Freelance Writer: Define Yourself

Mahesh Raj Mohan

Mahesh Raj Mohan

I am a full-time Portland freelance copywriter, editor, and content marketing specialist. I help companies with white papers, case studies, technical writing, product copy, and more.

Friends in Portland and other areas have recently asked how I get work as a freelance writer.  It’s kind of funny, because just over a year ago, I asked freelance writers the same type of question!  I am flattered, but I can only talk about what has worked for me, and why I prefer freelancing to working for someone else.

1.  I like organizing things, and I like to solve problems.  In the past, this made my employers and managers very happy because they got hours of free labor from me.   Now, it fuels me to keep clients and editors happy, find new avenues of work, and to go prospecting.

2. I define my own motivation.   Having a boss “ride herd” on you can be helpful if you’ve never done a particular task before.  But after you have acquired a skill, then you either need to be left to do it, or do it on your own.  When it became  clear that I would never have the kind of autonomy I wanted at my former job, I chose the latter path.

3. Humans are social animals and we start defining others as soon as we can talk.  But this can grow harmful as we get older.   If you accept others’ definition of who you are, you begin to limit yourself and what you can do.  In an office environment, this can be particularly detrimental.  For example, if you self-identify as someone who works behind the scenes, it doesn’t mean that you can’t speak in public, lead a project, or run a business.  You just need to find your comfortable spot in an uncomfortable situation.

You can succeed at anything you want. It takes diligence, of course, some serendipity, and occasional boosts from friends and family, but if you know what you want, don’t let anyone else define your capabilities.

How do you define yourself?

(Photo is in the public domain.)

4 thoughts on “Freelance Writer: Define Yourself”

  1. Pingback: Stay Motivated With The Masters – Coach Gigs from The Daily Locker Room | Motivation, the Foundation to Succed

  2. That's such an important part of why I chose to freelance. We shouldn't feel limited by how we define ourselves, because we are all so many different things at once. My job as a managing editor at a startup magazine (before I went full-time freelance) pretty much devoured all my time and all my thoughts. That's when we run the risk of jobs defining us. I wanted to be a lot more–a novelist, a writer, a good friend and wife and family member, a dedicated gym-goer, etc. Freelancing helped me better define not just my job description, but all the other roles I play in my life.

  3. Thank you for acknowledging that serendipity can and does play a role in success. Nothing is more discouraging or annoying to me than to hear people who are successful claim that "luck had nothing to do with it, I created 100% of my success all by myself."

  4. Hi, Ty, thanks for your comment. I'm sure folks who say that really believe it, but I'm not one of them! I try to keep a mindset where I am aware of opportunities, even if I'm not sure what the outcome might be. It can and does lead to plenty of dead ends, but there are those times when it works in my favor.

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