UDMA School Review From a Grad Who’s Actually Doing the Work
I’m excited to introduce Janelle Harlan, a graduate of my Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School. She’s managed to blend her love for the great outdoors with her passion for online marketing. With over 20 years of corporate experience in sales, Janelle is no stranger to the business world.
A few years ago, Janelle took a leap of faith, leaving behind a well-paying corporate job to seek a more fulfilling and balanced life in the serene Maryland mountains. She ventured into personal training and health coaching but her true passion was digital marketing. Her fascination with marketing strategy and tech was unstoppable, and it led her to a big realization.
Keep reading as Janelle shares her inspiring journey in UDMA School and how she went from a high-stress sales director position to a thriving digital marketing career with a much better work/life balance.
A few years ago I did a really scary thing.
I stepped down from my well-paying sales director position with a retail chain I had helped grow to over 200 stores during 20+ years of my adult life.
For many years I thrived on the excitement of it. I loved leading teams and contributing to growing a business.
But the high stress, long hours, and cross-country travel were taking a BIG toll on my health.
It just wasn’t fun anymore, and I was feeling pretty miserable.
After leaving the corporate world, my husband and I bought a cabin on a creek and relocated to the mountains of Western Maryland. We were intent on living a more balanced life filled with the outdoor adventure sports and nature that we love so much.
You know…searching for that Holy Grail called a work/life balance.
Since leaving corporate America, I had been working as a Personal Trainer and started a Health Coaching business.
I began learning the world of Digital Marketing for my online business. And I was FASCINATED!!
I became obsessed with learning everything about Digital Marketing Strategy and Marketing Tech…and how it all worked together.
And THAT’S when it happened…I realized I had started the wrong business.
My VA Business…the early years.
I knew I just had to become a Virtual Assistant (VA) with a focus on the Holistic Health & Fitness industry.
- I set up my profile on Upwork and had two clients within the first week.
- More clients followed…some project-only and some more long-term. I was actually making some money!
- But the problem was – there’s A LOT of competition on Upwork (aka: low hourly rate) PLUS Upwork takes a nice slice of your earnings for themselves.
- I soon hit the ceiling of how much money I could make doing what I was doing (only so many hours in the day!)
- And I was working a million hours.
To add insult to injury, I was doing higher-level Marketing Assistant and Strategy work for admin VA task-rabbit rates.
I realized I’d given up my dream of work/life balance which was my most important WHY for changing my career to begin with.
I even tried to start an agency as a solution, but it just wasn’t for me.
“I was tired and stressed. I felt STUCK. I knew something had to change.”
One day while doing a Google search for “How to do xx in Kajabi”…a YouTube video popped up that was exactly what I was looking for.
In her video, Emily explained in less than 2 minutes how to do the complicated thing I was trying to do. Oh man… I was impressed! I stalked her website and signed up for every freebie she offered.
Her free course was so packed full of content that I couldn’t imagine what her UDMA School would be like.
▶️Related YouTube Video: How UDMA School Helped This Stay-At-Home Mom Become a Content Manager
Enter the UDMA School
I was now a few years into my VA Business, and I knew in order to make it sustainable, I had to avoid burnout. The only way to do this was to raise rates and decrease the number of hours I was working.
I thought I had the skills, but was self-taught and didn’t know what I didn’t know.
To be comfortable raising my rates, I needed to be sure my higher-level digital marketing skills were complete and were legit.
I wanted to be confident that I was providing top-notch marketing services to my clients.
But I also didn’t want to pay for a course and not learn anything new or gain anything of value.
“I emailed Emily, and she explained more about the UDMA School and was honest about whether or not it would be a good fit for me. The fact that she replied to me an hour after I sent the email… on a Friday night… with a detailed, heartfelt, and transparent response 100% blew me away!”
Well…I signed up. And it’s the best thing I could have ever done…for my business and for my quality of life.
- Did I learn stuff I didn’t know? YEP!
- Did I learn I wasn’t being paid enough for my skills & the work I was doing? YEP!
- Did I discover I was legit and was ready to make more money working fewer hours? YEP!
