Ipsit: Sketching correct strokes through words and brush

From aiming to become a doctor to following his passion for writing and painting, Ipsit has always portrayed qualities like kindness and humbleness. Choosing to walk a different path, he decided to do freelancing after completing post-graduation to avoid the workplace stagnation. He has been living his life considering freedom and flexibility as core principles. He believes that freelancing proves to be forgiving and resourceful at the same time. He considers transparency as an essential characteristic when building your network. With his wisdom and commitment to deliver his best work each day, we know he is going to keep achieving new milestones in his career. We wish him success in all that he aims to do.

Read Ipsit’s story of embracing life as it comes:

1. Introduce yourself to us? Where are you from? About your family, parents? How was your childhood?

I belong to the city of joy, Kolkata, West Bengal. I was born and brought up here. My father is a law clerk in the District Magistrate’s Office. He is also a poet, who writes in Bengali. Mom’s a retired teacher. Now, a full-time homemaker. My childhood has been a traveling triangle, predominantly along the northern southern, and western parts of the city.

At one end, I was lucky to witness the essence of ancient Kolkata through the mystical, yet beautiful lanes that took me to my ancestral home in Maniktala, (a prominent area of Kolkata) where my great grandfather Dr. Suresh Chandra Roy lived. It always evoked in me a spirit and element of fantasy, sometimes even scared me when I played hide and seek with my cousins.

As a child, I loved to read, draw, and play cricket. I remember how my father used to take me to watch a Hollywood movie every Saturday, on the condition that I have to hold his hand all the time when walking past the crowd. My mother taught me to be humble and kind to one and all, no matter what I become in life. I try to imbibe and hold on to the values to date, and every single day it is my quest to be a better man.

2. Post studying science, why did you choose to do content writing? Tell us about your interest in the field of arts? Speak to us about your passion for writing and painting?

My parents are both students of Bengali Literature. However, they wanted me to be a doctor, especially my mother. So, studying science was a part of the grand plan. In time, she realized that my knack was towards literature and that I would end up following their steps. I think that culture and ambiance always existed in our house. Art, literature, poetry, music was all part of our dinner table discussions. To say, I sort of grew on to it.

As a kid, I took lessons in drawing and painting and grew very fond of it. I recall making copies of popular Disney cartoons like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Later, in my transformative years, as I grew older and was doing absolutely nothing at one point in time, I attended professional art training classes under Prachin Kala Kendra. Later, I trained with the very talented painter Sudip Karmakar in figurative and still life, and was lucky to have made acquaintance with ace artist Wasim Kapoor, who continues to be my friend, philosopher, and guide. What began as a hobby, became a profession, and self-training offered an alternate window to see life from a whole different perspective. Painting has helped in unthinkable ways to push through moments of despair when nothing else seemed to work.

After I did my postgrads, I was wondering what to do for a living. I think my first stint in writing other than school and college essays was when I wrote a movie review for a local newspaper. A fine gentleman at the newspaper office introduced me to the concept of content writing. I Googled and found an institution where I can attend classroom sessions in a dedicated content writing and SEO course. One thing led to another and my flair for writing and the technical knowledge from the course gave me the impetus to move on as a professional content writer

3. Why did you choose to freelance? When did you begin to freelance? Were you planning it, or how did it happen?

The indubitable truth of workplaces is stagnation. The sheer agony of being tied to your desk in a 9-5 scenario is a piece of regret that never finds a solemn turn. Some people like me choose to walk a different path, opting for the life of a freelancer.

But, there’s more to it. I have been freelancing all my life. As a matter of fact, I started my career as a writer freelancing for a national newspaper. Since then, freedom and flexibility have been my guiding principles. When I first joined a full-time job in a rather prestigious organization, it was all adrift from the subtle affair. I don’t mean to sound derogatory, but once you find your melody, it’s hard to let go.

Years later, when I was in-between jobs, it was my freelancing that kept me kicking! I fell for the comfort of choosing my work type, time, and people (my dear clients). Also, how one can work from just about any location with a laptop and a decent internet adds to my list of “Delights of freelancing” (Probably, I will write a book someday by the same name). I recall drafting a piece for an automobile company from a small hotel room facing the Kanchenjunga in Darjeeling.

