In the previous section, you've seen what I managed to do for a few years now. I now run a digital marketing agency and I work with freelancers all over the world to help deliver work.
We have no full-time employees. We barely have an office. I still work from wherever I want, and whenever I want (I do put in 12-14 hours a day, Monday to Monday -- but that's because I am a workaholic. You don't have to do that).
I made a lot of money for myself. I am debt-free and I do whatever I like. I thought I owe it to you so that you can do something too.
My story, however, was nowhere near what you saw.
I remember making money off "reading emails", "typing ads", and a host of other things which never paid me more than a whopping -- wait for it. No really, wait for it -- 3.5 USD for the entire time I did that. That's a whopping 6 months of reading crappy emails and typing worthless ads.
But that was MBA, and making money this way wasn't really the motive. It was just fun.
Soon after graduation in Engineering and an MBA from Ohio University, I joined a small advertising agency in Hyderabad, India. I've always wanted to be a copywriter but the agency never let me become one. Instead, I was an account executive (responsible for client management and liaison with the creative department).
3 months into the job, I quit.
I then happened to join HSBC Data Processing, and that was a pure BPO job which I didn't like either.
I then decided to start off on my own.
However, I had no capital and any money to start something big like a business. I also knew that "selling skills" were mandatory to make it big in any kind of business or self-employment.
Since I was an extremely proud person, I knew I needed the school of hard knocks that a sales job provides (not to mention the incredible personality skills, soft skills, persuasive skills, negotiation skills, and the "art-of-going-on-forward-no-matter-what-life-throws-at you-skill".
Plus, when you are in sales, you make it a habit to call up strangers. You develop empathy, learn the art of networking, and be able to hustle all the time. You improve your ability to listen, to speak, to respond, and to manage people the hard way.
I needed all that. So, I got myself a job at a general Insurance company. I don't have to tell you how that one year went by. Then, I jumped to Standard Chartered Bank as a business development manager, and that wasn't fun either.
I did learn what I needed to though.
So, while I had the job at the bank, I remember my mom telling me that I write really well. I wasn't so sure but I started looking for jobs online. I started with craigslist (which is still a good source to find freelancing jobs from, but you just have to be able to separate the crap from the gold) and then signed up with Elance (which is now Upwork).
I created my profile on Elance (now Upwork), and started bidding for jobs. I kept sending out proposals [(be sure to check out much more refined proposals in the last module) which were horrible.
Obviously, I had no portfolio, no previous record, no work history, and nothing that I show a prospective client.
Some days I send proposals. Some days I wouldn't, so maybe you can do it better and faster.
It took me 6 months of sending out about 5-10 proposals a day to find my first job online --to write a 300 page eBook on "Making Money Online". Who knew, right?
After that first job, I was on a roll. I got one job after another until there came a point when I was making more doing this than I was making at my full time sales job ($450 to be precise or 25,000 INR).
One day, I decided that I was getting too hard to do both. I knew I had to quit. I did. That was way back in 2009.
This is 2016, and I still do the same thing every single day. I have bad days and I have good days. I get good clients and I get bad clients. I make money sometimes and I lose money sometimes.
But I like that I have the freedom to do what I want: I can travel, fire clients at will, choose to show some attitude (if I want to), and I am not answerable to anyone.
Note: It's still hard to get clients, to manage clients, to deliver work, and to maintain this. But I love it. Whatever happens, don't let anyone tell you that freelancing is easy. However, it's not rocket science either.
I believe that if given a chance, and if you can make this happen, you have a chance to do work that you'll love doing and also have the freedom that you need (even if you never thought about it that way).
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