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Become a freelancer

Become a Freelancer: A step by step guide by Lilla Lakos

BECOME A FREELANCER / VIRTUAL ASSISTANT.

How to become a freelancer?

Probably the right question to start with is WHY you want to become a freelancer or virtual assistant?

The answer is simple: its the best and easiest way to become your own boss and earn what you worth even without a lot of experience and investments in the 21st century.

What does this mean to you? To travel the world and take care of your family. Maybe you want to have savings, be free of the grind and buy that pair of fancy shoes you wanted without feeling guilty about it. Finally, have more joy in your life by being your own boss while serving others.

Thanks to all new technological advancements. We can become a freelancer! And we will be able to enjoy it for a long time because it’s a fast-changing industry, that you can turn to your advantage.

Projections show that by 2027 we will have more freelancers than people working in traditional work environments, about 86.5 M in the US alone (Freelancing in America 2017).

The reason for that is simple: would you like to feel more respected, empowered and excited to start each day? Because according to Freelancing in America 2016 that’s how 79% of freelancers feel.

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Not to mention that 54% of freelancers who left their full-time job made more $$$ cha-ching! (Freelancing in America 2016). 

IS THIS THING REAL OR JUST NICE NUMBERS?

Let me tell you, it is real!

And here is how it started for me: I worked in corporate marketing before I got married. I and my husband decided to move to the States for him to study.

The first time I launched my virtual assistant business. I was able to cover our bills but that was about it. Trust me, I didn’t know what I was doing, or that it was called virtual assisting. I have no skills doing customer service. All the skills I have right now I learned on the job, all thanks to relationships.

I had no idea that there is a whole lot more to it – with a lot bigger earning potential. I have limited knowledge. And I didn’t know there was a methodology, a strategy how to make it to higher levels. That there was a whole freelancing industry to tap into. So I eventually gave up on freelancing once.

Upon returning to our homeland, Europe, we had over $30k in student loans and credit card debts. I didn’t stop learning because there was plenty of courses. And I was up-to-date on what was going on in the freelancing world and I sharpened my skills. I decided to re-launch my VA business. This time with a strategy, avoiding the mistakes I made the first time around. It worked!

We were able to pay off all our debts within 6 months. Now, that’s the power of doing virtual assisting the RIGHT way! And before you assume, its because we were living off of $1000 in Bali. Let me break it for you: we did this while living in the most expensive city in the world, Zürich.

Others seeing my success started to ask how I did it. So I created an online course. A self-paced program called the Work From Wherever Lifestyle Academy. Where I teach every single detail of what I did step-by-step. In fact, there is a 4 part free video training series you can watch to get started.

BECOME A FREELANCER THE RIGHT WAY.

I have a simple 5 step method of how to become a freelancer or virtual assistants:

1. Plan out your ideal lifestyle and figure out how much you need to charge – your financial security without overcharging your future clients is key. As Seneca said: “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.”

I created a whole module just to plan out the lifestyle of your dreams, visualize it (super powerful) and then convert it to numbers. So you gain absolute clarity on what your vision is, why it’s important to you, and how you can accomplish it. It will tell you what exactly you need to do step-by-step and how to charge your clients for it – while staying realistic.

Now that’s magic! … and the right foundation for your business! For appetizer here is the simple formula I recommend using:

Add up all your living costs at the place where you want to work from
+ income tax, insurance, benefits
+ the amount you need for debt reduction/savings
+ budget for further education for every year
/ the hours you want to work in a year. (don’t forget to include sick days, vacation and education time) = your hourly rate.

Modify it as needed.

2. Choose a niche – don’t be all trade freelancer / VA! When you have a niche, it will help you to get clients faster and charge premium rates. It is still recommended to have a couple of related skills that you can provide to the client. It doesn’t make sense to hire an extra person to do the things that you can do. But when it comes to advertising your business stick to one main skill that can bring in the most high-paying, quality clients to you.

Tip: you don’t want to have too many clients, you want to have a couple (max. 2-3 well-paying clients), then when one of them works out great.  You can go on retainer and give them a monthly price for you. Devoting all your working time to their business. At that point, stability is key for both of you.

3. Want online work? Then you have to have an engaging online presence. So your future clients will line up to work with you. How people perceive you online is everything. They will make a business decision based on what you put out there. When you nail this part, you can quickly move on to creating a freelancer/VA agency with more stability. By providing quality work and ultimately more profit. Again, I have a whole module just on this part alone.

4. Aquire clients fast – This will be a survival skill for you at the beginning, and you have the right foundation already laid for getting clients fast. When you have your online presence in order. I have the whole module on the method on how to do this the effective way – the way I did it the second time around. All together I have 10 different simple strategies one can try.

5. Streamline your work – once you have your clients and you have a strategy on how to get clients any time you need, the next survival skill going to be to streamline your work. So you can work super effectively and save time and energy.

This is especially important if you are juggling multiple clients. Automate as much as possible and have a system in place for everything! It’s pure gold!

+1. It is extremely important to be on top of your game. Improve your skills, your mindset, yourself in order to up your game and become a freelancer with a high-earning career.

Even though you don’t need to be a pro to get started (in fact the level of entry is really low). In order to become a freelancer/VA means that you’ll be working with constantly changing and improving technologies and platforms.

That’s why high paying companies and clients will need you. They want to have someone who is keeping up with the trends and is capable giving advice in the given niche of their business.

Believe me, these clients and companies are willing to pay for expert advice. That’s how you take advantage of the fast-changing nature of this industry. You can charge premium rates for your services by being up-to-date and able to create strategies in these changing environments for your clients.

This means you don’t only need to be open but need to commit to be a lifelong learner and improve yourself constantly. So you can offer more quality, up-to-date service.

You have to have a budget for online courses and events on topics that you feel you need to improve. In order to serve your clients better and ultimately charge higher rates. That’s a non-negotiable investment in yourself and in your business.

Failing to do so means that you won’t be able to be in the top tier of high-earning VAs. Companies are not willing to pay a premium price for people that are not on top of their game all the time.

Every year I participate in at least 2-3 online programs and events to keep up-to-date with the trends. I do this to gain knowledge, improve my mindset and skills. I know the value of people who think the same way and are investing in themselves.

Being up-to-date also means that tech changes rapidly. What’s golden today, might not be tomorrow. You need to prepare to be able to make a shift anytime or as needed.

Lilla Lakos
Lilla Lakos
Online Business Manager (specializing in automation and funnel building) –  Coach, Networker
www.lillalakos.com
https://twitter.com/lilla_lakos
Work From Wherever Society

 

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About the Author Fred Mosquida

Fred is a passionate virtual professional who wants to teach his countrymen about the opportunity of working online. He advocates that the Internet is not just for Facebook, YouTube, and online game usage. On this site, he gathers established professionals, CEO's, freelancers, business owners and influencers and asked for their insights that will provide an overview of how you can start as a virtual professional. He aims to support and help those who want to become an effective virtual professional.

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