Meet our November Featured Contributor Irene B!
What category of jobs do you work in?
I am a writer/editor.
When did you begin working on Upwork?
I THINK it was somewhere in 2014 if I am not mistaken. Time flies when you are having fun.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as a freelancer.
Freelancing was an accident. I was involved in writing subject-related material in my pre-freelancing life as part of my job while editing my peers’ work as a favor. I also wrote poetry on the side (badly). Then a businessman I happened to know asked me to edit some documents written for the international community. He was so impressed he suggested I should take editing up as a full-time occupation. I didn’t take him seriously at the time.
A little later, I met a freelancer via an online game I used to play – yes, I was a gamer! Gasp! We got to talking and she told me about oDesk. I decided to check it out. A few dollars here and there seemed a good idea at the time.
I didn’t take the platform seriously at first. Who makes money freelancing, right? But then I started reading up on things and following the forums (not participating). One day I came to the realization that I could do this!
Once that ‘AHA!’ moment hit me, I focused on what I was doing, became more discerning in what I did, and have not looked back.
What do you enjoy the most/least about freelancing?
I get to work when I want, looking the way I want. I do not have to get up at a certain time, do the whole ‘get dressed for work thing’, or brave the traffic. I get up, get coffee, boot up the laptop, and read my messages with my bare feet propped up on my desk. The client does not care that my hair is pinned up in a messy bun, or that I worked all night to meet his deadline because I was out faffing in the garden most of the day. Heck, I’ve even completed a deadline while we were on holiday and still driving to our destination! We had to make a stop at a petrol station so that I could send off the document using their Wi-Fi! On a side note – this is not recommended and not something I would do again if I can help it!
The bad part of freelancing is that it is addictive. Seriously so, especially for someone who used to be a gamer!
What was your most successful project/contract?
This is a difficult question to answer, as I take each project seriously and focus on completing each one successfully. If I had to highlight one, though, it was not a project that paid me the most, but one that paved the way for future work. I was hired to edit for a doctor’s website. I ended up not only editing but learning new skills that took me right out of my comfort zone at the time. Google is your friend! If you don’t know how to do something, go learn about it!
Do you have any advice for other users on Upwork?
Sometimes you get really, and I mean REALLY, difficult clients. You know the ones, where you use a number of choice words but aim them at the screen! Well, when in that situation, make sure they are aimed at the screen and that your fingers are not touching the keyboard at the time! You do not want those words anywhere in your messages. After the choice words, take a walk (don’t kick the dog), have a coffee (perhaps laced with something alcoholic), count to ten (a few times), put on your ‘I am a professional’ jacket, and craft an immensely professional reply. Then read it a few times before hitting the enter button. Above all, do not allow one bad apple to spoil the whole bucket!
At least two fun or interesting things about you?
Ah! Fun and interesting, you ask? I don’t think I have a really interesting life. It is more of a boring one, but it is mine, and I like it that way.
Having said that, did you know I am actually an artsy type? I do pottery and am pretty good at it, too, especially when it comes to glazing. Glazing is not all about dipping whatever you have made into the glazing goo. It is about painting onto ceramics. I took art at college, I kid you not! I also make jewelry, and at one stage actually strung pearls for a jeweler.
On an even more personal note, I run a zoo. We have four dogs, three cats, a lovebird, a parrot, and four hedgehogs. We used to have a snake (which mercifully found another home), a huge white rat and two hamsters (the rat and hamsters have gone to pet heaven due to old age).
If not working, you will find me in the garden. I love gardening – I told you, boring!
Anything else to add?
Never be complacent with where you are. Never think you know it all, no matter the field you are in. Always strive to learn something new. Age is but a number. You are only old once you stop using your brain.
Irene, congratulations on the Spotlight. I wouldn't have guessed that it was the same person in the photo in this and in your Profile pic; possibly relation but not at all the same person.
Irene B. wrote:
Windblown and makeup-less!! Out with the girls...my everyday look, complete with messy bun!
Irene, been looking forward to this :-).
There is no writer nor editor like one who has got two reliable K9 friends.
You are one of the reasons why we still come back for Coffee during breaks (and even at work too).
Quoting Mary- Bless your heart.