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Welcome to the Talking Freelance Podcast!

podcast upwork success stories working as a freelancer Jul 17, 2023

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST EPISODE or scroll to the bottom to read the transcript


Welcome to the Talking Freelance Podcast, your guide to conquering the world of freelancing and maximizing your success on platforms like Upwork. Hosted by Leah Meyers, a seasoned entrepreneur, freelancer, and success strategist, this podcast invites you to dive into the stories and strategies of industry experts and freelance superstars.

In the inaugural episode, Leah introduces her special guest and close friend, Camille. The duo takes a trip down memory lane to the beginnings of their freelance journeys on Upwork. Leah shares her remarkable trajectory – she ventured into freelancing on the Upwork platform in May 2018 and remarkably achieved six-figure success within just a year. She's maintained her top-rated freelancer badge, a symbol of her dedication and skill on the platform. Over the span of five years, Leah amassed a staggering 9,418 hours of work, all while prioritizing the flexibility to be present in her children's lives.

Camille's story parallels Leah's, as she embarked on her freelancing journey in late 2016 on Upwork. Specializing in Pinterest management and strategy, she's maintained a 100% job success rate and the top-rated badge. Camille emphasizes that her choice to freelance was driven by the desire to be present for her kids and align her work with her life.

The conversation dives deep into the shift from broad services to niching down, as both Leah and Camille found that focusing their expertise in a particular area allowed them to not only charge more but also find greater fulfillment in their work. Leah highlights the significance of scaling and how niching down on the Kajabi platform enabled her to become a strategy and development expert.

One key takeaway from Leah's journey is the power of saying "no" – recognizing that not every opportunity is the right fit. Both Leah and Camille emphasize the importance of consistency and the ability to embrace rejection as part of the process. They also share how Upwork provided a centralized platform for finding clients and building a sustainable freelance business.

The upcoming episodes of the podcast promise a deep dive into essential aspects of freelancing on Upwork. From building your profile and finding work to working effectively with clients and ensuring fair compensation, Leah's Freelance Success Method will be explored thoroughly.

Leah expresses her passion for helping others succeed in the freelancing world and is joined by a variety of Upwork experts to share their experiences and knowledge. So, whether you're new to freelancing or aiming to elevate your game on Upwork, this podcast is your ultimate resource for success.

Don't miss the next episode, where Leah and her guests unravel the foundational elements of freelancing success on Upwork. Stay tuned for insights, tips, and success stories that will empower you on your freelancing journey.


Leah :

Welcome to the Talking Freelance Podcast. I am your host Leah Meyers, and I have my special guest and really great friend Camille with me today so we're going to just kind of give introductions of ourselves then we're going to talk about how it all began with our freelance journey on Upwork, and then we'll conclude and give you some ideas of what's coming out in the next few weeks so I have been freelancing on the Upwork platform since May of 2018 I became a six figure freelancer on Upwork within the 12 months of starting. I maintain the top rated freelance badge on Upwork and I'll put that in the show note so you can kind of learn about their badge system. And at the time that we're recording this introduction, I have worked nine thousand four hundred and eighteen hours build through the platform in a little over five years so that's kind of a crazy stat that I looked up this morning. I choose to freelance because of my why? It's really about working when I want to work, working how much I want to work and where I want to work. Those three things are super important for me. I have never missed out on the big or little things of my kids' lives and that's been something that's really been a huge foundation of me as a person, as a parent and as an entrepreneur so the Upwork platform is definitely provided all of that for me the last five years and I'm super grateful to continue to pass this along. So how Camille kind of introduce herself, give her why and all that stuff.

Camille :

Yeah, so I'm Camille and I have been for freelancing since late 2016 if I remember correctly. And I also started on the Upwork platform i started in general VA work and have kind of niche down since then into Pinterest management and strategy. I also have 100 % job success rate and they top rated badge on Upwork. And I, unlike Leah, don't have that many hours because I don't do a lot of hourly contracts anymore but I have. Done a total of 77 jobs in 756 total build hours on Upwork but I do more of the fixed rate which is a little different than Leah does so that is why mine is lower. But yeah, i like Leah, have kids and so being home with them has always been the priority and being able to get them to camps in school and field trips has always been important so that is why I started freelancing and fell in love and kind of never look back over the last what, five years? Longer than that now seven years awesome I brought Camille onto the 1st episode of Talking Freelance because I got started on the upward platform because of her. So it's kind of a funny story where we'll just kind of jump in and share a little bit but I was definitely that naysayer of how are you going to make this work? What is it? That doesn't seem feasible so I was very negative on like, does this make sense it didn't make sense in my brain at the time so yeah, if you want to just kind of share your recollection of that year and a half that you started before me because we've been friends you know, that whole time.

