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!

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!

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!

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!

Running a Successful Business

Success

Make no mistake, my friends running a successful business is hard. Freelancing is not just a hobby for me, it’s my business. I’ve said many times that I do have an office job. This is still true, but I still treat this as my business. I’ve learned so much in the last six months about running a business and there’s much more I have to learn. I wanted to share some of the great things I have learned so far about my business and myself.

What I have learned about Myself:

  • I’m one determined owner. I will do anything, within reason to succeed.
  • I’m not afraid to do some crazy stuff when it comes to pitching. I pitch to whomever I think I can get a good, quality client out of.
  • My ambition is boundless. I take myself and my business very seriously.
  • I love to get feedback and using that feedback to make my business better.

What I’ve learned about My Business:

  • It’s a TON of work. From blog posts to website updates and pitching to potential clients. It’s like having another full-time job.
  • I love that it’s a ton of work! I’m learning different ways to grow my business because I’m taking advice and help from people I respect.
  • To run this business successfully, I’ve got to do something each day to grow. It can be a blog post, pitches, or reaching out to other freelancers to get advice, ideas, or just connecting with a chat. All of this will help me grow my business.
  • Above all else, this is my business and I can take it in any direction I want to take. The possibilities are endless. This gives me endless ideas.

I know my journey is going to continue to grow and change over the next year. We’re looking down the barrel of a new year which is full of possibilities that I don’t even know about yet. The biggest thing I’ve learned about running a successful business is to treat it as a success from the start. It’ll go a long way to making you a success.

 

Creating Opportunities

Ops

Creating Opportunities A Path to Success

Creating Opportunities is part of being a successful freelancer. It does not matter what type of work you do if you cannot create opportunities for yourself you won’t succeed. Actually, I should rephrase that. You won’t succeed as easily as you hope.

What do I mean? Use your resources. Use social media. Hell, use your blog and website to create opportunities for your business. This is your baby, after all. Treat almost every contact as a business opportunity. Create content and relationships that will nourish your business. This will help you create opportunities.

A Story for you

Let me give you an example of creating opportunities. I was recently credited on Twitter for contributing to a web page that I didn’t contribute anything to. I tweeted the owner back and explained there was a mistake. What I did not do was to leave it there. In a separate tweet, I managed to push my website and business so if they were interested in having me contribute, I could. I did not want to take the end result and leave it as it stood. I want to grow my business so I seized the moment and took full advantage of what could be a great opportunity.

Push Yourself

You read that correctly. Push yourself to succeed. Only you can know what works for you and your business. That does not mean you cannot kick butt and take advantage of your current network while continuing to grow it at the same time. I encourage you to look at where your business is now and where you want it to be. Go forward and take the plunge. Create those opportunities for success and you will see results! When you push yourself and create those opportunities, the doors of freelancing will fly open.

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!