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I Found Freedom: Maria Aldrey

When you’re itchin’ to make the leap into full-time freelancing, there is nothing more inspiring than hearing stories of people that have done it themselves.

The ‘I Found Freedom’ Series is all about telling those stories.

Everyone prepares for the leap in different ways, but often we go through the same ups and downs to make it happen. Hopefully you’ll be as inspired by these stories as I have.

Here’s Maria Aldrey’s story:

I Found Freedom with Maria Aldrey

When did you make the leap exactly and how does it feel?

I made the leap in August 2014, I was working retail, the worst freaking place for the ultimate introvert. I was exhausted every day, physically and mentally, until something clicked inside of me. I always wanted to do freelancing, but I had this constant fear of not being good enough or that is just not going to work. But when I jumped out of the boat I finally felt that freedom everyone talks about, I had more time to re-energize and it wasn’t a constant struggle.

What kind of freelancing do you do?

I’m a Virtual Assistant, I pretty much help women who have their own hustle and need to have more time to work “on” their business and not “in” it. I help them with digital marketing and admin which are normally a pain to them.

How long have you been planning to make the leap?

I really don’t know how I didn’t make the leap sooner. It wasn’t something I planned, but it was just a wish. It didn’t take long to get over the fear

Did you choose a quit date and how did you choose it?

When I chose I wanted to quit I started looking for other opportunities out there, maybe another 9-5 office job, but then I found my first client, a photographer who needed help on her biz for social media and whatnot. Before we started working together my gut was telling me to quit so I did it, I gave my 2 weeks notice and BAM! I was unemployed.

In which ways did you plan/prepare for the transition?

I didn’t actually make any plans. The moment I saw the light at the end of the tunnel I made the decision to quit. I only made sure the district manager was there (actually 2 other girls quit after I did it).

Did you have a savings or buffer fund?

Luckily, my husband was still working so we only needed to cut a few expenses, this made the transition a lot easier.

What was the hardest part of making the leap?

The actual “quitting” without any valid reason. I didn’t have another secured job so I had to think very hard about what to say without damaging the relationship with the manager.

What’s the best part of finally freelancing full-time?

I get to have a 5-second commute.
I get to be here with my cat and cuddle with him whenever I want.
I get to listen to Lady Gaga if I want to.
I get to have 1-hour breaks if I want to.

What is your advice for others wanting to find freedom through freelancing?

You need to hustle, make connections, go out in real life and network. Do an AMAZING job and referrals will pour.

Focus on your skills, yes you have skills, freelancing is not all about graphic or web design.

Lastly, make sure you figure out what you system is for client intake, onboarding, finance, marketing, etc.

Maria AldreyMy name is Maria Aldrey and I’m a 20 something Virtual Assistant, originally from Venezuela where I studied a Bachelor in Advertising and PR and worked for a crazy creative Ad Agency as a Corporate Communicator. I had the opportunity to study Marketing Management in Vancouver, BC., where I currently reside and now I’m on a mission to help entrepreneurs and small business owners by creating a support system that alleviates them from all the overpowering tasks in their business.


Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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