How I started freelancing and made it a success?
I am often asked this question - How to start a freelancing career and make it a success? I love to answer this - First thing I tell them I started freelancing way back in 1995! and still freelancing! and then everything else.
No guidance was available when I started freelancing?
Sorry to inform you , when I started way back there was no Internet and it helped!
Due to lack of guidance there was no planning required or in other words I didn't have to sleep over it. There was nothing to scare me or bog me down with nitty gritty of planning and thinking too much.
So how did this happen?
I was unhappy with my job. Usual stuff - asking for leave (and hearing a NO), asking for raise (again hearing NO) , and too much of reporting.
I decide and started! (truly speaking for several years I didn't know that whatever I was doing is called "freelancing". )
It was 1st March 1995 when I told my boss I am quiting next month ( I was getting a meager some Rs 3500.00 per month at that time, and I had Rs 420.00 in pocket on the last day of work.) She was surprised and asked what do you plan to do? I said I am not sure - then she had an amusing expression on her face - whe thought I am being silly and joking.
I was not joking or silly, I was pretty serious about quitting my job - but didn't know what to do next? My then girlfriend (now my sweet wife) was completely supportive and didn't blink her eyes even once when I told her my decision.
So I Nived Varma quit my job.
I came out after quiting my job and called up a person whom I had med a few days ago (till then I didn't know that he was CFO of a very large company - L&T Cement How I met him is an interesting story - I will share the story in some other post) and asked him if there is requirement of computer training in his company? I was honest with him and told him that I have quit my job just now and on a lookout for some software training assignment and therefore I want to meet him whenever he is available. and then what he said is probably the
best thing you will ever hear when you make your first call to seek appointment!
I still remember the words - "Come over and we will talk!"
and I asked him when can I come - he said "tomorrow" - even today thinking about this gives me goose bumps - I was elated - I am going to meet my first prospective client within 24 hours after quitting my job - God is extremely kind to me.
There is nothing better then asking for a direct appointment and getting yourself in front of your customer - I told myself.
The place of meeting was 181KMs away from my town, in a place named Awarpur where L&T had it's cement plant. I found out that there is MSRTC bus which leaves 6:30am and will take around 5 hrs to reach.
Blood was rushing in my body - out of excitement and fear of unknown, I could hardly sleep that night. I had mixed feelings - didn't quite know what will happen next and what am I going to talk! However, I took the bust next morning and reached the destination at around 12:00 noon. Then I called him again from the bust stop, he didn't pick up the call, instead his secretary picked up the call and said it's almost lunch time so you I should come to the office at around 2:00pm.
What did I learn from my first experience?
Don't worry much about leaving the job you are not happy with.
Stop planning too much - start acting
Speak directly and be honest - people see value in and this will be first step in building the trust.
This is end of part-1. I will put what happed next in my next post. Let us keep the excitement!
In my next post I will share :
What was the my first emotion when I entered into my customer's office premises?
What was my first client's reaction after seeing?
How did I feel when I sat in front my first customer - first time?
What did I spoke to him?