How Freelance Training and Real-Life Skills Helped Janice Succeed

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Successful freelancers have a wealth of diverse business knowledge, ingenuity, and experience that they bring to the table for their clients, and Janice Hurlburt is no exception. Janice is the owner of Janice Hurlburt Online Marketing and the founder of the Confident Marketing Every Day newsletter, and we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to chat with her about freelance training and what it takes to succeed as a freelancer!  

After a varied 20+ year career, Janice retrained in marketing and began her own work-from-home business in 2012. She completed many of the courses offered by Freelance University as part of her freelance training and continues to attend their online classes to this day. Janice now runs a successful digital marketing agency and is a mentor at Freelance University. 

Freelance University offers a huge variety of courses in all the top skills essential for running a successful freelance business. Their unique mentorship program connects students with experienced freelancers for coaching and support – using a vibrant Facebook community group, and offering additional one-on-one sessions, making it an amazing resource for freelance training. In our interview, Janice shares more about the Freelance University mentorship experience and its value for Freelance University students.

It can be hard to summarize a diverse career into a few short lines – what’s your elevator pitch? 

My name is Janice, owner of Janice Hurlburt Online Management. I'm an online visibility and business strategist. I help coaches, consultants, and entrepreneurs manage their online presence, website design, and technology implementation.

I’m also the founder of Confident Marketing Every Day – a subscription newsletter and membership platform to keep you focused on the strategies and actions for finding more clients, working more efficiently, and enjoying the freedom of being an online entrepreneur.

You weren’t always a freelancer – can you tell us about your career prior to starting your own freelance business?

Prior to starting my own business, I had several different jobs. In my 20’s I was a Respiratory Therapist for seven years, but I became burned out and changed careers. I decided to go into Architectural Drafting. 

Before I finished drafting school, I went to the busiest architect in our town and asked if he would hire me when I graduated. I got the job! The architect discovered that my husband was a surveyor, so he joined the team too and started doing many surveys and grading plans for single-family custom homes in our town where there was tons of new construction. Together we started a second business, a land surveying & engineering firm.

After nine years, we sold our survey business, bought a sailboat, and sailed the world for a few years. We ended up living in Costa Rica for three years and set up a sailing charter business.

We returned home to the United States after seven years of living abroad full time. I went back into construction, working for a major home builder. I always wanted to go back to being a business owner, but I didn’t know what it would be.

When the construction industry was affected by the recession in 2008, I was a project coordinator, bouncing from job to job in construction. That’s when I knew I needed to figure out how to make a living online, work from home, be my own boss, and have more freedom.

What is your online business? 

I am an online visibility strategist. My digital agency helps coaches, consultants and entrepreneurs attract the right clients, grow online, and make more money. I recently launched a subscription-based membership called “Confident Marketing Every Day”.

How did you get started as a freelancer?

I spent over six months learning everything I could about building WordPress websites, marketing funnels, and digital marketing before opening my doors in January of 2012. In my first year, I earned $13k, and it doubled the following year  – and just grew from there.

What was the first freelance training you took to build your skills?

During my first year in business, I stopped by a local SCORE office and signed up for a WordPress course held twice a week for four months. It was a slower process than learning online.

When did you become a Freelance University student?

I joined VA Classroom in 2012 (Kelly and Craig owned VA Classroom, rebranded to Freelance University a few years ago). This was huge – I was able to speed up my learning by taking courses online from the comfort of my own home. I signed up as a student and took just about all their courses, which at the time were not bundled together conveniently like they are in Freelance University today.

For me, the most valuable courses were Internet Marketing Certification and Social Media Certification. Those Freelance University courses led me to a pivotal point in my business. That’s when I realized I really could create a business for myself, and I became supercharged about making that dream come true! 

Freelance training through Freelance University can help you learn social media marketing skills to level up your business.

There’s a definite shift when you go from working as an employee to being a self-employed freelancer, and each year you’ll learn something new. It wasn’t until my second year in business that I was mentored on the importance of discovering your why, what, who and how. The following year, it was about creating programs and the importance of finding a niche in the evolving digital world.

