Today we interview Tolu Ajiboye who broke into freelance writing after following Bamidele’s Earn Your First $1000 Challenge.
She’s achieved much success to date and, what makes her achievements that much more remarkable is that she did it while studying.
Hi Tolu, please introduce yourself to the WriteWorldwide readers.
Hi, I’m Tolu Ajiboye, a lawyer and freelance writer. I live in Lagos, Nigeria.
Why did you choose to become a writer?
I‘ve always loved reading books and writing stories. So I guess I can say I’ve been ‘writing’ for over a decade.
But writing copy as I’m doing right now was born from a desire to make money while doing something I actually enjoyed.
It also helped that by being a freelance writer; I’d be able to work when and where I wanted to.
How did you break into freelance writing and have you experienced much success yet?
It all started with Bamidele’s Earn your First $1000 as a Freelance Writer Challenge. Before that, I’d been making some half-hearted attempts to break into writing.
The challenge helped me focus and the steps we were told to follow turned out to be the recipe for success.
I can confidently say that I’ve been considerably successful over the past year. I’m able to charge very good rates for writing articles, papers, brochures and other forms of content.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?
The greatest challenge I had was combining freelance writing with my university finals and law school. Up until last month, I was writing while studying.
Things like having to attend early morning classes, studying for exams and still working and meeting clients needs put a strain on me.
What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
I wish someone had told me that I had to be very, very, very patient. I’m not naturally a patient person, but over the last couple of years, I’ve learned to be one.
Then starting to write freelance last year really just sped up the whole ‘learning patience’ process for me.
Waiting to follow up with people, waiting for people to respond to your emails, waiting for them to decide whether or not to go forward with you, waiting for this, waiting for that.
In short, there’s a lot of waiting involved in freelance writing.
What’s the most effective method you’ve used to find new clients?
Cold pitching is my most effective way of finding new clients.
Once in a while though, job boards can be useful, but you have to be very discerning as to which kinds of job boards you look for freelance work on.
The best ones, in my opinion, are the Problogger Job Board and Brian Scott’s Online Writing Jobs.
What does your daily writing routine look like?
I don’t really have a routine per se. The only thing I can say that’s for certain is that I write mostly in the mornings- before noon. That’s when I’m most focused and creative.
Who are your biggest influences and people you admire in the freelance writing industry?
Name one tool and one article that has helped you in your writing career.
The most helpful tool has been Voila Norbert. I’ve been using it to find emails and it’s very very reliable. Numerous articles have helped me a lot, I don’t really think I can choose one
What would you say to writers who are struggling to pick a niche?
Just choose one now! It doesn’t mean you can’t switch niches or even add more to the one you’ve already chosen later in future.
It’s important to choose one or two from the get-go because it helps to dispel the feelings of overwhelm that many new writers experience.
How do you keep your writing skills sharp?
By reading a lot of articles and novels. I find that that helps me learn and hone different kinds of writing tones/styles which is really important in being a great writer.
What advice would you give other aspiring freelance writers who want to make money, freelance writing?
Be dedicated and never stop pitching. Pitching is hard work and it feels like drudgery sometimes, but it really is the most reliable way to get new clients.
Also, make sure you actually have something good to offer i.e make sure your writing is satisfactory and even great, because that’s the main criteria to getting well-paying clients.
What limiting beliefs must ESL writers get rid of in order to achieve success?
That your name has to be John or Amy for you to be hired. I’m not going to act like there’s no bias out there, but it’s really not as major a determinant as you may think.
As long as your work is top-notch, most people really don’t care what your name is or where you’re from.
What are your future plans?
Now that I’m done with law school, I plan to write more, earn more, invest more and travel more. Further down than that, I can’t really say and I’m excited for what the future may bring my way.
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