Featured Freelancer: Jane de Vos, Virtual Assistant

Our latest Featured Freelancer, Jane de Vos, started freelancing because she believed she wanted to work on her own. However, after freelancing for 4 years, her team has grown and she wants nothing more than to grow her business even more and continue working with the amazing team she’s brought together. Read all about Jane’s journey here… 

What is your name and what do you do?

Jane de Vos  – I am the owner of Latchgate, which provides certified Online Business Management (OBM) and Virtual Assistant (VA) Services.


How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer?

I have been freelancing nearly 4 years now and I always wanted to run my own company so after I had my children it was a great opportunity to make a fresh start awa from the corporate world.


What strategy do you find most effective for attracting new clients?

Personal referrals work best for me, I have a great network of colleagues that know me and how I work.


What app or social media platform could you not run your business without, and why?

I am a massive fan of ClickUp as my project management system and also, I have a new addiction for using FocusMate.


Do you research prospects before a call or meeting? If so, what information do you look for?

Yes, I always schedule in prep time and research the individual I will be talking to. I usually try to find their social media accounts and review what they have been commenting on and writing about.  The social media pages tend to be more up to date than company websites.


What do you do to help maintain positive mental wellbeing?

I use time blocking method in my diary, so I always build in a daily exercise or walk session. I tend to catch up on podcasts and audio books when I am walking the dog.


Is being a freelancer what you expected? Do you work more hours (or less) than what you had first anticipated? 

I work about the same as I did before, sometimes more – but the difference is that it is on MY business, so it makes a difference to me.


What are the most common objections you’ve had from potential clients? How did/do you overcome them?

Lately it has been about what is an OBM and then why does is it a different role to a VA. But honestly, there have not been many objections which is great.


Have you ever turned a prospect away? If so, why and how did you do it?

Only once and it was because they had the employee mentality. When you work with another freelancer/ contractor, yes they care about your business, but they are not in your business as an employee. So sometimes this is hard for business owners to grasp.


What do (would) you do when a client ghosts you?!

Luckily this has not happened and since my role is integral to the client operations it would be pretty shocking if they did.


Are your motivations now the same as they were when you started freelancing?

I want to continue to grow the business, I thought I would be happy as a freelancer on my own when I started but I have already built a fab team which I want to expand.


What is it about being a freelancer that you enjoy most?

I love being the boss and being able to make all the decisions, not having to jump through approval hoops and stick to my gut feeling which is pretty much spot on about things.


What do you enjoy the least about being a freelancer?

My role is all virtual, so I do miss some of the team office shenanigans, but I make up for it with having meetings in great coffee bars instead now.


What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?

The one thing I wish I had known was that you have to put the hours in no matter what – there is no magic wand approach and it does take time to get there, but once you are established it is fantastic!


What is your ONE top tip or piece of advice you would offer to other freelancers?

Be yourself and don’t copy others because you think they have a large following on social media etc. You never know what is going on for them behind the scenes.

You can find out more about Jane on her website, as well as join Jane on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Visit our other Featured Freelancers here and, if you’re a UK freelancer, join us in our Facebook group.