Lucy+GuavabeanHello! I’m Lucy and I’m from the amazing Ukrainian city, Lviv, where you’ll find the best Austrian architecture and Ukrainian hospitality!

When I was 11 years old I started considering working globally as a goal and so I enrolled in my first English class.

When I was 16, I started my career doing odd jobs, as we all do. I was a salesperson, administrator, office manager, junior technology specialist and engineer during my university years.

Then I got into business development, which was the most exciting job for me. But there was one problem: it was boring to work in the limits of one city or country.

After I visited my first international exhibition, where many embassies had presented development and partnership initiatives, I was excited and felt even more strongly that my path is in global work.

I tried being a freelancer for the first time during maternity leave; that was the moment when I started to value flexible hours. Walking with my kid and spending time with him is something that cannot be replaced by any salary from full-time work.

I was trying to engage in various international projects to satisfy my passion for international work. All those years paid off, and by the end of 2014 I was ready for a big change.

I decided that I’d only play by my rules – that I would do what I love and work flexible hours, with various countries and on the most exciting projects.

Last August, I married my business partner and we headed on a new direction of freelance business. This makes me feel very good, because our offering now is more complex and varied.

Knowing all the obstacles and mental blocks of becoming a freelancer, I’d like to help other beginners change their mindset and get a stable workflow.

What do you say when people ask “What do you do?”    

I tell them I help businesses, startups and solopreneurs improve business operations through analysis-based strategy, optimization and customer service improvement.

What would you say to someone who asks “How can I find freelance jobs if I don’t have much experience yet?”    

Use freelance platforms, there are over 40 of them.

It isn’t easy at first. I remember a friend of mine told me, “You need to gain feedback first and be ready to work almost for free.”

It was disappointing to hear, but that’s what I did. I started with Fiverr and Upwork and at the beginning it was not easy to get clients.

To be frank, becoming a freelancer means you need to change not only your schedule, but your mindset and communication style too. And build your marketing to the point where people are coming to you.

If you have a marketing budget you can run online advertising campaigns. Think twice and get advice from other freelancers (in the GUAVABEAN community for example) when you get stuck.

How long did it take for you to feel like a “successful” freelancer. How long until you were able to pay your bills regularly without worrying? 

Two years. I still remember my excitement from my first five star review on Fiverr! That was something, but I knew I wasn’t done yet.

After working on my offerings and market analysis, I formed a pricing strategy and described exactly why I deliver great service. That was the turning-point.

How many years have you been freelancing? 

Three and a half (not counting the time I spent working during maternity leave).

Why did you get started with online/freelance work?

I love the idea of a flexible schedule and global work. Freelancing to me is not just a job – it is a lifestyle, ideology and a way to live a happy and full life.

I love my job! I’m excited about every new customer and project and I’m happy to help others to start building their freedom. I strongly believe that freelancing is the future of many jobs and the best choice for those of us who value life and want to live in a creative way.

Where did you find your first paid freelancing job?  

On Fiverr, where I was trying to gain initial feedback. I took any project, for $5 or $10, just to earn feedback and work history. And it paid off!

I’ve failed and learned from my mistakes, but I started getting the most exciting projects from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, USA, UK, Kenya, Oman, Germany, Dominican Republic, and Singapore. That was like a dream come true!

What are your favorite things about freelancing/working from home? 

I work from any place at any time. I love to work with many countries; for me, this is the most exciting part.

What’s your LEAST favorite thing about freelancing/working from home?   

Distractions. Some people think: “Oh, you are home, we can have a coffee and talk and you can help me”. I had to explain to people just because I’m home doesn’t mean I have time to waste.

Looking back to when you were just getting started – what tool, tip, or resource do you wish was available to you back then? What would’ve made your journey into freelancing MUCH easier?  

I think the latest app, And.Co from Fiverr, is amazing!

It’s not always obvious from the beginning how and what to offer, how to price, communicate, how to overcome mental block with declines, feedback, etc. This is the help I wish I had back then, but I’m glad I can provide it to other people now.

What’s your favorite way to find new clients and job opportunities? What worked the best for you?    

The best as of now is Upwork. But with time, I’m getting more and more clients coming in by recommendations or through my social networks or website.

What are the top 5 tools you use most often in your daily work?    

Freelancing platforms, StripeAnd.coZohoBuffer.

In your opinion, what’s the most important quality or trait for a freelancer to have?    

Emotional intelligence.

On average, how many hours do you work on a regular weekday?

Depends. We organize time as we need, for example we can free up our Fridays for family walks if we want. Normally it can vary from anywhere between 5 to 10 hrs.

How do you stay motivated and focused when you don’t feel like working? 

I do really love my job and clients, and my projects are very exciting so I keep myself motivated by doing work that I enjoy.

What was one of the biggest challenges or roadblocks that you had to overcome in your journey to be a successful freelancer?    

The fear of getting declined and receiving bad feedback. Some people just love to say negative things. I was sometimes criticized for my articles or blog posts. But the good feedback and satisfied clients who keep coming back again and again – that’s a good feeling!

Now that you’ve experienced all the ups and downs of being a freelancer, would you go back to a regular 9-5 job?    

No way!

Do you have any work routines or habits that boost your productivity?  

Planning and scheduling helps a lot. Every freelancer needs to learn what time management and planning techniques are most efficient for him/her.

Your best interview tip?    

Don’t be afraid to be unique and be yourself, you will earn much more!

What do you wish other people knew about freelancing?

It’s not just ‘freelancing’. It’s hard work, but you will love the flexibility, creativity, and the possibility to work with various customers from different countries.

What advice would you give other people who are just getting started, but are still unsure about freelancing? 

Never give up! Keep moving, try again, get help.

If you could go back to your early days as a freelancer and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be more aggressive, try more things, do more to develop your business ‘hunger’.

Anything else? Last words of advice or suggestions for questions we should add to this form?    

Freelancing is a concept of a new world & a new workforce.

Those who don’t see it now risk being out of trend in the future. Many jobs are now outsourced to freelancers and it’s a pleasure to do the work you love.

Take responsibility for results – that’s the key of successful freelancing. Lazy people will not survive!

Originally posted on GUAVABEAN blog