Learning the secrets of freelance tech writers enables you to boost your freelance technical writing career and gain more clients.
Meet Success— he got a total stranger to give him $400 but what did he give in exchange?
In this interview, he discusses his mistakes, regrets, happiest moments, and the cheat steps he took to evolve quickly in the world of freelance technical writing.
It’s an emotional interview with tons of learning curves so stick around, try to read with laser focus and if possible get a pen to jot useful tips too.
How did Success get into technical writing?
“Well, Wendy when I discovered freelance writing around last year and it was a tough time for me, I’m not going to lie.
I was struggling to make ends meet and it seemed like a good option to make some cash but when I got in I realized it wasn’t as easy as it seemed.
Fortunately for me, I had someone to mentor me, by name, Solomon Eseme, and he held my hand through the journey of freelance technical writing. He taught me almost everything I know.
I didn’t start my career as a writer but when I got into it, I started to like it”.
Who was your first real client?
“My first writing gig was from a brand called Masteringbackend. It wasn’t a lot of money but it enabled me to build my portfolio even more.
Soon, I got a client that offered me $400 to write an article. He was a total stranger so it all seemed surreal to me. He reached out and asked me to write an article for him and after sending me a brief, I wrote the article and he paid me.
It seemed weird, it was like a dream”.
What difficulties did you face getting into freelance technical writing?
“The first challenge I faced was narrowing down my focus to a particular niche.
Starting as a beginner I didn’t know anything about technical writing and I didn’t know what to venture into.
I didn’t know if I would have liked to write about health or academics or write documentation. This confusion was one of my most difficult moments and it was giving me a hard time.
Thank goodness I had a mentor. He helped me narrow it down to a particular niche, to something I loved to do and I’m already good at—that’s front-end development.
Another challenge I faced was landing clients. You see, to get a client would mean you would need to have a portfolio or already published work and this was exactly what I didn’t have.
Over time, my mentor guided me and I was able to build one for myself through writing articles on Medium.
Portfolios are really important if you want to land gigs as a freelance writer. It cannot be downplayed”.
If you could go back in time, what would you change about your career journey?
“I’d go back to learn the basics of technical writing even better. I’d take more courses to improve myself and when my professor taught this in class, I’d have listened up instead of playing Temple Run on my phone in the backseat.
Getting into this field, I now realize it’s a powerful skill and it’s very much related to engineering which I studied at university. I would go back in time and learn better”.
*Success is currently taking some courses on the basics of technical writing to perfect his craft.
What is your writing process like currently, in your career as a technical writer?
“I take these steps now:
First, I do extensive research to have a better understanding of the subject matter. I read through different articles and documentation to grasp different perspectives.
Then, I analyze all of that information and put it down in the simplest way possible. In the case of technical writing, simplicity is key. You’d need to write as though you were explaining a complex subject to a baby”.
Any final thoughts?
“Try as much as possible to get someone to mentor you. If you can’t find anyone around, go online and try to find a paid mentor. It’ll save you time and energy and also give you the support you need to excel in your freelance career”.
Connect with Success Ibekwe on Portfolio, Twitter, and Linkedin.
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