look at all aspects. What I mean is to look at your client base, how much time you’re really putting in and finally, where you can concentrate best. If you have a niche like I do, it may be easier. Good luck and continue to succeed!

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!

 

 

VA Trial Week 2/New Clients?

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to the weekly recap.

VA Trial Week 2:

My VA trial week 2 is done. I think it went even better than last week. Once I got my head around everything I was inspired to just put my best work forward. I hope my client likes it. I’m waiting to hear back from her with some feedback over the last couple weeks. I would say it went well considering she recommended me to someone who reached out to her first. I was blessed with such a high compliment and reached out to the other client right away. Now, I play the waiting game.  I am glad my VA trial went well. It was a great new experience for me. I hope we can continue working together.

New Clients:

That’s right. I said, new clients. In addition to the referral I was blessed with, I was contacted this morning by an airline who publishes and in-flight magazine and they want me to potentially write for them in my health niche. It’s so exciting to see what’s happening only 3 weeks into the new year! I have also submitted myself to another site this week to write on a more sensitive topic which I do not wish to go into on the blog. Suffice to say, I’m waiting to hear back from her as well.

I want to take on new clients in 2016 but I’m also trying to be mindful of taking on too much. Currently, I still work at my office job so I tend to build my client base at night, on lunch breaks, and on weekends. It works for me but eventually I want this to become my full-time job so I need to make sure I can handle the workload. I think I’ve mentioned it before but my roommate is also a freelancer and is VERY supportive. That helps me out so much.

I am happy to share that you can be successful as a freelance writer and virtual assistant. I’m living proof of that. Have a fantastic weekend!

VA Trial Week 1

Typing

Hi, everyone!

Want to hear about my VA trial week 1? Good, because I want to share!

I’m happy to say I’ve made it through the first week of my VA trial. It was a good week despite some bumps along the way and a couple of communication lapses on my part. I really enjoy my client and how responsive and patient she was with me this first week. I was able to use that to get my footing and do my best for her.

I think that because it was my first week, I had more stumbling blocks than I thought. This was mainly because there were a few pieces of technology like MS OneNote that I have never used so there was a learning curve to that. Thankfully, I have figured it out and going forward I should be okay.

Another great thing about finally being a VA is that I have started to build up a more robust portfolio of work. If my client is happy at the end of next week and we continue, I will be able to call myself a full-fledged, paid virtual assistant. That is a great feeling, let me tell you. When I look back at how I started and where I am now, I’m amazed. I have always been good at side hustling when I really want to succeed. I don’t remember if I wrote about how this all came about so let me tell you.

There was a Facebook post on a group I am part of. I responded to the post as it indicated (with my website). A few moments later, I got an email newsletter from the client that I had just pitched. I must have signed up for it while getting myself started and plum forgot. Anyway, I digress. I took that opportunity to pitch myself in a reply email to that newsletter, not knowing if it was going to just be an auto reply or not. The next morning I received and email saying that the client was impressed that I took the time to email her and pitch as well. Needless to say, the rest is history. It just goes to show that being proactive and responsive when the situation warrants it is a great way to be.

Well, that about does it for this week. Look for an update next week at the end of the trial to see how it went and if I’ll be continuing my duties as a VA for this client. Until next time!

Slow Week in Freelancing World

 

Slow

This week has been a slow week for me in the freelancing world.  The holidays are finally over but the result is the same. I’m starting a new VA job soon. I am hoping to get some new pitches out but it’s been a long and slow week.

The best and worst thing about being a freelancer is the slow times. It’s nice to have some breathing room but let’s be honest, a slow time means less in the wallet. I guess it can be seen as a happy medium. Once the new year really picks up, I think it will see me doing great things with my career.

As I look forward to this month, I am excited for what’s coming and also for what has not been given yet. I will be taking the full range of this time. As I start pitching in the new year, I know I will get more jobs because as I have said many times, there are many jobs out there. I plan to take 2016 by the horns after this week is over.

How to Rev Up a Slow Week

  • Have a list of prospects to pitch to
  • Network with your contacts
  • Brainstorm some ideas
  • Write, write, write
  • Work with new and existing clients

Well, that about does it for this week. What are you all working on this week? Is is slow for my other freelancers out there? Let me know in the comments!