Vibha: Freelancing while acing the work-life balance

Simple, courageous, matured, disciplined are a few characteristics to describe Vibha. Post doing engineering, she started her career as an assistant professor and later became a freelance content writer.  Her academic knowledge and experiences inspired her to start writing. She found her way into freelancing while trying to find a balance between her personal and professional life. She believes that getting mentorship at the right time can help achieve great things in life. With her mission to become a mentor and a job creator for women, she is an inspiration to many. With her learning attitude and continuously working on self-development, we believe she is going to reach new heights everyday 

Read her impressive story: 

Tell us about yourself? Where are you from? About your family, parents? How was your childhood?

I am a simple girl who likes to see a dream and have the courage to fulfill it. Presently, I am a freelance technical content writer. I have a small team of freelancers, and I plan to increase its strength to start my entrepreneurship journey soon. 

I live in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh, a famous education hub in central India. My native place is in Rajasthan. As a typical Marwari girl, it was tough to work outside, but I did it. I am the first girl in my whole family or in the last three generations who did higher studies, took a job outside, started to carry western, and become financially independent. My parents are very down-to-earth in nature, they have taught me many things about real life. 

I like discipline and follow it in my personal and professional life. From childhood, I enjoyed  reading and studying, which made me an avid reader. At that time, we had only comics and Television for entertainment. So, I used to read comics in my free time. Besides studying, I am good at many arts as I have spent my school summer vacations only learning different Arts. 

During childhood, I was shy and avoided going to a nearby shop alone. This changed when I took admission in the college, which was too far from my house. I needed to use public transport to reach my college. Slowly my shy nature got replaced with a bold character. Some circumstances in life made me mature at an early age and I am happy about it. 

I started my career as an Assistant professor at a college. After working in college for some years, I started freelancing due to some reasons. This freelancing journey and life experiences changed my personality completely. Now, I have the courage to take risks, accept failures, face challenges, and  I am ready to learn to achieve my goals. 

Tell us about your educational background? Why did you choose to do engineering? Talk about your interest in technology. 

My educational background is very good. I have had an intellectual nature since childhood. If sometimes, I failed to complete any homework in school, I would start crying and go to my mother saying, “I don’t want to go to school because my homework is not done”. Sometimes I still feel this way when I have to submit some tasks and my team buddies ask for an extension. However, now I don’t cry and handle things with transparency.

Maths was my all-time favourite subject. When I was in primary school, I used to stand in front of the class and recall tables. Love for Maths and Computer interest made me a software engineer. The science degree helped me get a sound knowledge of technologies and the technical degree to become a good researcher. 

Compiler design is one of the subjects during Mtech. I was the first student who researched its practical programs in college. Even our coordinator was unaware of it. This thing impressed everyone. I am a gold-medalist in Mtech because of my love for my studies. 

What was the trigger for you to shift to “content writing”? Talk to us about your love for writing and storytelling?

The trigger happened when I realized there was no growth in my college job. My personal responsibilities had increased. I decided to quit the job to start working from home. Good academic knowledge and experience inspired me to start writing. As a teacher, I needed to explain things in simple words and by using real-life examples. I like creativity, and I apply the same thing in teaching and writing. Storytelling is an art, and I started to use it in my professional life. The outcome being that I am getting opportunities to increase my visibility and my expertise.

We know that you are a published author and a computer science teacher along with being a freelancer, that is a lot of interesting work. Cast some light on these work areas?

All these things did not happen in one day. Before starting my career as a computer science teacher, I had written academic tutorials. The principal in my college had asked me about this work, and without thinking, I had given a yes. So, I always like writing, especially academic/information/educational.

During my freelancing journey, it was very tough for me in the initial phase. There was no guidance. I found my way through my work experience, inner willingness, confidence, and skills. Without losing hope, I believed in one line, “I can do work from home and manage personal and professional things”.

After struggling for some months, I attained success in getting my first client for academic tutoring. Slowly, I started getting some more clients for whom I did work as a content developer for technical books. These projects made me an expert in technical content writing. I did different types of work but mostly related to academics. Like uploading MCQ, answering questions, developing content for tutorials, and much more. All these works gave me different experiences. 

