Category

Writing

Category

journalism

It’s been a roller-coaster year of sorts for me since graduation midway last year. Since then, I’ve undergone 4 (full-time) job changes within a window of 11 months. Yes, that averages to about a new job every 2.75 months – I am the very epitome of the millennial’s struggle to find purpose, passion, and autonomy in the economy today.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a slew of clients in my freelance writing career in the meantime that keep me afloat.

I have learnt a lot in these tumultuous months, though. I have seen the best and worst of people in the tech and marketing industries, but have emerged on the other side relatively unscathed, though perhaps with a stronger sense of skepticism. Still, there’s nothing like first-hand experience that will force you to grow up in a hurry – and that is exactly what I had to do, grow up.

Making the move into journalism with Tech in Asia will be a whole new challenge for me, and perhaps that’s exactly what I was looking for. I had previously dived head-first into the deep end of the marketing pool in 2013, specializing (maybe prematurely) in content marketing and subsequently taking up role after role, client after client. It’s been an eye-opener, and I certainly still strongly believe in the power of content marketing.

Writing for the news will be a whole new ballgame, I suspect, and  as of today I have already experienced a week of adjustment.

This is not to say that I will be offloading my current clients and assignments. Writing will always be my passion, and I will most definitely continue engaging in other forms of writing alongside news writing moving forward. And, after a process of elimination, I have successfully curated an amazing group of clients that I absolutely love to write for. It is safe to say that I will not be giving them up in the near future.

More importantly, for those who are desperately looking for the right job that they can call their own, don’t be afraid to jump in and test the waters. Sure, you might feel the water is too cold after a while, but don’t feel pressurized to hold out against your better judgment. Find warmer waters. Find purpose, passion, and autonomy wherever they may be – yes, they are out there somewhere.

As for me, I’m currently treading new waters. Let’s see where time and tide takes me to.

(Featured image credit: http://kevin.lexblog.com/)

Looking for the best content on Freelancing, Writing and Content Marketing? Let me save you the trouble. I will be curating the top posts on Freelancing, Writing and Content Marketing at the end of each week,  for your reading convenience. For more freelance resources, check out my Resources for Freelancers page.

 

Freelancing

The Path to Mastery on Medium

The case for having no goals in your life: Why it might lead to more success and happiness on Buffer

A Grad’s Guide to Freelancing on Business2Community

 

Writing

7 Invaluable Writing Tips from Stephen King on Policy Mic

 

Content Marketing

How to Build a Scorecard to Measure Content Marketing Effectiveness on Content Marketing Institute

Optimize Your Content Plan for Google’s In-depth Article Results on Content Marketing Institute

7 Ways Twitter Can Help Juice Your Content Creation on Hubspot

 

Freelancing might be on the rise among this generation. However, to many (especially in Asia), freelancing is either something that you do after you retire, or as a last resort when you are unable to secure a full-time job. Hardly would anyone aspire to become a full-time freelancer – not a chance!

Some state perceived instability as a reason not to freelance – CPF contributions, insurance, promotions, free coffee are seen as part of the stability that a full-time job offers. Others fear being looked down upon – being a freelancer seems to lack a certain prestige in our circles.

All these being said, the question remains: Why on earth would anyone (read: 7 million on Freelancer.com) still want to be a freelancer?! Adding to that point, why would anyone in his or her right mind even start a site like Freelancer.com that creates a marketplace for freelance jobs, knowing well that freelancing is a dead end?!

The short answer: Perhaps freelancing isn’t all cracked up as people make it out to be. 

After an interview with the International Director of Freelancer.com, Adam Byrnes, it occurred to me that the real picture of the freelancing world is far from what we perceive it to be. Here’s what you should know about freelancing before taking the plunge. (italics are mine)

 

adam byrnes freelancer.com 

1) How did Freelancer.com come about?

Actually, Freelancer.com was started by our CEO Matt Barrie, when he bought and rebranded the website getafreelancer.com in 2009. Matt had just left his previous startup, and was looking for The Next Big Thing. While attempting to get some basic tasks done online, he realised that one day, buying services on the internet would be just as big as buying goods on the internet – that is, he realised that very soon, there will be an Amazon or eBay of services – a multi-billion-dollar marketplace for jobs. Matt wanted to be the guy that built it.

 

2) What are the demographics of the current freelancing scene like?

Freelancer.com’s 7 million users come from a huge variety of places – we have users in 240 countries and regions, including the Antarctic and Vatican! Our most popular project types are website design and development, and graphic design, but we’ve seen projects in literally anything – from astrophysics to chinese rap songs.

