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!

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!

 

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.

Fighting the Urge to Give Up

downloadA large portion of a freelancer’s time (and anyone who runs their own business) is spent marketing themselves to potential clients. This is a great way to get more work/clients, but it can be a daunting task. That is part of the reason I added virtual assisting to my menu of services. I know how difficult it is to always market yourself via social media, blogs, and other online or offline avenues.

That being said, there is always a time where you will want to give up. Yes, it is true. I do not like to even think about it but let’s face it, we’ve all been there. My biggest piece of advice is simply….DON’T! That’s right. I said don’t give up. Fight the urge to throw in the towel. I have been pitching a ton lately and have only gotten one response in the positive. Some have said they are short on cash. Others say they do not have the time to think about it right now, etc. Those are both understandable. I get it. I am just starting out full tilt with my freelance VA career and I don’t have the cash to hire someone right now either. It gets overwhelming. There have been days that I don’t want to write or pitch. Sometimes I take those days off. Other times, I push my butt to pitch or write because I love what I do.

Something I tend to think about a lot when I have the urge to toss in the towel or get discouraged is to remember my “why”. What I mean by that is remembering why I got into this career besides my love for it. I got into this career to help me pay down my student loan debt. Yup, that’s right, I’m in debt to the government from when I got my education. Most of us can relate to that, right? I thought so. My reason or why is because I want to be debt free by the time I am 40. I am 32 and a half now so I have 7.5 years to go. Guess what?! I can do it!

If you have a “why” to starting your business, I encourage you to remember it every time you think you want to give up. It will give you the motivation to push and succeed. Remember that you can do anything you set your mind to with your business and never give up!