Floridah, Social Media Assistant

Floridah Guavabean

Hi, my name is Floridah and I’m from Kenya.

I’m a single mother, a trained social worker and a beauty therapist. I’m passionate about community service, entrepreneurship, politics, writing and travelling, and I’m currently a social media/blogging virtual assistant.

How did you become a freelancer?

I first started out as a part-time freelancer mainly volunteering as a social media manager, blogging for non-profit organizations and political parties, while still working full-time as a therapist.

The freedom and the fact that I’m able to design my own schedule made my 9-5 work feel boring and too demanding. I got really tired and even though I had not made enough clientele to fund my lifestyle, I knew it was time to take the big step and embark on my own journey, fully transitioning to the remote lifestyle, where I would confidently do what I loved!

Why did you become a freelancer?

As a single mother, the 9-5 work lifestyle meant I had little-to-no time for me and my kids, which affected my performance at work, making me feel drained and less motivated.

What attracted me to freelancing was the freedom, the ability to choose who to work with and when.

Other than freedom, I knew freelancing was an opportunity for me to aim higher, dream big and work extra hard. Being my own boss was definitely an exciting new adventure for me!

Where did you find your first paid freelancing job?

My first paid freelance job was through a friend's network. I’d just started my side hustle as a freelancer offering therapy sessions.

What expectations did you have going into this kind of job? And how has it been the same or different from what you expected?

When I decided to quit my job to focus on building my company, my expectations were that I’d have time and financial freedom that would allow me to provide for my family, as well as watch and participate in bringing up my boys.

I didn't realize that it would take time to generate leads that would translate to real business metrics. It was different and harder than I’d anticipated because I had limited resources starting out. I had to learn the hard way, but I was ready and committed to making it a success. I tried a good number of “old school” marketing strategies, from cold-calling to door-to-door lead generation.

What’s your favorite thing about freelancing/working from home?

My favorite thing has to be my daily involvement in my kids’ life. I am also passionate about community service and working from home has given me room to actively participate in my community with the aim to design a better future for all of us.

Freelancing has allowed me time to follow my dreams. I love music production and travelling. Those are hobbies that, were it not for freelancing, I would never have enough time and resources to pursue.

What's your LEAST favorite thing about freelancing/working from home?

It sometimes gets lonely, as I am stuck indoors most of the time. I would love to be able to work from different locations as I enjoy travelling. It’s also not easy juggling being a stay-at-home, where I work from full-time.

How long did it take for you to feel like a "successful" freelancer. Until you were able to pay your bills regularly without worrying?

It took me 2 years. It's not an easy task building clientele with limited access to resources, but it's definitely worth it.

It was a big struggle accompanied by depression and anxiety, but looking back am glad that I maintained my focus on the long-term goal.

How did you price your services when you were just starting out?

I first priced my services low as a way to attract clients This was one of the most difficult things I had to do.

It was tough because my biggest fears were failure, judgment, rejection and not knowing enough in regards to pricing. However, I managed to pull through, convince my clients I was worth it, and get to a point where I could confidently raise my price list on a yearly basis without having to worry about losing clients.

What was your biggest struggle when you were just starting out?

My biggest struggle was generating leads and going through the transition itself. Change is hard, but looking back, this was the best decision I ever made and am glad I chose this path!

As a single mother I needed a work-life balance, an opportunity that would allow me to be present in my kids’ day-to-day life while at the same time working to achieve financial stability so that I could provide for us.

What do you know now, that you wish you knew back then?

I wish I knew the importance of finding a business model that works and following it through. I wish I knew more about the power of presentation and positioning my brand. I wish I knew the power of mentors and coaches.

What's your favorite way to find new clients and job opportunities? What worked the best for you?

In-person networking events are at the top my list, along with referrals.

It helps that I’m a people person and enjoy in-depth conversations. It’s always been easier for me to engage and sign up new long-term clients through networking events.

What's one BIG lesson you learned the hard way on your freelancer journey?

Preparedness is king and having an accountability partner is queen.

I have learned to prepare myself well in advance before taking on new clients and to avoid getting too excited. Making sure a client is right for me is necessary to help me meet their expectations.

How do you stay motivated when work is tough or there aren’t enough jobs coming in?

By reminding myself of the fact that my job is also my passion and that being a freelancer allows me time to participate in my kids’ life - that always keeps me motivated and focused.

I also appreciate the availability of freelancer groups. Being part these networks keeps me positive, and they are a surefire way to get moral support and other resources.

If you met a new freelancer who wanted to get into your line of work, what advice would you give them?

  • Be ready to make mistakes and learn from them

  • Find an accountability partner

  • Imagine success, not failure

  • Make a plan to succeed

  • Invest in yourself

  • Find a business model that works and stick to it

  • Identify and work on your fears

  • Find your niche, research, be consistent

  • Work on your presentation

  • Position yourself, market your brand, and network

  • Know your worth

Any tips or tricks for working with difficult clients?

The client is always right. Go beyond their expectations, show them you care and that you are there for them. You will be surprised how most will not only stick with you but also refer their contacts to you.

Now that you've experienced all the ups and downs of being a freelancer, would you go back to a regular 9-5 job?

Not a chance! My dream now is to work and travel, and I wouldn't even imagine trading the time I enjoy with my family for anything. It's fun being a part-time CEO and a full-time mom.

Because of the experience I have acquired, I would love to also focus on offering to mentor and coach newbies.

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