Why did you opt for freelancing? When did you start freelancing? Did you plan it or how it happened?

The fact is that I never planned to freelance. When I was teaching in college, even after giving my 100% there was no sign of growth, so I decided to quit. At the same time, there were personal issues related to my Mother’s health. I needed to manage my personal responsibilities, along with professional ones. Hence, I decided to start working from home. This is when my journey of freelancing began.

As a freelancer, How do you build and use your network effectively? What are your key strategies?

At present, I am an established freelancer who has acquired experience in various skills. With my first client, I only used “email communication”. I proved myself with quality work which then had automatically built trust with the client. I followed the same principle with all my existing and current clients. I used various freelance platforms for building my network. Although, in the initial years, I did not use social media platforms for professional networks. But, since last year, I started using LinkedIn to build a network, and have got multiple clients through the same. 

My two key strategies as a freelancer:

“Believe in quality and increase the value of your work”

“Maintain transparency with clients/team buddies to build long-term relationships”

If I had received the right guidance when I started freelancing, now I would call myself an entrepreneur. After considering the current situation, I would like to say that apart from academic guidance, we need the right mentorship to achieve things at the right time.

Tell our readers about ‘How to use social media to your strength’ in today’s time?

In today’s time, you can use social media for your professional growth. For effective utilization of social media, find answers to questions like what is your passion, why you are using social media, and how can you use it best. You can attend the steps that I had followed:

  • Find out your passion/interest in work
  • Chose right social media platform based on your passion (for instance, LinkedIn is my favorite)
  • Share your expertise, skills, knowledge
  • Do it consistently.

I consistently used LinkedIn in the last 10 months, and I got multiple collaborations through it. The best-selling book, “Growth Hacking Book 2” is one of the best examples of this.

What according to you is the best or worst thing about freelancing?

The best thing about freelancing is that it allows you the flexibility with working hours and dress code (however, I prefer to be presentable at home also). 

Freelancing helped me achieve success in understanding the phrase, “Work-Life Balance”. Now, I can easily manage my personal and professional work. 

The worst thing about freelancing is if you are unable to manage your work-life balance because it might impact your productivity. So, focus on keeping your personal and professional things separate. 

What is the one thing you hate about clients? What can they do to make your life better?

Well, I want to say that we don’t hate our clients. Sometimes, when I don’t receive a response from some clients on time, I get disappointed. This is another drawback of freelancing. I would like to say that ‘no response’ is not a code of ethics. I always respond to clients to update them about work and its progress. This helps me to build a relationship with clients/team buddies. I want to say to everyone. “Give response instead of no response; otherwise, it becomes tough to work for a long time.”

What is your best work to date? Why do you think it is the best?

The best work to date is writing and teaching. When I was studying in school, I helped my younger cousins solve their subject problems. Many times, I helped students and cousins to write better academic reports and answer questions. When I do these things, then I forget to see the clock. “The best thing happens when you indulge in your work and forget everything.”

What are your mission and vision? How do you want history to look at you?

My mission is to become a job creator and provide guidance to women who are willing to start working from home. I want to look at myself as a successful entrepreneur and public speaker who will help others seeking guidance in their careers. I know there are multiple options out there for people, but they need the right direction. I did not receive any mentorship when I was in college, teaching, or started freelancing. I believe that, “I am a learner and learning is a never-ending process”. In the last 10 months, I realized the importance of mentorship. Now, I am learning from mentors and influencers. I am crossing levels one by one by only “setting goals, working on passion, and taking actions”.

As you look back, do you feel satisfied with yourself or do you think you missed something?

Yeah, sometimes, I wish to have realized the importance of social media in professional growth earlier in my career. However, I think that I achieved some things which were impossible to attain without any guidance. I accepted my failures and learnt different things from every failure. Even though I am not married yet, I am well aware about the work-life balance as I have been managing household responsibilities for many years along with my professional work. 

Overall, I am satisfied with my previous works. Now, I am working on self-development to achieve more in the future and fulfill my dreams.

Vibha can be reached out on Refrens, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

If you still find people around you who are skeptical about freelancing, read our article on Misconceptions About Freelancers to debunk the stigmas surrounding it.