Our typical employer comes from an economically stable country, and is an entrepreneur or SME looking for a cost-effective way to get their business off the ground. Our typical freelancer comes from a second or third-world country, and uses Freelancer to make a living. This is in no way exclusive though – we have numerous full-time freelancers in the US, and our second biggest source of employers is India!

 

3) Do you think that there is any stigma attached to the concept of freelancing today?

I don’t believe so, no. Entrepreneurship, freelancing and innovation go hand-in-hand, and are increasingly being celebrated around the world, from Silicon Valley to Dhaka. The startup movement is transcending borders and revolutionising the economies of many countries – people are getting out and creating wealth, rather than consuming it. Freelancing, and hiring freelancers, is the epitome of this global shift.

Also, as the world embraces globalisation, companies in the USA are becoming increasingly comfortable with hiring freelancers from abroad in countries they’ve never visited. A company owner in Australia can get their logo developed by a designer in Buenos Aires, their website from a developer in Islamabad, and their content from a copywriter in Prague – all in a safe and affordable manner.

 

4) In your opinion, what are the greatest/worst points for/against freelancing?

The best part of freelancing is the independence. You are no longer tied down in a restrictive and boring day job. You make your own destiny. You work wherever you like, whenever you like, on your terms. You sail your own ship. There’s endless possibilities for wealth and success in freelancing.

However, therein lies the issue. Freelancing is not always easy. It requires work – lots of it, and an ability to be self-motivated. Not everyone has these qualities, but for those who do, a revolutionary lifestyle awaits as a freelancer.

 

5) Give some advice to a freelancer who is just starting out on his career.

Reputation is king. It is the single most important quantity for any freelancer. Always go above and beyond for the customer – they will reward you by hiring you again or telling their friends about you.

Finally, stay motivated. Freelancing isn’t an easy ride – it requires hard work and lots of it – and there will almost certainly be setbacks. But, if you continue to go above and beyond the call of duty for your employers, the rewards will come.

 

6) Any predictions about the future for freelancers?

As of today, roughly 2.3 billion people have internet access around the world. That means there’s another 5 billion people who have never connected. Most of these people are located in emerging markets. When someone from these countries first connects to the internet, the first thing they do is look for an education. Today, they can find a quality education, online, for free. Coursera, Udacity, Khan Academy – its never been easier to learn a trade or skill.

The next thing they do is find a job. Many of these people are not lucky enough to live in a place where jobs are common, and those that do exist pay on average $1/day. So they do the only thing left to them – become a freelancer. At the same time, employers in first world countries are facing rising costs and barriers-to-entry to creating a business. They need a source of quality, cost-effective and flexible labor – and nobody suits this description better than a freelancer.

In 10 years time, my prediction is that hiring freelancers will be commonplace. If I have an idea tomorrow, and think I can make a business out of it, I know what I’ll be doing. The first thing I’ll need is a logo – and why pay thousands of dollars for a logo, when I can crowdsource 300 unique, quality designs using a Freelancer.com contest, for just a few hundred dollars? I’ll also need a website (after all, its 2013 – every business is a software business) – and rather than get into tens of thousands of dollars of debt getting a website built locally, I’ll jump online to Freelancer.com and post a project, and get it done for a tenth of the cost. Ditto copy, SEO, marketing, etc. Freelancer.com provides that essential edge for entrepreneurs who want to get their business started without millions of dollars of VC investment.

 

7) What are some resources you would highly recommend for new freelancers?

There’s a number of great freelancing blogs out there. Take a look at our guide for new freelancers on our website, and check out our blog too. Up-skill through free, online education. And above all else, use our platform to start your career. With over 4500 new projects posted every day, its easy to get started, and once you’ve built up your reputation, you’ll be well on your way to freelancing success.

 

Still think that freelancing is for the dogs? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Looking for the best content on Writing and Content Marketing? Let me save you the trouble. I will be curating the top posts on Writing and Content Marketing at the end of each week,  for your reading convenience. For more freelance resources, check out my Resources for Freelancers page.

 

Writing

The 7 Deadly Sins of Blogging on Smart Boy Designs

Joy Williams’s Daily Writing Routine on Brain Pickings

How to Use Evernote Correctly on Lifehacker (I included this because I think it is a fabulously handy tool for writers/bloggers/freelancers to organize all their stuff)

12 Tips on Writing Content for Your Blog on dukeo.com

Quote-worthy Quotes from Richard Branson about Blogging on Internet Dreams

 

Content Marketing

How Not to Freak Out about Content Marketing on Marketing Tech Blog

Three Content Marketing Tips from Linkedin on Econsultancy

21 Social Media and Content Marketing Tips Tailored for Small Businesses on Heidi Cohen

Winning Creative Content Marketing on Top Rank Online Marketing

5 Content Marketing Mistakes Even the Pros Make on Quick Sprout