Camille :

Yes so I have a four year degree in psychology and thought I wanted to be a psychologist and started working in the school district at Para and. Had a love hate relationship with it. Knew I couldn't sustain that and grow a family so I started taking on some data entry or just general VA work and Leah thought I was crazy she thought, well this is a good side hustle, but you'll never make sustainable money because we needed to be a 2 income household and. I proved her wrong i, within that first year and a half, was working for a marketing company pretty consistently doing all their back end stuff i learned a lot through that company, but unfortunately they closed their doors right after I had my daughter. So I had to pivot, which is kind of when Leah's business took off and I niche down. In 2018 to Pinterest and again felt like I was starting over when I niche down but I found some people as tester clients within the upward platform and just scaled and grew as more and more people were searching for the type of work that I was doing and kind of grew from there i had to start very broad though if you are just starting and. You know you want to be in marketing or you know you want to be in data entry or you want to write blogs or you want to edit blogs or podcasts. Knowing what that big overreaching job type or skill set that you have that you want is kind of where you have to start and then once you do really good at that and find clients and get experience then you can kind of niche down and. Into the things that you truly do love.

Leah :

I know I think if I remember correctly, Leah started pretty broad as. Well before he niche down, Yep, I started as a general virtual assistant, taking on any job and every job that I possibly could. One of the pivoting moments when I jumped all into finding clients on the upward platform is I relocated 3 and a half hours away from my what was home for the previous five years and so that was a big change and I didn't have the bandwidth in my brain to do that relocate plus be a mom, plus get acclimated in a new community, plus have a bunch of ways that I'm finding new clients. So that's where I just really latched on to the Upwork opportunity of having one place to find clients, have one place to work with clients, and one place to really build clients so I didn't have to worry about, you know, figuring out where all my clients are paying me, setting all of that up i could really focus on applying for the jobs, finding work and, you know, working on the platform and making the money instead of having to have all of my freelance systems and processes ironed out outside of the platform it was just already kind of done for me. And so when Camille said that she was going to start niching down is when I was ramping up in all of the general VA jobs that I possibly could and I was like, I don't see how you're going to be able to scale that. And then if there's enough jobs and again, here's me like as is Naysayer and then I got to the point where I was having to learn so many different platforms, so many so much different tech, so much different ways that clients wanted me to work for them. And the problem that came out of that was I didn't know which end was up most days. Like I was working on, you know, client project, 20 minutes here, an hour here to try and fill my day and at the end of the day, my head was just swimming and so yes, I was working how much I wanted to work, but I was like this chaotic mom as soon as my kids got done with school and that was not effective. So working through the opportunity of learning how to scale, raise my rates, I knew that I also needed to niche down because I was at the top dollar doing great work for my clients i had a ton of great reviews. I had lots of clients who loved working with me but I was at the top rate that a virtual assistant could make. And I knew that I needed to scale because I didn't want to continue working, you know, forty fifty hours at the rate that I was, that I needed to kind of pay attention to raising my rates next. And so I chose to go down that path, which I'll let you share yours in just a second. I came to that of niching down into the Kijabi platform, becoming a strategy and developer on that one platform so I could control the amount of tech that I had to learn where I was just able to continue learning about one avenue of the of the online industry instead of everything.

Camille :

Yeah, I'm really similar in that way as I wanted to have variety in the work that I was doing, but learned very quickly that keeping up with Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram and this was before tik tok was big, was super overwhelming my brain was having a really hard time going from Facebook avenue to instagram avenue back to Pinterest for these clients so. Once I had my daughter and I was working in between nap times and feedings and on her schedule, I realized that my brain functioned best with Pinterest because I still got to do design i still got to do analytics, I still got to do keyword research and help create a strategy for my clients but it was all within one platform or one avenue and. Niching down again, I could charge more and it's the same as, like Leah said, as a mom and needing to be present for our family, having that one cohesive platform to apply for jobs, look for jobs have that on my schedule of Okay i'm going to see what jobs were posted every day Monday through Friday at nine a m when she has her bottle and I'm looking at my phone or whatever it was. Really helped me scale or take on more work when I wanted to and take on less work when I knew we were going to be busy because again I had monthly management clients but I also still do it's my favorite thing to do is like one off strategy or teaching business owners or people's Va's how to utilize Pinterest so that's a two to four week project for me instead of. 10 to 20 hours a month of monthly management so being able to have those two avenues as well on Pinterest all with or on Upwork all around Pinterest has allowed me to find more jobs as well and build and scale as I see fit, not as the industry sees fit.

