Welcome to another week on the WriteWorldwide blog – we’re happy you’re here! To set the stage for another week of useful content, today we’re bringing you the fifth in our series of WriteWorldwide reader interviews. Today’s interviewee is Gbenga Joseph Sogbaike, an up-and-coming freelance writer from Nigeria. Read on to find out more about Gbenga’s freelance writing journey …
1) Please introduce yourself to the WriteWorldwide readers.
I am Gbenga Joseph Sogbaike. I’m a freelance writer, content marketing specialist and the founder of www.timeandink.com and www.hrblogwriter.com. I’m also a regular contributor at Glassdoor, The Huffington Post, Business 2 Community and a few other notable publications.
2) Why did you choose to be a writer, and have you experienced much success yet?
Writing started as a hobby for me. I can’t remember a time or period in my life when I wasn’t writing. I started early in life, writing poems and stories. I later moved on to writing essays in high school.
I started writing professionally in college as a campus news reporter. At the same time, I was also working as the Editor-in-Chief of the News Board in my department.
I can’t really say I chose to be a writer. It’s a part of me. If I decided to be a banker, I’d still write because it gives me a sense of fulfilment. And yes, I’ve found some degree of success in writing. Besides the paid writing that I do, I also write for major publications inside and outside Nigeria. This continues to give me a great deal of exposure.
3) As an ESL writer, have you faced any challenges?
Yes. Finding native English speaking clients. While some clients simply want great work, others care whether English is your first language or not. I used to let that dissuade me from pitching native English clients. But after witnessing some ESL writers doing very well landing these types of clients, I was encouraged to start pitching them. I don’t land every project, but my success rate has improved significantly.
4) What’s one thing about you most people don’t know?
I can’t put my finger on anything right now … But, for a start, most people don’t know I love playing computer games. Especially Call of Duty! I also love to stay indoors.
5) What would you like to see more of on the WriteWorldwide blog?
More tips on landing great clients. I believe that’s essential to the survival of any business.
6) Are you connected with others ESL writers, and is that helping to boost your confidence?
Yes I am. I belong to various online writer’s groups and also network offline with other ESL writers. Interacting with other successful ESL writers has helped me improve my limiting beliefs in terms of landing native English clients.
Seeing other ESL writers land huge projects is a source of inspiration to me – and has helped me deal with my negative mindset. Now, I simply go ahead and pitch. I lose out on some, but the ones I land are a huge boost to my confidence. What matters is doing great work. That way, you’ll significantly improve your success rate.
7. What’s your favourite aspect of being an ESL writer?
My range of experience, and the perspectives I bring to my writing. Even as an ESL writer, English is the language of instruction in all formal institutions I’ve passed through. So when writing, I’m not looking at a topic or subject from one angle, but from different angles and perspectives.
8) What’s your daily writing routine?
Besides writing for clients, I write 500 – 1000 word articles on a wide range of topics in various formats. For example, I write scripts for explainer videos, press releases, web copy etc. I just pick a brand and write a short piece of copy to sell their latest products. The idea is to keep me fresh and versatile. I don’t like to restrict myself to writing only articles.
9) What methods to you use to keep your writing skills sharp?
I have a simple method. I read plenty of articles on writeworldwide.com, copyhacker, contentmarketinginstitute.com, copyblogger, awaionline, quicksprout, enchantingmarketing and a few other websites.
I don’t just read about writing and writers, I follow writers and study how they write. I also take writing courses.
Then I write a lot. I have a daily writing routine to keep me fresh.
10) What are your plans for growing your writing business and client base in the future?
I’m working on starting a full-service content marketing agency. In addition to providing writing services, my agency will provide complimentary products and services to help clients get the best ROI on their marketing expenditure.
When it comes to finding clients, pitching and the right kind of exposure have worked well for me. Most of my clients come via posts I write, clients I have written for, referrals from friends or former bosses etc. I’ll be focusing a lot more on personal branding, content marketing, and paid marketing in the future.
I’ve also started partnering with key businesses that serve the same or similar clients as I do. For example, I currently partner with a web development company and provide content for their client projects. I’ll be doing more of that in the future.
What were your top takeaways from Gbenga’s interview? Show him some support, and let us know in the comments!