Wanting to make writing stories his life, Parthiva took the first step towards it by being a content creator. While he began his journey as a content writer three years back, he became successful last year through the power of personal branding and LinkedIn networking. He is a versatile writer who primarily writes long-form content for SaaS firms.
He depicts his freelancing journey with the saying – Aim for the moon and you’ll land in the stars? I say if I aim for the moon, I’m not settling for the stars. I will take the moon. Ambitious, industrious, innovative, he says his mantra is to read every day. He believes the more content you consume, the more you can produce.
As a freelancer, he most enjoys the freedom that comes along, however, also acknowledges the constant pressure of bringing in leads in the profession. His biggest learning in life is to grow no matter how low we fall. He says, “Life’s hard. It’ll grab you, chew you, and shit you out. But remember this – we all have the same opportunity”.
Wanting to set up a system that helps him earn while he is asleep, his mission is also to empower other students and help them build successful freelance writing careers. Satisfied with his journey so far, he is an ambitious and a determined person with a kind soul. We wish him success in the future.
Read Parthiva’s exciting journey:
1. Introduce yourself to us?
I’m an engineering dropout turned content creator who decided to turn his penchant for writing into a full-fledged career. This is how I always introduce myself to new people. Writing as a career is often discouraged in our society. I just want to show my peers that there’s a life beyond engineering.
Another factor that defined my upbringing was the fact that I’ve never lived in one place. I have switched 13 schools, 6 cities, 3 colleges. All this shifting gave me a very different perspective on life. I’ve met people from all walks of life, from fire-breathers to dancers to film directors and each one of them has added so much to my life.
If I’m not writing, I can either be found playing basketball on the court or reading quietly in a corner of my room.
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?
I always had a thing for stories. Reading them, writing them, and ingraining them within me. Down the line, I had always hoped to make writing stories my life. Content creation is the first step in that direction.
I started writing professionally three years ago for some clients I found through referrals. Even though they didn’t pay me a penny, it introduced me to this career path. Last year, during the beginning of the lockdown, I chanced upon LinkedIn. With some help from some amazing people there, I started my journey. Something clicked and I was soon reeling in leads through LinkedIn. LinkedIn was the catalyst for my career. It made me capable enough to support myself financially through college. I pay my own bills today and I absolutely love it!
3. Why did you choose to freelance? When did you begin to freelance? Were you planning it, or how did it happen?
The best things in life are unplanned. I’m glad I found freedom through freelancing. In the beginning, I signed up for a full-time content writing role back home. I was aware of freelancing but under the perverted impression that freelancers couldn’t earn much. LinkedIn changed my perspective completely.
I was in college and going back to a full-time role wasn’t a possibility. Through LinkedIn networking, I met some of the most successful freelancers I’ve heard of and they guided me through. I hope to change the misconceptions surrounding freelancing someday. After all, everyone should get a chance to taste the freedom that I have.
4. Throw some light on the importance of choosing niches and working on personal branding for freelancers.
While most experts harp on about niching down, I personally prefer having my toes dipped in multiple verticals and industries. This allows me to learn, grow, and reap the benefits of new, hot industries that are taking the world by storm.
Personal branding is why I landed this interview. Personal branding is why I am able to pay off my student loans, my rent, my bills. It is why my clients love me so much. It’ll suffice to say that personal branding is the engine that drives every successful freelancer’s career.
One tip that I’d like to add here is to filter out the audience. People forget that not everyone will resonate with your words. It’s your job to find the people who do.
5. How do you price your services as a freelancer? Any essential points that a new freelancer should know of?
Pricing my services right was the biggest initial challenge I faced in my freelance career. That was because I didn’t have enough conviction and belief in my own work. I thought that the power rested in the hands of the client. This is where we all go wrong.
We deserve what we get paid. When I changed my belief system, I found out that I could even convince the clients to pay more. As long as work quality kept up, the clients were fine with paying more.
On the practical side, each project needs to be priced differently depending on the deliverables. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely works. Another point is to break down the price into different deliverables. It helps the client understand why you’re charging so much. I break down my prices into the audience, domain, keyword, and competitor research + writing, editing, and revisions.
