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How an engineer turned into one of the best freelance content writers of India

From taking up engineering to pursuing a career in content, Bhawna takes her through her journey!


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CoFoundersTown

3 years ago | 6 min read

“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” - Wanda Sykes

And, so did Bhawna Aggarwal. Being graduated with an engineering degree in 2016, Bhawna has been doing freelance writing from the past seven years, working efficiently with companies like Mettl, Auxesis Group, NRI Startup India, Indian Startup Tour, Startupp, Thrillophilia, and Wittyfeed.

In the final year of her graduation, before moving out to London to pursue her MA Writing at the Royal College of Art, she thought of outsourcing the work and started hiring freelance writers, giving preference to housewives and students. Last year before moving to London, she was managing 25 writers and 10 editors.

The CoFoundersTown team decided to know more about her journey and here’s everything you need to know about her, in particular, and content, in general.

Q. While pursuing engineering, how difficult was it to start a career in content writing?

Well, it was a new thing that time when I started freelance writing. I had to explain the idea of freelancing and this strange concept never made sense to anyone. Undoubtedly, it was a pain to manage my engineering studies and writing at the same time. I used to skip classes and spend my whole time e-mailing potential clients and writing for different websites. But I am grateful to my batchmates who were always there to teach me for examinations.

I believe engineering has a big role in my writing- I am good with the structure and form of an article.

Q. How did you start approaching your clients? Tell us about your first client and your first-ever piece?

The best platform for me was Facebook. I won’t comment on the current scenario; it was around 2014 when Facebook groups helped me in getting genuine clients. People usually opt for Freelancer.com and Fiverr but my way of approaching clients was different. I started with WorknHire and kept exploring different websites to get the best out of this internet.

I started writing for Quora as well and got 13,000+ followers in a month which attracted start-ups and companies to contact me for marketing. I used to approach clients on Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram too. After some time, the whole model was working on a referral basis. My clients used to refer me to different companies.

My first client was disappointed with my work. I had to write an article of a thousand words on ‘Ancient Art of Love-Making’. No wonder the article was pathetic and there were grammatical errors. Even after that, at least ten clients rejected my work, and then I got a teacher who appreciated the project and paid me INR 50 for 500 words.

Q. At what point of your life did it occur that you want to make a career in the content industry? What helped you make that decision?

I realised that in the final year of my graduation when I did not apply for any job interview. In January of 2016, I decided to create my own team of freelance writers. The people around me motivated and supported me in this decision.

I believe you become what you create around yourself.

I have a friend Mukesh who motivated me whenever I was facing some issues. He was also a student of engineering at IIT Bombay and was trying different freelancing ideas. You know, it is very important to create a positive environment around you- having people who believe in you.

Q. Take us through the first 6 months/12 months of starting out your journey in this field!

I will go for the first twelve months of my full-time freelance writing.

There was always this confusion that I should have applied for an interview. To get that dilemma out of my head, I started applying for offline placements. I scored a good offer in McKinsey & Company and before finalising anything- I rejected it. I rejected it because I did not want to leave my freelance writing. I was a full-time freelance writer, which is a challenging thing but also fun.

I highly recommend full-time freelancing only if you know how to manage your calendar.

Q. What’s that thing about freelancing no one talks about?

GROWTH FACTOR.

I have hardly seen anyone talking about the growth of a freelancer. It is not about the growth on a monetary basis, it is about personal growth. For this, I would not relate it to any economy as well because I have seen so many freelancers here in London who had/have the same issue. One of my batchmates and dear friend Laura Robertson- founder of The Double Negative is also a freelancer and we almost share the same experience when it comes to our personal growth.

Q. Anyone who is planning to pursue a career in this field, what’s the most important thing to keep in mind?

I would say one should know that their writing style may be different and it is not wrong. I am much more into academic writing with a critical touch. My batchmates are all good in putting their arguments in a creative way. I used to despise myself for not having a good part of creativity in my writing- ultimately I ruined everything. No one can write if they are not confident or proud of their writing. Remember that, do not decorate your writing with unnecessary words- make it simple and subtle.

Q. What do you wish you knew before you started preparing for this career?

I should have known some business tactics before preparing for this career. You must have a soft stomach and sharp brain while dealing with any client or writer.

It took me a long time understanding this and learning some tactics, obviously after failures.

Q. If someone is in college and wants to pursue a career as a content writer, what would you advise him/her?

Read at least 50 books before jumping off the cliff.

Do not focus only on one genre, explore more by reading things in different domains, be it a journal, romantic novel, biography, anything.

Q. How do I know if a career in Content Writing is for me?

A content writer is a wise person. You have to seek knowledge to be a good content writer, anyone can copy things from the internet.

You must have a good skill of showcasing your work because that will reflect in your words. Try to spend your time on Quora or Medium, you will get to learn some great tricks. If you like writing there, you might be the right person for content writing.

I believe that every person should write as this world of technology has managed to serve some amazing platforms. However, choosing a career in writing is a big thing, people easily don’t try their hand at arts. You must be patient, creative, sincere, and optimistic for this field.

Q. Any recommended resources for students who are interested in your area of work?

Try to use these websites and you will get to know how things actually work.

Q. What type of Content Writers will be high in demand in the near future?

Today, you might see people writing random things, their contents will be in a grave after a few years.

People do like and want to read well-researched, logically brewed and sensible contents, be it any topic like health, lifestyle, science, people, celebrities, etc.

Q. What has been the defining moment of your career so far?

I can’t say the defining moment of my freelance career but as a writer, the defining moment was when I decided to do a masters in writing. I took a leap of faith and got into the best art and design college of the world. My batchmates are bright and stunning writers with astounding views on any topic. Ah! I was not breathing in that group but my professors and batchmates supported me and now I feel more comfortable and confident to experiment with my writing.

Q. Any particular instance that made you feel proud of choosing this as a profession!

There indeed are a few instances where I feel satisfied the way I execute and plan my work. I had this routine of randomly calling any writer from my list once a week and having a conversation on a random topic which ensured me their personal growth. I had only students and housewives in my writing group.

I am so proud of myself that I gave employment to so many people and turned them into writers. There were writers who were crossing the minimum billing of INR 10,000 per month. With this money- they were sponsoring their education, sending money to their parents in the village, and managing their expenses. Such beautiful memories!

Q. What’s that thing that keeps you motivated throughout?

I have bold women in my family and college who just don’t give up.

Whenever I cry for some problems in my life my dad says “if you can’t handle this situation, you won’t be able to handle a team or a business”.

Isn’t that motivation? I strongly believe that the circle you create around yourself defines your growth. You always grow together.


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