Brenda's first year as a freelancer

Brenda Nguyen, a freelancer from Los Angeles, helps small businesses and entrepreneurs thrive in their creatives whether it’s making a simple thumbnail, creating a video, or strategizing their social media content. We asked Brenda about her first year as a freelancer, and this is what she had to share!

What do you do?

I am a creative strategist, which means that I help brands with social media management, and content creation for their creative strategy.

I work mostly with e-commerce brands, but also help other businesses with their ad creative strategy. So I look at their assets and then see what ad creatives they need to implement. I mostly focus on UGC ad creatives, and then that goes along with my content creation. I create UGC content for these brands. And then I’m also a social media manager.

How did you start your own company?

So back in 2017, I started drop shipping. I was in charge of running Facebook ads, learning about those, doing targeting, etc.

But that was kind of boring for me, I didn't really like it. Then I focused more on the creative side of  making these drop shipping ads. Now that drop shipping is kind of dead, I moved on to UGC and that's what I'm doing today.

And then for social media management, I managed a couple of brands’ social media and that's how it all started.

How do you find your clients?

I use platforms like freelancing females, I love creatives or clients find me through social media. I started to get a lot of referrals too and a lot of my clients also come through Twitter. Twitter has a really strong e-commerce community. So I would tweet about my work and then potential clients DM me. And then on Discord, there's like a deep e-commerce discord group too.

How do you start setting up a creative strategy?

I would look at all the ad creatives that brand has already done. And then I would also research the brand and then research their competitors. And then from there, we would make a creative strategy. What you need to implement, what's missing, what are your target markets and everything like that.

And then from there make additives. So mostly UGC style, like testimonials, TikTok style creatives. And then from there, we'll see if it works and then if it doesn't work, then we'll move on with a different concept.

I create them, implement them and I work with people that run them in a monitoring environment.

What tools do you use to create ads?

I usually use Adobe pro and have all Adobe products on my laptop. I also love using my iPad for edits, so I use video day and tools like capcut and Canva to make all the graphics and then put them together.

What are your plans for the future?

I would love to partner up with an ad media buyer to have a whole creative agency where I create the ads, and they do the media buying. That would be amazing.

How was your first year as a freelancer?

Honestly, it happened so fast, I did not anticipate how fast I would have to scale. I had such bad imposter syndrome, I doubted myself and didn’t feel ready. I really felt like nobody would hire me - which was the case. I lost all my self - confidence.

And then I was like, well, I'm just going to do it. And then I made my website and then I made work samples. And just like that, I started and landed my first client.

So what do you love most about being your own boss?

That I can work from anywhere. Some days I can work really hard, sprint through work and then some days I don't even have to work. Honestly I really love what I do. I feel like I've always been a creative kid and I wanted to become a pharmacist when I was younger, but I had a feeling like that's not for me.

I just drove into this creative direction and I just went with it. And doing that now, I really, really enjoy it.

How do you feel about being your own boss?

I definitely feel overwhelmed sometimes. Cause like, again, like doing this by myself for the first time, it was very overwhelming. It’s definitely hard to prioritize myself sometimes, because I work a lot of hours. I need to put my mental health first sometimes,

What was a highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?

A client hired me to make an ad creative for him. And then he told me that that specific creative, it was for his book, an ebook. And that book turned out to be the top three sellers on Amazon. I was like, wow.

What do you outsource to focus on growth?

For Black Friday, I was very overwhelmed with work. I decided to outsource to video editors to help me out. If you can find someone else to help you do it, then you should definitely do it. So then you can focus on other aspects of your business.

How did you feel about giving up control when hiring help?

I was honestly really, really nervous, because if they mess up and I have so many tasks to do, then I have to come in and add them back on my to-do list.

But I sent out sample works to see what they could do. And then I used the tool notion to break down the task to them. I was very specific on the edit briefs and what I needed. In the video, what needs to be cut, what texts need to be added, etc. So I really try to be very organized and very detailed for my video editors so they can because it's really hard to communicate online.

So I want to make sure, like they have everything and like everything is organized and detailed for them to execute it.

What advice would you give people that are even newer to this than you are?

I would tell her to be confident in herself. Don't have imposter syndrome and have a good network of people.

Read more about Brenda on her website.

Tune in here for the whole episode.

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