Last Updated on: June 20th, 2017
This week, the “Freelancer In The Spotlight” today is Harleena Singh.
First, a few words from me… about Harleena
Harleena Singh is a freelance writer and blogger. She loves to write on a diversity of topics on her multi-niche life blog, Aha!NOW, which focuses on self-development and self-help with an aim to help you bring happiness into your life.
But she’s so much more than that. She’s also a mom, a teacher, and a truly awesome person!
Harleena Singh is a qualified teacher and started her career as a classroom teacher in private schools. She has a graduate degree in Commerce, postgraduate degree in English, and a professional degree in Education.
Harleena has also served as an administrator of a small private school, where she polished her management and organizational skills. It was after her stint as a full-time working teacher and manager that she decided to stay at home and start freelance writing, with the aim to be there for her growing kids.
~ excerpt taken from Harleena Singh, The Commenting Superstar & Proficient Writer!
Take it away, Harleena!
Thank you, Lorraine, for this wonderful opportunity to share my story with your readers, and although it’s nothing much, but perhaps it might help someone. 🙂
*Her modesty is one of the things I love about Harleena. 😉
My story, background, and how I got into freelancing
For me, it was routine to teach English to primary and elementary school children. I enjoyed imparting knowledge to the young ones, which was not limited to the grammar and literature of the foreign language.
My brief tenure as a teacher was one of my best life experiences. Though teaching came naturally to me, as part of professional teaching, I had to plan my lessons, execute them effectively, and look after the all-round development of the children.
However, I could not carry on teaching in schools for a long time. I had previously acted as the administrator of a small school, which was interesting and enjoyable too, but unfortunately, I had to leave that job because it demanded too much of my time. More so, I wanted to spend quality time with my growing kids and be there for them.
I did not want them to compromise in any way with their studies, so I decided to stay at home and look for some challenging job that interested me, something that didn’t require me to step out of my house.
It was then that my sister informed me about freelance writing that she was doing, and asked if I wanted to join as well. My sister is a good writer and unlike me, always scribbles lines of poetry or short stories, and has, ever since she was in school. In fact, I believe, we both inherited the writing genes from our mother, who also loved writing and had a flair for it. Now, even my Dad writes, though mainly for papers and journals – so it runs in our family! 🙂
I initially hesitated and doubted if I could at all write, not having written for years. I mean the writing I used to do in school and college was completely different from that required by the clients. You can call it the “commercial” writing. Nevertheless, I went ahead and started with freelance writing, though initially, I kept my rates quite low.
I gradually learned the art of researching and writing articles on topics given to me by the clients, which also included keyword research.
Not surprisingly, I loved freelance writing and had fun completing my assignments, which my clients appreciated a lot. That was a few years down the lane. Since then, I worked day and night on my writing assignments and improved my writing skills. Most of my clients were American so perhaps that helped me further.
My clients asked for SEO and keyword-rich articles. So, first I had to find out what these terms were and I “Googled” about them to reach to the right resource sites. Google has been my best friend and guide in doing research for all the articles and even the blog posts that I write.
4 Main Lessons Learned
The lessons I learned during my initial days of freelance writing helped me become proficient in my work and make a name for myself in the freelancing world. I will enumerate a few of them hoping they will help the newbie freelancers.
1: Planning is platinum
It is very important to chalk out or plan your workday and the assignments to meet the deadlines. No matter what, writers and even bloggers need to respect deadlines. You need to remember that your clients or readers will not pay heed to your reasons, which will merely be excuses for them. Planning is precious.
2: Research is golden
Pour yourself wholly into the research of your topic and drench yourself fully with the knowledge such that every word you write drips off information, and make it worthy to read. A well-researched article will even eclipse an article written by a literary expert when it comes to commercial writing.
3: Experience is silver
Your rich life experience is your trophy. You need to fill your articles with your experience. Your personal interpretation, involvement, and interjection of viewpoints helps to make your article innovative and interesting. Use your experience to make your words shine in the background of a common data that anyone can research online.
4: You are the diamond
The story does not end here, because you are the hero. You are fully responsible to create the masterpiece, and for that, you need to put in the best of efforts and never be afraid or shy of hard work. You are the craftsperson who will use the nuggets of your wisdom and weave them along with the pearls of your thoughts, in the thread of research. Nothing is impossible, if you are ready to take up challenges.
