Latasha James, host of the Freelance Friday Podcast is our guest today. She offers fantastic insight into how she became a successful freelancer and how a freelancer can get more exposure online. You won’t want to miss this episode! Check her out at LatashaJames.com, she has a great YouTube channel you should follow and great resources for freelancers on her site.
Latasha James is the founder of James + Park, a digital marketing company based in Detroit. She is also a YouTube content creator, marketing coach, and host of The Freelance Friday Podcast. She has worked on both sides of the social media marketing space, creating marketing strategies and fostering community for businesses large and small, and has worked with dozens of brands on partnerships through her own personal brand.
Get ready for freelancing strategies, hacks and tactics to help you skyrocket your success brought to you by Freelancer masterclass calm. You’re listening to freelancing school with your instructor Mike Volkin
Welcome to this edition of freelancers school today. I’m very excited. We have a guest with us on the show today. And her name is Latasha James. She is a very popular Freelancer who puts out a lot of great content and I’ve asked her some questions about how you can become not only a full time freelancer, if you’re a part time freelancer, but how you can get more attention as a freelancer to better grow and scale your business. So let’s go ahead and get to the interview. Okay, everybody, welcome. This is Mike Volkin. I am the lead instructor of Freelancer masterclass and today we have Latasha James with us She’s the founder of Jameson Park, a digital marketing company based in Detroit. And she is also a youtube content creator. That’s how I originally found her by her great YouTube videos. She’s a marketing coach. She’s the host of freelance Friday podcast. She’s got a lot of things going on. She has worked on both sides, social media, marketing space, creating marketing strategies and fostering community for businesses large and small, and has worked with dozens of brands on partnerships throughout her own personal brand. Thanks for joining us, Latasha.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Yeah, I see you have a bunch of great resources for freelancers. We’re going to go through some of those and you have a popular YouTube channel. One of my favorites for freelancers. Actually. You have an E course a podcast. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started as a freelancer?
Yeah, yeah. So I honestly kind of just fell into freelancing. It is the least exciting story. Honestly. I was in college and You know, as most college students do, they need more resources. I was working a retail job and, you know, struggling to get by your typical college student. And I was just kind of browsing, I always sort of had my feelers out and my eyes and ears open for new opportunities. So I had been a blogger, just personally, like the dumbest blog on
music that I liked, or
it’s not the dumbest blog. You haven’t seen my first blog.
I guess maybe that’s where it all started.
But yeah, I mean, it was it was just a fun vibe. But I didn’t really like to write and I really like the process of blogging. So I actually ran across on LinkedIn. A gig essentially like a freelance gig for an education writer. There is this education blog, and they were looking for student writers essentially. So I applied to it. It was like $20 an article and I just started there. And yeah, I mean, I grew my freelance business actually went to school for film, so Once I started to realize kind of how freelancing worked and taking on different projects, I would work with different video projects while I was in school. So I worked with some authors and you know, did a bunch of different marketing videos and things like that. And over time, I ended up being able to do the freelancing thing full time while I was in school and got to leave my retail job. So that was really cool. And then obviously, I, you know, went in between corporate and full time freelance. And between that and i i’ve been full time freelance for the past couple years. So
yeah, that’s great. Nothing beats being a full time freelancer. It’s awesome. Unfortunately, it’s it’s a part time job for probably 95% of us. So we’re out to change that hopefully. Right. You and I. You have a popular YouTube channel, would you recommend that as a way for freelancers to grow their business? And if so, can you give us some some freelancers, some of the guidelines and how to grow a YouTube channel like you have?
Yeah, yeah, I mean, I do recommend I think I recommend it with a caveat I guess that you have to really Buffett. I mean, it sounds so cheesy. But I mean, you’re going to be working on your YouTube channel for a while without really seeing a ton of return for it. And one of those kind of slow build type thing.
Yeah, I describe it as like, like a rolling snowball downhill. Like you’ll spend a lot of time forming that snowball and you give it a push, and you don’t see much return until like at the end, and it’s like, wow, all this stuff’s happening. And you know, you get thousands of views a day, and then it’s just really exciting, right?
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I’ve had my YouTube channel for over five years. So it’s, it’s old in YouTube. Yeah. You know, and I mean, I really, I didn’t truly see a ton of return. I definitely wasn’t getting paid a ton from Google AdSense and all of that in the very beginning. And now it’s honestly responsible for like, between 90 and 95% of my website traffic. I mean, I don’t do a ton of outbound prospecting or anything, most people I mean, just like you said, You found me on YouTube. Yes, people find me on YouTube. It’s the second biggest search engine on the web. So yeah, it’s It’s definitely a good, it’s definitely good. But I truly do like love the process. You know, I love creating videos, that’s really fine for me to engage with my audience. So I, I say you definitely have to watch it.
