Meet Ema, a writer, and ghostwriter, skilled in blogging and creative writing but specialising in web content about SEO, content marketing, social media marketing and entrepreneurship.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
I’m not sure. I was working in an office back then. I stumbled upon an article about freelancers and how they made money working from home. The next thing I know, I was on Google looking for information and platforms where I could start working to get some extra cash. I loved the idea right from the first moment. This episode was five years ago. And I’m still in love.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
I worked for a politician. Before that, I had various jobs in local media – television and newspapers. To keep the long story short, I’ve been writing for the last 13 years. It’s who I am.
How did you come across PPH?
As a freelancer, you need to keep looking for new places to find customers. So, I think it was Google. Or, some article rating you as an excellent platform for writers — always through Google.
What was your first job like on PPH?
I’ll tell you as soon as I get it. It was a busy year in my life. I had a second baby, and I had to reduce the working hours to take care of him. Now I’m coming back full time. So, I guess I’ll have a job to talk about in the next months. I’ll write some articles or blogs, most probably.
What is a typical day like for you?
I try to wake up early. But, for some reason, I don’t do very well on this. So, I wake up at 8.30 (sometimes, 9.00), I read some articles about how waking up early increases productivity, then I jump from writing to my baby and back to writing.
My life is a carousel right now. One that never stops. I try to be 100% there for my kids. Then every free second I have, it’s for writing. Sometimes I remain up long after midnight to finish my tasks. It’s the only moment when the little one is sleeping, and I can focus entirely on my work.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
I had more free time when I was working in the office. Now, I’m always up to something. If there’s no article to write, I pitch new clients or read to learn more about the topics I write. I’ve installed Evernote on all my devices, to make sure I don’t lose any idea.
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
I love the fact that you encourage freelancers to contribute to your blog. It was a massive opportunity for me. It helped me overcome a psychological barrier. After publishing that article, I felt motivated to keep writing for myself, just like I write for my clients. Now I try to keep a blog, besides my regular tasks. It’s incredible how such a small detail can change someone’s path.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
I wish I knew. I would like to double the number of regular clients, for a start. Then I could afford to travel more. I have three-quarters of the world on my bucket list.
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
I’m going to be long on this one:
- Keep trying. In my first six months as a freelancer, I made $22. More than 15% of it went to fees and taxes. And I stopped. A few months later I realised I was still in love with the idea and I tried again. My first job after this incident brought me less than $5. But I kept trying. I do better now, but I’m still far from my goals. What I know is that I won’t give up this time.
- Make friends. Many of us see other freelancers as competitors. I think this is stupid. Some of my best friends are freelancers met online whom I’ve never seen in person. They’ve been there for me in my worst moments. And they helped me when I was in need. I wouldn’t be here today if I travelled alone.
- Listen to your instinct. If working with a client feels wrong, then it’s wrong. Period.
- Keep your job. At least at the beginning. Back when I started, I was still working in the office. When I lost my job, I was lucky to have my husband helping me. This is why I could focus on freelancing. But, I wouldn’t have made it on my own. Just because you have a couple of good months, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be like this forever. I had awful months. They say, “hoping for the best, but expecting the worst”. Now I’ve opened a savings account, to be able to cover a similar episode in the future.
- Live. All this freelancing stuff is pointless if you don’t turn off your computer at least a few hours every day. And don’t forget about the weekends. You must learn to say ‘No’ to clients and ‘Yes’ to friends and family. Otherwise, you can as well go back to the office. It’s less motivating but safer.
What are your top 5 tips
Top 5 writing tips, you say?
- Read Hemingway. Then use the app with the same name. There’s no need to explain this one.
- Read whatever you find online and offline. You learn what to do and, most important, what not to do.
- Respect the language. Do your best to use it properly. English is not my first language, and I suffer so much. I try to improve my skills every day and to learn something new. I use Grammarly to check my articles, but I know it’s not enough. Grammar is vital in this profession.
- Don’t be afraid to publish. I am, and it’s a never-ending source of frustration. After I quit journalism, I was terrified by the idea of having my name next to a piece of content. It kept me back for a long time.
- Keep your voice. Don’t adapt your style to various clients. Find those businesses where your voice fits in, instead. It gives authenticity to your articles. Trying to be someone else keeps you from developing your skills.
What web browser do you use?
Chrome and Safari. In this order.
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
Do you remember that little guy from Ice Age? It was called Sid, and according to Dr Google, it was a ground sloth. I think that would be me: slow, lazy, and a bit silly — while being a great friend. I guess I like to be right in the middle of things. If I can’t pick an imaginary animal, then I would be a cat. Again. Lazy, loving, and always looking for attention.
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