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Freelancer Success Stories – Jaime Durheim

Jaime Durheim is a stay-at-home mom who turned her passion for the minimalist lifestyle into a small business. When she isn’t decluttering, she’s planning family adventures, hosting pizza nights with friends, and looking forward to moving into her dream tiny home with her family this Summer!

Name: Jaime Durheim

Location: Cottage Grove, Wisconsin

Website: www.jaimedeclutters.com

How long have you been doing freelance work?

1 – 2 years

Tell us about your freelance business, in 100 words or less.

I help people declutter their homes. When I meet with a client we talk about the stress that their stuff is causing, their goals, and the benefits they will experience from my help. I mold the experience for each client with questions, suggestions, decisions, and removing clutter. I work side by side with my client OR sort the clutter on my own, making final decisions together – saving my client time and stress.

What do you consider to be your specialty. How does it help you in your business?

I consider myself a decluttering specialist. My ideal target client is any adult with an abundance of stuff!

What made you become a freelancer?

I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but I also enjoy accomplishing something outside the home. Freelancing allows me to create a schedule that works for me and my family.

What do you love most about freelance work, and why?

I love the flexibility that freelancing offers.

What do you hate about it?

I hate the self promotion you need to do as a freelancer!

Tell us about your first paid job. How did you land your first client?

My first decluttering client emailed me a year after she attended a free presentation I gave at my husband’s previous workplace. She had recently retired, found my business card, and wanted help with paper clutter!

Do you think aspiring freelancers should take unpaid work to gain experience? Why or why not?

I think you need to be smart about what you take on. Ten years ago I tried to start my own in-home personal training business. In order to prove my skills and launch my program I took on three free clients. The time I invested didn’t translate into income. I won’t do that again. This time I am going to try offering a free decluttering seminar/class in order to market my business, hand out business cards, and offer a discount to attendees.

Do you feel you’re charging what you’re worth?

I have a hard time charging people. It makes me uncomfortable. But I have a friend that really values what I do and told me I wasn’t charging enough. She encouraged me to double my price.

Describe your process for finding new clients? Where do you look?

I’m really in the beginning stages of this!!! I’m not comfortable with self promotion, but I’m trying to be more confident when I’m chatting with someone. I just joined our town’s Chamber of Commerce to help network and promote my business. I’m also hoping to offer a one hour decluttering class once a quarter through our town’s recreation department.

Have you ever had to ‘fire’ a client? If so, why and how did you do it?

I haven’t.

Name 3 tools (apps, equipment) that you can’t live without. What makes them so great?

I like to keep things simple, so I don’t use much. I invoice my clients on a monthly basis via email. They can pay in cash at the next session, mail a check, or pay online via PayPal. I love giving an easy credit card payment option!

What is your #1 productivity hack?

My number one hack is knowing what I can do on my own and what I need my client present for. This increases my productivity and the value of my service.

Example: I helped a friend declutter her kitchen. While she was at work I emptied her cabinets and sorted items into a keep or get ride of pile. After two and a half hours she joined me, looked at the two piles, made a few changes, then went back to her work. This allowed us to declutter her kitchen in half the time.

Do you outsource tasks? Why or why not? If so, which ones?

I guess you could say I outsource my accounting to my husband. He has an LLC that we make the parent organization of our side hustles.

In your opinion, what is the most important skill required for freelance work, and why?

Confidence! When you believe in yourself and communicate your abilities well with others you are more likely to get clients.

Do you consider yourself a strong time manager? How do you stay organized?

No. I’m too impulsive and get distracted with whatever I get obsessed with at the time. I may spend a week reading an entire book series followed by a week I’m inspired to write multiple blog posts. As far as staying organized – the biggest thing for me is keeping things simple so there is less to keep organized!

Do you also work a 9-5? If so, how do you balance it with your freelance business?

No. I generally focus on my freelance work while my kids are in school. When school is out I fit in time when my husband is able to step in.

Where do you do most of your work?

I work from home and travel around the Madison, WI area to meet with clients.

Do you use a co-working space? Tell us a bit about it.

Nope.

Name an entrepreneur/freelancer/influencer who inspires you. What is it about their story/message that resonates?

My friend Mindi inspires me daily. She is a realtor, decorator, and home remodeling specialist. I see her passion, commitment to her clients, creative marketing strategies, and success. Her perseverance in growing her business has shown me how to be more outgoing and not give up.

Name 1 thing you would do differently, if you were starting over today?

I used to get nervous talking to people about what I do. I would end up rambling, sounding inconsistent, and leaving people unsure of the value I provide. If I could go back to those conversations I would talk with enthusiasm and portray more confidence.

What is your #1 tip for aspiring freelancers?

Allow yourself to be on a journey. You don’t need to have the perfect business model, website, or marketing strategy in order to start. Its OK to learn, evolve, experiment, and even take breaks!

MMMThank you Jaime, for sharing your experience as a freelancer! What stands out to me is how you’ve been able to create a side hustle that fits so closely to your lifestyle, and aligns with your values.

Be sure to check in next week, as we feature Clint Proctor. Clint is a freelance writer and founder of WalletWiseGuy.com, where he writes about how students and millennials can win with money.

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