I started content writing without a laptop. Yes, you can read that again! Well, It's not because I didn't like one, but because I couldn't afford it.
I wrote every day on my android phone, sometimes trying to complete 10,800 words (set articles from a client) in a day and working 8am to 12am Monday to Sunday, without holidays to make enough for sustainability. The pay was meagre, though, but I was passion-driven.
When I got paid for writing or editing, no matter how little, I felt fulfilled because this was something I could do for free.
Then, I registered on Upwork. Being a highly competitive platform, I struggled to land my first gig. I tried different things, from rewriting my bio and title to adjusting my hourly rates and changing my profile picture. I checked online to read more about getting jobs on Upwork and kept checking every thirty minutes to see if there were new job uploads I could bid for.
During this period, I kept working on myself. I read more books, especially inspirational books, to keep me going. I also understood that to be a good writer; one must be a good reader. Thus, I invested significantly in reading and personal development.
I read about many great people who started from nothing and built the kind of life they wanted. One of these people stands out — Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. I read about how he lost his mother at a young age and could only afford about twelve months of formal education. However, his poor background didn’t stop him from becoming a self-trained lawyer and, consequently, a representative in the Illinois house of representatives. Lincoln defied all odds and became the president of one of the most powerful nations on earth.
After reading about this icon, I was more motivated to succeed than ever, and I took him as a role model. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and saying, “Abraham Lincoln got it worse than me at the beginning, but he eventually succeeded. If he can do it, so can I.”
Although, at a point, I wanted to quit, thinking this was not for me. However, I had no better alternative to reach the kind of clients I desired than Upwork quickly. Thus, I kept trying. I’d set my alarm in batches so that I wake every two hours at night to see if clients have responded and check if there are new content writing, editing, or video transcription jobs to bid on — I didn’t want to miss a single opportunity.
Eventually, I landed my first job on Upwork, but the big break happened when I got a video transcription gig a few weeks after my first gig. There were over 50 proposals submitted, but I think mine stood out because I had the perfect sample for the job. Unfortunately, the task can't be completed on an android phone except with a laptop. I checked my account balance, perhaps to get a laptop, but it frowned at me.
What should I do? Should I borrow a laptop for this long-term project? Should I reject the offer because I don't have the facility? None seems like a smart move. So, I reached out to a friend to borrow $400 to purchase a new laptop. He did, and guess what, I went on to earn almost $5000 from the job. Six months later, I made over $20k on Upwork with a top-rated plus badge by delivering top-notch content for individuals and companies across the world.
If you do the math, you'd realize that not only can I purchase any laptop of my choice today, I can, in fact, buy as many laptops as I want, perhaps to start a laptop retailing business. Lol. A few days ago, I purchased my first house in Lagos, Nigeria.
Reminiscing about my content writing journey, I realized I wouldn't have come this far if I had waited to have all I needed before starting my freelance career as a content writer and editor. If I chose to wait until I could afford a laptop, I'd still be where I used to be. But I dared to try; I started with what I had.
So, I ask you, my friend, what is holding you back from pursuing your dream?
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