After all these years, I have come to believe; if one is passionate and loves what he does, freelancing or full-time doesn’t make any difference. Sure, freelancing in comparison has its perks, and you need to wear the cloak to know how forgiving and resourceful it can be.

4. As a freelancer, how are your services priced? What are the key strategies for you?

I normally charge by the word, unless the project demands a great deal of research then the pricing shifts to a pay-per-time basis. Research, knowing your target audience, and a writing tone with a seamless appeal are things that work for me. 

5. Tell our readers about ‘How to build and use your network effectively’ as a freelancer?

The idea is to keep it simple. In other words, one should be very transparent, right from the start as to what are the offerings and what you are capable of. Keep a close tab on your network and what niche they work on. Chances are you will find people desperately looking for your services matching their niche. Once you are there, things will become easy. 

Sure, cold calls and pitches work, but I am not a fan. I would rather market my work for people to know the fine job that I am doing to set myself apart from the competition. No matter what you do, your work should be good. Always achieve quality over quantity, and God willing you will definitely have a strong foothold as a freelancer across your network.

6. As a writer, how do you stay aware of the happenings around the world?

I invest a lot of time in reading. Besides keeping a tab on daily news, I keep my plate clean to pick up on anything that comes up on my social feed.

7. What is the one major pro and/or con of freelancing, according to you?

If my limited etymological knowledge serves me right, the very term freelance goes back to Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, where ‘free-lances’ refers to a paid army. It’s quite an evocative word meaning a person (freelancer) agreeing to work or a party who pays the most. Simply put, freelancing allows you to pick and choose your client, niche, and timings as per your will.

One of the downsides of freelancing can be scenarios when you might feel overwhelmed by being a one-man army. From the acquisition of clients, budget negotiation, building rapport, tracking deliveries, and payments, it requires a lot of commitment every single day. Contrary to what many think, freelancing can be a tad challenging. 

8. What is the one thing about clients that you dislike? What can they do to improve your work life?

I find it very insulting and irritating at the same time when people looking to hire the right man for the job offer really low rates. I don’t mean to sound rude but some clients lack an understanding of how the industry works.

Take content writing for instance. They fail to understand that without the right wordings, there will be nothing to market or sell. Even if you manage to pull up a great graphic for a product or service, without compelling words, it renders useless. One will need to run market research and form a comprehensive understanding of things to get better rates for writers. 

9. What’s your best piece of work to date? Why do you think that’s your favorite piece?

It’s a tricky proposition to label some of my works as my best piece of work. I am on a journey every day to deliver my best each day. Every single bit of wording that I wrote is my favorite and it would be wrong to refer to a particular piece as such. 

10. What mission and vision do you have? How do you want history to look at you?

Very few people in this world earn doing what they love. I am lucky to be one of them. I have had multiple lucrative opportunities across private and public sectors, but writing being my passion has always overshadowed other options. I do my work with a lot of love, honesty and a promise of quality and that is my mission and vision put together.

I wanted to write and paint, earn, and sustain my family. By the grace of Almighty, I am doing the same. When I ventured into content writing back in 2009, it was very difficult for me to make people understand what I do for a living.

The same goes for my painting career as well. Very few people knew I was a mainstream professional artist until Times of India covered one of my exhibitions.

Link to the TOI feature:

At the end, it doesn’t matter how the world remembers you. The joy I get from writing and painting and people acknowledging the essence of my work is what seals its place in history. I am extremely grateful that people have come to recognize me as someone who writes and paints with profound vigor. 

11. Do you feel content with yourself as you look back or do you think you have missed something?

Regrets, I have plenty. While I used to crib and contemplate a lot earlier, things aren’t the same anymore. It’s fascinating what time can teach. My life and its varied experiences have instilled a lot of wisdom in me. I have come to acknowledge the fact that some major missings are an essential element of life setting the balance. Without equal dollops of regrets and sorrow, happiness would cease to exist. And without happiness, you can’t be content with yourself, no matter how hard you try. So, the plan is simple.

Keep working and embrace everything that life throws in its way. Yeah, this all might sound very poetic and philosophical, but in the end, it holds a great deal of truism. Trust me, everyone gets there one day.

Ipsit can be reached out on Refrens, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Post reading Ipsit’s interview, if you are persuaded to hire a freelancer for getting your project work done, read our article on How to Select an Ideal Freelancer? for a seamless experience.