- · Be my own boss
- · Utilize my professional experience and
- · Give me the flexibility of working from anywhere; remote areas of the country if need be.
My Journey from Banking to Freelance Writing and 5 Tips for Aspiring Freelance Writers
Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans
There are those who have always seen themselves as writers and then there are those like me for whom writing as a career was nowhere on the horizon. Yet, I have to admit the journey to becoming a freelance writer has been a natural progression.
When I was very young an acquaintance of my parents asked me, “Beta, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I promptly replied, “I want to be rich”.
I followed that ambition. A degree in Economics from one of the best colleges in the country followed by a diploma in business management gave me the launch pad I needed. For 14 years I worked with multi-national banks such as Standard Chartered and ABN AMRO as well as a large Indian Bank, IndusInd.
The money was good and the lifestyle was more than comfortable. But I realized that I was not enjoying my work and could not find adequate time with my family. There was a lingering feeling that I needed to make a ‘change’.
I wanted to find a field of work that would allow me to –
I always had a knack for business and technical writing. So I did some research and dallied with the idea of becoming a freelance business writer for more than a year. Letting go of the comfort of a monthly salary and moving into a relatively unknown field, which I knew to be highly competitive, was a scary prospect. After much deliberation I quit my job and decided to pursue freelance writing.
A freelance writer is like a CEO
Having been part of the corporate world, I can say with confidence that being a freelance writer is pretty much like being the CEO of a company. Here’s what a successful freelance writer does on an ongoing basis:
· Sales - Finding new clients and pitching the writing services
· Marketing – Building a professional brand identity for self
· Operations – Preparing the content
· Quality control – Ensuring that content is well researched, to the client’s expectations and plagiarism free
· Service – Constant client communication and checking on client satisfaction
A freelance writer dons multiple hats and has to master each aspect simply because the competition is so cut-throat. Every Indian freelance writer is competing with talent available both within the country and internationally. Being a freelance writer brings out the best in those who can take rejections in their stride and constantly focus on improving skills across multiple facets of their business.
5 Most Important Tips for Aspiring Freelance Writers
The business of freelance writing teaches you many valuable lessons. Here are my 5 most important tips for aspiring freelance writers, especially those who are writing for the internet –
1. Value your craft: Pricing your writing services can be confusing, especially when starting out. Bid reasonably in terms of cost, but don’t under-sell your services. Also, don’t agree to take on an assignment till the client has given you complete clarity on what is expected. You deserve to work with someone who has put adequate thought into what they want and will therefore not waste your time with excessive re-works at a later stage.
2. Buy The Yahoo! Style Guide: If you are going to be writing content for the internet this is the book to read. Several of the internet writing posts on my blog, are an offshoot of this book.
3. Build a recognizable brand ‘identity’: This means print your business cards and design a business logo that will appear on your written communications and invoices. Set up a professional blog/ website; describe your niche in terms of style or content. Have a professional sign-off on emails. You become the brand that is packaged and marketed.
4. Organize your time: Most freelance writers start-off working from home and that can make it difficult to manage time for assignments. Timelines are crucial in this business. Stick to a daily schedule. Dress for the part as well; sitting around in your pajamas is unlikely to do wonders for your writing.
5. Take care of your health: The health risks of writing for a living are akin to any sedentary lifestyle. Often we get lost in finishing a page or meeting a deadline that we may go hours on end without moving from the table. Keep fit by getting at least 40 minutes of sufficiently rigorous exercise four to five times a week. It’s a great stress buster for the mind as well.
Is freelance writing a more fun way of living – I can’t say for sure. Does it mean you can work lesser hours but still make good money - absolutely not.
Then why do it?
Here’s why - If you enjoy writing and are good at it; if you are looking for a work from home opportunity, if you want to own a business that is truly yours, if you love a challenge and want a sustainable stream of income that will take you well beyond the typical age of retirement.
If you are looking to get started as a freelance writer, check out my Freelance Learner’s Program, the only training program for Indian Freelance writers that teaches how to find freelance writing work on the internet. Learn how to successfully write articles for the internet, create an online contractor profile and bid for jobs with international and domestic clients. Visit my website LadyBirdink.net for more details.
About the author:
Rhea Gaur is a former banker turned freelance business writer. Her website LadyBirdInk.net is dedicated to helping other freelance writers find their path. Here you will find useful tips and advice for freelancing as a writer through the internet. She is also a regular contributor at Small Business Technology.
Author: Shuchi Singh Kalra