I have turned one of my The Sims 3 game characters into a freelance writer and its start was more flourishing than mine did. It has sadly come to this: I am fleshing out one of my dream jobs through the means of a game character. A vicarious pastime that I am only recently both chuckling at and pouting over.
The road to starting freelance is not smooth. It was never smooth. I think most (if not all) freelancers would nod their heads and attest to that. But here’s something we could toast about: That not-so-easy start is exactly that: Happens only during the beginning. Sure, there will be rough spots along the way but it does get easier over time.
Do you remember those torturous moments of second-guessing yourself and letting self-doubt creep in? I know I do. DFrom the moment I had sent my application right up to the moment I sent my first batch of articles, my nerves were shot. I was imagining all sorts of scenarios, each and every one of them leading to the same ending: While they appreciate my enthusiasm and effort, I am just not what they’re looking for. Right after that, I would wallow in self-pity by watching “Supernatural” and consoling myself with chips and chocolates.
But that scenario never happened. In fact, my client was pretty happy and impressed. In turn, I was ecstatic and suddenly excited to write more. When I sent my second batch of articles, I was back to being worried and nervous. I bit my lip on the same place, so to quote John Mayer’s song “This Will All Make Perfect Sense Someday.” My fears and apprehension were soon dispelled when my client told me she was happy about my work. I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. Over the weekend, I did watch “Supernatural” and indulged myself with the aforementioned chips and chocolates, but it was a celebratory weekend hibernation.
That was about four years ago. A lot has happened since then but it is safe to say that I am no longer that same person who started out with so much hesitations and trepidation. Sure, the worry that your client may not be happy about your work is still there. But you know what changed? The way I perceive freelancing and how I approach each project. Four years is a long time but if I can go back to it, there are a few things I would have told myself. In retrospect, these tips are simple enough but I missed out on them because I was too busy worrying. I hope these would serve as gentle reminders to those who are just starting to freelance or thinking of joining the freelance world:
◈ Build your portfolio / samples of your work
Clients will always want to see samples of what you do. It’s their way of gauging you as their potential employee. Think of it as a meeting for a product launch. Only this time, the product is you and your tool of presentation (aside from your CV) is your portfolio. Display your best pieces, as this is the client’s basis of your skill and competency. You need to wow them and win them.
◈ Know your client
A little background research on who you’re applying for is a must. That way, you’d know what they are looking for. Are they traditional or more on the modern and hip side of creativity? Do they want lengthy articles or brief yet concise pieces? You would know which style and approach they prefer. Like someone once said, “Knowing what you’re up against is half the battle won.”
◈ You need to stop hesitating and start believing in yourself.
We can never stop worrying about the quality of our work but we can learn to control them. The trick is to be confident in what you do. If you know you are devoting some time and making the conscious effort to make each project something that shows quality and well, thought out pieces instead of hastily thrown together words, then you practically have little to fret about. So go out there, yell it out to the world that you are great with what you do and present your portfolio with confidence. We all know the difference it makes when your client sees that you are confident with your work.
These three things are for those who are just starting to dip their toes, albeit hesitantly, in the world of freelancing. It is true that the competition out there is a lot. But then so are the clients willing to hire us and pay us. Don’t let fear win you over. Give yourself the chance to at least try. And if rejected, whether for the first or fourth time? KEEP TRYING. Don’t get easily discouraged. The internet is a vast world and there will always be someone that would fit your style of writing and would only be happy enough to accept you.