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.

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