A spontaneous personality with an infectious smile, Mitali is a computer engineer turned into a content creator, who is now planning to become a voice-over artist. From being an introvert to now being a people’s person, her aim in life is to share good vibes with the world. Freelancer by an accident, she believes that flexibility and uncertainty prove to be both the best and worst thing of this career choice. Her best work till date includes all her projects and activities that have brought a smile on anyone’s face. With her compassion and determination, Mitali surely has a long way to go.
Read Mitali’s story of embracing life here:
Tell us about yourself? Where are you from? About your family, parents? How was your childhood?
I am a content creator and a voice-over artist. I have been into the field of content creation, marketing, copywriting, and social media for three years now. In October 2017, I started my writing career and continued it to date. However, now I am trying to establish myself as a voice-over artist.
I am from a small mountain town called Junagadh, in Gujarat. My family consists of my parents, an elder sister, a younger brother, and I am the middle child.
In my childhood, till the age of 18, I was an introvert. I was a really shy person, who wouldn’t even let her presence feel to the guests coming over at our house. Things changed when I went to college, as I gained more experience, and eventually, life came along.
Tell us about your educational background? Why did you choose to study Computer Science?
If at all, I would have been aware of subjects like arts, literature or psychology, then I would have led a different life. However, I don’t regret it.
Computer science was not something that I chose for myself. From 2011-2015, when I was in college, this field was getting a real boost as various IT companies were getting established everywhere in India. By that time, my elder sister was already an IT engineer. Therefore, from her experience and through cousin brother’s convincing regarding this field being good, as the job prospects are nice and that it is the future, I found a reason to go ahead with this choice.
After completing my 12th standard, when these people persuaded me, or rather forced me to take engineering I took admission in the course. I was really good at chemistry. The peak point arrived, when post this decision I started crying and stated that ‘I do not want to go for engineering, and rather want to do Bachelors. in chemistry and move ahead in this field by later pursuing Masters. and PHD in it too. I was really keen on the core science fields because of the study environment established in my secondary high school. Nevertheless, it still happened and in a way was not a choice made by me.
As I reflect back, I feel that pursuing engineering changed so many things for me. From making me an extrovert, to giving me amazing friends, and getting the work that I did mostly in tech and travel helped me to build a base and get clients later as I had a computer engineering degree.
What was the trigger for you to shift to “content marketing”? Talk to us about your interest in writing and creating content?
As a student, I was not fond of coding. In fact, I used to cry and run away from labs and coding classes. The idea of building a career around computers was disheartening. However, I worked at Capgemini, Pune from 2015 to 2017 in their IT department; it was a campus offer. I had to take it up to take care of my brother’s education and to support my family financially. But I always knew that I did not want to work in the IT sector forever.
Writing, for me, started at a very later stage in life. During my early days of working as an IT professional, we had these behavioural training classes; they were long and tiresome. During one such session, I wrote my first poem. Over time, writing about things became a medium for me to vent out my frustration. I had an interest in photography and had created an Instagram profile to share my pictures.
One day, I decided to share one of my poetry on my account and the response was great. After this, I quit my job and came back home. In my hometown, there was this digital marketing firm which was trying to bring a change in our society and I had a good feeling about it. I reached out to one of the co-founders to applaud their work; it turned out that they were looking for a content writer for their page. That is how I landed my first job as a content writer. From there, I started to build my network using Linkedin and that is how I entered the world of freelancing.
Why did you opt for freelancing? When did you start freelancing? Did you plan it or how it happened?
I started freelancing in October 2017. It was not something that I had planned for, it just happened. If we believe in fate, sometimes things just come to us and we accept those.
In February 2017, I was diagnosed with a medical condition called endometriosis. Due to that, my health started deteriorating and physically I felt too weak to go to work. I had to do something that did not require going out much and giving full-time commitment. In the first place, becoming a writer was never a thought that occurred to me, let alone be freelancing.
Freelancing happened accidentally. Through Instagram I got my first client and I have learnt networking from it too. LinkedIn really helped me to get more work.
Talk to us about ‘How did you build and use your network effectively’? What are your key strategies?
I don’t believe in only networking, I lay more emphasis on building relationships. People these days are just running in the race of getting followers, shares and comments on social media. While I am someone who puts her trust in people. Like I do not take advance payment from my clients. I love knowing about people, mainly who they are when no one is looking. I have this nag to make people feel comfortable around myself.
I started networking by exploring various social media platforms. On LinkedIn, I searched for various writers, creative directors of companies, and other people operating in a similar field of digital marketing, SEO, copywriting etc. Every day as I searched using these various keywords, I found people, sorted them and used to send 50 requests. It is advised to post relevant content on LinkedIn, be consistent and regular with it, and then people start to notice you.
