You want to build a successful career in freelancing but the fear that it’s “getting saturating” is stopping you. Is it?
Or maybe you are unsure “What skills you need?” “Whom to pitch?” “How to get paid well?”
If these are some of the questions that pop up in your mind frequently, you aren’t alone.
To help you get answers to such questions, I interviewed Komal Ahuja. a renowned freelance content writer for B2B SaaS brands in sales, marketing, and eCommerce for this article to share her freelancing secrets and tips for freelancers who want to stand out in the industry.
Interview with Komal Ahuja – A Freelance Content Writer
Komal, how did you get into freelancing?
I had no intention of getting into freelancing.
The lockdown was recently imposed, I was in my second year of college and didn’t know what to do, how to pass my time. So, I hopped on to LinkedIn to find a content writing internship. I had done a couple of them previously but I wanted another, that could offer me more in-depth and hands-on training and experience.
While I was looking for an internship, I started reading about LinkedIn optimization and how I can make my profile impressive to attract prospective employers. I started creating content, connecting with people, and engaging with brands I wanted to work with.
In the process, I got a DM from a previous internship employee who saw my LinkedIn profile and wanted to know if I could write for them on a freelance basis. I said yes to it, and the rest is history.
How do you manage to create content for social media platforms, onboard, and work with multiple clients at a time? Also, do you feel like you end up working more hours than a typical 9-5 person?
I do work more hours than a full-time employee for sure. Freelancing is not just about working for the client but has a lot of business-related and administrative work that needs to be done apart from managing finances, and marketing.
But, I don’t have a fixed number of hours I work every day. Every week on Sunday, I prepare my week’s to-do list by including the minutest of tasks like posting an Instagram story or replying to an email, or sending a follow-up.
Apart from this, I have my personal and team Trello board along with a Freelance Project Manager I use.
As for social media content creation, it’s a natural part of my day. I don’t plan for it but create content when I have a great idea and batch-create them during creativity surges.
On some days, I work 6 hours, others 12 hours while some others just 2 hours. Completely depends on what all needs to be done, what’s on priority, and what I need to take up vs what I can delegate.
Smart work > Hard work
What all skills do you believe freelancing requires, apart from the core skill?
Apart from the core skill for which you’re offering the service, like writing or graphic designing, you need to work on a number of complementary skills: communication, leadership, negotiation, marketing, sales, persuasion.
Your skill makes you good at your work but coupled with these complementary skills, you can be a successful freelancer and offer not just great work to your clients, but also a great working experience that makes them sign bigger and longer retainers.
Do you think freelancing has become saturated since lockdown? How do you think a person can stand out from other freelancers?
The number of freelancers has definitely gone up.
But it’s not at all saturated.
There are more businesses than ever needing freelance services, and they’re way more than the number of freelancers—globally.
To stand out, a personal brand can significantly help.
Do something different: start your own blog, build a solid presence on one or more social media platforms, start a podcast or a YT channel or start a community.
Standing out means doing something different, and that’s precisely what can get you more eyes, and business.
You talk a lot about cold-pitching as your preferred way of getting high-paying clients. Can you make it simpler for newbies to understand whom to pitch and how to pitch in a way that you get responses?
Cold pitching is when you pitch a business/individual you don’t know and who might need your services/who you can help in some way. This can be face-to-face by arranging a meeting, or through messages on social media or email.
Whom to pitch depends on who your target audience is. If you’re a content writer who wants to work with technology brands, you can pitch to editors, content managers, content marketing executives, and heads of strategy/growth/content.
A pro tip for a successful freelance pitch that can get you a response is to—personalize it. Research the brand/person you’re pitching to extensively and find their pain points/struggles where your services can help them.
How do you think a freelancer can truly achieve financial freedom?
By realizing freelancing is not location-specific, but global. Too many freelancers are restricted by a location-bound mindset which keeps them from exposure and more opportunities.
Further, by working on their skill, and being consistent with their approach while still maintaining the flexibility to experiment with their freelance approaches and “make it happen for themselves.”
Most freelance writers in India charge in paisas, how do you justify your charges to your clients? What makes your prospects become your clients, would you like to spill some secrets about positioning?
I follow value-based pricing.
Service-based pricing can never be one-size-fits-all. It’s supposed to be tailor-made for each client based on their goals, objectives, mode of working, level of involvement among other factors that define their scope of work, and your deliverables for the project.
What makes my prospects become clients?
Honestly, my work.
I close a LOT of my clients on email, and that’s solely because of the brand names under my belt, my published work, and the communication that hits the right chord. Strong personal brands further add to the equation and give an edge.
What is the go-to procedure you follow to qualify your clients and onboard them? Any tips on saving time with this?
Having an eligibility list helps.
Know what your prospects should have to be able to work with you.
For me, it’s a content strategist, a dedicated content marketing budget, a long-term content vision, and a content-driven mindset. All of this together helps me qualify prospects.
Also Read: 5 Simple Steps to Becoming a Successful Freelance Content Writer Without Any Experience
Where do you see yourself 5 yrs from now? And what are your goals for 2022?
Doing what I am doing!
Helping brands create groundbreaking content that’s a blessing for the search engine, and a boon for their audience. Additionally, educating the Indian freelance community and making them more self-sufficient and their businesses more profitable.
The mode and levels of achieving this will differ over the years but the vision remains the same since it takes time to truly create a difference.
What message or final words do you have for every freelancer who wants to become successful in the field?
Work on your skill; it’s highly underrated.
Truly work on improving your core skill, and building a very rock-solid portfolio. It’ll put you way above everyone else, majorly because your work will speak for itself.
So, this was it from Komal Ahuja. I hope you got to get some insights to help you take a step forward in freelancing. Make sure you follow her on Instagram and Twitter as she actively produces content to help freelancers grow their businesses.
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