I quit multiple dream jobs to move for my husband’s career. It was tough but led me to create a flexible 6-figure business.

    Emily Reagan.

    Courtesy of Emily Reagan

    Emily Reagan is a military spouse who became a freelance marketing assistant due to frequent moves.She hadn’t been able to progress her media career so she started working remotely for business owners.Offering specialized marketing services led to both higher income and work-life balance.

    I became a freelance marketing assistant without planning to in 2010 when my husband’s military career forced me to quit yet another dream job.

    We had just gotten orders to move back to Washington, DC from Oklahoma City. I worked in media and public relations, but I had a new baby and didn’t have the energy or the connections to start over in a top media market while being the default parent to our son.

    As we moved frequently over the previous seven years, I always landed new jobs, but starting over in every town didn’t help my career progression. My salary was capped everywhere we went, and I’d never made more than $39,000 a year.

    I watched my non-military spouse friends with traditional jobs progress in their careers, earn fancy job titles, and buy houses with pools. And then there was me — stuck starting over every 18 months and having to prove myself in each new job.

    I knew I had to try something new

    Before we left for DC, a business owner in Oklahoma City asked me to help him promote his digital printing and photo shop even though I was moving 1,300 miles away. A remote job sounded great, so I said yes.

    When I took the position, I had no idea what I was doing, so I focused on getting the business results. I handled social media marketing, podcast pitching, and press release writing.

    My first client gave me the confidence to pick up more freelance work I saw on Facebook

    I came to the table with some email marketing and PR experience but learned a lot just by doing it. I also started listening to podcasts to learn things like marketing strategy and took a few online courses.

    I took on more clients — everyone from furniture painters to designers — who were swamped with the day-to-day tasks of running their businesses and were eager to offload the marketing tactics that would help them make money.

    I carved out a niche in the creative space, helping them grow their online presence through content marketing, blogging, SEO strategy, social media, weekly emails, community management, and marketing funnel building.

    It was life-giving work for me. I loved being part of a team again and working toward a common goal. Truthfully, tidying up the toy room or cleaning the bathrooms never left me that fulfilled.

    I gave myself the title of marketing assistant to differentiate myself from the thousands of virtual assistants providing admin services. One client led to another through referral after referral.

    Eventually, I got smarter with my packaging and prices

    At one point, I had 15 clients at once. I whittled them down to just two a month at $2,500 and a Pinterest client at $600 and boosted my income with VIP days, one-off projects, and strategy sessions. I worked 15-25 hours a week.

    I advise new digital service providers to skip admin services and offer marketing services immediately. Marketing brings in leads and sales, and clients pay more based on perceived value and the results you can get for their business.

    Marketing services are also the most flexible. Unless a client is in a promotional period, most of the work can be done on your time. Unlike an administrative assistant, you’re not tied to regular 9-5 office hours.

    I wanted a work-life balance that allowed me to have my cake and eat it, too

    The military spouse unemployment rate is around 21%, but many of us are qualified and have college degrees. Employers don’t want to risk hiring us when they know we’ll just move again, so we tend to settle for low pay, time off, and job satisfaction.

    Finding meaningful, well-paid work as a military spouse was a game changer for my professional identity, happiness, and finances. Over the past decade, I went on to have three more babies and move six more times while working as a freelance marketing assistant.

    I wanted to be a working, stay-at-home mom who could be present for her children and hold down the fort when my husband was deployed. It also allowed me to contribute to the family’s budget.

    Within a few years, I had almost doubled my former stagnant salary of $39,000

    I took control of my career and grew my income beyond what it had ever been. I progressed from $20/hour to $100/hr rates and beyond.

    Now, I do less client work and most of my income comes from my course and membership, where I teach other stay-at-home moms to build a career around their lifestyle. I earn six figures.

    Cracking six figures is difficult for a general virtual assistant. Very successful general VAs also typically supplement their income with digital information products or subcontractors doing agency work. I found that freelancers can hit the upper five figures and into the $100+/hour range by niching into specialized marketing services.

    If you’re looking for freedom and flexibility in your career, here’s my advice

    I suggest starting with a digital service you already know how to do, like something you’ve done in a previous job or volunteer role. Your confidence in your service will help you sell it.

    Say yes to tasks you’ve never done before. Clients value your ability to figure things out. They love to keep work in-house and will call on you first. You can gain experience on their dime and grow your confidence even more.

    Treat your client’s business as your own. When you provide exceptional service, they’ll refer you to more clients. It only takes one happy client to explode your business.

    Claim a specific job title other than virtual assistant as soon as you have clarity and experience in your top three services. A specific job title will help you command higher project rates and position you as an expert.

    Finally, gather client testimonials and results and share them. Social proof is your golden ticket to the next client finding you, trusting you, and never questioning your higher-end rates.

    Emily Reagan is a mom of four, Air Force spouse, freelance digital marketer, and mentor who helps women learn marketing skills and find flexible remote work.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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