Shivanie describes herself as a Multipotentialite, expressive, and ambitious person. She works as a Freelance Content Writer & Editor, and believes in making your passion your work. 
Interview Graphic – Shivanie Agarwal

A writer, editor, poet, singer, baker, and more – Shivanie describes herself as a Multipotentialite, expressive, and ambitious person. She started freelancing since the pandemic began and it has been an exciting roller-coaster ride ever since. She works as a Freelance Content Writer & Editor, and believes in making your passion your work. 

As a freelancer, she highly recommends personal branding and adding valuable content consistently on social media platforms to generate leads. Her advice to the new freelancers is to believe in yourself no matter what and to never undervalue yourself for a client. She says that for growth developing skills like adaptability, communication, negotiation, time management are essential.

When the tide is low, lie low, let it pass and then rise up again. 

– Anupam Kher

A confident and a determined person, she wants to be a people’s person. Working to be a better version of herself everyday, is also on her quest to help others establish themselves. Her learning in life is when you think you are getting comfortable where you are, is exactly when you need to get out of your comfort zone. We wish her success for the future. 

Read Shivanie’s exciting story here:

1. Introduce yourself to us?

I am a freelancer content writer and editor by profession, and a poet and a singer by passion. I have been trained in classical music for 14 years and music has been an integral element of my life since childhood. While writing was always a part of me, I never knew I would eventually take this up as a profession.

As an individual, I believe that though I have my professional responsibilities and boundaries, I am much more than that. I have diversified interests in multiple domains like baking, alternative healing studies, etc., and I prefer the term “Multipotentialite” to perfectly describe myself.

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?

Hailing from an ICSE background, it is the art of writing and expression that eventually gets engineered within your system. Literature was one of my favorite subjects, and each time I would get the opportunity to come across somebody with excellent pronunciation and writing skills, that would leave me in awe. 

As life doesn’t go according to our plans, after my 12th boards, I began preparing for Chartered Accountancy. I did appear for the intermediate level, but destiny had other beautiful things in store. Even after rigorous efforts and multiple attempts, I missed the passing percentage by 6-7 marks each time.

By then, I was looking for alternative career options, and then I decided to pursue my Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication. This decision was a turning point in my life. My family was super supportive of this switch and I wouldn’t be wrong to say that I could finally BREATHE!

Interestingly, during this period, I was interning with the most popular FM station in my state and this offline internship shaped my personality and gave me beautiful experiences to cherish. Writing radio scripts was another green signal that made me fall a little more in love with writing.

Simultaneously, I began interning with an online platform for content writing, and this was a stepping stone in manifold ways. The best aspect of my decision was that I experienced what “enjoying” the work means, and like they say, “If you work on your passion, you never really have to work a day in your life.” 

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

I chose freelancing because it allows you to be flexible with respect to your time and schedule. Instead of restricting oneself in terms of experiences, one is free to pick projects that really interest you. 

Another major brownie point for freelancing is that you get time for yourself and for other things that are really important to you, like upskilling yourself, taking care of your health, etc.

I chose to freelance when the pandemic began. I started reading about the freelancing domain and how one needs to go about it. This wasn’t a planned move, but I would say that I just went with the flow, and here I am.

4. Throw some light on the importance of choosing niches and working on personal branding for freelancers.

Niches are more like an individual’s preference or comfort space. We all have ours, so there isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. Yes, it is important as a freelancer to narrow down to one or two niches, and excel in that specific domain. However, at the same time, it is a good idea to be open to experiment in other niches.

It is not a compulsion, but this practice certainly generates avenues and projects your way.

However, if you haven’t been able to figure things out, invest yourself in different content categories. You will be able to pick the one/ones that is meant for you.

Coming to personal branding, it is the most essential project that a freelancer has to invest in. Irrespective of what your take is on the concept of personal branding initially, you have to do it. The idea is not merely to exist on social media platforms, but to bring something valuable to the table and leave a mark.