You are a mentor at Freelance University, specializing in Digital Marketing and Online Visibility. How do your past work/life experiences help you to guide students through these challenging topics?

I remember thinking that I couldn’t be the only one to wonder how to transfer my work and life experiences into a business. I knew I could make a difference for online consultants with my executive-level administrative ability and project management skills, but how? And my experiences living abroad, and meeting people in all sorts of industries, had to count, too, right? 

It’s always been easy for me to strike up a conversation with a heart surgeon or the guy who wrote the theme song to the movie Titanic. Living on a sailboat strengthened my self-reliance and my intuitive ability to think three steps ahead.

I’ve also been in the shoes of a student. I know what it’s like to be in an unfamiliar environment, on your own, with no one around to ask for instructions. It’s easy to question yourself and wonder if what you’re doing is right. 

You ARE doing it right. Imperfect action is better than no action. It’ll get easier the more you put yourself out there to learn. Most importantly, ask questions in the Freelance University Facebook Group. The mentors are there to save you time.  

Remember this: It doesn’t matter how many people are doing the same thing. What matters is that people resonate with you—that they like you and want you! 

In what ways do you think students can benefit from Freelance University’s unique mentorship program?

The most important thing students can do is to “Ask Questions.” Everyone has questions, right? Don’t be shy. No question is off the chart or stupid. Even in an online community forum, when you ask questions, share what you’re working on, and celebrate your wins, it builds your confidence. 

I honestly was not comfortable posting questions, but that’s exactly how I grew confident in building relationships virtually, attracting clients in other social media communities, going to significant networking events, and staying in touch with my connections in groups.  

When students sign up with Freelance University, they are READY to take their business to the next level. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or have been in business for ten years.

I like to think of the Freelance University Facebook group as a safety zone, where you can learn, ask questions, and respond to others who are asking for feedback. Be yourself. 

In your opinion, what traits or skills are most important for becoming a successful freelancer?

A successful freelancer has perseverance, motivation, and intuition.  

As a business owner, you always hear about needing to be a risk-taker. Be decisive. Be creative. Don’t be afraid to fail. Perseverance isn’t talked about as much, but you need it so that obstacles don’t take you off course from the pursuit of your goals. When something goes wrong, you just can’t give up and throw in the towel. Instead, persevere. Correct what you can and work past what you can’t.

What you're most passionate about will motivate you. Motivation, I think, is the SUPER-plus trait. Being motivated to make a difference in other people's lives leads you to want to get started every morning with a sense of renewed energy. You could also be motivated by money or a freedom lifestyle so you can work from anywhere in the world. The key is to answer this question—what is YOUR motivation?  

“Listen to your gut” or “listen to your inner voice.” I’m sure you’ve heard this expression. Intuition means an immediate understanding or knowing something without reasoning. I tend to overanalyze, ask multiple questions, and spend too much time researching. But when I listen to my inner voice or intuition, I get things done quicker, and I’m often happier with the results. I recently started following Mel Robbins’ 5-second rule. The 5-second rule is to trust your instinct to act on a goal in 5 seconds, or else your brain will kill it.

Infographic: Janice's top 3 traits of successful freelancers

With a growing number of parents working from home – especially over this past year – how important is it to market yourself and/or your business in the digital world?

On a scale of 1 to 10, marketing yourself is a 10! Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are exploring ways to create a business online. You’ll want to have a marketing plan in place, as well as your personal branding, an understanding of your why, and your motivations. You want to be ready to trust your gut. 

Last year my business got kicked into overdrive as more and more people moved online due to COVID-19. Suddenly, my inbox was flooded with people searching for sound, simple, ongoing guidance to attract and sell to more clients, grow their businesses online, and become successful freelancers.

With the right freelance training, you can build a strong social media marketing audience.

