Nikita: The Sky’s The Limit

Craved her path to follow her passion, Nikita is a content and copywriter who found a middle ground to work creatively while being her own boss in freelancing. Started her career by sharing stories and experiences on social media platforms, she now recommends to niche down based on the industry or the type of content you create.

As a freelancer, she believes that personal branding is really important as it opens the doors to leverage opportunities for growth. She advocates social media platforms and guest blogging as a writer to market her services. In love with the freedom that freelancing offers, however, she understands the uncertainty that comes with it. 

Taking the leap of faith to do what she loves, she is now content with the infinite opportunities this career choice provides her to learn and grow. Aiming to add value to people’s lives with her work, she is determined and a hardworking person. Her advice is to learn from other’s experiences and failures and avoid making them! We wish her success in her journey ahead. 

Read Nikita’s inspiring story:

1. Introduce yourself to us?

Hi, I’m Nikita Lakhiani, and I come from the Pink City – Jaipur. I’m a freelance content and copywriter. I write for businesses to connect, engage, and cheer the readers to take action.

Since my childhood, I’ve been obsessed with the power of words. Taglines, ads on a billboard, and the way an author knits stories fascinated me. I used to write fiction in my diary or computer and tuck it away. Whenever I thought of my career/future, I always imagined myself working in a creative industry, but finding the right path was not easy.

From being clueless in college to switching careers, I’ve chased my passion. Looking back, I’m glad I took the leap of faith because following your passion leads to an unmatchable fulfillment.

I am blessed to have a family supporting my dreams and pushing me to be the best version of myself. All they’ve ever wanted was to see me achieve success, and I couldn’t ask for more. 

2. Why did you choose the field of writing? How did you get introduced to this field? What fascinates you the most about your career choice?

Well, being a writer wasn’t my first career choice. Even though I love the art of writing, I seldom knew it is a career option. Right out of college, I sat for competitive examinations to secure a “safe” future. That was my idea of “success” back then. 

After a year of fighting for my position, I knew this isn’t what makes me happy. I felt I haven’t done enough and knew: it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life. So I decided to switch gears.

While I was exploring other career options, I started penning down my thoughts on Quora. On some days, I would write fiction, while I would share my life’s story on other days. My readers used to tell me: “your words inspire me”. It was the only thing in the entire day that I looked forward to, enjoyed doing, and that gave me peace. 

One day I sat down to write, and I remember it was raining — a perfect time to knit stories — it struck me what if I can build a career in writing? It was scary. I knew nothing about this industry. I would either fall flat on my face or build a rewarding career.

Well-versed with the consequences and unaware of the types of writing (content, copywriting, fiction, and more), I started looking for ways to learn writing — I did some courses, read a ton of articles, but what gave me the exposure was a job at a digital marketing agency as their full-time writer. I got introduced to the world of digital marketing, SEO, content, and copywriting. That’s when I knew this is what I’d love to do for the rest of my life.

The abundant creativity and the infinite opportunities to learn and to grow fascinated me about my career choice. There are always new trends, something more you can learn, and there’s never a point where you can say you’ve learned enough. This field pushes (read: throws) you out of your comfort zone to think beyond your level of imagination.

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

Growing up, I knew only two things to become successful: either to work at a job or build a big business. While the former felt like a full stop to my creativity, the latter was overwhelming. Freelancing was the middle ground. Moreover, freelance writing is the perfect amalgamation of what I always wanted to do — something creative while being my own boss.

After a while of working at a job, I quit working as a full-time freelancer. It was an unplanned decision. To put it lightly, I was terrified of the idea of freelancing. I didn’t know how freelancers find work, how do they get paid, am I ever going to make profits? Thoughts like these clouded my mind. 

Barely anyone around me understood what freelancing is, and people who knew didn’t believe it was a stable career. So I learned the majority of things from the internet and started applying them.  When you freelance, your life is like a blank canvas, you’ve to paint it with the colors you want and carve your own path.

So with shivering thoughts, I stepped into the world of freelancing, and creating content on LinkedIn gave me a headstart. I started sharing my stories and experiences with the world with no hopes of getting work from there. To my surprise, my inbox was filled with a few leads in the first month only. That’s when I knew this works, and I doubled down on it. I haven’t looked back since then.

