I have done this interview with Bismah a while ago. She is one of the successful freelancer I have met on Upwork. While to many others freelancing may seem to be an easy task, it can be an uphill battle to find your own niche, hunt for clients who pay well and maintain the same consistency (let alone the frequency of income).
Like me and many others, Bismah manages to juggle her freelance work well and find success in it.
Thank you, Bismah for accepting this interview. It is my honor to have this opportunity to understand what your job entails and provide others a peek into your working world so maybe someone can learn something from your experience.
Once again, thank you for being generous in sharing your story with us!
Please introduce yourself and where are you from?
I am Bismah Fahad from Pakistan. I work as a Human Resource specialist, Virtual Assistant and Content Writer.
I started freelancing due to the fact that my children were small and I could not leave them at home and go outside to work. But I am still doing it, even though the kids have grown up and that is because freelancing allows me to be my own boss.
I work whenever I want to and along with work I am able to give more time to my home.
What are the freelancing platforms you use?
What were you doing before you venture in freelancing? Did you enjoy your last job?
I was actually not working before. Just after completing my University degree, I got married and then I started working as a freelancer.
How long have you been a freelancer? Can you really survive on what you earn from freelancing?
I have been working as a freelancer for the last 7 years. Yes I can definitely survive on what I earn. In freelancing, you can earn as much as you want. The more time and effort you spend, the more money you make. In fact along with just paying my bills, I have been also able to achieve my goals.
Please share with us any interesting stories or people you have encounter at freelancing.
The most interesting thing about freelancing is that people from all over the world with different backgrounds and cultures, collaborate and work together to achieve their goals.
In my 7 years of freelancing, I have worked with people from many different countries. I got to know about their work ethics, culture, nature and many other such things which I could never know otherwise.
I had some really good experiences but some bad ones too and I believe that is how you actually learn to work.
What is the prospect of freelancing? And what do you see yourself doing in five years down the path?
Prospects of freelancing are unlimited as the world is getting closer and closer due to advancements in technology. It’s just the matter of time that offices will be empty and people will be working from their homes.
After 5 years I see myself leading a team of 100 freelancers, training them and replicating my model.
Was freelancing easy to start? How do you keep pushing yourself to stay on when jobs are low?
No it was not at all easy to start. For the first couple of months I was not getting any jobs and there came a time when I actually gave up. But after listening to a few success stories, I started trying again and the day I got my first job was the happiest day.
But again, initially I had to take up projects on very low rates just to gain experience and good profile ratings. I had to work extremely hard to satisfy my clients and maintain my freelancer profile but now after all this time and effort, I work on my own terms.
There are times when freelance job market is slow and in that situation sometimes you have to work on lower rates and for me a little lower rate is fine as long as I have work. I just do not want to stop working unless I have some other commitments that need my attention.
I truly believe in work quality and I do not deliver the work to my clients until I am fully satisfied.
I make sure that all job requirements and work standards have been met, review everything a couple of times and after that I deliver the work to my client.
What does passion mean to you? Are you pursuing your passion aggressively?
Passion can be something that challenges you but also at the same time motivates you towards itself. My passion was to become independent and live my life the way I want to and freelancing has actually allowed me to fulfill my passion.
For me success in freelancing means that nobody having a mobile or laptop and Internet is jobless.
Please do share one tip of yours in making freelancing a success.
I have one piece of advice for freelancers, and that is always be honest.
I totally understand that things can be a little complicated at times when you are working virtually, but if we remain honest in our professions, nothing can stop us from being the most successful individuals.
We are making this world even more productive by working collaboratively. So, keep on freelancing.
How do you manage your time?
I prioritize my tasks according to the given deadlines by clients. This makes it really easy for me to manage my time.
But the best is that when you have other commitments too, you can always work at night and at any other time feasible for you.
How do you manage difficult customers?
I make sure to have a smooth conversation with everything clarified regarding the job.
Setting ground rules is also very important. Both parties should know what they are getting into and what do they expect from each other. Patience is the key.
I try to acquire skills that are in demand and improve the current ones by learning more advanced levels.
Would you advice anyone to quit their job and go into freelancing full-time? Why?
Yes definitely, one can earn more and enjoy more freedom in freelancing as compared to regular office job. But people on the job are reluctant to lose their fixed income even if they can make more in freelancing.
Any last words for someone who aspire to be a freelancer?
Work hard and do not give up. It might take more time then you expect to become a full-time freelancer but once you begin with it, there is no looking back.
I am a mother of 3 children and I started working as a freelancer 7 years back in 2011. I have done my Bachelors in Business Administration and specialized in Human Resource. Initially I began with freelance content writing but now I also work as a Human Resource business partner, Virtual Assistant and Blog Manager. I keep on learning new skills and keep myself up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies to remain relevant.
Freelance has become a passion for me and now I also encourage other people to start working as freelancers
If you are interested in exploring freelancing as a career, here are some articles to kickstart this dream:
10 Writing Jobs That Pays For Real
Freelancer’s Survival Guide to Economy Downturn
How to Write an Attractive Profile
The Ultimate Checklist For New Freelancers
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