Student Income Report Series: Advanced VA Julie Fleischhacker – Three Months In

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Welcome to our next Student Income Report Series update! We’ve been following along with three super-motivated VAs at different stages in their businesses over the last few months, and in this post we’ll be hearing from advanced VA Julie Fleischhacker.

When we first met Julie she had been building her business for almost a year and had five clients on her roster. After saying adios to Corporate America, she picked up and moved to sunny Mexico where she started her virtual assistant business after taking 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success.

In her last update, Julie shared that she had moved back stateside. An awesome perk to running your own business – picking up and going where you want to, when you want to – right? She was also just digging into the Pinterest VA course to level up her business and was on the hunt for some new clients.

Let’s find out how she did! Ready?

Hi Julie! How are things going?

Hello again! It’s been a great – and interesting – month in my business! To catch everyone up, I had unexpectedly awesome months financially in September and October, bringing my overall earnings to almost triple what they were when I started the series… Yes!

This month my income dropped a bit, but I was only $4 shy of the goal I had set for myself for the month. I lost a client last month and have been working hard at my primary goal of finding a replacement.

I’m so glad I didn’t freak out – instead I just worked my plan, and guess what? I just landed two new clients this week!

This was the ‘interesting’ part of this last month for me – just when I was getting a little discouraged and thinking I wouldn’t find those next clients (gotta love that negative self-talk!), my prayers were answered. One client is located in Western Australia and found me online. The second is in Canada and came from a referral.

This brings me to a total of seven clients, and I’ll be doing work that I LOVE using my background as a digital asset librarian. Think perfectly organized image and video files with keywords so you can find them based on contents. It’s geekiness to the max!

Catch us up on last month’s goals:

Goal #1 – Finish my website

It’s done! Yes! For now lol… It’s a work in progress, but it is up and running. It’s a total DIY project but I have a logo, my headshot, some packages – which will probably need updating as I get feedback from clients – and four different ways clients can connect with me.

Goal #2 – Find new client(s)

Booyah! Got this one in the bag, baby. 😉 Here’s how it went:

  • I sent five pitches (including my first video pitch!).
  • I received two referrals – I did one consultation and sent a proposal, and have a second consultation scheduled for mid-December. Stay tuned!
  • I had four invitations to interview via a freelance platform – I declined three of them because they weren’t a good fit for my skillset.

The result? Two new clients!

Goal #3 – Create a daily schedule

My goal here was to create a daily routine that includes time for exercise, studying and eating. Truth be told, I didn’t do so hot with this one. They can’t all be winners, right?

I made time for regular meals every day and learned a bit more about marketing my business and SEO, but got zero exercise. I’m definitely missing Mexico and walking daily.

Goal #4 – Personal development

My goal was to read a book related to productivity, client relationships and/or finance. I didn’t read a book, but I did do a ton of online reading about business, websites, blogging, SEO and Pinterest marketing – more reading than I’ve done in a long time.

Goal #5 – Work through 25% of the Pinterest VA course

I did get started with the course, but haven’t quite got to 25% of the way in yet. So this goal is ‘in process!’ I also signed up for some pretty awesome Pinterest newsletters and stayed on top of the Pinterest VA Facebook group posts. Since this is part of my plan to scale my business, I’m definitely motivated about this goal.

What are your goals for this month?

Goal #1 – Onboard my new clients and look for a new one

My plan to get rolling with my new clients is:

  • New client #1 – Formalize our contract, set up invoicing and get through the learning curve. This client is located in Western Australia so there are some things to settle in with like time zones, an accent, terminology, new systems, etc.
  • New client #2 – This is a one-time project with the potential for ongoing consultation. I’ll be starting the discovery process a week after I get settled… Which brings me to my next goal.

Goal #2 – Move to Minneapolis

Yes, I realize it’s freezing in Minneapolis right now, but I want to keep expenses as low as possible so I can continue traveling. Gotta love a challenge! While this goal isn’t 100% business related, it kind of is in the sense that I’ll be setting up a new home office with internet, furniture, supplies, etc.

And, this goal speaks to a ‘bigger picture’ goal of my business – creating a lifestyle of flexibility and freedom to work from wherever I want and to travel whenever it suits me. So far so good!

Goal #3 – Keep working through the Pinterest VA course

As I said earlier, this goal is part of my overall plan to level up my business and reach my long-term financial goal of $10,000 per month. So, while I’m giving myself some grace during the holiday season (and being realistic!), I’m also pretty motivated to work through the course and put what I’m learning into action so I can start reaching out to a whole new market of clients.

There’s tons of potential with Pinterest and I’m psyched!

What’s working well in your business?

I’m continuing to hold good boundaries around checking email after hours and scheduling any responses to hit my clients’ inboxes in the morning. This is turning out to be a healthy strategy for me and I’ll be keeping it up.

Even though I was starting to get discouraged about finding new clients, I also kept up with my commitment to being very picky about who I’m pitching. I want to like the people I work with and the work I’m doing. In my opinion, it’s crucial to my relationships with my clients and my success.

“And last, but certainly not least, valuing my time and not being shy about asking for what I’m worth is working well for me. Really well!”

Any challenges?

Time – finding it and managing it. I struggle to find and balance time to work on my business (working on my website, sourcing new clients), advance my skills (through classes and research) and have a life, all while serving my clients. My clients are definitely taken care of, but I need to work on the balance part.

Tell us about your income last month:

Here is the latest snapshot of my earnings:

As I said earlier, I came in $4 shy of my projected income for last month. Considering that I lost my second biggest client, I think I did pretty well!

My projection for next month, including a slow-down for the holidays, is $2900 which would be an 11% increase over the previous month.

To date, since starting this journey 12 months ago, I’ve billed just over $20,000. Interestingly, over half of that has been billed in the last three months! I started slowly but am definitely picking up momentum… Watch out 2020, here I come!

Tell us about your financial goals:

My short-term financial goal is $5,000 per month in the next 6-12 months. I’ve got this! Losing a client was a hit, but I’m moving forward. One door closes and another opens, right?

My long-term financial goal is, as I mentioned, $10,000 per month. Aside from scaling my business up with what I learn in the Pinterest VA course, I’m also working on figuring out the next steps to get to this level.

While I’m pretty sure this is where passive income would play a big role, I’m not quite there yet. I do have some ideas floating around about what this may look like, though… More to come!

In the meantime, I’m thoroughly enjoying sharing my progress with everyone – including the ups and downs. I’m looking forward to catching everyone up next month!

Ready to kick off your virtual assistant journey as Julie did? Get started here!

Julie is a Digital Librarian turned Digital Nomad (originally from Minnesota – Go Vikes!!!) who provides Virtual Assistant services to micro/small business owners. Services include email and calendar management, project management, research, digital file management, bookkeeping and general business management. Previously, she has worked for multiple Fortune 500 companies as a digital asset librarian managing global databases of images and videos and providing training and technical troubleshooting.  She recently returned to Minnesota after living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for a year and is enjoying the freedom and opportunities her new career provides.

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