| by Emmanuel Torty | No comments

How I Crushed My Silly Imposter Syndrome in Just 43 Days

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash
Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

Wow! How time flies!

It has been 43 days already since I first made the decision to become serious with my writing. I didn’t know it would be this exciting and become something I looked forward to do daily. It’s hard to believe how scared I was to pick and commit to a schedule just over a month ago.

Today I want to share my story on how I got started and I hope you will learn a few things to help you too.

How it all began

I decided to start writing after I was featured on my friend’s podcast where I talked about getting high paying clients to an audience of fellow software developers and freelancers.

I was on two consecutive podcasts between the 2nd and 9th of September, 2019. I started writing on the 10th. It was a deliberate choice to mark the birthday of my late younger brother, Daniel.

I knew that to keep up this writing game, I needed to pick a schedule and stick with it no matter what for a long time. I thought about doing one article per month but that would be 12 articles per year. I didn’t like the sound of that because with that much gap in between articles, it would be very easy for me not to write more than 3 articles per year.

I thought about doing one every week. That will be publishing 52 articles per year. That felt a bit better but I wondered if it was challenging enough to keep me consistent. I know myself and how my interests can fly from a subject to another fairly quickly.

I needed something to hold my attention in one place so I can really test if this writing thing is something I would go along with.

I wanted to pick an article a day schedule but I was scared, not of what to write though, but if I would be able to keep up the schedule.

Strangely, I was also excited about the schedule too. So I committed to it and prepared to write everyday. I got my first set of topics around the podcast I was featured on. I researched further into the issues people were having with freelancing and wrote down my initial 14 topics.

I started studying each of the topics further and came up with the content regularly for each one and posted everyday on 200WordsADay.

My friend, Seun, was already writing on the platform so it greatly encouraged me to keep writing.

One thing I’ve learnt over the years is that with any activity, even with the ones you’re really passionate about, you get to a point where you feel like not following through. Yes, you just want to stop doing it for a while to have a break. It’s a mind trick to get you off track if you’re not careful.

So I have a counter trick for writing even when such discouraging moments arise. I imagine myself with just one person in my audience sitting with me at a warm fireside having a chat. This person is eagerly waiting to hear some helpful words from me and since I want to help him or her, I need to write and share with this person.

That’s my visualization process for writing and it always helps me stay on course.

I started and wrote for about 19 consecutive days straight. All the while I was just testing myself to see if I could keep up with the discipline of a professional writer despite my day job ( over 70 hour work week).

I was happy I did it. I could still do something out the little time left after the exhausting hours at my job and long commute time (30 hours weekly on traffic).

Can I monetize my writing ?

I then decided to try my hands on paid writing gigs to see if I would be able to monetize this new craft.

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Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

I followed the popular freelancing advice on the internet and signed up on Upwork. I sent out 4 proposals on the same day. One of the clients from Canada replied that day and after a few discussions, I got the gig.

It was a review writing work. I completed it quickly. The client was so happy and gave me a 5-star review.

The gig was a $5 gig. Upwork took $1 and put $4 in my account. Upwork will only send the money to my Paypal account when I have at least $100 in my account.

Again, I enjoyed another bit of success but still wasn’t totally sure this writing career path would be it for me.

I was happy but there was a problem on the income side of things. That problem was about scaling quickly. 🤔

I wondered how long it would take me to scale the paid gigs to a full time income say $4,000/month and upwards if I kept on getting those low paying gigs. I knew I was putting out quality work but the math just didn’t work out for me.

I found a better way

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Photo by J E W E L M I T CH E L L on Unsplash

After doing some further research on other more experienced writers like Jorden and Bamidele and how they made good money, I quit Upwork.

Upwork is not designed to maximize the potentials of very good writers or freelancers. It’s good to get some quick freelancing experience but it’s mostly a race to the bottom. Clients are encouraged to pay pennies for quality work like they are mere commodities. It’s sad.

Anyway, I’ve found better ways that will pay a reasonable amount for a good job done. I learnt that I needed to gain credibility and it helps a lot in getting quality paid gigs.

As part of my efforts to gain more experience and visibility, I submitted my blog on Feedspot and literally forgot about it. I never expected my blog to be listed as there were many other bigger sites on the platform.

However, while doing my research during week, I got a mail that my Medium blog was picked up by FeedSpot and ranked 11th among the Top 100 Nigerian blogs to follow.

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11th on Top 100 Nigeria Blogs List by Feedspot

Wow! I was super duper excited about the news. 🎂

As I was still basking in that excitement, Dan Martell, a serial entrepreneur, also shared one of my articles on Twitter and reached out to me to see more of my works. I was totally awed by the experience. It felt like a dream for something I never took seriously till last month.https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?type=text%2Fhtml&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&schema=twitter&url=https%3A//twitter.com/danmartell/status/1181015816252399616&image=https%3A//i.embed.ly/1/image%3Furl%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fpbs.twimg.com%252Fprofile_images%252F1076838424177459200%252FIi2NayLS_400x400.jpg%26key%3Da19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07Retweet by Dan Martell

My article submission to Euro Freelancers was accepted and published yesterday too. I just couldn’t contain the joy and the deep assurance that I now have. I have solid confidence that my writing can be useful.

Same yesterday I was accepted to be a regular writer on the Medium publication, 1 Minute Reads. 💃

Another thing I learned was to pick my niche and type of content that I enjoy and will also be very valuable and profitable. The tech business niche and long-form blog post style fit me perfectly. This cleared up a lot of things for me and made it easier to pick topics to write on.

This means I can write email sequences, sales funnels and case studies for my clients and get paid a good sum for it. It’s far more useful than picking up crumbs on Upwork or similar sites. 😃

I decided to write a detailed article that helps users of JijiNG, a popular online classifieds site, to shop and save money when they use the platform. The article was well received by JijiNG. They thanked me so much and gladly promoted it across their major social media channels.

For me, all these bits of success means I have a lot more potentials to develop if I remain consistent in putting effort to doing this writing business. I want to make writing my source of online full-time income and I’m working hard to make it a reality.

Truth is none of these exciting things would have happened if I didn’t start writing and stayed consistent with it despite the distractions and self-doubt that tried to knock me off the path.

I kept taking action and didn’t pay too much attention to my inner feelings. I just did it and today I’m able to share my story with you.

I expect that in a few months from now I would be able to achieve my goal of being a full digital nomad while contributing great value to the world through my works.

In summary, here are the key lessons to pick from my story:

  • Start writing consistently no matter how stupid or low quality you feel or think it is. This is the best way to improve your craft.
  • Share your writings with others.
  • Don’t use freelance sites to find low-paying gigs.
  • Reach out directly to potential clients
  • Build your credibility and audience by submitting your works to bigger blogs or publications.
  • Reach out to potential clients directly
  • Be willing to deal with criticisms and rejections but never quit.
  • Never stop learning and looking out for better ways to improve your work

Keep writing. Stay consistent and let the magic of giving out value happen to you.