Yeah. Yeah. And you’re well spoken. So it kind of lends itself to videos and podcasting, which you take advantage of, you know, in one of your YouTube videos, the one where I found you, you talk about negotiating freelance contracts and and how discounting your rate is a frequent issue. And I can’t tell you, I mean, at least twice a day I get that from a freelancer is what how do I respond to that? You know, can you talk a bit about what you say when you’re asked to discount your rent?
Yeah, so I think there’s a couple of things to this number one, you know, adding pricing to my website or price ranges to my website into like, my Intake Forms has really helped with that. That’s that was an area and I know that’s a kind of a big debate. I’m curious to hear what you think of it too, but that’s a big debate in this community of putting pricing on websites or not, but it has really helped me kind of weed out some of the people who are, you know, have $100 marketing budget and things like that. Yeah. So I don’t, all of my packages really are bespoke, like they’re very custom to each each client. So I don’t have, you know, this package cost this much or this this much. But on the intake form, I just have a range like, what is your marketing budget? Is it between $500 and $1,000? That kind of thing. And that’s really helped down some of those conversations. And then yeah, I mean, I think the other big piece of advice, which is the hardest piece of advice, and again, it’s very simple, but very hard is you just have to be permanent. Yeah. I mean, you really, it really is an internal thing. I think that I had to get over because I’m such a people pleaser. nice person. I want to make people happy.
Yeah. You know, I know and
I really want to help people. That’s why I do what I do. So I think it is just about realizing, like I’ve taken I’ve been there Believe me I’ve taken You know, the lowball contracts and just kind of things, and I haven’t been quite as proud of the work that I’ve done, or I haven’t slept, you know what I mean? Because I’m running around trying to manage a bajillion really small clients. So I just have to kind of remember that and like if I really want to truly help this client and do the best work that I can for them, I can’t take $100 contractor Yeah, okay, I need it and kind of just explaining that to them to like, not necessarily explaining how many hours you’re spending on their project or that kind of thing, but just explaining that, you know, you really do like to kind of put as much as you can and to each of your, each of your clients and that’s kind of why your price the way that you are, I know
Yeah, you said it exactly the way I would have answered it. I put my price on my website. Because when I did, it almost changed overnight. I stopped dealing with setting up phone calls with people that couldn’t even come close to affording my services. And then not only that, but didn’t truly understand like what I did you know, I’m a fractional cmo. I help with strategy I I don’t do one or two hour jobs it’s not I would take you on at a minimum if you have a three month commitment for me so once I did that people would would understand and it also holding firm in your price. I felt like a biggest jerk when I when I first started doing that was like, No, I really can’t lower my rate even $20 an hour. Yeah, I can’t do that. Because this is what I’m valued at. And the biggest thing I would tell freelancers is have your objections written out. So when somebody asks you about that you don’t stumble across that then you don’t seem like a jerk if you if you have your yourself priced right then you should be able to tell a client realistically justify your charge basically right. You know, I I noticed you have an E course on social media. And let me just give a quick plug to your website. It’s Latasha James. Calm, right? Yeah. Okay. Would you recommend freelancers creating an E course not not to try to get sales or part of the revenue but really to showcase their expertise. Like, if you have a course on social media and a prospect comes to you wanting to hire you from social media, it just makes you seem that much better. Hey, this person teaches social media, this person has written a book like, would you recommend freelancers do that?
Yeah, yeah, I definitely think so. I mean, I get the question a lot, too. Are we kind of at peak saturation for courses? Yeah.
I feel like everybody has a course.
Or everybody has. So yeah, I mean, I do think I don’t think that we’re there. I get the same question about YouTube channels to like, yeah, now I think if your content is good, and you’re passionate about it, and you’re giving value, it doesn’t matter how many how many editors are out there. So that that’s the key is it really does have to be valuable? You know, don’t just put out a course just because you just because you want to say that you did, of course. Same with the book. You know, I see people writing books all the time that are like, you took like, two weeks to write this book and kind of throw it together. So make sure that it’s truly valuable. Yeah. And something that you’re really proud of, because, yes, definitely like the revenue is great, too. I’m all about having multiple revenue streams. I think that is like the best piece of advice. I could really give
Yeah, absolutely. So it does help. I mean, it’s not a it’s not the hugest revenue stream that I have. But it is significant and it does help for but but not even just for that, just like you said, it leads to other things. You know, it led me to realize that there was a market for coaching for you know, freelance coaching, which I never even saw myself doing. Or, you know, I didn’t want to be another one of those coaches that has any course not, you know, yeah, people really responded to the course and it opened the door for me there. And even with clients, like you said, a lot of times they’ll stumble, stumble across it and be like, oh, like, she seems to know what she’s talking about, at least. Yeah. So yeah, yeah, I mean, I definitely recommend it. You have the value to go.
