Remote Interviews with Thalassa van Beek

First and foremost, give me a brief background of yourself and one interesting fact.

I was born 30 years ago in The Hague, a mid-sized city in The Netherlands. I lived there until I was 18, after which I moved to Groningen (in the North) and Maastricht (in the South) for studies. I studied International Business with a major in marketing at Maastricht University with a major in marketing. As a teenager, I spent lots of time taking care of my horses, and from when I was 17, I became very passionate about motorsports. Throughout high school and university, I always worked very hard to pay for these relatively expenses hobbies. I worked as a hostess, catering events, at a motorcycle store and I modeled when I was 15 years old.

Near Bansko in Bulgaria
Near Bansko in Bulgaria

 

Obviously, motorsports and social media marketing are pretty different jobs, how/why did you make that move?

It wasn’t really that different. During university, I was modeling and via that, I made my way to the racetracks as a grid girl. Working with the same people every season, traveling across Europe, they got to know me and understood I was more than just a pretty face: I was actually passionate about the sport and was good at marketing. So when I got my degree and I felt I was getting too old for the grid girl job, I started with a simple communications job for one of the junior championships. Later on, I got a job at a communications agency who had one of the major motorcycle brands and the team as their client. Knowing the motorcycle industry and having a marketing degree made it easy for me to keep working in the sports.

Social media and writing, in general, were the things I liked most about my communications job, so once I started freelancing, I decided to focus on that.

Somewhere in Turkey
Somewhere in Turkey

 

You have a Freelance Kickstarter course to help those that want to start working remotely, what would you say is the most difficult part of getting started?

I think the most difficult thing is deciding to really do this, and then give it your all. I think once you do that and you’re absolutely dedicated to achieving your goal, it’s not that difficult anymore and you’ll see that it all works out, but beforehand, it can be so overwhelming. Am I experienced enough? Will I find clients? Won’t the competition be too stiff? What do I need to take care of and what am I not aware of yet?

With my freely accessible Freelance Kickstarter Facebook group, I try to address these issues and help, encourage and inspire aspiring freelancers. If I can give them just that little bit of confidence to take action, the group is a success. In addition, I indeed recently launched a course specifically about client acquisition for remote freelancers, because many people have the skills from their 9-5 jobs, but they have no idea how to actually find good freelance projects.

Rooftop of my favorite coworking space
The rooftop of my favorite coworking space

 

Describe your first job ever with your client.

My first freelance job was so fun! It was via Upwork  (a job board for remote freelance work) – and it was for a Hollywood stunt double! He had done a couple of pretty big movies and wanted to increase the reach of his fan pages on social media. I think I worked with him for about 3 months to grow his audience and I remember the pay was something like $150 per month or so. Below my normal rate, but I was just so excited to actually make money online, and very eager to get my first client testimonial.

Client meeting in Istanbul
Client meeting in Istanbul

 

From your experience, why do you think people are not landing their first client(s)? What are three things they can do to (besides taking your awesome course) to do so?

There are so many reasons, but many of them are very simple. I think for many people a big factor is fear or some other limiting beliefs. ‘There’s too much cheap competition.’  ‘I don’t have any reviews or testimonials yet.’ ‘I don’t have a portfolio yet.’ None of these are valid reasons not to take any action. My tips for these three are:

  1. Yes, there are people working for $3 per hour and no, you don’t have to compete with them. Serious companies with decent budgets rather pay higher rates for higher quality. By charging $3 per hour, you’re saying that your work isn’t worth more. By charging, for example, $20 per hour, you show that you believe you can give more value than the $3 competition. Think of it this way: if you buy a car that is a bit on the cheaper side, you believe you found a good deal. However, when you see a car that is unrealistic cheap, you’ll fear something is wrong with it. It’s the same in business.
  2. If you need reviews or testimonials to get started, offer to work for two weeks or a month at a discounted rate in return for a testimonial. Just make sure that you state very clearly what the price will be after that initial period. Or offer your services to a charity organization, local sports club or other institution that you’re happy to support.
  3. If you don’t have a portfolio yet, ‘fake’ one. If you’re a designer or a developer, that’s a bit easier: as said before, you can offer your services to a charity, you could enter design competitions (you’re creating new work to show and you may even make some money with it!) or you can create some free work just as an example.
  4. If you’re working in marketing or as a writer, I often advise starting a blog. It shows your expertise and writing style and quality, and if you’re looking for social media work, you can promote your own blog on the various networks, as well as experiment a bit with advertising. Those results you can then show to potential clients.

