I have already learnt a few things that one can expect to happen as you make a shaky start as a freelance writer!
Things didn’t actually go according to plan. I think that’s the number 1 lesson when wanting to start a freelance career. I was so sure that come 1st January 2013, I would start applying for freelance writing projects. Unfortunately, due a personal exigency, I had to delay the start.
Make a start even if its small: Even then I continued to struggle to find time to start my freelance work as some or the other problem would crop up which demanded my attention. So I thought what the heck, let me at least try to muster 2-4 hours a day, instead of waiting for a good time or date to start and it worked ! I actually managed to bag two good projects within the first week of bidding for projects on Elance.com. The first was a quiz writing project for an e- learning module designed for American Realtors and the second an article writing assignment on franchise software for retail and franchise outlets.
Have a strategy for bidding for projects: Firstly, rather than bidding for all writing projects I have decided to target projects which are informational in nature cause I have realized that is what I do well. Given my banking background I am more comfortable dealing with topics that are factual rather than emotive, like writing a business article instead of an article on finding emotional happiness. Also, I feel that there are fewer chances of going wrong when you are writing an informational piece than when you write on a topic that can be interpreted in a multitude of ways, after all at the end of the day, the client has to agree with what I have written. I do think its important to ‘remember’ your niche is and not get swept away by the urge to bid for everything you see when you start. Secondly, I am giving preference to bidding for projects that offer the prospect of repeat business, however this is not an exclusion criterion while bidding. Thirdly , with regard to pricing I am targeting projects that are relatively better paying and low volume rather than projects which are bulk writing jobs with low pay scales. Given my limited time, I know that I will just not be able to manage more than 1000 words a day to begin with. Overtime, I expect this individual daily output capacity to increase. In the long run I plan to hire people to help me take on more work.
Speed – breakers on the way! So I started off well, but have not been able to bag subsequent projects despite meticulous project bidding ( once you have developed a few bidding templates for yourself, be sure to have to tailor each bid and samples attached as per the job on offer). That’s the main thing of being a freelancer, you will have periods of great luck followed by periods of lull, a fact difficult to weather by most people like me who have previously held a steady job. That’s when you start hearing voices in your head – Did I make the right choice? Why isn’t anyone responding ? What am I doing wrong? Keeping faith in your abilities is half the battle won. Also keep reminding yourself of the benefits of freelancing and the your main motivation of doing so. I personally am definitely able to find much more quality time with my family and I am sure that these speed bumps on the way are just that, bumps and not insurmountable mountains!
Its easy to get hooked when you aren’t getting booked! I find myself incessantly checking my Elance account for new jobs and reverts if any on bids placed. Its akin to the addiction some people have to their Facebook accounts. I find it increasingly difficult to focus on anything for more than 15- 20 minutes, without checking for a message from a prospective client. I should instead be using the free time to doing a lot more reading, improving my vocabulary, updating my blog! Its easy to get fixated with your freelance job portal, you have to learn to draw the line and not get distracted, an art I am in the process of learning myself!
That’s all for now folks. Lots more to come as I continue forward.
As always, wish me luck !