Yeah, how long were you a freelancer before you started doing your courses?
I would say about four years.
Okay, so it was quite a while before you decided to put together these core and how long were you a part time freelance before you just decided, hey, let me just do this full time.
Um, so yeah, I was freelance. I was still freelancing part time when I watched the course. So I got four years and then I went freelance about a year after
okay. Yeah, good. Well, let’s talk about that. And let’s that kind of leads me into my last question I have for you since you and I are both on a crusade to help part time freelancers enjoy being full time, freelancers, and living the life they want to live and commanding their own salary. What are what are some of the tips that you would have for part time freelancers who want to become full time freelancers and really get serious and make a business out of it? Do you have any good tips that aren’t so difficult that can’t be done? I want I like actionable tips that somebody can can leave this podcast slash video and just go and do trial today. Do you have anything like that to kind of put you on the spot?
Oh, absolutely. So number one is take some clients you know i cannot recommend that enough. I was working a lot when I was in my corporate job. You know, I essentially had two full time jobs.
Yeah, it’s hard. It has to be a turnover, there has to be a time where you’re taking on on some clients just to get your feet wet and freelancing. Right. So you can’t just transition full time into freelancing. It’s very difficult. Yeah, absolutely.
Yeah. And like I said, I mean, I was freelancing for four years, part time, you know, on and off, I wasn’t doing like 80 hours a week. That whole four years. Yeah, I always at least had one or two clients for those four years and was open to projects. So I think that is like your best way to give it a test run. And somebody put it to me like this. They were like if you’re making you know, this amount of money at this, this income through your business with only 10 hours a week or 20 hours a week, like just do math. Good. Yeah. And it doesn’t always translate exactly that way of course, but you know, with 40 extra hours in the week, it does start to become a little bit more realistic. So take at least a few test clients get your systems down while you’re in your day job so that on day one you’re not like oh my gosh, I have my first client and now I’m I’m working out of desperation like I have to get this right yeah, you know, I don’t have any room to kind of mess up or try to figure things out. So get all those systems down and your workflows and all that stuff. I also recommend getting all of your all the legal stuff figured out why you have your day job too. So set up your business you know your business entity get your business bank account set up like all of that kind of stuff because there can be kind of surprised fees associated with some of those things that it’s nice to have a salary to just fund that and it’s also nice just to know what to look out for so you’re not you know, taken off guard when you go day one. Yeah, and then I mean, lastly is just save as much money as you can. I lived so frugally. I mean, I pretty much continued my college lifestyle. Oh, yeah, you know, a long time and not to say that you can enjoy your life obviously dead like I traveled Good things I love to but I mean, I think just saving as much money as you can so that again, you’re not going to be on day one, getting clients out of desperation and taking every single client that comes to you and taking all the low offers you actually have some flexibility to be picky there.
Yeah, yeah, those are really good tips, processes and efficiency, something we talked about a lot. Because I remember when I took on my first time I’m like, Oh my god, what do I do now? How do I deliver this? How do I manage this project? I mean, I use a teamwork calm. Now I didn’t back when I first started. But do you use a project management platform to manage your clients? Or do you use like a manual like spreadsheets and stuff? Yeah, I
use a sauna. Very similar work. Yeah,
I like it. It’s good for me and my team. And then I use Google Drive like folders organized for everything too. So yeah, I just got an ad for teamwork the other day and I’m like, I need to check that out. So
yeah, you know, look into Yeah, I want to have give you one chance at the end to kind of like plug everything something you got coming up anything you want to tell our audience now it’d be a great time. I know I mentioned your your website Latasha James, calm. Your podcast, the freelance Friday podcast and that’s I’m assuming once every Friday, right once a week.
Yeah. Okay. The podcast comes out every Friday. I’m actually on a summer break right now. So to be season four will be starting in mid September so you can look out for that, but in the meantime, feel free to catch up on the old episodes. And yeah, I have a couple of new programs coming up in the fall to I’m going to be offering my first mastermind like group coaching. So that’s really exciting. So yeah, you’ll be able to find all the details at Latasha James, calm and all my socials are
awesome. I look forward to it. Maybe we can have you on for a follow up interview when your your mastermind comes out. Thanks so much for joining us.
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