Content Creation, Content Writing, Freelancing

How Did I Get My First Big Freelance Project?

Once you can picture what exactly your dream job will look like (unless you already have one), you think “Phew! the hard part is over, now what remains is to CHASE that dream whole-heartedly and that’s it! The rest will follow.” Just to be clear, by ‘rest’, I meant money, name, fame and sorts :p Gosh! Can anyone be so far away from reality? Haha, if only I knew this back then!

Finding my calling

After I decided that content writing and digital marketing is the field that I want to build my career in, I started applying for freelance writing gigs on Upwork, Freelancer, etc. LinkedIn was the only other source that brought me a couple of inbound leads now and then. And when this is all you got, it’s fair enough to say that it’s neither sustainable nor enough to keep you going in your good and bad days. That is when my struggle began.

  • Had I found a work that I found incredibly fulfilling? Yes.
  • Had I started making money out of it? Yes.
  • Did it meet my financial goals? No (not by a long shot).

Realizing the financial gap and unfulfillment

After finding my passion i.e. writing (fortunately something that I could also pick up as a vocation) and doing so for quite some time, I realized that it wasn’t enough or perhaps, the way I was doing it wasn’t enough. I felt unfulfilled and felt I could do so much better than this. This is when I decided to consciously make a shift in working style and focus on getting retainers or rather than doing one-off projects like I had been doing until now.

Changing my work strategy

This difference between what I thought I deserved and what I was actually offered in terms of the project renumeration was huge. This meant, my strategy needed to change. Consequently, my prospecting had to be niche down to match my unique capabilities, and so did my proposals. I now decided to focus on offering my services in a bundled package rather than one-off deliverables and make it reach the individuals/ organizations that can benefit from it. A smooth win-win for both me and my clients!

Ready to crack my first juicy deal

Although, all of it might sound fancy, but reality perhaps was far, far away from imagination. It was a real struggle, still is, but getting your foot inside the door, in other words craking that first juicy deal, is the hardest.

A friend and a referral

Amidst all this, I received a message from one of my writer friends asking if I had an experience in content management roles? Fortunately, I did! So I said yes. Although, in the hearts of hearts I thought, it can be another of those dream bubble leads that will just burst-off before turning to reality. Like it had happened a 1000 times before but whatever, where else had I to go anyways? “Let me just give it a decent shot” I thought. Yep, that’s all I’d in mind. And with that, I just did some research about the prospect, had an initial brief about what they are looking, prepared a proposal based on their needs and sent to them with literally ZERO expectations. Wasn’t expecting much given the series of rejections/ recruiter’s bailing out experiences that I’d almost got habitual to.

The revert

Without much expectations, other than after showcasing all my capabilities, my portfolio that matched to their needs, my due share of follow-ups (almost on the verge felt am I forcing myself or what), it will all go down to dust. Fetch nothing. So when I received the email revert asking some more details on how things will work, I kept calm and answered, elaborating on all the queries like I always did for all the prospects.

Radio- silence

What did I expect? haha! As usual, they too went on radio silence after recieving the proposal. But because I was I, had to be persistent with at least a couple of follow-ups before dropping the lead. First followup, no reply. Second follow-up, this time along with my work portfolio and voila! Got a reply back saying that the founder is figuring out what all roles do they want me to take care of. Didn’t take it too seriously (for the same fear of being ghosted for the 1001th time and getting my heart broken). I simply reverted if I can give a demo or have a walk-through call to explain how do I plan to go about it and how can we make it work while working remotely.

The demo call

I received a revert on it, saying we CAN have a video call to discuss how it will work as I’d proposed in my mail. We had the call and the founder asked their genuine queries, some relevant questions, all of which I addressed patiently. By the end of the call, I’d got a green signal as they confirmed that they want to move ahead with this project with me on a four-month pilot as 120 days will be a good time to see if we’re a natural fit for each-other and based on which they will decide to continue further or not.

Needless to say, for someone looking for one ray of hope, this was total sunshine. Someone had finally shown some positive sentiment although I knew I couldn’t believe it 100% (based on my past expireinces) until I see the advance in my account.

Enabling social media/ admin account access for me

As I was going to be the blog writer and social media manager for the company, all the social media handles were enabled for me so that a smooth working system was established before I start the project. I too got engaged with the company staff in getting things in place and whereever I thought I could help, I did.

The D-day, cause I knew I was worth it!

And finally, the day came when the system was fairly in place, the agreements were signed and thereafter, I saw the first potent amount in my bank account via a freelance project. AH! finally!!! Had been waiting for this moment for so, so long. To get to do the work I love and get the worth I deserve. Get paid, and get paid well for what it’s worth because I knew I’m worth it. And that was it. That one incident brought the spring back in my walk, got the much-needed boost of confidence which for quite some time had only got jilted, bruised, and hurt.

