Gaining writing experience
My first full-time job after graduating was a writing position at Myntra. My job was to write one-line product descriptions for each clothing range, and that’s really all there was to it.
Day in and day out, I listed out the types of necklines and dress shapes, determined fabric and sleeve length, and categorised various types of heels.
I’d reached a point where every time I met someone new, I’d start to wonder how round his T-shirt neckline was or how distressed his jeans were or how much flare her dress had. I found myself constantly pondering, is she wearing a top or a blouse?
Becoming a freelancer
I left that job. I bid goodbye to everyone at the office and jumped up and clicked my kitten heels together (making a very soft noise) and walked out of the door.
But the problem was, I didn’t know where to go from there. I did not have a degree in fashion nor was I a fashionista obsessed with every style and microtrend. I briefly contemplated going into advertising, but I’d heard stories of endless agency hours and stressful work culture and decided against it.
I tried reaching out to people for career advice. Everyone I knew from college was now into product management, supply chain, or software business. No one knew how to guide me. I had a pretty niche CV. My experience was limited to product descriptions. If all I did was string a couple of attributes together, how could I call myself a fashion writer? I was confused about what path to take.
Getting my first freelance client
A couple of months passed by while I tried to figure out what I actually wanted to do, where my interests lie, and overall wondering what the future had in store for me.
One night, I sat down at my computer, not to work, but to sell a red and black striped bean bag that was occupying an already cramped room. I wrote an engaging copy describing my bean bag and how owning it could transform one’s life (though it had done nothing for me yet).
I opened OLX to post the ad, and that’s when an existing ad caught my eye.
“Freelance Fashion Description Writer Wanted”
Really? On OLX?
I immediately called the number listed in the ad. When the employer found out I worked with Myntra, the fashion eCommerce giant, I was hired.
Yup, I found my first client on OLX, an online marketplace where you buy and sell local goods.
Strange, isn’t it? Every time I tell the story to someone, they laugh. “OLX, how in the world did that happen?” they would say.
P.S. I sold my bean bag to a nice young woman who had just moved into the city in search of a job. I really hope things went well for her.
And from there, my journey as a freelance writer had begun.
Growing my client list
Work was demanding, with tight deadlines and very little money. I spent endless hours churning out hundreds of 3-liner product descriptions, which soon became 100-word descriptions. My client worked with several different vendors and assigned regular work to me. I remember one particular time I was given a job-lot of 200 products to describe; that turned into an all-nighter.
I was completely exhausted, but I found myself secretly liking what I was doing. Managed to never missed a deadline. And consistently produced quality content.
To my surprise, my first client brought in more business than I’d expected. He was active in the fashion market with a well-established network of contacts.
And so, the word got around. New clients started to approach me with work in other areas outside of fashion. I started writing articles related to education, IT, and healthcare.
When I had no projects on the go, I networked. I reached out to other writers and content agencies to check if they needed a helping hand. Some replied and some didn’t. But those who responded have stayed with me to this day and still reach out whenever they have assignments that demand quality writing.
It is strange how our lives can take a massive turn. A job that I did not expect to lead anywhere kickstarted my freelance career and passion for writing.
Today, I write content for many major brands in the market, from website copy to short stories. There is no easy way to success. No career can be built overnight, especially not a freelance career. Wherever you’re starting from, it takes a lot of determination and will-power to keep going when success feels far away. I’ve realised that hard work and commitment do eventually pay off.