Meet Kailyn; she has worked as a freelance article and blog post writer since July of 2009. She also enjoys dabbling in proofreading and editing.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
I started writing at the tender age of 8. Since then, I have received several writing awards, as well as placement on the Dean’s List on three separate occasions. I earned my B.S. in Computer Information Systems in 2005, and in 2010 I began a Master’s program in Liberal Arts with the intention of pursuing a writing career. I graduated in 2012 with a 4.0 average. My late aunt – a writer herself – had always been taken with my writing talent, and so, in 2009, she helped me join (the now defunct) Examiner.com as a Pop Culture Writer. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to pursue other avenues, which led me to Upwork.com (formerly oDesk.com). There, I have enjoyed an illustrious career as a freelance writer, blogger, proofreader, and editor. Last year, I received a lifetime certification in Social Media Marketing from Hootsuite, and this past August I completed a creative writing program through Coursera, wherein I obtained four lifetime certifications in the field of creative writing. I tirelessly work to nourish my talent, even if it’s just writing posts for my personal blogs in my downtime.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
Freelancing has always been a side job for me, though I would love to freelance full-time. In the meantime, I work as a legal assistant for a sole practitioner, with experience in litigation in the fields of civil, criminal, matrimonial, and family law.
How did you come across PPH?
I found PPH through Reddit, specifically the Personal Finance subreddit. A Redditor had asked for information insofar as legitimate opportunities for part-time work, and PPH came highly recommended.
What was your first job like on PPH?
I am still waiting for that first special client to give me the green light. I look forward to working with you!
What is a typical day like for you?
I spend a few minutes with my family in the morning before heading out to my full-time job. While there, I calendar appointments and court dates, assemble motions, and assist clients whenever possible. In my downtime, I work on my freelance projects. Upon coming home, I enjoy the evening with my family and nap with my son when he goes to bed. Upon waking, I continue working on my freelance projects until the wee hours of the morning. Then I go to bed, wake up, and do it all again.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
Freelancing is effective at boiling a job down to its essential elements: collaboration, quality, and hard work. I’d much rather have the freedom to work whenever and from wherever I want, knowing that a mutual understanding exists that the work will be done right, that it will be submitted on time, and that it will be of high quality. Freelancing is superior to a 9-to-5 because with freelancing, my clients don’t care whether I’m working from home or from the library, whether I’m wearing a suit or pyjamas. The only thing that matters to them is the quality of my output and that the work is submitted on time.
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
One of the most helpful elements of PPH is that you can request more information from a client publicly, right on the job post. Now, if other freelancers have the same question, that question will be answered collectively. I also love that you can request a deposit on flat-rate contracts. A deposit ensures that you’ll get at least a partial payment, which is better than no payment at all.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
As mentioned earlier, I would love to make freelancing a full-time gig. I sincerely enjoy making my clients’ websites and blogs shine by proofreading and editing them, or by supplying them with original content.
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
- At first, you may have to settle for a lower rate, even if you have established yourself elsewhere. It is more important at this stage that you grow your profile and show future clients what you’re made of, as opposed to looking for the goose that laid the golden egg.
- When you’re just starting out, choose more contracts that are onesie-twosie jobs, like writing an FAQ or About Us page, over long-term contracts. You will be better able to build up your profile with positive feedback by completing multiple projects – unless, of course, you’re lucky, and you find that elusive, perfect long-term contract right out of the gate.
- If you have questions, ask. It is better to ask for clarification than to attempt to do it yourself, get it wrong, and upset the client, especially if the client is on a deadline.
- If the client is not on a deadline, give him or her a time frame that is slightly longer than that which seems reasonable for you to do the job. For instance, if you think you can do the job in 24 hours, but the client is okay with it being done in 48, offer the 48. That way, if the job was easier than expected, you get it done early and have a happy client. If the job was harder than expected, then you gave yourself enough time and you didn’t upset your client by being late.
- If, upon speaking to the client, the job seems like it’s not a great match for your skill set, explain that to the client and part ways. Else, you may either upset the client with output that isn’t quite up to snuff, or you’ll spend more time than is reasonable trying to learn the “right” way to do things. Either way, this will cost you more in the end and will waste both your and the client’s invaluable time.
What are your top 5 tips for your particular role?
- Invest in Copyscape credits. Seriously. Even if the content you write is 100 percent from your own head, I have a ten-dollar-bill that says someone else might have written it first. Always double-check. Ten cents is nothing compared to the wrath you could endure from unintentional plagiarism. Even if the client says s/he Copyscapes all work upon submission, Copyscape it anyway and take a screenshot to cover yourself. (Brownie points: Forward the screenshot to your client and save him/her the ten cents. This works as a kind of discount for hiring you over other freelancers.)
- Know the rules when it comes to copyright infringement, especially when using photos in your work. The client may want those celebrity photos that will make their articles go viral, but if you’re just lifting images off of Google, then you’re more than likely stealing. Educate yourself now to prevent headaches later.
- Never miss an opportunity to improve your skills. There are so many websites out there that offer free classes: Coursera, Lynda, Open2Study, the list is endless. If you struggle with APA formatting, if English is your second language, if you want to improve on your editing skills, whatever it is, there’s probably a class you can take for free that will help you hone your skills. A few hours now can mean a lifetime of work opportunities later on.
- Sometimes, you really do have to spend money to make money. Invest a couple of dollars promoting yourself on PPH, or boosting your LinkedIn or Facebook profile. At the very least, you’ll earn more exposure by promoting your skills to the forefront. In such a competitive market, it’s important to do something that makes your profile stand out among the thousands of others with similar skill sets who are looking at or bidding on the same jobs that interest you.
- Research before you research. Know which websites are reputable so that you can offer/refer to them as source material without looking like an amateur. For instance, NPR may be considered a more legitimate news source than Buzzfeed.
What web browser do you use?
I work most often in Opera, but I am no stranger to Firefox and Chrome.
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
A tiger. I choreograph my moves so that I’m more than ready when the time comes to pounce.
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