Leah :

I think the greatest thing that's happened since I've started, you have to go through your own journey you have to kind of own that. You have to figure out what makes the most sense for you. But I love and I appreciate so much of my general VA time that I did because I learned a lot i could work and I could test jobs out to see if this was something that I was interested in. I didn't have to go be an intern where I'm not getting paid. I could be making money at the same time and it kind of led me down this path. It connected me with a ton of different people that I still refer out to today and it's really allowed me to become an expert in the thing that I want to become an expert in so it really eliminates a lot of burnout. It keeps you, it keeps me working in, you know just how much I want to work and when I want to work, you know, when I'm still getting those times in my life where I'm procrastinating things. I know that I have a client that's not aligned with what I should be doing. And so I just need to wrap that client up, move on to find someone else who fills my cup. So that's been the greatest thing that I've learned over the past five years. And we'll jump more into, you know, all of that in the next few weeks over the series of really setting up a solid business foundation on the upward platform. But what has been your greatest takeaway from being a freelancer for several years now?

Camille :

My biggest takeaway is that it's OK to hear the word no, because normally that means you're not a good fit for that client as well as being consistent, so. Those are two things that you need as a business owner in general, whether you are freelancing or having any type of business, you need to be consistent and Upwork made that easy in the sense that I knew I could log in every day and look for jobs or I knew I had the choice of applying for a job or not applying for the job and that I can say yes or I can say no and a client can say yes and a client can say no but doing interviews. Doing applications, having a solid, consistent foundation of applying is what grew my business. I wouldn't have 100 % job success rate or a top rated badge if I was applying once a week or once a month or just looking for jobs in a panic because I need to pay a bill that wouldn't. Give me a sustainable business but Upwork has been a great resource for a sustainable business the last seven years.

Leah :

I totally agree i think that being able to be in that back and forth communication with clients, like they can tell you no, but we can also tell them no. And the beginning of freelancing, I felt like I had to say yes to every single job because I needed the money. Now I'm at a place in my business where I can decide if they're a right fit and I have the right and opportunity to say no as well so that's super helpful and definitely a perk for me and not have that pressure because I know that I can go back to that job bank, I can apply for some additional jobs, and I will find the right person that makes the most sense for me to work with. And I can really help them become a successful business owner with the services that I provide yes and I guess my other last tip would be, even if you're new, apply for jobs that sound like a good fit because you can do 8 million interviews and learn more about yourself and what you want in an ideal client. The more that you put yourself out there agree?

Camille :

Yep, for sure. So the purpose and the mission behind this podcast is to really help other entrepreneurs and freelancers get started on the upward platform talk about the platform, but also hone in for if you're not looking at that platform, hone in on the skills that you have through the experts that we're going to share. I will be having additional rock stars that are on the upward platform share their story, is their mission, but it's truly my passion to help others achieve success, whether it's on the upward platform or just freelancing in general. So anything else that you want to add camille, No. I don't think so awesome. I'm so grateful for our friendship over these years. We've always had, you know, the ability to not talk to each other for a few weeks and then hop on a call and we're we pick up right where we're left off. We have such a great relationship and I'm so grateful for you. So over the next few weeks we're going to be jumping into the true Foundation, my freelance success method that I have helped many clients get successful on the upward platform. We're going to talk about really how to get started on Upwork, everything from building your profile, looking at what jobs to apply for, just the basics of getting started on the platform, and then that we're going to talk about finding work as an Upwork talent or a KA freelancer. They're now, instead of calling people freelancers on the Upwork platform, they're using the word independent talent quite a bit. So just want to recognize that as well. And then we'll go into the following week talking about working as a freelancer on the platform, working at with your clients, how to find clients, making sure that they're the right fit and all those things. And then we'll finish that series with how to get paid on Upwork so there's lots of different ways to make sure that you are getting paid what you're worth, making sure that you're getting paid for the contracts that you are supposed to get paid on. And like what we talked about earlier, Camille does a lot of fixed rate contracts. I do a lot of hourly contracts. We'll dive into the difference between those and it should be great. So thank you so much for tuning in and I look forward to connecting with you all on the next podcast.

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