Blogging Helped Me Earn
As I was sailing in the freelancing waters, I met many writers who were also bloggers. The concept of blogging did strike me as something that I could use to showcase my writing portfolio and impress my clients. By now, I was sure that I wanted to be a popular freelance writer, so I even got a domain name registered to reflect my aspirations – www.freelancewriter.co/
However, blogging brought the twist in the story. It was almost as if I changed my religion, and slowly I became more of a blogger than a freelance writer. However, looking from the perspective of a career, blogging supplemented my desire to excel in freelance writing, and eventually helped me earn my livelihood. By this I mean that blogging helped me build a writing portfolio and got me clients for freelance writing assignments. It helped increase my income through more clients and projects.
It did not take me much time to realize that professional blogging is a demanding occupation in itself, such that it becomes difficult to be proficient in producing writing assignments and respect the client deadlines. It was tough to manage a blog and a writing career, together, and I am sure Lorraine would understand, being in the same shoes. Therefore, I decided to be a full-fledged blogger, while carrying out freelance writing on a smaller scale. I wanted to try blogging – the real way, so went ahead with it.
I started my blog Aha!NOW on Christmas Day (December 25th) of 2010, but you can say I started blogging from the start of 2011. It has been more than three years of blogging and during this time, I have gone through many blogging upheavals and experiences. It makes me think that perhaps with the amount of experience I have gained, I can now open a blogging school! 🙂
Though blogs can have sponsored ads, sponsored posts, and paid reviews as income streams, but right now I just have the sponsored ads working at my blog. I’ve had clients who wanted me to blog, but of course, that was all ghostwritten, well mostly. Presently, I do not blog for clients.
4 Ways To Be a Good Blogger
I’ll share some of the things I learned that are required to be a good blogger.
1: Be Yourself
What makes blogging special is the fact that you need to be yourself – you need to have your own voice. The more different you are, probably the more successful you are. You need to have your perspective and your unique style.
2: Be Helpful
Blogging is all about others. For me, blogging is the synonym of helping people, and that is the main purpose of creating Aha!NOW. You help others with your views, knowledge, and the power of words. Some bloggers forever run after money, but they forget that money is only the result, and it should not be the main aim of blogging.
3: Be Social
Your blog becomes successful because of a network, and as a blogger, networking is your religion. Make blog commenting and social media interactions and promotions your daily rituals, and connect with others because you want to exchange value that can be mutually beneficial.
4: Be Creative
Similar to writing, I think blogging is one of the most creative fields, and all bloggers are artists because both weave words. You have to try to be different and find new ways to entice readers, keep them glued to your blog, and make them keep coming back for more.
As a blogger, you need to set your mind free and give it the wings of your words to take your readers on a journey they never travelled before.
Personal Experiences as a Blogger
I have put in lot of efforts into blogging and it feels good when people express their appreciation or respect and acknowledge my work. I mentioned a little of that in my “About” page, if you would like to see.
I reflect that I earned a lot of money while writing for my clients, but I acquired happiness and satisfaction when I began writing to help others, without expecting anything in return.
I may be going a bit overboard, but this is something that my career – especially blogging – taught me. It taught me to be more human and work for humanity – as that is the key to bringing happiness in your life.
Follow the following mantras in your life and dig out the eternal spring of happiness that lies nowhere else, but within you.
Inculcate the belief that you are love and everything is to be loved. Have gratitude for all and towards everything. Find no reason not to be good to anybody. Keep discrimination at bay and learn to accept the differences. Respect yourself and respect others.
If you manage to do that, you find happiness, which we all want at the end of the day.
Ah, did we drift from the subject? I would say bring in the humanity factor in your blogging and writing careers. You will experience the difference and just love it. 🙂
This is Harleena Singh signing off, with the hope that all of you could learn something from this little write-up. 🙂
Do you bring your personal experiences into what you write when you are blogging?
Have you learned the same lessons that I did?
Are you a “good blogger”? How can you improve?
Share your thoughts and feelings in the comment section!
Check out the other freelancers in this series:
If you want to raise your freelancing rates, read How to Ask for a Raise (and Get One!) from your #Freelancing Client.
If you want to know why you should be gathering testimonials you can use on your website, read about The Power of Client Testimonials.