Every freelance writer has a story to tell. I’ve read a lot of stories about how people ventured into freelance writing and they’re all unique.
There are those who started a career in freelance writing because they were trained as professional writers. Some other people started freelance writing as a side-job. And finally, a good number of people became freelance writers out of frustration.
I belong to the last category.
About four years ago, I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. After that, I got a job in a multinational telecom company in my country as Field Support Engineer and worked there for two years. But my experience in that job wasn’t so nice.
I found myself working round the clock, supporting about 45 base stations. The erratic power supply in my country, Nigeria, worsened the situation. It ensured that I worked every single second of the day due to the frequent outages that occurred.
As a result, my writing suffered and my blog died a natural death. I wasn’t enjoying my life at that moment and I really felt like quitting.
How I became a freelance writer
I often shared my frustrating moments at the multinational company with my good friend, Abdullahi Muhammed,. He encouraged me to consider freelance writing first as a side job and then go full time if it pays off. He even promised to outsource some of his writing assignments to me to ensure that I get started on the right footing.
True to his words, he immediately sent me a writing task the moment I agreed. He knew I could write - we were both members of the editorial board of a campus organization during our college days.
So, I started making a little money through freelance writing. The feeling was great. I got excited not only because I just earned my first side income, but also because I knew that if I resigned I could make a career out of freelance writing.
I was so grateful to my friend, but he told me that he was simply paying me back. You see, I played a part in his own journey to becoming a freelance writer. We help each other out. I guess this is what makes my story unique.
The quick lesson here is that ‘we rise by lifting others’- Robert Ingersoll.
Today, I do freelance writing full-time, and I also teach beginners how they too can become full time freelance writers. My monthly income has also doubled what I used to earn in my former job.
Quick lessons from my story
Develop yourself: whilst in college, I was actively involved in the activities of a students’ organization as the Editor In Chief. We published annual magazines, monthly newsletters, conducted interviews, and entered many essay contests. That was where my journey as a writer began. During my final year, I won a national essay contest worth $1000 and an international travel ticket. My poems also got published in an anthology.
Position yourself for opportunities: it’s often said that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. It was obvious I wouldn’t have landed my first freelance writing assignment if I couldn’t write. So, position yourself for opportunities, and hold your plate when it starts raining porridge.
Be an inspiration: I’m quite sure that if I didn’t help my friend back in those days, he’d still become a good writer. However, I’d certainly not have featured in his success story. Therefore, you should be an inspiration to the people around you by motivating them to become better. Let somebody look at you and say “because of you I didn’t give up.”
Learn from your present situation: although my last job was so frustrating that it almost divorced me from writing, I never relented. In fact, the job taught me how to handle the pressure of heavy workload. Today, I’m able to handle my freelance writing tasks efficiently, thanks to the spirit of alertness my last job had instilled in me.
I felt obliged to tell my story in order to encourage those that are currently considering freelance writing as a career. Believe me, there’s lots of goodness in living the freelance lifestyle. And I hope that my story has inspired someone today.