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I recently sat down with Micala Quinn, a former English teacher who runs Overwhelmed to Overbooked and helps moms launch their own freelancing business. We talked about what steps to take to grow a profitable side hustle. Micala had a wealth of information she gave me during our interview – so much so that I will be breaking it down in two blog posts!

Micala was a high school English teacher for about four years. In her third year of teaching, her daughter was born. Going back to work that year was rough for Micala. She wanted to be a stay at home mom, but it wasn’t feasible with her family’s finances and budget. She started searching for ways to make money from home. I’m sure this story sounds familiar to all of us.

Micala didn’t want low pay. She didn’t want to be stuck at a desk all day. She wanted to be able to go explore and do all the fun things with her daughter. She finally found the answer in freelancing, and she started as a Virtual Assistant/Social Media Manager. Growing her business quickly, she was able to add on more clients, eventually replacing her full time teacher income.

She was able to quit her teaching job. In this process, she found a ton of other moms who had the same frustrations. Micala transitioned to an online course education role to help these moms realize that they too could successfully work from home. She wants to help women discover that it isn’t a black or white choice to be a stay at home mom or a working mom.

Technology and social media have opened up a whole new world, which is helping the freelance economy grow. The opportunity for freelance work will only continue to grow and become more popular. Not only can you work from anywhere, but you can be your own boss.

Step 1: What Do You Want?

The first thing you need to do to get started is to figure out what service you’re going to offer. There are many different options in the freelance industry. You could start as a Virtual Assistant – which is where Micala started. Or, there are social media managers, Pinterest managers, web designers, graphic designers, copywriters, and more. There are so many options.

Micala recommends that you think about what your strengths are, and then see which industry aligns with that. Start with what you’re currently good at or what strengths you currently have. That way, you’re not trying to start a business and learn a new skill at the same time.

It may be hard to see how your current work experience translates to the online space. Break it down, think about the tasks you do and the skills you have, and make a list. Your skills and experience could be valuable in the online space. It doesn’t even have to be all work experience. Perhaps you do something for your friends or family. Look at all the areas of your life to find your talents.

Step 2: Being Visible

To really get going, you will need to work on your visibility. Get out there. Let people know that you offer those services, or that you are selling a product. Tell friends and family. Tell acquaintances. You can even reach out to people who you think may need your services.

Figure out who you want to work with – who would be your ideal client? What type of businesses do they own? Do they have an online business? A local business? Also brainstorm if they are male or female, their age range, what industry they are in, and what are their pain points. You can get very specific with crafting your ideal client. Everything else will build off this.

Start hanging out where they are hanging out. When Micala started out, her ideal client was an online business owner who was also a mom. She found Facebook groups that catered to those types of women, and started “hanging out” in those groups. Spend time engaging with posts in those groups, answer questions, build relationships, and work on becoming the “go-to person” for your type of business.

Step 3: Securing a Client

Once you know what you want to sell, who you want to sell it to, and where they hang out, you are ready to secure a client. This goes back to knowing where your ideal client is hanging out. Facebook groups? Local networking events? Online job boards or forums?

Micala does not recommend places like Upwork for longterm, but it is a good way to get started and build a portfolio. They tend not to be the highest paying, but they can be great for someone who is a beginner.

Do some research to find out where the profitable business owners are hanging out online to network, grow, and learn in their business. Start hanging out in the same group and provide value to those people. Advertise your services when it is appropriate. You can also create a Facebook business page, or an Instagram, or other social media profiles, and advertise yourself that way.

To Be Continued…

Those are the first three steps from Micala with The Live Free Podcast. Click here for the next blog post, Growing Your Side Hustle: Launching a Freelance Business Part 2, where I will be sharing her last two steps and some bonus information!

Or, if you’re ready, check out Overwhelmed to Overbooked!

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How to Launch a Freelance Business, Part 1