Puja is a full-time freelance content writer who followed her passion for writing to build a career. Freelancing since April 2020, she says the journey has made her realize her potential. The three best words to describe her are – Kind, Compassionate, & Strong.
As a freelancer, she lays importance on social media and inbound leads for growth and also highlights the need for personal branding. For her, being an introvert, she enjoys the freedom that freelancing offers and also acknowledges the uncertainty that comes along. She advises the new freelancers to know their worth and charge accordingly.
An honest person, she says that her biggest learning in life has been to understand her own value. Content with her journey so far, she now aims to be the best and get known for her skills. We wish her success in the future.
Read her inspiring journey:
1. Introduce yourself to us?
Hi, I am Puja, I am a Freelance Content and Copywriter. I am from Assam, and I am a postgraduate in English.
Apart from writing, I am a fashion enthusiast and love to dance. Actually, I love to sing as well.
2. Why did you choose the field of Writing? How did you get introduced to this field? What fascinates you the most about your career choice?
I am an introvert, and my diary is my best friend. My writing journey started with writing in my diaries. However, gradually I started to explore other forms of writing. I started to write poetry, short stories but I wasn’t really consistent with my writing. I would admit without any hesitation that I failed terribly at writing poetry. Later, I discovered my inclination towards writing stories.
However, I never really planned or thought that someday writing will become my profession. Life has its plans, you see!
I was preparing for bank exams before starting my career as a Freelance Content and Copywriter. I dedicated 3 precious years to it. However, I couldn’t make it. I was awaiting my results when the pandemic happened, and to be honest, I was somehow very sure that I would clear the exam this time.
I also prepared myself mentally in case I didn’t clear and if I didn’t clear this time then I would look for other options. The result was out, I didn’t clear. I was shattered, although I prepared myself, no matter how much you are prepared, it hurts to fail back to back for 3 years in a row. I used to spend all day and night lying on the bed, I have lost count of how many nights I have cried myself to sleep. But I gathered my scattered pieces together, and the rest is history!
When the pandemic happened, it seemed all doors were closed, but it wasn’t — doors to uncountable opportunities from the digital world were still open. I looked for opportunities available in the digital world, and it didn’t take much time to decide to go for Content writing as I have always been inclined towards writing.
The most fascinating thing about my career choice is that it has unlimited potential, unlimited!
3. Why did you choose to freelance? When did you begin to freelance? Were you planning it, or how did it happen?
When I started, I was still preparing for bank exams so I was looking for something that I could do as a side hustle. That’s how it all began, what I started as a side hustle is now I am pursuing freelancing full-time.
4. What are the most prominent marketing techniques you use to generate leads?
Honestly, before joining LinkedIn I had no idea of what personal branding is, how to market my services, basically, anything about marketing. I started to write on LinkedIn, and within 3 weeks of starting on LinkedIn, one of my posts went viral. Just that, soon after another post went viral. I started to get good responses and inquiries for my Content writing services. That’s how I started to learn about inbound clients, personal branding.
So, since then I have been totally focused on building my brand on LinkedIn. However, I have started to write on Medium too, and soon plan to have my website. I want to completely focus on increasing my online visibility and build credibility.
5. Talk about the importance of personal branding and having a niche as a freelancer? What are the advantages that come along with it?
At present, 100% of the Content writing projects I have, all of those are inbound, and that’s the power of personal branding. It is personal branding only that has helped me to stand out and grow in the freelancing field.
As far as having a niche is concerned, I am not niche-specific and it has worked well for me.
6. How do you price your services as a freelancer? Any essential points that a new freelancer should know of?
In the initial days, I used to be very confused with pricing. Although I was aware of the per-hour pricing method, per project pricing method, I completely went by the per word basis. Then slowly I started to understand better and started to charge per project basis too.
For a considerable period, I was charging per word and per-project basis, as per the requirements. However, recently I completely switched to charge on a per-project basis and there are a few parameters based on which I decide the pricing like how much time will the project require, what is the scope of work, what is the value that my work is going to provide, etc.
One thing that I would like to tell a new freelancer is that no matter how confusing it looks in the beginning, with experience you will develop a better understanding which will help you with pricing. You might get confused about whether you are charging too high or too low? So, do thorough research, and also reach out to people from your industry.