Earlier, when I was into photography, I used relevant hashtags on Instagram to make my post trend and then using that I used to check the profile of other people who were trending too. I started following them and I have talked with almost everyone whom I have followed on Instagram. Not just generic talk, I used to connect with people over various topics like books, places, cultures, etc. The idea is to use social media platforms to build an audience, and to know about how to operate in the field.
Other than this, there are no specific strategies for networking. Just be genuine with people, take interest in building relations and take things as they come. Following this, I have built a strong network where I have friends and people I know from almost all parts of India.
Tell our readers about ‘How do you price your services’? What are the most essential points to keep in mind?
The first time I priced my services was by reading about the trends in the Indian freelancing market on quora. It helped me develop an understanding about pricing. I started by charging my clients on a ‘per word’ basis.
As I gained experience, it was brought to my attention that it is better to do it on an hourly basis or project basis. Currently, my prices are based on three factors: the time I devote, the effort it requires and my level of expertise in that particular field. Prices also vary for Indian and foreign clients.
I would like to say that while quoting your price, do not settle for something less than the amount of efforts and time that you are giving. Also, as I progress, I keep appraising myself and revising my rates depending on the knowledge and expertise I gather while working.
What according to you is the best or worst thing about freelancing?
The best and worst thing about Freelancing is that it is highly uncertain. I like to live on the edge and therefore uncertainty appeals to me. Every day I get to write about different topics, get to know a lot of people with different dispositions and values.
The flexibility that freelancing allows with working hours and schedule is the best thing about it. There have been days when I have worked simultaneously with 6 clients for 15 days continuously without breaks and social interactions and there has been a time when I have not worked for one full month.
A drawback is that there is income uncertainty in freelancing, especially when others are also dependent on your income. Build long-term relationships and have permanent clients to maintain a steady income flow. Both uncertainty and flexibility have their own perks and disadvantages in freelancing.
What is the one thing you hate about clients? What can they do to make your life better?
There is nothing that I really hate about clients. However, there is one thing that I would like clients to realise at the earliest. Clients should realise that a freelancer has other clients as well. What I’m asking is for them to be considerate and flexible in terms of the deadlines that they set; clients need to empathise with freelancers.
The entire process of researching and coming up with quality content takes time. Juggling various clients and their deadlines simultaneously becomes too difficult and hectic to manage at times.
What is your best work to date? Why do you think it is the best?
As such, there is no best work. However, I did a voice-over last year for an ad of Greenland hotel. The managing director of the hotel, messaged me saying that the ad is actually creating an impact and is receiving good reviews. Although I do not consider this as the best work, it felt really good.
There is nothing as good or bad for work. The way I measure is by knowing how much business is my work getting for my clients. If it is doing good for them, I consider it as my best work.
I used to work for ‘Aapdu Junagadh’, where the fieldwork part and connecting with people made me really happy. It makes me feel content knowing that because of my work or action there is a smile on somebody else’s face. That is the best work for me.
What are your mission and vision? How do you want history to look at you?
Mission and Vision are big words and I have not thought about these. However, I want people to be more compassionate. To see them talking to others with an open mind and not judging them. Be kind towards each other and to yourself. I want people to have real conversations. To accomplish this I have started an initiative on Instagram called ‘Keep it Casual’ to connect people through meetups.
Post lockdown and Sushant Singh’s death, when people started facing a lot of mental health issues, I started with another initiative of giving various tasks daily to people, which really helped them a lot. I want to make people feel good.
MY AIM IN LIFE IS SIMPLE – TO JUST SHARE GOOD VIBES WITH THE WORLD.
As you look back, do you feel satisfied with yourself or do you think you missed something?
As I look back on my journey, I feel quite content with whatever I have been through in my personal and professional life. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. I’ve had a troubled childhood and certain things are affecting me even now. But all of them have shaped who I am today.
One thing that I have learnt is to live life to the fullest; I do not like to dwell on the past. Instead, I look towards the future. I am planning to switch my career from content writing to doing voice-overs due to a medical condition. There is still a lot that I have to learn and achieve in life and I will work hard towards that.
As Vidya Balan says in the movie Tumhari Sulu ‘Main Kar Legi’. I believe in the same thing, that no matter what comes in life, I will do it.
If you are a freelancer, and you miss going out and having social interactions, read our article on 5 Ways To Compensate For Lack of Social Life for freelancers to feel good and to manage sometime for yourself amongst the hustle.