Hey guys and gals! I am stoked to talk with yet another freelancer and online entrepreneur. This time, we’re talking to a Virtual Assistant who successfully helps other entrepreneurs grow their businesses. I am in pure amazement by the supportive nature I continually find with people who are in business online and it has been my pleasure talking with them and sharing them with you. If you enjoy reading how other successful online entrepreneurs and bloggers got started and where they’ve found their success – why not let us know in the comments to show your support!
Hi Julienne, Thanks for joining me – I know your busy being a VA and blogging too. How did you get started as a Virtual Assistant and how long have you been doing this?
My professional background is in Nonprofit Management. I was working in a communications position, handling things like email and social media marketing. I started a new position at another organization and those things became a smaller part of my job. And I really missed them! I started VA work on nights and weekends and I saw it as something fun to do. That was late 2013 and I launched into full-time self-employment in March 2014.
You have some really great praise from clients! What do you attribute your success to?
First and foremost, I’m transparent. I tell prospective clients when I don’t think I’m the right person for the job. I tell them when my calendar is just too full to get the work done. I’m clear about what tools I have experience with. So when they book with me, they really know what they’re getting. In other words, I manage expectations really well.
What are your favorite tools you use to grow your business?
This is a topic I’m super passionate about. (I even offer my readers a free database of over 40 free and cheap tools that I love for freelancers!) If I had to tell you my top 5, I’d say:
Asana and Insightly for CRM and project management
Wave for invoicing and bookkeeping
And Google Sheets for organizing my biz (I recently shared how I do this in a blog post)
I just love that you’re teaching people how to be a VA too! Where does your personal and professional inspiration come from?
Yes, I recently launched a course showing VAs the basics to starting their biz – contracts, invoicing, and where to find clients. I found that I was answering several emails a week, sharing this knowledge. So I decided to package it up and make it available to everyone all at once.
What’s something that people might not know about you – ya know, personally – but that you don’t mind sharing?
I just had a baby boy, Luke, in December! So my husband and I are just having a ton of fun with him. I’m super blessed to be able to work with clients I love, on a schedule that I create, and stay home with my boy at the same time.
For people who are just starting out with their first business or blog, what is your number 1 all-time self-promotion marketing tip and why?
Facebook Groups! (I would shout this at you, if I could.) The bulk of my client base has found me here. Be sure to provide value – answer questions when people post for help. And add yourself to the appropriate lists in the Files sections that some groups have. (Some groups will organize members by niche – VAs, web designers, things like that.)
What’s the one thing you’ve tried but found wasn’t so successful that you’d suggest people stay away from?
I took longer than I should have to switch to a retainer model. I felt resistant to it because I thought it would make my work boring. But it has been just the opposite. I get to dive in deeper with clients, versus just sticking with them for one project and then another one 3 months later. And it helps me know what I’ll be bringing in each month. That’s money my family can budget around. I definitely should have done it sooner.
What does the future hold for you?
I have a few more digital products in the works this year that I’m really excited about. A few eBooks that will address some common freelancer issues, like dealing with difficult clients. Stay tuned!
Last question: What is your favorite blog or business to follow and why?
I love Freelance to Freedom Project! Leah shares a ton of value for folks looking to leap to full-time (and there’s a free Facebook group.) That blog played a huge role when I was launching to self-employment.