You've decided to chart your path toward independence and prosperity as an online freelancer. To set things in motion, you’ve entered into a blood compact with Google and YouTube in exchange for free information, joined Facebook groups, watched free webinars, followed top-notch freelancers, or you might have even enrolled in online courses for freelancers.
But the problem is, you find job posts intimidating. No amount of willpower stops you from panicking before interviews. Your mind goes blank when it’s your turn to talk. Afterwards, you hear crickets.
Losing a potential client is devastating and some say the feeling is similar to being rejected by someone you’re attracted to. Fret not, there’s one more thing that you can do to help you seal your first few freelance contracts like a pro.
Internship - that’s right, and it’s being offered inside the VA Bootcamp. Here are 7 awesome ways it can set you up for success.
1. Allows you to gain hands-on experience
Job listings often require relevant work experience as not all clients have the time to provide training. If you are entering the freelancing industry for the first time, you may not have what they’re looking for.
An internship is a perfect way to fill that gap. You can gain valuable exposure by doing a specific set of tasks, navigating through systems and tools, and following deadlines.
VA Bootcamp students are given the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned from the modules through internships in the areas of Facebook group moderation, content creation, marketing, and admin. You’ll get the feel of working with a real client.
According to VA Bootcamper Mary Jane Manaog who completed more than one internship, there’s not much difference between what she was doing as an intern and her actual freelance job. So much so that she has been able to work independently and her client rarely checks her work. The results speak for themselves.
2. Boosts your confidence
During the on-boarding stage, interns are given a set of guidelines or workflow so they’d know exactly what to do.
If they have questions, clarifications, and whatnot, they can approach the coaches and mentors who also provide detailed and honest feedback every step of the way.
There are virtual meetings, calibration, planning, and brainstorming so interns are free to make suggestions and unleash their creativity.
Working on projects, making room for new ideas, getting feedback, practicing new skills, learning from mistakes, and being able to complete the tasks do wonders in building that much needed confidence.
3. Improves your portfolio a hundredfold
Your portfolio showcases your work samples and what you have accomplished so far. With a month-long internship, there’ll be tons of work samples to show from various tasks such as content creation, social media management, branding, copywriting, Messenger Bot marketing, running Facebook ads, back office skills, and so on.
You can take screenshots and wow your potential clients with your work. I’ve done this personally after I completed my internship as a Facebook group moderator last May 2020. I was quite ecstatic that my portfolio no longer made me look like a newbie.
4. Helps you find clients
Finding the first client can be super terrifying and typically, it stems from the fact that there’s no relevant experience to backup your claim that you can do what you promise in your freelancer profile.
That fear will easily vanish because you’ll definitely have something to talk about during your client interviews. Instead of nervously saying, “I think I can do what you require,” you can confidently say, “Definitely, I can do X, Y, Z. I can help you maximize productivity using project management tools like Trello and Notion. Let’s grow your audience using Facebook Messenger Bot.”
A client hearing you talk like that will have a sense of security that you're a reliable and trustworthy person. You become the obvious choice and that can easily lead to an offer.
5. Enables you to discover your dream niches
Sometimes you’re sold about a certain specialization. You’ve heard great things about it from other freelancers but you won’t know for sure if you’re going to enjoy the tasks and requirements without actually doing it.
It could also be that you have multiple niches in mind and you’re having a hard time deciding which one to take.
Working as an intern is a great way for you to discover your strengths. When you’ve done the tasks, you can evaluate if a particular niche is worth pursuing or not. You’ll be surprised by the things that you will uncover about yourself.
6. Gives you the opportunity to meet new friends
Learning and applying for jobs day in and day out can be lonely, and it gets worse when you don’t have anyone to share your thoughts with.
It’s easy to think your decision to become a freelancer has cost you your social life. You suddenly long for those days when you can hang-out with your co-workers or officemates during lunch or after work. If you’re an extrovert, that’s too painful to bear.
Becoming an intern connects you to a team. It’s a fantastic way to mingle with like-minded people, and you can even meet real good friends. I know I have and I’m quite grateful for every single one of them.
When you’re surrounded with people who care about you and your success, man, that’s a great way to go. You’ll be unstoppable.
Here’s what Jowi Morales (SMM Intern, September 2020) has to say about it.
“Lahat naman ng skills na ito, pwede nating matutunan on our own, but meeting the people, interacting with them, and the exchange of ideas - that is priceless.”
7. Lets you enjoy awesome perks
The internship is unpaid but upon completion you’ll get a certificate which you can add to your portfolio and a 5-star feedback in your Upwork profile account. Most interns start with that and the next thing they know, clients are noticing them.
Additionally, you’ll have instant access to the rich library of resources - best-selling ebooks, JasSuccess giveaways, summary of blogs, just to mention a few.
You’ll also be given access to Canva Pro or the paid version. It’s so fun to use compared to the free account. You can have a party with your designs, and even prettify your own resume for free.
Not sure about what to write in your proposal for some job postings? The mentors would go out of their way to support you. They’ve done it so many times and they know what kind of answers get clients’ approval. You see, it has nothing to do with the internship anymore, but you’ll still get their valuable pieces of advice.
Acing Your Internship
Treat it like a real job. During the application, follow the cover letter writing techniques taught inside the course in order to stand out and raise the chance of being selected.
Once you’re in, study the set of instructions carefully so that you can perform the tasks with minimal supervision. The coaches and mentors are there but don’t expect spoon feeding because, trust me, you won’t learn much. Don’t waste the opportunity to have in depth practice.
Make the same level of commitment that you’d show to a paying client. Make it a habit to communicate with the team if there are situations beyond your control, preventing you from meeting your deadlines. These are keys to landing dream clients later on.
How to Become a VA Bootcamp Intern
First, you must have enrolled in the Accelerated or Complete course and finished all the modules. You need to be equipped with the skills taught so that you’re ready to take on the tasks. An approved Upwork profile is also a must so you can get the 5-star feedback. When you read the opening announcement inside the Facebook group for students, write a well-crafted cover letter and attach a copy of your VA Bootcamp certificate.
The internship is open every month for Admin., Marketing, Content Creation, and Facebook group (Freelancers in the Philippines or FLIP) moderation.
Not yet a student? Click here to enroll and take advantage of a huge discount until the end of December 2020.