Interview with Anum Sharf

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Anum Sharf is among those people who have chosen their career as a freelance writer. Her story is pretty interesting as she doesn’t have the same work obtaining background like the other freelancers.

She completed her studies from International Islamic University, Islamabad and studied English Literature. After her graduation, she opted to work as a freelance writer and took it as her profession.

Like every writer, she faced the same hurdles and struggles, but her techniques for making her income continuous are interesting.

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Let’s Get To Know Anum

I’m a happy person enjoying single life. If I talk about how I started freelance writing, I would like to tell my readers that this field was never off my interest. I started back in 2013, when a friend contacted me for a small task that was supposed to be completed in short time, I did it as a friendly gesture, but when I handed over that article, her client was so impressed that she offer me a paid position.

Within two months I started exploring new opportunities and did thorough research on this field and I was surprised to find a lot about it. Within six months I had a couple of clients in my basket and I was making a decent amount for myself.

How Your Journey As A Freelance Writer Began?

As I said before, I never really liked writing a lot, even writing a college essay use to give me a headache. But I guess this profession was destined for me. I began with writing product reviews and I use to find them pretty interesting, that’s how my interest developed. Initially I worked with a single client and kept learning more and more about this field, later I started searching for more opportunities.

I always use to think that anything that is related to online work is a scam and people make a fool out of you. All that impression changed for me when I started working as a freelancer.

Which Online Platforms You Used For Seeking Work?

Upwork or Fiverr these platforms are like a heaven for the freelance work, but surprisingly, I never worked through these platforms. I always got clients from the local Pakistani job portals like Mustakbil.com or Rozee.pk and again I will say that it’s surprising, but I found decent clients who paid well from these websites.

Is Your Family On Board With Your Decision?

Well, my mum is super supportive of my decision as she was happy with the fact that I don’t have to leave the house. The rest of my family was pretty confused initially with what I used to do they never really could digest that sitting at home you can make money (lolz). But with time they understood.

Did You Ever Get Scammed?

Well, yes, in the start I once got scammed it was a $60 project and the client never paid, so that’s the time I learned my lesson and I decided that I will either take weekly payment or I will take an advance, so weekly payments really helped me and I build good trust relationship with my clients.

What Is Your Advice For Newbie To Freelance Writing?

My advice is that don’t think you will start with big bucks, initially every person starts with less earning and that is completely normal. With time your skill will get polished and you will automatically gain credibility among your clients. Just focus on client satisfaction and there is nothing that can stop you.

What Were The Challenges You Faced Being A Freelance Writer?

Initially, I was working with a single client, but as I was digging deep in the field I realized I was being underpaid. So I moved on to more clients.

At the start, I didn’t get good clients (in terms of payment), so I started working on 3-4 different projects to make a decent earning. But by the end of the day I used to be so stressed that I thought things won’t work like this for a long time. Being a freelancer the biggest hurdle is to get ongoing work. After every 2-3 months you have to find a new client.

For this I decided that I need a full-time job that will help me earn a fixed amount every month. The problem was I didn’t want to try any other field. So I started applying and in December 20, 2013 I landed my first full-time content writer (home-based) job. Just to add in that this job I got from Mustakbil.com, then again people have this concept that all the work is coming from Upwork or other platforms, but that’s not really true. This client was from the UK and was running two businesses for which he needed content so he hired me as a full-time employee with fixed hours and salary.

I left that job in August 1, 2014 for a better opportunity and I then started working at PlacidWay a US based medical tourism company. After that I knew, how I had to continue things and till day I follow that rule one client is a permanent ongoing job and the remaining are freelance projects.

The benefit of this technique is that even if you don’t do any freelance work or you are not getting enough work from other clients by the end of the month you will have some earning, as I believe something is better than nothing.

What Is Your Daily Routine Usually Like? Do You Have Strict Schedule Or Your Just Work With The Flow?

Honestly speaking, keeping a strict schedule is pretty difficult. And I don’t believe in keeping a tight schedule, this is something all freelance friends will agree with. No matter how hard you try you just can’t maintain a tight schedule. What I believe is that one should work when they are the most productive, for many people its early morning hours but in my case its after 11pm, I find myself the most productive as there is zero disturbance around me.

I use my mornings and afternoon is researching the material and coordinating with my clients, while my nights are reserved for writing. I try my best to maintain a regular workflow, but freelancing has it’s ups and downs. But in my case I have figured out a solution for it as well. I work as a full-time online content writer for a company where I have to stay online with the team for certain hours and work with them, while in my remaining time I work with different freelance clients.

Is Writing Your Main Source Of Income? Mind Sharing With Us How Much You Earn?

Yes, it’s my main source of income, I don’t really like working on anything else. Well, I would not give you an exact figure but it’s around 50k a month.

How Much Time You Spend With Your Laptop In Day And What Are Your Favorite Things Which You Enjoy Most To Do Online?

I used to spend 10 -12 hours earlier, but now max 8-9 hours. I love to read other bloggers work or if not that I hit an online bookstore and order some good books for myself.

What Are The Three Most Important Things That You Would Propose To Newbie Writers?

1- It doesn’t matter whether you are good at writing or not, what’s important that you should start writing. Even if there is no exposure or audience for your content still it will be live on the internet which means you have something to show to your clients and future referrals.

2- Don’t think you will become rich in a day, that’s just a myth be prepared to put in a lot of effort, dedication, commitment and time in it.

3- Listen to other writers (the experienced ones) learn from their experiences. It’s really important to choose your writers circle carefully. If you get connected with every Tom, Dick and Harry who says they are a writer chances are you will be overloaded with influence.

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