There is this misconception in our society that freelance work is easy, you work as per your will and it’s not a real job. Freelance work is just as difficult as any other job and, in fact, it also requires you to work extra hours. Once you have chosen the field, there is no concept of day and night in your life anymore and you have to work hard for your clients and give your best each time. A freelancer works harder than any other person who is employed elsewhere. When it comes to writing, there are several jobs and varying tasks in the freelancing world. From SEO articles to story writing to blog writing to EBooks, there is a huge material that needs to be written and requires good writers for it. Considering only SEO articles here, there are companies who are looking for writers that can create efficient articles for them. These articles not only serve the purpose of online marketing but also help rank websites of various clients and companies.
The first time Aniqa heard the word ‘freelancing’ was back in 2013 when a lecturer in her university mentioned that his brother works as a freelance writer on Odesk (today’s Upwork) and earns really well. He was also a student and was generating a good sum of pocket money for himself. That undoubtedly motivated her and she decided to make an account and start earning as well. Little did she know that it wasn’t as simple and easy as it sounds. Anyhow, she created an account on Odesk, wrote a description, uploaded a photo and that’s it. She was ready! She, being a writer, was never truly proud of her skill. She wanted to be a coder because to her, they are the most competent among all other people in any field. To her writing was something which anyone can do and it’s not a big deal that she was one. Once again, she was wrong. Not everything is for everyone and writing is also one of those skills which cannot be mastered by everyone. It needs an insight and creativity to play with the words and create masterpiece content.
The account she created on Odesk was approved but since she didn’t really know how freelancing actually works, it was never truly active. In 2017, she did some research and self-studied about freelancing and started bidding on projects but it didn’t turn out well. She faced several issues while bidding for the project, adjusting the price and most of all communication. She somehow landed 2 projects after huge delays. The projects made her a few bucks but there was a lot of issues in communication and delivery of the projects. Later on, she didn’t get any more projects. It is indeed true that you cannot learn any art without learning it from a master first. Aniqa needed true guidance from someone who can teach each and everything from the basics to the advanced level. Fortunately, she found the guideline and mentorship in the form of Mr. Usman Awan, Non-Technical Trainer in Comsats Wah Erozgaar Center.
Aniqa came to know about the program through a colleague in her university who told her that PITB has offered a program for freelancers which has various modules and they can learn from there. Since she was looking for an opportunity to learn about freelancing, this option came like a genie from the lamp, so without any further delay, she applied for it, and luckily got selected. She talked about E-rozgaar scheme saying,
“Since it was a government offered the program, I wasn’t sure if it will be of any benefit for me or just a waste of time. When I visited the lab for the first time to submit my documents, I was not expecting the setup which I saw. It was a well-crafted, well setup and state-of-the-art lab to conduct the sessions. They had all the equipment ready for the upcoming batch which included projectors, sliders, audio and video systems, and more than 100 laptops. That was the first impression I got about the course. Later on, when I attended the introductory session, I knew I was at the right place and I am going to get something out of here if I invested my 3.5 months here.”
Under the guidance of her mentor and teacher, she learned various ways to send proposals, write the excellent description and also improved her writing skills. Once she gained the grip on all the basics, she started sending proposals again on Upwork. This time, she successfully got a project to write EBooks for a client in Ukraine. Soon after that another company in the UK hired her through Upwork and became an offline regular client. Aniqa works for them nearly 8 hours each day, writing SEO based articles. After a month she earned $800 from one client. It was not only a single client she was working with. She also started working as a writer with a startup in Pakistan and wrote tech-based articles for them on daily basis from home.
Two months later, Aniqa successfully earned $2500 dollars and had $600 worth of projects in progress. Not only that, she is also working to establish a blog of her own on the advice of her mentor. Upon reaching her and asking her views about freelancing regard she said,
“I had a profile on Upwork (Odesk) since 2013 but I couldn’t manage to get projects and deliver them efficiently because I did not have enough training about it. It was only after I joined E-rozgaar when I came to know about all the minor and major elements which I was missing. My trainers not only guided about the freelancing but also motivated me to work hard on other online fields too and start my own website and blog. You can imagine where I would have been today if I had this guidance and program some 5-6 years ago.”
Aniqa Ajmal is a person who believes that every individual should work hard and establish their identity in the world. This will require a lot of effort and determination but once you do it, there will be so many opportunities which will wait for the person. Talking about her passion to work she said,
“I don’t believe in people who say there are much more important things in the world than money. Let’s be realistic and accept that there isn’t anything more important than money. And I am not saying this while being materialistic or anything, it’s a fact. Visit a public hospital and travel in the local transport and you will realize its importance. Just like every other person I want to do something for my parents, especially my mother. Not only that, I also aim to work for the underprivileged and despised category of our community, the transgender. I have plans to create job opportunities for them, not based on fancy degrees but on skills. For that, obviously, I will need funds and I want to be the capital investor and a mentor for them to enable them to earn respectfully while utilizing their skills.”
Aniqa is a post-grad in Electrical Engineering from NUST and has high aims not only for herself but others in the community as well. She keeps motivating her fellows and siblings to learn skills and create job opportunities for themselves. Erozgaar is a great program especially for the women in our society. They teach their students all the skills which are required to become a successful freelancer. If more and more women can learn and become a part of the workforce while still staying in their homes, they can earn and support their families a lot. The training program of Erozgaar is planned in such a way that a person who has no skill at all can also become a part of it and graduate the course as an expert in his/her domain. The trainers are so efficient and expert in their work that they will teach the students each and everything from the basics.
It was only because of the efforts and teachings of e-rozgaar and its team which helped Aniqa earn and gave her the vision to work on. Being a successful freelancer is not an easy task and requires a lot of determination to do it. The trainers hired by PITB for Erozgaar are the best in their in fields and have been working for a very long time. This initiative by the Punjab government is truly appreciable which is enabling the youth to polish their skills, work and become financially independent.