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MacBook Pro on table beside white iMac and Magic Mouse Photo by Domenico Loia on UnsplashWorking from anywhere around the world is becoming more and more popular. The number of traditional workers who ditched their 9 to 5 job and enter the so-called gig economy is still on the rise. According to the Intuit Report, by 2020 independent contractors or freelancers will continue to increase. Which means the competition for online jobs will only get stiffer.

So, how can you stand out from the crowded marketplace?

To give you a brief back-story, when I dipped my toes in the online world I haven’t the slightest idea what I am doing, I just wanted to experience the benefits of working whenever and wherever I want. Who doesn’t want the time and financial freedom or the perks of earning while traveling?

The exact steps I took to land my first clients in less than 20 days, and here’s how you can too.

  1. Sign up to online job boards.

The first thing I did was to research and register for various freelancing sites and apply to jobs related to my previous work experience which is Business Administration and Management Accounting. As a beginner, with no past experience working online, it’s not easy to land my first client as a Virtual Assistant. But with thorough research and great determination, I landed my first paying client within 20 days.

PRO TIP: Scams are everywhere so exercise due diligence when applying to jobs and replying to job invitations. Do a background check before giving your personal information. Don’t do a free trial as much as possible. Some employers will ask you to write for free just like what I have experienced on (Of course, there are still decent gigs on this platform but it just doesn’t work for me).

  1. Complete your profile and build your portfolio.

It’s important to showcase your skills and experiences to your prospects. However, as much as employers want to dig deep into your resume, your working etiquette and a few soft skills are a big plus. The best way to get the attention of your dream clients is to submit a well-thought application or job proposal. Don’t just copy and paste it, instead customize your message and address the hiring manager by their name.

Moreover, if you are looking for writing opportunities it’s best to make a few samples. In my case, I use this blog as my portfolio whenever I apply for writing jobs. If you don’t have a blog yet and interested to start one read this guide.

  1. Ace your job interview by letting your clients know how you can help them.

It’s worth noting that employers want to make sure that they are paying the right person who can deliver great value to their businesses. Don’t just talk about your work experiences and skills, let your prospects know why you are the best fit by offering solutions to their pain points.

Like for example, I landed my first writing project within a day or two (less the time zone difference). This client of mine is looking for someone who can write for his website and offers to pay more for the graphics/images to go with the article. Not only I let him know about my basic graphic design and article writing experiences (since I’m running my own blog that involves these tasks) but I followed his instructions carefully and demonstrated professionalism.

Here’s his exact message (this made my day);

“So far, of the 10 freelancers I’ve tried out for this project, you are the only one that delivered so you should feel proud and awesome about that. Looking forward to working with you!”


Don’t settle for clients who don’t see your value, you deserve better. Follow the steps above and keep on learning and you are well on your way. This VA and blogging checklist will help you get started.

[click_to_tweet tweet=” To land your dream clients, you must know your worth and charge it.” quote=” To land your dream clients, you must know your worth and charge it.”]

Categories: Freelancing

Precious Gan

Precious Grace Gan is a spunky virtual assistant and lifestyle blogger. She hopes to inspire creative entrepreneurs and helps busy small business owners. Precious loves to share her learnings having transitioned from years on the corporate world into the digital more. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.


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