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!

 

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!

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!

 

Building Up your Business

Building your Business

Building up your Business is something we should all strive for. When I started my business last year I had no idea where to start. I just knew I could offer some things to writers and other small business owners. I saw some growth in 2015 but, the truth is, I want to see more in 2016. When I think about ways I/we can all build up my/our business(es), there are a few things that come to mind.

Tips for Building Up Your Business

  • Always be Marketing
    • I got this gem from Gina Horkey of Horkey Handbook. She is fantastic and it’s true every day. What this means is use your social media and contacts to build up your business. Find creative ways to market yourself to potential clients. Give them a business card or something with your contact info on it.
  • Use your LinkedIn Profile to pitch to clients.
    • This is simple to say but not always easy. There will be those who do not want to work with you just yet. Don’t give up. Some say contact me later. If the potential client says that, do it. You never know what persistence will bring.
  • Build your Website
    • This sounds like a no-brainer but it is something I highly recommend. You can do a simple “hire me” page with your services if you want but I say try and get a website together. I had a Wix website for a period of time and it worked for a little while. However, if you want to be taken seriously, invest a small amount of money on hosting and get your own .com website. It will go far in building up your business. My website  is set up with WordPress and I use SiteGround for my hosting. I have a link to SiteGround on my Resources and Affiliates page if you want to know more.
  • Fight the Negative Thoughts
    • We all have negative thoughts about ourselves and our business from time to time. Get rid of them! Toss them out the door. They have no place in a thriving and growing business. Replace all those negative thoughts with uplifting thoughts and actions. Put your energy into those things and you will build up your business quickly.
  • Put Yourself First
    • Yes, you’re running a business. That does not mean you shouldn’t put yourself first. If you have things come up that cannot be avoided, take the time and deal with them. You can always come back to your business building the next day. Run your business. Don’t let your business run you or you will run yourself and your business into the floor.
  • Grow/Rely on Your Support System
    • If you don’t already have a support system, start building one. Find like minded people like I did who will support your dreams and vision. Make sure if you do have a support system, they understand that you’re building your business. Ask them to support you via social media, being there when you need an ear, or to simply get you through a tough time in your business.

Building up your Business is something you should always be thinking about. You should brainstorm ways to do it while also remembering that your business is a part of who you are. Put the effort into building it up and it will reward you with success!

New Year and Time to Grow!

New Year

The new year is a time to grow. I cannot believe that we’re almost done with 2015 and readying for a new and exciting freelance year!

I cannot believe that we’re almost done with 2015 and readying for a new and exciting freelance year! As I reflect back on what this year has brought me in my career, I cannot think of anything major that I would do differently. I have learned so much and also made some mistakes. It’s all about growing as a freelancer while growing my client base.

One of the biggest things I have come to know about myself this year is that I want the coming year to be my best yet! I am fully prepared to look the new year in the face and take it to the next level. I am going to pitch more, push harder and give myself the gift of a bit more financial freedom while giving my clients, both new and existing the best of myself. I have even more lofty goals for 2016.

Other Goals:

  • Grow my social media presence
  • Work with my network to expand my client base
  • Find new and exciting ways to market effectively
  • Put money back into my growing business
  • Give myself the freedom to succeed
  • Get to a conference (or two) so I can continue to grow.

Looking at what is coming down the pike for me, I am excited to see what 2016 holds in store. I know that I will be working hard. Once I get some more courage, I am sure I will not just grow in my career. I will also thrive. The new year will be one to remember.

Keep in mind that I’m not saying it will be easy. It sure as hell won’t be but I know I am up for the challenge. When the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, it will be the beginning of a new leg of this amazing journey. I encourage all my freelance colleagues to take the new year bull by the horns, learn and grow!

Client Relations: An Important Aspect to a Successful Career

When I started my freelance career I realized something very important. The relationship I have with my clients is of the utmost importance. They are not just my clients. We are partners in a business relationship. What this means for me and that client is that communication must be open and honest. If a client is not happy with my work for some reason I want them to tell me so I can fix it. If something is not working from my side of the aisle, I want to be able to tell them.

The relationship I build with my clients is one of mutual respect and understanding. It is important to me that from the beginning we all know the expectations and needs put forth in the contract. Clients are your bread and butter. They can often help you pay your bills so keeping that relationship positive for both of you is so important.

You may be asking yourself how to do that. Let me share a couple of ways. I already said open communication. That is true. Another way to keep it positive it to give the air of positivity in your communications, even if they are not always positive. That is important. Try not to focus on anything negative. If something comes up, acknowledge it, fix it, and move on.

Another way to keep the relationship positive is to be a fanatic about response time. If you can, get back to your client within 12 hours. If you cannot do 12 hours, do not let a reply go unsent over 24 hours. It’s just unprofessional.

I do not want to bore you with a ton of examples so I will leave you with this final thought. In order to keep your relationship with your client positive and hopefully ongoing, don’t think of them as just a client. Think of them as a new friend (at least in your own mind) and remember to keep it professional. You will get to learn their communication style quickly, trust me. Use what you learn to build that relationship to its fullest. You will both reap the rewards!