As a freelancer for almost a decade now, I have learned that I need to put my eggs in various baskets.
When you’re a digital nomad or self-employed and working from home, the worst thing you could do is to rely on just one source of income. If one job falls through (which does happen often), then you need backups to carry you through.
To give you an overview of my baskets of freelancing income:
- Social Media and Community Management
- Graphic Design
- Virtual Assistant (more on customer service)
- SEO and Copywriting
I have learned that instead of one income from a single job, I have multiple different sources of income from various freelance and project-based jobs. Each one may not pay much on its own, but when you add them all up, it amounts to a more significant sum.
I’ve already explained how I started as a Virtual Assistant – now I’m going to tell you how I became a freelance Digital Marketing Manager!
Just like any other type of job, it took me a while before I landed my first digital marketing job.
I started off by gaining experience with social media and digital marketing through this very blog. When I first started blogging back in 2004, I didn’t intend for it to lead to an income-generating website, all I wanted at that time was to create a space online for me to rant and share life updates with friends and family overseas.
After going on hiatus online for almost 2 years, I went back online and rebranded my blog. From then on, it became apparent to me that social media and digital marketing was something I liked to do. The time I’d spent working on organically growing my blog’s stats was enough to prove that I was good at this kind of job. Now I just needed to find someone who might want my services.
After months of sending in my application to various digital marketing agencies abroad looking for a novice digital marketer, I was able to finally land a job that allowed me to learn more about the business, the ins and outs of digital marketing, and earn more than what I expected as a newcomer.
After 4 years of working with them, I decided it was time for me to move on and start fresh. I was back to square one, I was applying for jobs left, right, and center; but nothing seemed to be coming my way.
I re-evaluated my application methods.
- What was I doing wrong?
- Why wasn’t anyone interested in me as a digital marketing manager?
Eventually, it occurred to me that I was applying for the same jobs that a Virtual Assistant in India could do for 1/2 of the price. I was competing against people whose cost of living was much less than mine and could therefore charge a fraction of the price for the same job.
So I asked myself a few more questions.
- What skills did I have that would make me stand out above these people in other countries?
- What would make someone pay a higher cost to hire me instead?
I listed all the tasks that a digital marketing manager would have and cross-referenced it with the skills that I had. When I looked at it all on paper, I realized that there were parts of it that I didn’t even want to do anyway.
What stood out to me the most was leadership and spearheading a team, social media, and community management specifically Instagram and Facebook, planning and execution of campaigns, and anything that involves graphic design and video editing.
So instead of marketing myself as a digital marketing manager (which, to be honest, is very general), I became a digital marketing specialist under which I laid out in my resume my strengths and interests that relate to that job title.
I got various interviews and was finally able to secure a full-time position with an Australian-based digital marketing agency. For this company, I was a Marketing Assistant that exactly works on the specializations I listed down in my resume.
From then on, more and more clients came in and I was able to provide them an appealing portfolio that’s worth their time to read through.
My tips for becoming a digital marketing manager:
- Gain experience. You’ll only get hired if you can prove that you’re good at digital marketing. If you haven’t had any jobs yet, then use your own blog or website as your experience. Put together some impressive stats to show what you have achieved in the past.
- Consider specializing in a certain platform or skill(s). There are plenty of people who can do social media management, but there aren’t so many that can build up an engaged Instagram following, or convert newsletter leads to actual paying customers. Consider the tasks that you’ve had the most success with in the past, and advertise that as your service.
- Apply for jobs every week. Remember that the first job will always be the hardest to get, so even if you don’t have any success at first, don’t get discouraged and keep trying!
- Tell people what you’re offering. If you know of people in your network that can spread the word, let them know. Word of mouth goes a long way! You can also utilize your social media accounts and blog site by posting about your service(s).
- Stay connected with people in your industry. Be part of relevant Facebook groups, attend networking events in your city. There are so many options to get your name out there!