Lessons from a Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant who actually does the work:
I’ve been freelancing as a public relations consultant and marketer for 13 years now. For the first five years, I really didn’t take it seriously. I was home raising babies and moving frequently to follow my husband’s military career. I only had a few clients and was totally happy with that. It was fun side work. It was my fun money.
But five years into it, I started to see a major opportunity in the online space. I discovered the potential of Pinterest. I got exposed to the sales funnels and possibilities of online business, blogging to digital products and courses. And soon, I knew I had to tap into the work opportunities, or I’d get lost in the shuffle. The timing was now.
There was ONE crucial thing that happened in my digital marketing VA biz that propelled me forward.
NOTE: I know this may NOT be where YOU are in your side hustle journey at the moment; it may not even been your end game. But I want to open your eyes to this possibility so you can MOVE FORWARD when the right scenario is in place.
Having Clients PAY for ME to Attend Online Classes
The timing wasn’t perfect but there was no way for me to waste an opportunity. I had a client who had heard about a Pinterest course, and she just didn’t have the time to take it. So she offered to pay for some of it. I was NOT in the right frame of mind to take a course. I had just had a baby and had plenty of work and too many clients. But I said YES. And got a couple other clients to split the difference. The class fee was nominal, but their willingness to invest in me said EVERYTHING.
I was able to take the class in a few weeks, give my clients the Cliff’s Notes, which they really didn’t care about, but I wanted them to know I was serious. And I was able to implement it. It made our client-teammate relationship stronger, it helped them delegate and have peace of mind. I can’t say the course was that helpful but I didn’t know this was a possibility – that I wouldn’t have to incur extra expenses to get smarter and better at my job.
(I will add that this course was NOT amazing. I was already doing the Pinterest work and had figured out so much on my own, it was kind of a waste of money except for one thing. It was a HUGE CONFIDENCE BOOST)
A few months later a Facebook growth strategies course opened, and I was able to get my top clients to pay for it. That course paid for itself multiple times.
It was a resume builder. It gave me credibility. AND … it got me on a list with VAs who had taken the course. (YES, that’s a thing!!!! Vetted VAs who know XYZ’s strategy…)
Now listen, at that time the Pinterest course was still a NEW thing so this worked. Nowadays there are plenty of Pinterest courses. But use this idea for YOU.
What’s the newest, latest thing?
What does you client need that you can’t offer?
Off the top of my head: chat bots, Facebook ads, XYZ email marketing platform, SEO, marketing funnels, etc.
Small biz owner clients NEED help in so many specialities but they can’t afford to hire the $75-100/hr expert. They like to hire someone homegrown; who will just learn it on their own… and you can offer this skill to other clients.
From there everything took off. I still have my eyes on a couple of courses. But there comes a time when courses are a distraction from doing the real work. An avoidance tactic. Maybe even a way to feed the self doubt, thinking your’e not quite ready.
I invested the most in Amy Porterfield’s Digital Course Academy in early 2019. I started her course while already launching my own course. I didn’t join to start a course, I joined to learn how to market my course with live launches and webinars. But to paid for itself with the connections I made with other business owners. Not all of it is new to me. But her teaching style, her tech, and some of the strategies I’m learning will help me and all of my clients down the road. It was a huge confidence boost.
A course has the power to do that. It can be a free training, webinar or digital course. There are so many learning opportunities online. Here are a few digital courses I recommend. I also love free trainings inside the tech platforms like the free Google Analytics Academy, etc.
(Don’t worry that unimpressive Pinterest course is NOT on the list LOL now I teach my unicorn digital marketing assistants Pinterest myself)
3 Things that Propelled my Virtual Assistant Business
How to become successful quickly in your new virtual assistant business … here’s what worked for me:
The Takeaway: Invest in yourself.
Like I said, when I was starting I didn’t know courses existed. If I could redo things I’d take the course sooner and be on the fast track. Getting my clients to sponsor me was just on way to make it happen. Since I was a vested teammate, those clients wanted me to keep learning and performing. I have had clients who don’t think like that. They didn’t understand why I would be constantly learning or were threatened that I’d put these learning to use for other clients. (Let’s just say I don’t work for them anymore)
If you’re already on a team, see if your clients will sponsor you or do a split pay.
If you’re new to the game, it’ll be on YOU to invest in yourself. Here’s an article to help: 5 Ways to Pay for that Course when You Don’t Have Money.
⚡ Related Podcast Alert: 10 ways running my own business has changed me as a person
Listen on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app
If you’re interested in learning more about what I do as a social media manager, digital marker and virtual assistant helping small business owners remotely, send me a DM on Instagram and I’ll tell you more. You can also hop on my waitlist for the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School to learn the digital marketing implementation skills and mechanics that will make you an ideal teammate for an online business owner.
Start with Digital Marketing Hard Skills
I have a list of 10 virtual job tasks for you here… this will help you get started in the online space and let you in on exactly what clients coming to me are asking for help with and willing to pay a VA for… take a look! Youc an start your digital services business with these core tasks and services.
I’d also love to have you in our private FB community of VAs here: Emily’s Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant Lab. Feel free to ask in the group about the “HOT” courses and where you should be focusing your online learning as a VA. I know things are always changing in the social media realm, so if you found this blog helpful, just go to my FB community for the latest and greatest =)
-Emily, Digital Marketing Consultant and Implementer
4 Ways we can work together
1. Do you need to acquire digital marketing implementation skills? Check out the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School. (It opens twice a year so jump on the waitlist)
2. Already doing the work and have clients? But need more clients and a better referral network? Apply for my Digital Marketing Workgroup.
3. Maybe you don’t need to learn the hard skills but need help setting up your independent contractor business? Don’t spend $1300 on a “typical start-your-VA business-course.” Learn the quick steps in my Freelance Biz Kickstarter only $297. Inside you’ll get a contract to use with your social media clients and services.
4. Need to hire a Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant? Submit your job opportunity here. I’ll share with my workgroups totally free.