Back in 2013, I shared a prediction from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They estimated that 40% of the workforce would be a conglomerate of freelancers, temps, independent contractors, and other “solopreneurs” by 2020, adding up to more than 65 million workers.

Now, look at the graph below. The statistic of 65 million freelancers was pretty darn close! In 2020, there were 64.8 million freelancers. And in 2028, it is predicted to be 90.1 million freelancers.

The freelance workforce is growing every year, making it essential to have a strong marketing plan in place to help you attract the new clients that your business will be able to serve.

If you could give new online freelancers/business owners just one tip as they start out, what would it be?

Believe in yourself, your passion, and your motivation—and you will succeed. When you hit a bump, because you will, stay true. Stay on course. Tomorrow will be a better day.

You can do it; you need to believe in your dream and yourself, the right mindset, perseverance. I never thought I couldn’t do it or had the thought of quitting.

Thank you, Janice!


Freelance University offers top-quality freelance training for a wide variety of work-from-home jobs, including the ones on our list below. Want to take a peek inside Freelance University? Check out our review here.

This interview has undoubtedly given you plenty of food for thought. Read on to find out how Freelance University can help you grow, whatever your current business situation…

Ready to jump in but wondering which freelance jobs are in demand, or which freelance training is right for you? 

Freelance University is a great place to explore top freelance skills and find freelance job ideas. There are so many course options – and you can jump into your freelance training right away! Courses are arranged in “tracks” for easy navigation and can be completed in any order. The Freelance Foundations series is a great place to start, and when you’re ready to start working with clients, the rockstar Networking and Referral Marketing classes are a must! The skills you’ll be taught in the Online Business Management courses will help you – and your clients – no matter which direction you choose to take your new business. 

Are you a new freelancer looking to grow your own social media presence – and offer similar services for your clients? 

Freelance University offers top-notch courses in

  • Social Media Management – including Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram
  • Digital Marketing – from building email lists to marketing funnels and product launches

Your business is booming, but you really need to increase efficiency and don’t know where to start?

Putting reliable, effective processes in place will be much easier after working through Freelance University’s classes including

  • Client Management series – from where to find freelance clients and rockstar networking to building outstanding proposals and smooth client onboarding
  • Creating effective systems – tools and processes to streamline your business
  • Project Management  – building efficiency into every new project

You’re looking to add more skills to your current client offerings – which creative options would be a good fit for you?

Exploring new skill sets is easy with the large array of freelance training options offered by Freelance University’s unlimited subscription! You’ll bring in more business for yourself – and for your clients! Which of these might be a good fit for you?

  • Content Creator – Web and blog writing, creating great headlines and course content, designing effective SEO, or crafting copy and emails that convert.
  • Graphic Design – Use Photoshop, Canva, Illustrator, and In Design to create graphics, logos, pins, and more – you’ll be ready to start freelancing graphic design.
  • Website design and Management – Become a WordPress pro, Squarespace whiz, and E-commerce expert!

Are you ready to test the freelance training waters… or to dive right in?

Are you ready to jump into learning with Freelance University? Join here to get started! Freelance University offers both monthly and annual tuition options to fit your budget, as well as a 15-day money-back guarantee.

Ready to start your own business as you learn? 

If you’re ready to go all-in, Freelance University has a 15-day money-back guarantee; you’ll find the details here.

Want to try FreelanceU without any long-term commitment? 

Sign up to join the waitlist for Freelance University's budget-friendly freelance training class, “60 Day FreeU Fast Track Program,” opening in October 2021. It's a great way to get a sneak peek at all the fabulous resources that Kelly & Craig share with the FreeU community. You'll also end the program with the right mindset, branding, systems, and everything else you need to get your business off on the right foot.

Feel like you need more information about Freelance University before making a decision? 
Then check out our Freelance University review here.

Let’s hear from you!

Have you completed Freelance University courses or participated in their mentorship program? 

We’d love to hear about it! Share your biggest takeaway or “a-ha” moment in the comments. Or if you have any questions, fire away!

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