Surely, it is not a “one day” exercise. It takes time, consistency, and efforts. If you really wish to develop in this domain and excel as a freelancer, your personal branding game must be on point.

This will help you build as a freelancer, reach out to your audience, develop genuine connections, create multiple opportunities and propel you to keep evolving.

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

Personal branding is exactly what I swear by. I make sure that my digital presence speaks for me. I believe that though people look forward to getting their requirements met, they also look forward to engaging with a genuine person on the other side of the table.

Meeting deadlines is an amazing feeling, but dealing with people that you relate to, share a vision with, and ultimately have a hassle-free experience with is a blessing in disguise.

Hence, I make it a point to share my personal stories as well, so that it is an ice-breaker to build further connections and makes people relate to you in many ways.

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

Negotiating is one such thing that every freelancer needs to develop. When I usually get in touch with a prospective client, I get an idea about the scope of work, the expected time frame, retainership, and the time I would take to execute the same. This leads to me delivering the quotation to the client.

Incase, the client does not approve of the same, there are few things that I prefer:

  • Communicate why I am charging what I am charging.
  • If the budget and quotation do not meet, I structure my deliverables in a way that fits into their budget, without compromising on myself.
  • Refer it to someone else.

The sole idea behind is to make sure that you are being valued for what you bring to the table. Undervaluing oneself to bring in more clients will only leave you drained and exhausted. So, never underestimate yourself, but at the same time be grounded.

7. What according to you are the most essential skills that anyone interested in this area of work should develop?

When we talk about essential skills, here are a few of them:

  • Confidence
  • Communication skills
  • Command over the language.
  • Grammar and punctuation game should be on point.
  • Be a voracious reader.
  • Be open to learning
  • Time management
  • Adaptability
  • Social media

For tools:

  • Grammarly 
  • Google sheets for all the tracking stuff.

8. How do you ensure productivity? What are the critical points to keep in mind to ensure efficiency?

Keeping up with productivity is challenging. There are days when you feel you can conquer the world, and then there are times when it is difficult to get through the day itself. 

I prefer to chalk out a to-do list at night and the satisfaction of ticking things off is therapeutic. For me, the reward system hasn’t worked. But when I experience a terrible crash hour, I take the time to indulge in activities other than my work.

I listen to podcasts and engage myself in some motivational conversations. One thing that is a big no is self-depreciative talk. It does more harm than good.

However, if you have a lot on your plate that is enough to put you off-balance, you really don’t have much of a choice.

9. As a freelancer, what were the biggest obstacles you overcame? What were your worst mistakes?

Freelancers have their own share of obstacles. One of them was explaining to people that you are into freelancing and it is not as rosy as it seems. It has its set of challenges and is immensely dynamic in nature.

If I could talk about my worst mistakes, it would be not valuing myself initially for my abilities. I have been there, and I know I have come a long way. Another important one is seeking validation for what you do, from people who know little or nothing about freelancing.

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

I believe that pros and cons are all about perspectives. However, freelancing allows me to focus on things other than my work, like writing poetry, singing, taking care of my health, etc., and also that compels you to be a one-woman army for your professional requirements.

On the other side, I would say that being a one-woman company tends to get a bit exhausting. To top it all, you are on your own – your biggest critic and your biggest motivator.

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

To be honest, I am currently evolving myself on a daily basis. I aim to garner projects and provide more services. I look forward to getting in touch with people who want to get into this domain and help them establish themselves.

In the longer run, I wish to be remembered as someone who people could turn up to and approach for guidance/suggestions without hesitation. I just want to be remembered as a people’s person.

12. What would do you differently if you had to begin your career again? What would you focus on once you restart?

If I had to begin my career from scratch, I would believe in myself more than what I actually did. I would not underestimate my abilities and would value my time.

Shivanie can be reached out on Refrens, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram

Looking for 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.