What was my lucky charm?

This is the point when I wish I could just slyly say “…and there was no looking back” but I guess saying that won’t be true. I still have to hustle hard, very much. Although, what I CAN say is that now, I’m much more aware of atleast one proven way that has worked for me time and again in bringing some really good projects my way and i.e. via Referrals.

Even in this case, I believe what actually brought this opportunity my way and got me lucky was that friend, who on understanding that she won’t be able to take up the project, checked with me and sent it my way. To be honest, this hadn’t been the first time that I’d got a client through referral (thanks to my amazing community), but for the first time, I got a project in the capacity and the value I was targeting. And that’s what made this particular project extra special in more ways than one! 🙂

On a closing note

If you’re still reading, thank you so much for being with me so far. Truly. And if you’re someone who at this point finds himself or herself in the situation I was, I just want to say that I see you and I know that you’re worth it. Never let anyone’s inability to see your worth, make you feel otherwise. Just keep heart, rest if you must but do not quit my friend. Sending lots of love and light your way, take care and be safe.

Content Creation, Content Strategy, Content Writing

How To Find Your Voice Through Social Media?

First job and fiasco

In 2017, while I was still in my first corporate job, I’d increasingly started to find it deeply unfulfilling and unsatisfying. Yes, there are many pros to join an MNC in your first job, a major one being job security, and relatively less workload but it doesn’t come without a price. The established stature of the company also, on the other hand, can make you starve for one real meaningful role, especially in your starting years. To be honest, I’ve experienced days when my only work would be to get the documents signed by the leadership team and email them to the required person. Personally, the extent of feeling unseen, undervalued, and underutilized was so severe that it almost dragged me into depression.

Feeling lost with no voice

That job really made me question my self-worth. Often I would think that I’ve got so many good ideas on how can we do things differently, what more can we do in the team but all in vain. The dreams in the eyes of this fresh out of college MBA graduate had started to fade. It had started to become sickening sad for me as I’d started to lose my voice, or even worse, started to question if I had one in the first place or not. I knew something needed to change. 

LinkedIn came into my life

Around the same time, I came across LinkedIn which for me, as I earlier knew of it, was a job searching portal but was quick to realize that it had transformed into a micro-blogging site where people from different professions were sharing their work stories, projects, opinions, light-hearted posts on everyday work life, inspirational messages, basically everything work-related.

Spoke-up for the first time

After almost two years of strolling in the darkness and on the brink of breaking down, it seemed as if I’d found a window to channel MY thoughts out into the world. The writer within me thought that at last, I’ve got a platform, a place where I can share my professional or work-related thoughts and opinions and at least one person would pay attention. With that, I started my LinkedIn journey by writing short, from the heart meaningful posts on subjects, themes that I felt will resonate with my network that today, I proudly call my LinkedIn community. And I was right, for the first time in a long time, I felt heard and seen almost as if the veil over me was lifted.

My tribe helped me find my voice

That was the starting of building my LinkedIn community. Slowly with time, people started engaging with my posts and vice-versa. As I got further involved on the platform and engaged more meaningfully, not only did I started to use my voice through my posts but also started to regain the lost confidence of having a voice. My actions and the pleasant acknowledgment that I received from my community strengthened my faith in myself and my capabilities that I was indeed worth doing much more than getting the documents signed and teleporting them from one inbox to another. I realized with my consistent actions and the encouragement that I received from the community, that I too have got a voice and it matters.

Never looked back

The rest, as they say, is history. Since then a lot has changed. Today I’m 4 years, 2 jobs and 2 entrepreneurial stints older and God! What a h*ck-of-a-roller-coaster ride has it been, so many highs and lows but not a single moment of regret. And all this became possible just because an ambitious, unfulfilled soul deprived of a real chance to speak-up ultimately found a window to do that. It was this unquenched thirst for being heard that led me to this amazing platform to express myself. It was here that I found my community and It was here that I found my voice.

The journey continues

Learning the ropes from my journey, I now work as a content writer and digital marketer helping individuals and organizations find their brand’s unique voice, use it and be heard. So far we’ve helped +50 organizations in making their brand voice reach their target market and make a connection. Life seems to have come to a full-circle for me and I know that from here on, there’s no looking back.

Me at my work station

On an ending note

Enclosing, I would just like to say that I firmly believe that every individual or organization has got a story to share and that story needs to be heard. So no matter where you are in your journey, just keep the voice of your soul lit and keep putting your voice out there. For me, LinkedIn became the medium to do so, for you it could be any other platform that you find comfortable to get started with. As you will continue to do that, your vibe will start attracting your tribe. Eventually, that unique voice that may right now seem to be lost under the layers of time strained events, will start to emerge and just like me, you too will find your voice 🙂

Take care, be safe and keep finding your voice!