 

In Javea - Spain
In Javea – Spain

 

What is your favorite thing about remote work? What is your least favorite thing about remote work?

I started working remotely before I had ever heard the term ‘digital nomad‘. I was fed up with my work at the agency and wanted to move to Spain, but everyone kept telling me that I would never find a job there because the job market at the time was horrible and I didn’t speak any Spanish. I simply figured ‘If all my work is online, I can simply take my laptop with me to Spain and continue working from there.’ So that’s literally what I did. Once my work picked up, I realized ‘If I can bring my work to Spain, I can bring it anywhere!’ and that’s when I started to learn about the digital nomad scene. So my first year with remote work I traveled a lot, but my favorite thing about working remotely is that it made it possible to realize my dream: 2 months before I turned 30, I packed my bags and moved my home base to Barcelona.

My least favorite part… I guess there are two things. First of all, the fact that you really have to put yourself out there to make friendships; they don’t just randomly happen as they would when you have colleagues and the same neighbors for years. My way of dealing with this is joining coworking spaces, and when I travel I also stay at co-living places sometimes. In addition, I join meetup groups and I actually started my own Facebook group as well to meet new people.

The second thing is something I’m struggling with right now, that’s why it’s so on top of mind: I am SO dependent on technology… when everything runs smooth, you don’t really notice it, but when something goes wrong, you’re in trouble, and dealing with customer services and complaints on the other side of the world, or sometimes with language barriers, can be such a hassle. No technology = no work = no money. I try to do the best I can to avoid certain situations. I have everything on Google Drive, so if ever anything happens with my devices, I can open another one and keep working. In addition, I have an insurance for my laptop, so that if it gets stolen, I can buy a new one without any hesitation. These things help, but obviously, there’s a lot of situations you can’t really avoid and you’ll just have to deal with it in the best way possible if they happen.

Life in BCN 1
Life in BCN 1

 

I have to ask, what do you love so much about Barcelona? Please show us pictures!

It’s not just Barcelona, it’s many places throughout Spain. The weather, the food, the people… People just seem to be a lot happier here than in The Netherlands. People are celebrating life and having a good time. I truly think a lot has to do with beautiful weather. A bright blue sky is so much better for your mood than cloudy grey skies. And going for some drinks with friends isn’t something that is limited to Friday and Saturday evenings; long lunches, grabbing a drink after work… here, people do those things any day of the week.

What I specifically like about Barcelona in addition to the above, is that there is always something going on. No matter what you’re interested in cultural, sports, business events… There is never a reason to be bored. For me personally, I love that there’s a thriving startup scene full of young, ambitious entrepreneurs. It’s very inspiring to be surrounded by those people and it’s easy to find your tribe here.

 

Craziest experience as a digital nomad?

Waking up in the morning in Bulgaria, looking outside and seeing that it is raining, deciding I won’t have any of that, so getting into my rental car and driving until the sun shines. I found myself having delicious, super fresh grilled fish at a random Greek beach that afternoon.

To be honest, when being a digital nomad, that’s not super crazy. I’ve found myself in similar situations numerous times by now. However, I do realize every time that it is definitely something special and it’s in those moments that I’m so, so grateful for how life has turned out for me over the past two years.

 

Views over Barcelona from the back of a horse 1
Views over Barcelona from the back of a horse 1

 

Any final bits of advice for our audience wanting to work remotely or live the digital nomad lifestyle?

Have you ever heard someone say they regret taking the step to become a digital nomad? Even if they returned to normal life because they discovered it simply wasn’t for them, nobody seems to regret taking the step in the first place. That should take any doubts away!

Working with a random view in Greece
Working with a random view of Greece

 

Please share your bio, profile, social links, courses, etc.

After leaving a 9-5 job that wasn’t making her happy, Thalassa started working about two years ago as a freelance social media & content manager. After traveling and working remotely for some time, she recently made her 5-year long dream come true: officially moving to her beloved city, Barcelona, Spain. Now that she achieved her goal, she is passionate about helping other aspiring freelancers to achieve theirs. When she is not busy working on her clients’ or her own projects, she’s either enjoying everything the city has to offer or going out of town on trips. After all, wanderlust never fades.   

You can follow her on Facebook & Instagram

 

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1 Comment

  • sam saif 1 year ago

    Remote jobs are very useful for house wife’s as well as students. They give them opportunities to get paid when they are busy with some other works. They can do work according to their time flexibility. I love freelancing work, my 3 most platforms to get remote job are

    1) Upwork.com
    2) freelancer.com
    3) https://remote-work.work/

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