Being a fresher, I never knew when I will get that first freelancing project; the milestone that keeps many waiting for long. I wasn’t aware of freelancing jobs until 2012 (have a good laugh, if you want), but that’s true. I joined a company of one of my school mate and was given the duties of Chief Administrator. I was managing responsibilities of running office smoothly, with only 4-5 employees; all of them know their duties. I used to have a lot of free time and internet, and a scope to learn new things.
I developed the habit of browsing the net for no reason and keep reading what I get. It is then I discovered that content writing can be a career. I had registered an account on oDesk (now UpWork) really long back, so have forgotten the password. Though resetting password wasn’t a problem and I did it instantly. I started applying for content writing projects and with zero credibility and experience, rejection becomes common for me. Though, in the meantime, I kept learning about basics of pitching my services to clients.
During all this, some really funny things happened with me. People would offer data typing jobs, which basically were made to suck your blood out. Jobs like “capture one captcha and get .0001 cents per capture” were regular messages on UpWork initially. Such projects also come with a threshold withdrawal limit of $12-$15. So, basically, you are left with two options; either become a typing machine or lose all your tiny cents you have made.
Let’s get back to the point. During all these melodramas in my career, one night I came across a job description saying, “Indian Content Writers required for a US Based Company”, and I was like, Oh! that’s me. Sorry for being over excited, but that was exactly my reaction that night. Let’s now see how I grabbed this opportunity.
I had never thought that I will have to document all these facts and therefore haven’t noted down any important info at that time, hence I am recalling whatever I can and writing.
I read the entire job description posted by the hiring manager of the company and understood their requirements. They required a guy with minimum experience (I had none then) and low price, and I was a good match in that bracket. They asked me to write an assignment whitepaper, which I delivered in about 3 days.
Viola! I was selected and got my first contract worth $500/month.
That was a good beginning I believe. If nothing at all, it motivated me for rest of my career. I gained a lot of experience, working on a various type of writing assignments from white papers to web content, and business proposals to ad copies.
Why I got Selected?
I wasn’t selected because I was the best of the applicants for the job. But, knowingly or unknowingly, I did things which turned out to be helpful for my candidature in the end. I am listing few of those here:
Approach: I had a good read of their job description and wrote back my cover letter, exactly what the hiring manager wanted to read. It is, therefore, out of 50+ applicants I was among top three candidates who were screened by the hiring manager in the first stage. So, the 5-10 minutes I spent on reading the job description carefully helped me a big time.
Research: I remember hiring manager gave me few sample white papers, and a topic to write one on. Honestly, up to this point, I didn’t know anything about whitepapers. So, it made me do some research about it. Also, I carried out a research about the assigned topic to gain some relevant and latest ideas of the industry.
Communication: During the entire interview process, hiring manager and I had exchanged several messages on UpWork platform. As client was from the US, at times I get messages at about midnight and replied immediately. Sometimes due to lack of time, I would simply intimate in a return message that I will send a detailed reply in some time or tomorrow. So, communication from my end was very clear and prompt. And, I believe it sealed the deal for me. Replying promptly not only is an integral part of reporting, it helps you buy some time to wrap up the given task and handover for review.
Related read: Common Etiquette Tricks for Freelancers
These big three really help me bag my first freelancing project worth $500/month. After 3 months I got an increment of $100 and my total emolument then becomes $600/month. There are many guys who have succeeded with their unique practices. Please share your experience in the comments and inspire the community.