What makes one a successful content creator or a freelance writer? Would you say a skilled writer who understands and follows the rules of writing? Or an SEO expert who crafts high-quality Search Engine Optimized (SEO) articles and blog posts?
Generally, a successful content creator is one who prepares quality content that motivates readers to take action. This is an excellent point if we are sincere! Writing is an art; the goal is to paint the most transparent picture with words.
But beyond the beautiful craft of content creation is another fact that makes a successful writer.
Maybe you’ve digested loads of “how to,” “top tips,” etc., on writing and the art of content creation; there’s always a limitation. It’s something I have experienced, and it has shut the creative power of many content creators over the years.
This is my story, but I am far from alone on this track. This is the story of everyone struggling to reach the peak of their career, the story of those facing many limitations on their way.
Maybe this story will help improve your experience and bring our struggles to the limelight. True, success is at the corner. But you need to dig deep to at least reach a new height.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a step, they say. Sadly, one might end up spending their entire life on that first step.
In my early days in the university, I heard stories, compelling stories of experts who took their first step and got it right from that point. Stories made it seem like once you take the pain to start, success is guaranteed.
Motivational speakers sweeten their lips and sing the song of success so sweet that failure seems harder than success. I fell for their incredible stories. I am glad I did; at least stepping out of the comfort zone is not as hard as I thought.
From the Genesis
I have always loved writing. While it’s more of a family thing, I enjoy writing. But I have never dreamt of earning a living out of this skill. It was just an honest hobby. Over time, words from experts, friends, and family members seem to push me in one direction.
Many often ask, what do you love doing? What is your passion? What do you think you are best at?
The easy answer I have to that question is Content creation. It’s more like eating bread with butter. Easier than cracking the soft shell of an egg with a sledgehammer.
After much consideration, I eventually started writing professionally. As one would expect with a task they have passion for, it was relatively easy to begin this trip.
I did not have to worry about who to write for at the start. There was my brother with instructions for my first paid article.
It’s a 1000 word article, with a sweet rate of a word to a naira. I jumped at this with both hands wide open. What else could interest a starter more than making their first thousand?
After a few hours of brainstorming and research, I came up with a unique piece that looks just perfect to me. With joy, I delivered this article, and it came with excellent remarks. I told myself I am good at this.
More tasks came, and I found joy and happiness in making money out of my skill. At the start, I care less about the rate or the price a client pays for a well-written article. All I worry about is having something to wrap my head around at all times.
Reality Setting in
Within a few months, I have written numerous articles flying around on different blogs, and I’ll say I was delighted. When you are in a field, you start to meet people that do the same thing.
I started meeting friends online who are also into writing and content creation. Then I realized I was always underpaid for the services I rendered. At first, it was not much of a problem for me, since what I am earning covers my expenses, which was not that much.
Over time, I started paying attention to what I was earning. I was having more tasks but was earning less than others who spent a few hours working. Then I started craving for improvement in my earning.
I Got Loads of Advice
First was the advice to make use of Freelance websites. I did not hesitate to carve out a unique profile and gigs on some of the top websites as I started.
I did create profiles on Freelancer, Fiverr, People Per Hour, and several other platforms. The primary goal was meeting new clients that are ready to pay me what I deserve.
Well, I was wise enough to tie down current clients. It was a struggle of survival now and survival in the future. I kept reading ways to bid for tasks. I studied tips on how to win new clients on each of these platforms. I learned important information that I believe will help me succeed.
But like some will say, most of the platforms were saturated. So many expert creators were already earning more on this platform. So it was challenging meeting anyone ready to pay a starter on these platforms.
After a few months of trying all I could and meeting just a handful of clients who are only ready to underpay, I deactivated my account on these platforms.
The Energy Never Dies
Having gone out of these platforms, I was back to basics. Again, the ship felt like it was balanced again. I was meeting more clients who were ready to offer more for my skills. This time around, their offers range from 1.1 to 1.5 Naira for a word.
A hungry writer who is devoted to a course would always see beyond the digits. So, I started delivering again. This time I convinced myself that things would get better. It’s only normal to expect a raise when you deliver quality consistently.
Sadly, this is a skill with no advanced payment plan that improves over time. All offers I was getting were restricted to these figures, and I felt maybe that’s the best offer I could get at the moment.
Within a few months, I started meeting up with clients outside my country, and most of them were ready to offer something better than what I was earning. I was happy to explore these options.
Sadly, I met disappointment from clients who are not ready to, partly due to the international payment process restrictions in Nigeria.
I realized that I needed a platform to meet clients, as this will help sort out the payment issues. Again, these platforms I left were the only option I was left with to explore.
So, I studied experts, and I modelled my gig following their pattern. One would expect to have positive results, but things never got better. This time, I wasn’t even getting an offer. I told myself, let’s do it for the review at the start, and we will get better over time, but nothing was forthcoming.
I spent days, weeks, and months working around my gig, profile, and everything about my account. But the more I give, the less I am getting.
Discouragement Setting in
Many will say, “Try Different Methods.” At some point, I had to go back to articles I have written previously; maybe I will pick some tips that will help me at this point. But the more I try to get better offers, the more discouraged I become.
It was early 2019; everyone was still in a merry mood. I started sketching plans for what I expect for the year. I didn’t raise the expectation too high; I knew the reality already.
For the first few months, things seemed to be going the right way. I was meeting new clients effortlessly, clients that were ready to offer more for my services.
Some will say, smile like a monkey with a banana. Yes, this time, my new clients were like the ripe fresh banana I have craved all my life. I kept working and gloriously waiting for the payday.
When you have done so much, you wouldn’t have to worry about the figures; all you have in your mind is the payday.
The happy day soon became a twin doomsday. Like a carefully planned attack, the ripe, fresh banana was nothing more than trash wrapped in a golden wrapper.
It all ended up in stories of disappearance, blocking, and insults. I couldn’t believe the bright light I saw at the end of the tunnel was a light of disappointment.
I Quit this Time
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, they say. No, I wasn’t the tough one they were speaking about this time. I told myself, I have had enough of heartbreak. Maybe I wasn’t built for this life after all.
Yes, I quit writing for months; I couldn’t deal with the disappointment. All I wanted was a better life. I wanted to earn an honest living. I wanted to be able to care for my needs. But the reality offers something cruel.
It took a long time before I could find my way again. It was a story of being a novice, becoming a professional, and going back to being a novice.
You would expect a success story to move from scratch to riches. Sadly, I had to move from scratch to mud, to scratching. Have I given up? No! We will never say, never!
The journey has not been easy, not at any point. But there is this drive, this feeling that there is always a silver lining when you try. I trust the feeling, and I am sure of success.
Very recently, I have been advised by experts to explore other options. The world is truly a global market. I believe there is someone out there that needs me. Yes! There is someone who needs my skills.
Suppose you are going through something related. Maybe in a different field, you have no reason to give up. There’s indeed a silver lining, a bright light waiting at the end of the tunnel.
We keep Scratching and digging. Who knows where success stays? It could be here, and it could be in the next step you take. But this I am sure of: there will be a success story, a happy ending in the end!
So, will you be part of tomorrow’s success story? Keep Scratching till we win eventually.