Meet Andrew, a Cert 5 writer with a couple of self-published written pieces to be proud of and an obsessive attention to detail!
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
I had just left the pub trade and wanted to work on something totally different. Job searching was not bearing any fruit and I didn’t want to simply repeat earlier chapters of my life or stay in my comfort zone, so I took the plunge to look for meaningful work as a freelancer.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
I have done all sorts of jobs for my sins, an estimator for a shopfitting company in South Africa, a rifleman in the Second Battalion of The Parachute Regiment, I’ve started up and run my own e-commerce shop before finally doing a few years in the hospitality industry. I am now focussing on my freelancing, as well as my writing career. Freelancing allows me the freedom to do both, which I have never had before!
How did you come across PPH?
I had written for a few other sites in the past, so I knew what PPH was, I had just never tried out the company before. At the beginning of the year I simply had an epiphany about doing some internet research on PPH and then I tested the site out for a few months, to see if it was any good or not. It is proving to be a good decision!
What was your first job like on PPH?
It was to write a ‘Terms and Conditions’ page for a wedding and events website. I gave it my all and made sure the client was totally pleased with what I completed for her. The client gave me a customer contract to write a few days later and things just grew from there.
What is a typical day like for you?
Up stupidly early because I can’t sleep, then a bit of reflective time, possibly a bit of private writing of my own, and then a walk down to my local library to work on the day’s client tasks. I take a lunch break and wander around the town for a bit to stretch the legs and get a change of scenery, then I do some more work in one of my favourite coffee shops – I have a growing selection now! A few times a day I will look for new work on PPH, so that I don’t run out of work.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
It is a bit daunting at first to know that if you don’t go out and proactively find, secure and complete work then you will not have any money, and all those coffee shops will vanish, but it is a good jolt to the system to spur you on! Organisation of client information, tasks and payments soon become a priority when the work starts coming in. Self-discipline is crucial to stay on top of things and to push through with tasks when it is so easy to just take an unscheduled break or postpone doing a vital task.
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
Autonomy of your own business, self-respect and pride at creating and completing your own work projects, and challenging yourself with assignments that are out of your comfort zone. Genuine client satisfaction is extremely rewarding.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
I would like to develop my business on PPH as fully as possible. I love writing and am enjoying working with the great clients I am finding, as well as the varied projects I am taking on.
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
1. Perfect your profile and stick up at least a few portfolio items. You need to look the business before anyone will trust you.
2. Write out original and tailored proposals. This is a client’s first impression of you – so get it right!
3. Always look for new jobs and don’t be afraid to propose. It sounds obvious, but I have received a few jobs that I didn’t think I would get by at least putting in a good bid.
4. Communicate like a pro. One of my best clients gave me a chance because I spoke with enthusiasm and didn’t wait before replying to her questions. Be honest with your client about your abilities and deadlines or you will get burned sooner or later.
5. Go out of your way for every client. If you don’t like the look of a job then rather just leave it. But if you propose for a job then give it your best effort, speak to the client, impress them immensely with your work and you give yourself the best chance of receiving positive feedback and more work in the future.
What are your top 5 writing tips?
1. Make a note of specific issues that are raised by the client regarding tone, content, issues to avoid, intended audience etc. It is their article at the end of the day, not yours. You also don’t want to be doing rewrites, so get it right first time!
2. Budget some decent time to read and research your topic. Fully understand what you are about to write about. If in doubt, get it cleared up with the client, or in your own head as to the direction you are taking.
3. Don’t get hung up over how to start your post or article – just write the first thing that pops into your head. Don’t look for perfectly crafted prose at this stage. Just some bones with a bit of meat chucked on them. Rewriting, editing and proofing can come when you get into the flow and know what you are writing about.
4. Don’t undervalue yourself as a writer – you will only resent the job you are doing and thereby risk a negative feedback. It is okay to bid cheaply at first, but once you start getting business then be more realistic with your pricing. Think of the coffee!
5. Make absolutely certain that you have edited and proofed to the best of your ability or you will ruin your reputation before you even start. Then you will be broke.
What web browser do you use?
After a lifetime of using Internet Explorer, and then Mozilla Firefox I have now migrated to Google Chrome and Chromebooks. It suits my needs perfectly as I work in different locations and working this way makes my office mobile and keeps my data backed up constantly. What’s an Apple..?
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
A chameleon, as I feel the need to change and adapt every few years or so.
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