Our long awaited featured contributor for December/ January is the multi-talented KAT C. Read more about her below!
- What job category do you work in?
- When did you begin using Upwork?
- Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started Freelancing, or running your business online?
My dad was self-employed, and I began working with him at nine years of age. Also, many of my extended family members run their own businesses. As such, you could say I've entrepreneurship in my DNA. Certainly, I've had "Brick and Mortar" jobs, but I couldn't resist the seemingly inevitable pull towards self-employment. My psychology aligns much better with the variety and freedom that freelancing provides. I will fully admit that I can be a total workaholic, especially when it comes to online freelancing. Consequently, I've learned there are moments when it's time to take a step back and slow down.
- What do you enjoy the most/least about working online, Kat?
There are so many interesting opportunities available online that I'm often like a kid in a candy store. I have the independence to choose the who, what, where and when to work. Also, having the ability to communicate with individuals throughout the world activates the psychological researcher within me. The most challenging aspect of working online, for me, is boundary setting. There are two elements to this challenge. First, I'm constantly plugged into client communications. If I have a client in the U.K. or Australia and they message me at 11 pm my time, the customer service oriented part of me can't NOT acknowledge their query/communication. Of course, this goes back to being aware of when it's time just to turn off the phone. The second element I've learned to manage is understanding that there are times when you (ok, maybe not you specifically, but me/I) will need to "fire" or "break up with" a client. In my mind, this is the last resort because what one wise freelancer has stated is true: contract management from beginning to end is a crucial key to a freelancer's success.
- What was your most successful project/contract?
I understand this might be a little too general, but I deem a project/contract a success when the client seeks me out to offer additional projects/contracts. More specifically, I had a client who was in the midst of a learning curve regarding a particular blend of technical and creative writing. We were beginning to venture into the rabbit hole of "endless edits." I communicated to the client that if they read through the deliverable (they had yet to read all the way through what I sent) and it was not to their liking, then I offered to end the contract and return the small amount they'd funded for the milestone. Mind you, this is a very rare occurrence for me. They messaged me the next day and sent the full amount of the contract. "TAKE IT!" they said. Additionally, their review of my work was stellar.
- Do you have any advice for other users on Upwork?
Read the forums and Terms of Service. Also, target your market. As a freelancer, you are running your own business. As such, you're not an employee. We're in a different era where just about anybody can earn a certification or a degree. While these can be impressive, you'll still need to market yourself to each client. Your psychology MATTERS. What I mean by this is, if you're in a scarcity mentality (I NEED THIS JOB OR I AM GOING TO DIE...I know, I'm being dramatic), that fear-based orientation doesn't travel in a rational channel. Consequently, you're more likely to miss any red flags that show up during the application or interview process. I completely understand that, for some, the do or die emotion is very real. I'm in no way downplaying that reality. However, if you desire to be successful on this platform, there's more to the process than just applying for a project, doing the work, and getting paid. Also, I see many new people jump on Upwork with the underlying psychology of, "I'm going to RAKE IN THE CASHOLA! Easy MONEY!" It takes time. There will be crests and troughs. What works on other platforms or in the "Brick and Mortar" world doesn't necessarily transfer to direct success on Upwork.
- We want to know at least two fun or interesting things about you
I have three brothers and zero sisters. Yes, I'm the only girl, and it definitely gave me a thicker skin. However, my brothers and all of my male cousins often complained I was "too rough" when we played. So, it's not as if I was this delicate flower. I've trained to fight in MMA (Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu), and I'm a former bodybuilder (physique and figure divisions as I don't have the genetics for the actual bodybuilding classification). Also, I'm a total nerd-geek when it comes to statistics, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. Technically, I'm a Data Scientist, but, due to my natural proclivity towards writing, I suppose you could call me a Data Storyteller. And, I'm slightly addicted to learning new things (as one can clearly see based on the list of certifications and education on my profile). At one point in time, my book collection numbered over 1,000 books. My husband and I run a small animal rescue. We're hoping to move to a larger space in the near future so we can expand our efforts. Additionally, we both LOVE college football (he played the sport), soccer, Australian rules football, and Rugby.
- Anything else you want to add?
Based on everything I've shared, it seems logical that my husband referring to me as a "Vulcan" has some truth to it.
Thank you, everyone!
I'm a bit of an odd combination of extroverted and shy.
The shyness kicked in when I was approached about this...
My first thought, "But, I'm kind of a newb, aren't I?"
Congrats and cool pic! Makes you look pensive, like a data scientist should.
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce