Mahima Jalan quote - started freelance writing suggests pricing strategy to newbies

Content with her achievements and grateful for her mistakes, Mahima is a social media marketer and a content writer, who started freelance writing during the lockdown after completing her masters in journalism and mass communication. For her, freelancing is about flexibility and being your boss, while she also acknowledges the uncertainty that comes along with it. 

Mahima gets her quality leads from networking through social media. As for newbies, she encourages them to develop effective communication skills and to always charge according to the value they are offering. She recommends advance payment and proper contract terms to save yourself from the frauds. 

Already fulfilling her aim of providing value through her knowledge and work, she is determined and a dedicated person. We wish her success for her vision of opening her own digital marketing & content writing company. 

Read her success story:

1. Introduce yourself to us? Where are you from? About your family, parents? How was your childhood?

Hey, I am Mahima Jalan, a freelance social media marketer and content writer. I was born and brought up in Gurgaon and currently, I am living in Noida for the last 15 years. At home, I have my mom, dad, and an elder sister who is currently working in E&Y and has pursued MBA from SRCC.

My childhood was a typical 90s kid childhood, where I grew up watching cartoons, played in parks, found pleasure in little things, and was far away from technology. So proud to be a 90s kid! 

2. Post studying Journalism, tell us about choosing the field of marketing and content writing? Speak to us about your passion for writing and the recognitions/awards that you have received. 

My course was basically “Masters in Journalism & Mass Communication”. Since forever, I loved expressing myself through writing, plus I always enjoyed social media and networking with people. This post-grad course gave me the right career direction that would fit perfectly for my interest and skills.

During that period, I used to discuss with my teachers and a lot of people on LinkedIn about possible career options suitable for me, and here I am today! I have been featured by a lot of websites and blogs for my work, but my biggest milestone was getting listed in “Top 100 Content Writers of India” in 2020 by Contracts & Freelance. That was a legit proud moment for my family and I! 

3. Why did you choose to freelance? When did you begin to freelance? Were you planning it, or how did it happen?

So freelance basically means being your own boss, and who doesn’t want that? I worked in a corporate firm for around 6 months as a resume writer which made me realize that I am not really comfortable working under someone. But till then I was not aware of the concept of freelancing.

In February 2019 I was looking for some internships abroad on LinkedIn, and then in March, the lockdown happened, which shattered all my plans! But one thing I was sure of was that I am not going to let anything hamper my time, effort, and ambition. So while everyone was trying dalgona coffee at home, I was doing internships and online courses. That’s when I came across freelance projects and since then, there’s no stopping.

I started with earning around Rs 5000 (and yes I never worked for free), and within a few months, I am proudly earning much much more than that. I also have a small team of writers who assist me in work as I love working with more and more clients and hate saying no to great projects. For all this I would like to give credit to Roota Mittal, my mentor, whose freelancing course helped me tremendously in getting high-ticket clients.  

4. How did you approach the first few clients? Give key suggestions to the new freelancers.

So let me share how I approached my clients initially. Every day I used to send connection requests with a personalized message to a lot of founders, CEOs, HRs, etc. on LinkedIn, had a conversation with them, and told them about my services/skills. I know it sounds tedious but works wonders! 

5. How do you deal with writer’s block? What are the steps that you take to overcome it?

I take a break whenever I go through writer’s block, and I think that’s the best way to overcome it. It is absolutely normal to have it so don’t stress when you feel short of ideas, happens with everyone!

6. How do you use social media to your strength to build an effective network and generate sales leads?

Social media is the place where I get my leads from! So I leave no stone unturned in putting the best content on my Instagram and LinkedIn. I share valuable insights, connect with people, engage with other accounts, and keep updating my profile from time to time. 

7. How to negotiate your deal with clients? What are the important points and techniques to keep in mind?

I don’t really negotiate the deal, the client does that haha! I only do that when I charge higher than what I ideally should, otherwise, I stick to my fee. 

8. What are your pricing strategies? Any essential points that a new freelancer should know of?

Charge what you deserve and never do anything for free! Yes, no matter how big the brand is or how madly you need exposure, don’t undervalue yourself by working for free/less price. With every client, I increase my fee, and no kidding, it has always worked for me! 

9. What according to you are the most essential skills that anyone interested in this area of work should develop? Mention, if any recommended tools or resources for new freelancers/content writers to use.

Excellent communication skill is the key!! If you communicate well with your prospect, you can land up to some really crazy deals, regardless you are a newbie. Talking about the tools, install the Grammarly tool on your laptop, it saves you from embarrassing grammatical errors. 

10. What is the one major pro and/or con of freelancing, according to you?

Pro: Flexibility to work from home, especially in corona time, plus liberty to choose your clients, work timings, and projects. 

Cons: You have to be out there always. Regardless you have an ample number of clients, you still have to network, communicate, and engage with people. Also, you don’t earn a fixed amount of money every month, so you have to plan your finances carefully. 

11. What is the one thing about clients that you dislike? What can they do to improve your work life?

They take freelancers for granted sometimes. Like in the case of content writing, at times clients ask for multiple revisions, rewrite content, etc. In the worst case, if they don’t like/pretend that they didn’t like your work, they don’t even pay you.

To save yourself from this, always always take at least 50% of the amount upfront and share a proper contract mentioning your terms and conditions

12. What’s your best piece of work to date? Why do you think that’s your favorite piece?

So I recently wrote a magazine for my client which I am really proud of. It’s my favorite project because I got some really amazing premium clients after it! 

13. What mission and vision do you have? How do you want history to look at you?

Haha such a heavy question! Well, my mission is to add as much value as possible to people through my work and knowledge. I love sharing insights about this industry on my social media as I have a very loyal community there.

Plus, I love mentoring students about the same. So this year I am looking forward to helping & mentoring as many students as I can. Also, my long-term vision to open my own digital marketing & content writing company someday. 

14. Do you feel content with yourself as you look back or do you think you have missed something?

I feel absolutely content and grateful for all the mistakes as well as achievements that I have made. I barely regret any decision, because I strongly believe everything happens for a reason.

Mahima can be reached out Refrens, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram

Want to hire a freelancer for your next project but are confused? Check out our article on “How to select an ideal freelancer” for a seamless process of hiring a perfect candidate.