6. How to negotiate your deal with clients? What are the important points and techniques to keep in mind?
Negotiation is one of the most important skills to have. Start with being more clear about what you can offer the client. Also document the entire process you go through when you write. This document will help the client visualize your services.
Some of the practical tips I can offer here are:
- Be professional. From the first contact with your lead to the last. Every bit counts.
- Have a templated proposal ready. You just need to plug in deliverables and prices and send it off to the client.
- Have multiple touch points with your leads. Email, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, call.
- Be prompt when you’re attending to your client. Delayed responses can kill their confidence in your work.
- Design multiple portfolios for different verticals and industries. Send the relevant portfolio to the client based on their needs. Don’t just have one common portfolio for everything.
7. How do you deal with writer’s block? What are the steps that you take to overcome it?
One of the biggest productivity killers I face is keeping track of all the leads, clients, invoicing, and other administrative work. Use a basic project management tool like Trello to manage all of that. Don’t let it go out of hand.
Another point is that writing is a creative job. It involves more thinking than actual writing. Even if you write for just an hour, you’ll be drained of all creative juices. So take breaks often.
Lastly, I break down my work into small, minuscule steps. All the way from opening my laptop to writing my first sentence to editing it. Sometimes all it takes is taking the first small step and opening your laptop. It’s that simple.
8. What according to you are the most essential skills that anyone interested in this area of work should develop?
While on the outset freelance writing seems like any other basic writing job, there’s a world of difference. As a freelancer, you’re a one-man team, an entire company run just by you. You’ll need management and administrative skills. You’ll also need to learn client servicing, negotiation, marketing, personal branding, and lead management.
Fortunately, all these skills can be developed over a period of time. There are tons of free resources available out there. Hubspot, Semrush, and Neil Patel’s academy are just a few that come to mind.
When talking just about writing, then you need to learn how to accommodate your client’s requirements into your work. We’ve been taught to write a certain way since school. That way of writing is utterly useless in this world. Content writing requires a deeper understanding of the audience and how they function. Again, there are tons of free resources available online.
9. What are the most crucial aspects that a freelancer should focus on for growth?
If I haven’t already mentioned personal branding enough, I’ll do it again. 😂
There are a couple of other secrets that I’ve realized work like magic. Hosting webinars and live sessions really sets your brand in cement and makes you look like an expert. This brings in more leads and more clients.
Another aspect is writing guest blogs on high-domain authority websites. It puts your name in front of the world. The entire goal is to bring in more leads into your pipeline that you can convert into paying clients.
10. What is the one major pro and/or con of freelancing, according to you?
The biggest pro? Freedom. I can work whenever I want, wherever I want, with whomever I want. I pick up projects I love while traveling across the country and enjoying life.
The biggest con would be the constant pressure to bring in more leads. For an anxiety-ridden guy like me, constantly being in the spotlight on LinkedIn, during webinars and interviews, is really scary.
11. What mission and vision do you have? How do you want history to look at you?
My vision is to eventually earn money by writing for myself. I want to set up a system that earns for me while I sleep. If that includes pivoting to coaching, then so be it.
My mission is to show my peers in college that they all can become financially free with little effort. I want to teach ambitious college students how to turn their writing skills into a high-paying freelancing job. After all, there are so many talented writers stuck in engineering who don’t know how to take the next step.
12. What would you do differently if you had to begin your career again? What would you focus on once you restart?
I would’ve joined LinkedIn much earlier. I’ve been writing for three years but joined LinkedIn just last year. Before LinkedIn, I was a noon with no structured system or name. I was being paid pennies. LinkedIn completely transformed my career. To any budding freelancer out there, I’d just say this – JOIN LINKEDIN STRAIGHT AWAY!
Parthiva can be reached out on Refrens and LinkedIn.
Looking for a freelancer for your next project, but are confused? Check out our article on “How to select an ideal freelancer” for a seamless process of hiring a perfect candidate.