I started my freelancing career this January as part of a new year’s resolution; I’d always wanted to be a writer and I’ve always been good at it according to people who’ve read my work. But I’d never been able to turn that into a money maker and like many people who walk away from their dreams, I settled for ” a real job ” as the pressures of life built up.
With freelancing becoming more and more popular these days, I thought I’d try my hand at it part time and see how things would go. I won’t lie: it was an overwhelming and depressing experience at first. On freelancer.com alone a whopping 12 million jobs have been posted and thousands more show up every day. Getting a potential client’s attention among the masses was difficult. It took me two months to land my first gig and when it happened, it came in an unexpected manner. I had entered a contest ” to write a Wikipedia- style article about a fictional secret society that has existed throughout history”.
I’ ve always been a history buff, so I did my research and go to work, I poked loopholes in historical records, pored over pages and page of documents online, found gaps in major events that shaped the world and cleverly began inserting my secret order into our civilization.
Unfortunately, with my day job, I was unable to finish it in time. I submitted a partially – completed document to meet the contest deadline, apologizing for the unprofessional nature of an incomplete submission and mentioning that I would do that work at a steep discount (I had not yet secured a single review on my profile. so I was willing to work for it) if he wished me to complete the document. To be honest, I did not expect a reply.
But the contest Holder was impressed with the work. In fact, he was so impressed that even though he had chosen another submission as the winning entry. He asked if he could waive the discount and hire me on a separate project for the full amount to finish the document!
Of course, I said yes, I poured heart and soul into the work: I wrote eyewitness accounts, interrogation transcripts, and other prose narratives to add to the authenticity of the article. He loved it and gave me a five-star review. Moving forward from there, with a good feedback record on my profile, it was easier to get more jobs. I was also invited by the writer of succestory to publish my story on his platform.
I earned more than $ 1200 from freelancing.
I use freelancer.com and upwork.com as a freelancer platform.
The aforementioned first project was a 15,000-word document about the secret society ”Ashkhas Yodhhha,” formed during the reign of Emperor Ashoka the Great in India thousands of years ago and surviving to this day. It alone paid out $200. Soon after, I landed a long term job ghostwriting articles for a blog, so I had a steady stream of extra income; around $ 6 per articles and I did one or two almost daily. This allowed me to relax and only bid on the projects or enter the contests that I was passionate about.
I thought there would not be any more surprises as big as my first job offer, but I was wrong. There was another shock waiting: I had known that I could write well, but then I discovered, completely out of the blue, that I could also do with screenwriting. I had never written a script before, even though I have a diploma in video editing and I’ve done some work in that field. One day a project came along asking for script submissions and I thought: Hey, why not give it a try? I did and was surprised at how good the script turned out. Again, one successful job led to another, and now I’ve written and, sold several short film and video scripts.
One particularly memorable script was for an explainer video for a website; it was an animated short to be done in a comedy style and it was a contest. I only saw it with about two hours left to the deadline, but I had a stroke of inspiration and was able to make it quite humorous so I won the competition in a cinch, making $ 50 for a couple of hours of work.
It felt good to do something I’d always wanted to, and it feels even better to progressively make more money by getting better at it. I’ve already started planning to write full- time, and I intend to start submitting to publishing houses once again- something I stopped a long time ago after several rejections. I have multiple long- term projects in the meanwhile, and I still enter the odd contest when something interesting catches my eye.
Freelancing is just like every other career in one respect: it requires time, dedication and patience. As I mentioned before, this is not a get-rich- quick-scheme Yes, you can make serious income from it and yes, you can pursue it as a sole career. But it will require serious investment from you in terms of the about three things.
The most difficult part is going to be landing your first job. It took me two months to accomplish that. Some general thing to keep in mind are:
Have an online portfolio
Whether you do content writing, graphic design, programming, SEO, web design, whatever, potential clients will want to see what you’re capable of before giving you a project. Remember, you are a stranger to them, and your skills are what they are looking for, so showcase it.
Chances are good your client is on the other – side of the planet, and even if that’s not the case, you’ll likely never meet face – to -face so, ask question about what exactly is needed, make what suggestions you have, and figure out how it needs to be done as per the customer ‘ s requirement.
Do not miss deadlines
The worst thing you can do. Try to think about it from the other side: even if you do not charge a client, they have just suffered a serious loss in terms of time. Employers do not take this well.
Do not bid/quote on projects blindly
It may seem tempting to just storm out a whirlwind of bids in a mad game of something -need-to-stick- to-the- wall. but the best projects came to you when a client feels you’ve put some thought to the work ahead when applying for a job.
Do samples if required
If you feel you’re the right person for a particular project but are having trouble convincing the potential employer, offer to do a small portion of the work in advance as a sample so that they can evaluate this for themselves. This will help them ensure that you are a right fit for the project.
Do not be afraid to charge what you are worth
Because freelancing has its roots in outsourcing, a lot of clients expect dirt-cheap rates. Do not compromise your value; you will regret it, the work will suffer and you will hate yourself.