4. Throw some light on the importance of choosing niches and working on personal branding for freelancers.

Selecting a niche is essential but perplexing. It creates your authority and sets you up as an expert. However, don’t force niche upon yourself; let it be a natural process. Work in various industries and types of content, see what you’re good at and what you enjoy, and then select a niche. You can niche down based on the industry or the type of content you create.

Personal branding is indispensable for freelancers. It has helped me connect with industry leaders, showcase my experience and land projects. When people reach out to you because they’ve read about you or your content, you stand a very high chance of closing that deal because they want to work with you, and you’re not bidding for the lowest price to sell your services. 

You should also have your personal website/blog, even if it’s a one-page website, to show your expertise. As I always believe: website is your home on the internet, it’s where you welcome your prospects to learn about you and decide to work with you.

Personal branding pays you in leaps and bounds. It opens doors to opportunities you never knew existed, which fuels your growth.

5. What are the most prominent techniques that you use to market yourself as a freelancer?

LinkedIn was the sole method of getting clients for a very long time. By marketing yourself on LinkedIn (or any other social media platform), you create your own space on the internet that reflects your personality and expertise, helps you get found by the right people, and brings opportunities. You don’t have to be an expert to have a personal brand; it’ll grow as you do.

Guest blogging is another great way to market your services. You garner views from a large group and gain trust among your prospects.

In the end, I would say two things:

  1. Experiment: I’ve tried endless ways like cold emails, freelance portals, and platforms like Upwork and Freelancer. But nothing beats the power of personal branding and LinkedIn. So learn the ropes, implement and double down on what works.
  2. Show, don’t tell: don’t tell you’re an expert blog writer. Write a blog and show them.
6. How do you price your services as a freelancer? Any essential points that a new freelancer should know of?

Pricing is the most critical aspect of being a freelancer. There are 4 main ways of pricing:

  1. Per word basis
  2. Per hour basis
  3. Per project basis
  4. Retainer project

When I was starting out, I asked a few freelance writers about their pricing strategies; it gave me an idea of how to think about pricing and what I should factor in. Another strategy was to look at various freelancing platforms to get an idea of what other freelance writers are charging. 

This will give you a headstart. You might still be confused, and it’s okay. Once you familiarise yourself with how-to-price, you can create your own pricing structure for clients, start charging, analyze your worth, and grow from there.

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

Pro: the independence that comes with freelancing is my favorite part. I have the liberty to work from any place and work as much or as little as I want. 

Con: freelancing is uncertain, and you face the heat in the initial days. You don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like. At one point, you’ll have more workload than you can handle, while shortly after, your calendar may be empty! 

With time you’ll learn to handle such situations with the same enthusiasm, but initially, it’s difficult.

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

As a writer, I’m not only aware of my industry but also various sectors as I work across them, and it’s quite interesting as I uncover compelling facts during my research phase.

To stay connected to the world, I take short, timely breaks from my work to connect with my friends and family and read or listen to topics outside of my work.

9. How do you deal with writer’s block? What are the steps that you take to overcome it?

Think of writer’s block like an empty barrel. When it’s full, you have an abundance of ideas and words dripping down your fingers onto your laptop (or your diary). But when the barrel is empty, take a break, move away from the screen. 

Go on a walk or do something refreshing. You’ll come back with a fresh perspective. To always keep your barrel filled, take regular breaks, read, and expose yourself to different perspectives. 

10. Have you turned down a potential client? If yes, why?

Yes, I’ve turned down potential clients when I’ve had enough on my plate, so I couldn’t accommodate any more projects. You can have 3 projects and do well, or you can have 6 and still not achieve your goals. I prefer the former.

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

I don’t know how history will look at me, but I aim to add value to everyone’s life who reads my content and convey that a safe path does not mean it’s the right path for everyone. I want to communicate that you take risks while you can and carve your own path. Because when you’ll look back, you’ll be filled with contentment.

12. What would do you differently if you had to begin your career again? What would you focus on once you restart?

3 things I would like to change:

  1. Own the mindset of an entrepreneur: freelancing is a solo business. You’ve to manage everything from finance to marketing and delivering your services. So, even if it’s your passion, have the mindset of a business owner.
  2. Offer: when you’re marketing your services, it’s best to know what your offering is.
  3. Have your contracts in place: learn how to create and send contracts; this will save you from any hassle and sour experiences.

Along with this, I’m glad that I started building my personal brand on day 1. You cannot know it all, but it’s best to learn from other’s experiences and failures and avoid making them!

Nikita can be reached out on Refrens, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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