Inside the mind of a Freelancer is a section where we interview top Indian freelancers and deconstruct their thoughts to help you take the plunge, make better decisions and live a better life.
Being an active user of Quora, I have had the opportunity to connect with a number of awesome people — Anuradha Tiwari is one of them.
Anuradha’s lifestyle is what a lot of us dream of. She is a digital nomad who works travels for pleasure and works remotely.
She is also likably blunt with her answers about her failures and life.
But the main reason why you should read this interview is for her understanding of the concept of freelancing which helps her to effortlessly put behind minor failures and move forward.
Brushing through failures like it is no big deal is a trait of a champion freelancer.
Welcoming Anuradha to Gigeconomy’s Inside the mind of a Freelancer. Over to you.
1. About yourself, your background, the work that you do.
I was born and brought up in Delhi. I am one of those people who study one night before the exam and still manage to get good marks. It used to baffle my parents a lot.
Did mechanical engineering from government college. Joined a full-time job as a junior engineer but left it only after 4 months to start my own coaching institute for children who wanted to prepare for the Joint Entrance Examination(JEE) but could not afford the high fees of eminent coaching institutions. The institute failed and I lost my entire savings on it.
After that enrolled for M.tech. While I was pursuing my M.tech, I also started working as a part-time lecturer in a private engineering college. That was the time when I started writing a lot, which encouraged me to start writing a book. I dropped out of M.tech as I completely lost interest in studies and joined a multinational as a design engineer. Though the job was giving me good money, I hated going to the office every day, which affected my work and I got fired soon.
Currently, I work as a freelance content strategist, which includes content, social media, and a bit of digital marketing, depending upon the requirements. I have worked with more than 25 brands till now.
My journey has been very interesting, to say the least.
2. The story of what you did after you got fired has over 40,000 upvotes on Quora. Can you briefly run through what you did right after you got fired?
Yeah, I have written my story as an answer to the question — What do people do when life gives them ‘lemons’?
But when I got fired, I couldn’t be happier. The very next day I packed my bags and backpacked solo to the Himalayas for four days, completed my novel in next one month and published it.
After that joined a multinational as a full-time writer. Soon, I started getting lots of freelancing opportunities as well, so I listened to my intuition, left my full-time job and started working as a freelancer.
During this time, I also did some social work, which got covered by a lot of media house like India Today, Femina magazine, Yourstory etc. Because of this, I got invited to speak at TEDx and many other prestigious universities.
I also traveled a lot during this time.
3. Can you run through the story of how and why you became a freelancer?
I think I never liked the idea of living 9 to 5 conventional lifestyle and that was the reason I switched so many jobs before finally realizing I hate sitting in the office for 8–9 hours. I work at my own pace now. Also, I have always wanted to travel, but it never happened in a full-time job. But after becoming a freelancer, I traveled to 9 countries last year, 5 this year and visiting 4 next month which is just not possible with a full-time job.
4. What is your daily routine like? And generally, where do you work from?
I divide my day’s work into three slots — 2 hours in morning (7 to 9), 2 hours in afternoon (2–4), 2 hours at night(9pm-11 pm). Apart from this, I am always reading, finishing 1 book in 2–3 days — the Amazon Kindle has made it a lot easier. I have lost count on the number of books I have read till now, courtesy Kindle unlimited. My favorite time includes the morning tea with newspaper and post-dinner walk. I turn on my favorite playlist and walk for one hour after dinner. Mostly, I am working from my home but when I am traveling, I work from hotels or cafes or even airports.
5. What was the biggest low in your freelance career? What are the dark sides of freelancing?
Luckily, I haven’t experienced any low in my career till now. There are many dark sides though — be ready to experience a hard time getting paid even after doing a hell lot of work. Some of my clients shamelessly hold my payment for 2–3 months and I am really not a person who believes in sending a reminder every day. So, it bugs me a lot.
Forget about taking up new loans, you will have a tough time applying for a new credit card since freelancing in India still means you are out of work.
People will judge you. They will think you are not capable enough to get a full-time job. On the flip side, if these things matter to you, then you are just not eligible to become one yet.
5. During our conversation, you said that you want to talk about the pros and cons of freelancing and let readers decide. Why do you say so? Do feel you feel that freelancing isn’t for everyone.
Freelancing is for people who know how to balance freedom and responsibility. Your life as a freelancer begins the day you realize you are your own mentor and boss.
Freelancing is not for people:
Who are looking for stability. You’ll never know when you’ll be out of work. Last year, I had no work for two months. But I didn’t lose faith. I enrolled myself in a digital marketing course instead, which eventually improved my profile.
Who are not motivated. Many people procrastinate until they have a deadline or the pressure is high enough.
Who is not used to keeping their word. I have seen people overpromising and taking up multiple projects at a time. If failed to deliver, you won’t be able to survive long. This is a small world, thanks to social-media. The social media helps you when you do a good job — I get a majority of my work from recommendations, so timely delivery and quality is very important.
Who are not ready to learn. Consistent learning is important to ensure you don’t get stuck in a rut. I keep learning every single day.
6. Would you like to say anything to the people who are looking to take the leap?
Remember that it took me more than four years of planning, switching various jobs across domains, learning new skills, joining various courses, and many many hardships to be here.
But, I think it is up to you to decide whether you want to take the leap or not. If you do, welcome to the club. You will love it.
7. Any book recommendations for our readers.
If you have further questions for Anuradha, leave it in the comments below.
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