- Did I pivot my business? YEP!
The UDMA School and Emily’s mentorship made this all possible for me.
She helped me discover what I love doing the most and advised me on how to restructure my business to meet my income and quality of life goals.
Emily has gone above and beyond for me personally more than once- leading me to my dream client…whom I love working with so much!
“I now have more time flexibility and a newfound confidence.“
I’ve already made my course investment back several times over and it’s only been 6 months since graduation!
But best of all- I’m having a ton of FUN in my business right now… and I’m just getting started!
What makes UDMA School so special?
There are a lot of things that make UDMA special & different than anything else out there.
- Detailed training modules (on how to actually do the work), including the little extras that provide a higher level of service to your clients
- MANY bonus trainings on things like mindset & advanced tech topics
- Materials that help you start your business (outside of Upwork!)
- The amazing community in and around the school
- Live training and Q&A sessions
- Networking opportunities
- Job opportunities posted in the group
- Continued support AFTER UDMA school
- The 1:1 Strategy Call with Emily (This was the catalyst that changed my business!)
- Mentorship, experience, and coaching from Emily, other experienced online entrepreneurs, and members of her team
⚡Related Podcast Alert: Janelle’s Freelancer Story: Corporate Sales to Health Coach to Tech Specialist
But really, if I had to sum it up in one word, I would say…
Her passion and knowledge are apparent in every detail of the UDMA School.
Emily and her team really care about us unicorns! They show up. And they’re invested in your success.
The entire experience is top-notch.
Above all… she makes it FUN!
And if you’re going to be investing that much time and energy in anything (like owning your own business) shouldn’t it be fun?
Connect with Janelle
Are you looking for a career change like Janelle? Or already a virtual assistant looking to enhance your skills? Check out the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School: a 12-week online program for acquiring digital marketing skills and running a freelance business. The next Live Cohort starts this October. You’ll gain access to a pool of potential clients eagerly seeking talented VAs like you. Count me in the next round!
Curious about starting your own service-based business from home?
This list is for you!
Grab my list of digital marketing-related tasks and services that online business owners are outsourcing and always need help with.
This is a goldmine of services you could be offering to your clients in your digital marketing VA business.
Janelle’s transition is proof that you can pivot, learn, and thrive, no matter where you are in your journey. The UDMA School isn’t just about acquiring skills; it’s about gaining the confidence to charge what you’re worth and finding your true passion within the world of digital marketing.
Joining our community means you’ll become part of a supportive network of like-minded individuals who actually care about your success.
So take the leap and invest in yourself to become a highly prized, in-demand digital marketing assistant. Just like Janelle, your journey can be fun, fulfilling, and financially rewarding.
-Emily, Digital Marketing Consultant and Implementer
“I help smart women learn the in-demand digital marketing strategies and profitable tech skills to get hired as a unicorn digital marketing assistant.“
3 ways we can work together:
1. Do you need to acquire digital marketing implementation skills and build your workflows so you can solidly put yourself out there for work? Check out the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School. (It opens twice a year so jump on the waitlist now!… I also share job leads with my students so it’s a gateway for anyone who wants to build a freelance business that gives them flexibility and meaningful work). You can also choose to go through the self-study program now. Enroll here.
2. Already doing the work and have clients? But need more clients and a better referral network? Apply for my Digital Marketer’s Workgroup. This is a tight-knit community of freelancers like you, supporting each other. Plus I’ve shared 1,600+ job opportunities with this community.
3. Need to hire a Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant? Submit your job opportunity here. I’ll share with my workgroups totally free.
Further Reading: More UDMA School Reviews & Stories
Yes, you really can work online.
Feeling overwhelmed and not sure how you can work from home and build your own online digital marketing business? Take a deep breath – you can do this. Start here with my list of 10 popular tasks that online businesses need help with the most!
These are the tasks that new clients are constantly asking for help with, and skills that they really need to find in a virtual assistant. Get access to this free download right now. Then make sure your own VA toolkit is up-to-date and relevant, and decide where you might need to invest in new growth and development for your biz.