Compiled by Pirah Aijaz
From a village girl to an Award Winning freelancer earning a 6 figure income, Iram Ghafoor is passionate about her professional growth. She has been putting all her efforts to give her best in her freelance career. It’s not easy to start working for yourself but Ghafoor has defied all stereotypes by not only starting a freelance career on her own but also mastering her skills. Therefore, it’s no surprise that she has gained so much recognition and success. She is a real inspiration for anyone, especially women with very few resources who aspire to choose Freelancing as a career.
At Fempreneur, we have had the pleasure of featuring her as a part of our “Women Who Inspire” series to learn more about her struggles and accomplishments.
So, let’s meet her!
What is your academic background and how did you start your professional career?
Currently, enrolled in MS (Media Studies), and as long as my professional career is concerned, I started it back in 2017 when I wanted to be financially independent and I actually wanted to self-fund my studies. So, for this purpose, I worked in a local bank as an insurance sales officer for around 6 months but I left that job because marketing was not my cup of tea. At the time, I was doing my masters at Virtual University, and since the mode of the degree program was online, that’s how I got connected with the online world beyond entertainment and I came to know about freelancing. I wanted to give it a try and that is how I entered the field. I actually started it in fun but later it became my passion, and I am working as a freelance content writer and blog manager for almost 4 years now. For the last year, I have also expanded my skill set to SEO.
What inspired you to become a freelance Content Writer and SEO Specialist?
My passion for becoming a financially independent person motivated me a lot. I started as a content writer because at that time writing was the only skill I had and I was confident that I can excel in the field, and that’s what happened. But when I started working as a content writer I realized that SEO was an integral part of content writing so that is how my interest in SEO developed and I started learning that as well.
As a novice writer, what challenges did you face while starting your freelance career and how did you overcome them?
The very first challenge I had to face was my poor written English skills. Although I have been into English medium throughout my schooling and college English was not something I would speak or write in my daily life. The language barrier was the real thing. To overcome this challenge, I really put in my 100% to improve my English. If I say that I would eat, sleep, speak, and write in English I wouldn’t be wrong. I learned a lot, Googled every new word, watched and read content in English, and revised tenses and basic, English rules. I even tried to speak to myself just for the sake of improving my English because there was nobody at home with whom I could practice.
I also faced poor internet/connectivity problems, which are not directly related to my writing career, but to my freelancing, since I am an online freelancer. As I came from a village, I struggled with poor internet quality for which I had to sit outside the house in cold and hot weather, to get better reception – that was quite tough.
What are three qualities that make you stand out?
Hard work + smart work, self-belief, and strong dedication are the qualities that make me stand out. When I’m passionate about something, the first thing I do is to believe in myself and that is what helps me actually do it. Then I put my hundred percent into what I am doing and that is what helps me ace whatever I am doing. Also, I think I am a faster learner so that has helped me a lot.
What is the greatest achievement you’ve made in your freelance career?
There are many but financial independence is itself the biggest achievement for me. I would never imagine making a six-figure income that too from the village while sitting at home. It was an unbelievable achievement I never even dreamed of. If I talk about literal achievements, I was awarded the Prime Minister’s Excellence Award in recognition of my efforts in the field of freelancing from a remote area which is kind of a big achievement for me.
To start a career as a freelance content writer, what complementary skills do you think everyone needs?
A Great learning attitude, critical thinking, and creativity to make your content unique and stand out. A great learning attitude is important to upgrade yourself as a content writer because there is always something to learn, to make yourself unique from others, and to prove to your potential clients that you are the best candidate that they should hire. If you are opting for content writing in the English language then of course you need to have a strong grip on the language as well.
There are many people who can’t work on traditional freelance platforms because they are not tech-savvy. Are there any other alternatives for those who aren’t aware or who don’t have access to these platforms?
I think when someone is into online freelancing they should learn about different platforms and become ‘tech Savvy’ because that is how they are going to survive the competition. However, other avenues are, creating a strong personal brand which alone can help them land potential clients. If you have a strong Facebook and LinkedIn presence, the chances are potential clients will reach out to you and you are going to get a lot of work opportunities. And you should always keep yourself updated and try various methods to get clients. A simple Google search will help you know about a lot of new ways and platforms beyond Fiverr and Upwork.
During your freelance career, what was the greatest lesson you learned?
Consistency is the key to your growth and a constant income stream otherwise you will lose on a lot of great opportunities. In addition to this, strong communication skills are really essential to win clients.
What advice would you give to aspiring freelancers?
There are no shortcuts to success. Work hard, work smart and you will reach your goals soon. And being a newbie freelancer don’t rush things and don’t opt for unethical ways to make money because it might give you short-term success but in the long term, only your hard work and your soft and hard skills will be helpful.
I m exited to learn more woman empowerment and all other project which can lead to betterment of communites.