With Marley’s multidisciplinary degree nearly complete, freelancing seemed like a great way to gain some experience and narrow down her next move after college. But with classes, papers, and exams flooding her schedule, there wasn’t a lot of time leftover to figure out the tricks of the trade.
“I tried some online freelance marketplaces when I was in college. I actually landed a gig where I could use my chemistry background. I spent a ton of time coming up with a lipstick formula but the client hated it. So I just abandoned it. I figured I wasn’t cut out for that style of work.”
But after graduation, she ran into the classic job-seeker’s Catch-22: no one would give her a job because she didn’t have experience, but she couldn’t get any experience because no one would give her a job.
“I got to a point where I was just applying for any job, anywhere. I even signed up for a temp agency, knowing I’d have to work 12-hour shifts with no holidays. I couldn’t even get those terrible jobs. I was so discouraged. I finally got an offer for retail work with Sprint, so I took it.”
Working at Sprint was fine for a while. But after a few months selling phones, Marley started to wonder: how many times could she bounce from one “fine” job to the next?
“My mom instilled a strong work ethic in me and my sister — I always held down a job and worked my way through high school and college. I’m pretty good at finding jobs, but I wanted to learn how to find the job that was going to let me live the lifestyle I wanted.”
Luckily, the stars aligned — a big life change on the horizon meant she had the perfect opportunity to try something new.
“My husband got reassigned to another state for work. I gave my two weeks’ notice at Sprint, and in that moment I knew I was going to make a change. I was okay with taking another temp job to get through the move, but I was determined to find a job that I could take with me anywhere.”
Dream job slips through her fingertips
Marley wasted no time going after what she wanted.
“There are a few online entrepreneurs that I follow pretty religiously. Right before we moved, one posted a job opening for a copywriter. It seemed like my prayers could be answered — remote work, awesome pay, and a boss I admired. I had zero relevant experience but I went for it anyway.”
Her boldness was rewarded, and it wasn’t long before she realized she had way more potential than she had given herself credit for.
“I made it all the way to the phone interview stage — like the third or fourth round. He told me my natural style was really good and I emotionally connected with people. I was super pumped up.”
But right when things were starting to look promising Marley found herself in an all too familiar spot.
“They ended up giving the job to someone else. They basically said, ‘We like you, but we’re really looking for someone with, like…any semblance of experience. Go out and get some and then get back to us.’ Honestly, I moped for a minute. It didn’t feel good to hear that AGAIN.”
She didn’t waste too much time feeling sorry for herself. Nothing was going to stop her from finding the job that would finally make her happy.
“I was like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna go for this. Now I know I have the skills, I just need to prove it.’ So my new mission was to get this writing experience they were looking for.”
Determined to get what she wants
Marley started thinking about the best and fastest way to get the experience she needed. Then she remembered: those online freelance marketplaces she had walked away from in college were still around — and more lucrative than ever. She quickly updated her Upwork account and dove right in.
“I was still following that group of online entrepreneurs, hoping I could gain some insight to propel myself forward. I started paying closer attention to the Freelance To Win emails and I ended up signing up for the Top 5 Upwork Hacks series. The hacks really helped me get things off the ground with writing jobs on Upwork. I followed the Crystal Ball Technique and got my first few ghostwriting gigs.”
She was surprised to learn this time around that, despite what she thought in college, she actually was cut out for this kind of work. And freelancing was already proving to give her the flexibility she had hoped for.
“I was still temping at the time, so I’d go to work at a bank and then come home and write. I started with small jobs that I was sure I could do, just to get the ball rolling. But the more I did it, the more I realized, like, ‘This is actually pretty fun. And I can definitely do this.’”
With growing optimism, Marley started thinking of ways to systemize her workflow to become more productive and profitable.
“I started getting more and more jobs, and my clients were loving my work. But I was ready to be done machine-gunning proposals and taking lower quality jobs. I realized that I had to figure out how to do this the right way. ”
Luckily, she already knew there was an option out there that would walk her through proven strategies for success on Upwork.
“The tips from Freelance To Win had helped me get to this point, so I started looking into Secrets Of A Six-Figure Upworker. I knew I was going to have to get serious if I was going to get away from temp jobs once and for all and make this my career. I considered the course an investment.”
Winning any job she wants (and never getting bored)
Marley came up with a foolproof plan to ensure her investment wouldn’t be a bust.
“I was a little bit scared but the refund policy made it a no-brainer to join. But I actually ended up earning back what I spent on the course (and then some) before the refund period even ended.”
She took her time digging through the course material and finding the lessons that she could use — and see results with — right away.
“The first lesson I used was how to customize my proposals. I was able to systemize it, and I’ve built up a huge file that I can pull from and customize for pretty much any job on Upwork. It cuts down the time I’m looking for jobs so I can actually spend my time making money.”
With a vault of over 50 winning proposals ready to go at her fingertips, she then shifted her focus to consider the kind of service she wanted to offer.
“I love that I can get back into SSFU anytime I want. For example, I’ve revamped and optimized my profile three different times using that particular lesson from the course, simply because I felt a little bored and wanted to change things up. And every time I’ve done it, I’ve continued getting jobs and private invites.”
Everything she had worked for was finally falling into place. And the best was yet to come…
Premium rates in less than a year
Long gone were the days of applying for mindless temp jobs. Instead, Marley built herself a career that allows her to use every bit of her degree and experience.
“The way I’ve set it up for myself, I can take writing jobs in pretty much any field or market that I want. I learned how to establish my authority as someone who knows about a lot of topics and their audiences. And that authority puts me far ahead of my competition.”
“Far ahead” of her competition is an understatement — she blows most of her colleagues right out of the water.
“Right after I finished the course, I went from $15/hour to $37/hour. Pretty quickly after that I was at $75/hour. And then I was just like, ‘You know what? I offer a premium service and now I’m going to charge for it.’ So I did. Now my schedule is fully booked at $137/hr, and my clients love my work.”
Freelancing gave Marley a new definition of “job-hopping.” Now, she has several high-paying gigs going at once — and that’s just the way she likes it.
“All I can say is, this works. I get private invites for work, and I can also seek out people that I really want to work with. I can’t believe that just a few months ago I was rejected from my ‘dream job.’ Honestly, I’m so glad. It gave me the push to create my very own dream career.”
Soul-sucking jobs are a thing of the past
The perks of freelancing begin with flexibility — and Marley takes full advantage of setting her own schedule.
“I’m a total night owl. My ideal sleeping schedule is about 3 a.m. to 10 a.m. That doesn’t really jive too well with most of the working world. So being a freelancer has been huge for me because I have the freedom to structure my days the way I want to.”
Her new career has allowed her to rediscover long-lost hobbies that she always had to push to the back-burner when she worked in retail.
“I used to be a runner, and I’m getting back into that now. It’s awesome because I can go for a run whenever I’m ready. Or I can catch a fitness class mid-day and get personalized attention because the class is so small. And then I come back and I’m energized to do more work.”
Best of all, Marley will never be tied-down to a dead-end job ever again, which means she can live her life to the fullest.
“Now that I’m freelancing, I can go back to my home state to visit my friends and family for, like, a week at a time and I can just work while I travel. I don’t have to lose out on pay or take vacation time or anything. I make money while I’m on vacation. I feel super lucky.”