I have interviewed three people on my blog about their online job experiences and you can read the stories here, here and here. In all three, I interviewed people who had been working online for at least three years.
This work at home mom has been working online for a little over a year, from June 2015. She tells us about the highs and lows since she started freelancing. Why didn’t she throw in the towel when it got rough?
What led you to start freelancing?
The need to have a job that allowed me to earn money and supplement my husband’s income, as well as take care of my children, all in the comfort of my home.
When and how did you start freelancing?
I started freelancing in June, 2015. I went online and typed ‘work online jobs’. Many of them were scam jobs as they asked for upfront fees but out of those searches I came across transcription and felt that it was what I wanted to do.
I then searched “Transcription” on Facebook just out of curiosity and that’s when I found the group Awesome Transcribers. I joined the group, followed the posts silently for a month and then made up my mind to do transcription. I then contacted one of the trusted trainers and trained and I’ve been working from then.
How were the initial days like as a work at home mom? What were the things or who were the people that helped you grow in the initial days of your career as a Transcriber?
It was quite challenging in the beginning. Every word or terminology sounded like it was out of this world; terms like time stamped transcripts and TAT. I look at it now and I laugh at myself. I had a good trainer and immediately after the training, I tried all the transcription sites she had recommended. I got into Upwork very swiftly. I guess by then it was not as challenging to get your profile published as it is now.
For deadlines or TAT’s I had to make a schedule that would work both for the client and for me, as a work at home mom. This is because at the beginning I found it very hard to juggle between house work and transcription. I made a note to work with 24 hour TAT’s because that way, I would transcribe in the wee hours of the night and proofread the job in the morning after my kids left for school and the young one was still sleeping. This timetable has worked well with me because I find time to rest, time to take care of the young one and time to do my house chores.
My trainer Sheeroh Kiarie and the group Awesome transcribers were a big help when I was starting, I could turn to my trainer for any question and advice I needed and that really propelled me to where I am today.
I went back to my notes from my trainer a lot in the beginning; this helped me in my accuracy and my professionalism. The ATK helped in motivating me that they were better days ahead, seeing people’s testimonials of how good they’re doing pushed me on.
I’m a believer too, so I know that God favored me and he answered my prayers with these.
You mentioned Upwork. Many newbies find bidding to be quite challenging. Did you face the same? How did you overcome it?
Bidding in Upwork was challenging for me too when I was starting off. I remember bidding for 3 weeks straight, bidding one job a day and getting no response. This is where I took the initiative to read the Upwork blogs. In the blog, I learnt how to write great proposals, how to talk directly to the clients need in my proposal and how to bid on the right jobs that went with my skills.
I implemented everything I had read. I then applied for a job and I was shocked to be hired 30 minutes later.
Newbies should take due diligence and research things for themselves and gain knowledge. I remember when I was about to give up, I actually browsed transcription freelancers in Upwork who were highly rated. I would go through their profiles, see their overviews, how much they were earning and the consistency in their work.
I psyched myself up and told myself that even as a work at home mom, I would one day be among the highly rated freelancers in Upwork. I believe that and prayers helped me not give up.
Where do you usually get transcription work from?
Currently, I get my transcription work from Upwork. Upwork is an excellent freelancing site as I have really grown. When I started out, I had the passion for it but my main motivation was money. I was paid less money and I took up audios that were a nightmare to transcribe just because I wanted a job. In other words I did not believe in myself. Experience and great work has helped me overcome this fear and now I am able to tell the client what I want in a very polite and pleasant way.
You get the chance to talk to your clients, keep a long-term working relationship with them and the feedback is such a boost to one’s self-esteem!
How has the experience been as a freelancer? Tell us some of the challenges and joys?
Freelancing has been a good experience for me. Being able to earn a dignified income from the comfort of my home, seeing visible results and realizing the potential that freelancing has is awesome.
Challenges that have come with this job is lack of consistent work sometimes; they’re times you can be busy for 3 months straight and then not have a job for a week or two. I have now learned to apply for long-term jobs.
There also difficult clients out there, people who will talk to you rudely and it takes a lot of strength to remain professional. I have learned how to be more diplomatic this way.
The joys are of course the kaching- the money, making new friends across the globe because after a while those clients become close to you. I actually have a client I got from Guru.com and I convinced her to move to Upwork. She moved and since she has my Skype, we talk often.
What is the ONE thing that you would like to tell newbies in the freelancing space?
Newbies, make sure you have the passion and the patience to do freelancing work, whatever field you are in. This is because before you get consistent work and cash flow, it will take time. Secondly, as a work at home mom, I’ve had to be very conscientious about time management. Having a things to-do list helps me to be more productive. I now know that freelancing is self-employment; it’s a business, but instead of looking for a shop and selling products, you are the shop and the products. The business is you.