As freelance writers, we are all running a business that seeks to lead us towards a better life on the back of words.
Officially, I work full-time in the Corporate Communications Department of a private company. However, due to delayed salary payments, I have started freelancing on the side.
On May 8, 2015, I did some Hindi-English translation work for an advertising agency as a freelancer that landed on the front page of the local edition of a national newspaper the next day. I was surprised, but I knew the credit went to persistence.
Since April 2015, I have been seriously marketing myself with my writing portfolio and a visiting card that I designed and ordered online. All these years, my published articles in newspapers and magazines as a result of my previous journalism stint, were all lying around forgotten on some rack or suitcase. I got them out, dusted them and inserted them into the plastic leaves of my portfolio.
Now they were all there in my hand along with my visiting cards in my shirt pocket. Filled with confidence, I started introducing myself to prospective clients.
Persistence opens doors
My strategy remains simple. Just go and meet new people — on a daily basis, if possible. So keeping this in mind, I have made a list of organisations in my Lucknow city who might be interested in hiring my services as a freelance writer, social media consultant and website manager.
It was on May 6, during one such visit to an advertising agency, that I met a person, who looked at my visiting card, my writing portfolio and asked me questions about my background. Feeling satisfied, he said he would contact me if he had some relevant work for me. The next evening, I got a call from this person asking if I could also do translations, namely Hindi-English. Since translations are time-consuming, I wasn’t pitching this service to prospective clients. But since, he asked me on call and I knew I could, so I agreed to do the urgent translation.
I reached the client’s office the next morning on May 8 and by 10.45 am I started the work. The translation was of a Uttar Pradesh government advertisement in Hindi that had already appeared in a Hindi newspaper. In two hours, I completed translating about 230 words of Hindi which was given to me. I also edited the full translated English text of the remaining portion of the two full-page advertisement.
Dawn of surprise
The next morning my father saw the newspaper and the advertisement on the front page. He called me and asked whether I had done anything in it, since I had told him the previous evening that I had done translation of a government advertisement. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw my work staring at me. Obviously, it lifted my morale, that within a month of freelancing, my work had been validated at the highest level.
Rejoice with invoice
I forgot to send invoice to the ad agency. On May 15, I was told by my ad agency contact to send invoice for work done. The next day, I mailed him my first professional invoice for my freelancing services, with due payment date being May 23.
Moral of the story
Meet new people regularly. Keep pitching them your services. You never know which related service you never even discussed would open new income doors for you.