However, please know, in the end, it is you who has to decide the price, but you will get an idea when you will talk with people from the same industry.
7. How do you deal with Writer’s block?
Thankfully, I haven’t experienced writer’s block yet. Yet, sometimes when I feel I am not at my creative best, I just write. Even if the lines I am writing seem too basic, I continue to write. Then I take a little break, like go for a walk or drink a cup of tea. After a while, I sit to edit. It has always helped me.
8. What according to you are the most essential skills that anyone interested in this area of work should develop?
Communication, and negotiation. These two skills are very, very much important. I didn’t have to do anything for the former as my communication skill was already good, but I had to struggle big-time with the latter. It took so much time for me to develop my negotiation skill. I had lost so many projects because of my poor negotiation skills. Now, I am confident. Earlier I knew what value my work provides, but now the importance of conveying it and how to convey it effectively and close a deal.
Tools that I would like to recommend are:
- Editing tools — Grammarly and ProwritingAid.
- Trello to manage multiple projects simultaneously. But I am more of a copy and pen person, so I use my diary most of the time for it. However, I loved my experience with Trello too, and soon will start using it again.
- Canva to design posts for LinkedIn or Instagram. I use Canva to design my Instagram posts.
9. As a freelancer, what were the biggest obstacles you overcame? What were your worst mistakes?
I am an emotional person. It took me time to not get emotionally attached to a project. I learned the hard way that emotions and business should not be mixed. Also, I used to think for others more than I used to think for myself, literally! I used to help by going beyond my ways. However, when I used to see that my goodness wasn’t valued, it used to hurt me.
I am not saying everyone was the same and didn’t value it, some people valued it. However, it wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was mine. So, I just slowly made myself understand that no matter how I am as an individual, a few things shouldn’t be mixed when you are doing business. Nevertheless, of course, I would still help but at first, I will prioritize myself.
I made a lot of mistakes but the worst of all was not charging what I deserved, that too for a long period, so much so that there came a moment when I got frustrated and lost my motivation to work. In the beginning, I didn’t know a lot about charging. For example, now I charge differently for articles and website copy, but then I used to charge the same for everything.
Even after realizing that I wasn’t charging what I deserved, I still didn’t communicate with my client. My fear wasn’t losing the client, but I developed a good relationship with the client so I didn’t want to hamper that. I finally decided to communicate it and trust me, I never felt so much relieved.
10. What is the one major pro and/or con of freelancing, according to you?
Before answering it, let me share something my answer will then make more sense. I like to stay alone. I stay in my room so much so that my family at times ask me, “How do you do it?”. But they now understand that this is how I like to stay. I just go to the terrace for a walk or to do some skipping. That’s all. I do spend time with my family, but most of the time I am just with myself.
I have been like this forever. When I was in University, my new roommate couldn’t help but ask, “Di, is everything fine? Why don’t you go out or talk with anyone much? You always stay in your room either reading something or watching something.” I then told her that that is how I am. She knew that I had friends, but I still hardly used to go outside. With time she understood that I used to love staying just with myself. So, the major pro for me is that I can work from anywhere and that anywhere for me is my room, I get to stay with myself the most.
That one con would be that freelancing is unpredictable. Honestly, this used to scare me in the beginning but now it doesn’t. I have prepared my mindset for the worst like having 0 clients.
Yes, this used to really scare me but I have prepared my mindset that if someday I have 0 clients then what will I do? First of all, I told myself that even if someday I have 0 clients that would be momentary. And during that time I would focus on upskilling, spend more time on my dream projects, and so on. Basically, now I have so much belief in my skill that I really don’t get scared of the unpredictability.
11. What mission and vision do you have? How do you want history to look at you?
I aim at establishing myself as one of the best Freelance Content writers. I want to be known in the industry for my skills and my honesty.
This is how I want history to remember me — kind, compassionate and strong individual.
12. What would you do differently if you had to begin your career again? What would you focus on once you restart?
When I started I wasn’t active on LinkedIn, I didn’t know about writing on Medium. So, I would have started with writing on LinkedIn and Medium if I had to begin my career again.
If you are thinking of shifting to full-time freelancing after reading Puja’s story, read our blog on Financial management for Freelancers to ace your financial planning using effective techniques.