Freelancing, remote work, and experience
I don’t often get a chance to directly address the readers. I’m Douglas James, and I’ve been authoring content on Bytagig now for quite some time, going on 2, nearly 3 years. It seems like only yesterday I was fiddling with a few website adjustments and initial articles.
But working with Bytagig has been a great experience, and as a job, more relevant than ever. Why? Well, as the world shifted to remote working solutions – no thanks to COVID – I’d been doing that type of work for a good while already. And, while I’m not going to pretend to be some grand expert, having done freelance and remote work for years has taught me a lot of things. I’d like to combine my time at Bytagig, and freelancing, to share some personal tips to help you adapt to a strange, but interesting, job environment.
Working at Bytagig
Here’s where the divergences start: I work with Bytagig as opposed to directly for them. That doesn’t mean I do what I want. Like any job, I have a set of goals and expectations to meet, in this case, publishing articles.
But in my line of work, I’m a freelancer (and specifically a freelance writer as you probably guessed). That means I work with a variety of clients, all of who have different needs and tasks. While they do center around authoring content, said content could be anything. For example, Bytagig has me cover topics related to IT, cybersecurity, managed service providers, and anything in the tech industry. But, a different client could have me writing product descriptions for golf clubs.
Remote working, and by extension freelancing, basically introduced me to all sorts of opportunities. And, because of that, I was put in front of different people at Bytagig (and by proxy, the different subjects involving IT and cybersecurity).
Since I’ve produced content for a professional company that has grown considerably since I tagged along, I had to keep a “recipe for success” in mind. Freelancing and remote working, you see, are different because a lot of labor is individual.
What I mean is that while there’s a boss and upper management, a lot of responsibility is up to me. I’m assigned goals, a direction for article ideas, and have expectations. But I’m not “checked on” every other hour, meaning it’s up to me to get the job done. No one is going to tell me to do the work now, I have to personally schedule my own times to start working. In freelancing and remote working, you’ve probably noticed that.
Remote working and freelancing lessons
With that brief out of the way, what amazing lessons and tricks do I have, you may wonder. Indeed, surely I’ve acquired magical knowledge which makes remote work a breeze, yes? Well, no, not exactly. Some of the key takeaways I’ve learned not only with Bytagig but as a near-decade freelancer writer are thus:
It takes a lot of personal discipline
I have to emphasize this twice: you, the individual, are largely responsible for a lot of production and work. Today, especially, that comes down to your expected tasks, security, and communication. And speaking of. . .
Communication is crazy important
Something you learn real fast in both remote working and freelance environments is just how essential communication is. Of all the things I want to emphasize, it’s keeping proper tabs open on projects, expectations, and general company health.
In remote locations, you no longer have the “luxury” of face-to-face encounters with other staff. If there’s a question, you can’t walk to Jim and flag him down for an answer. It has to go through a messaging platform. And, if there’s any confusion on said platform, you might not get a clear answer. Furthermore, how long does it take for that answer to arrive in the first place? Even with communication and management tools, you don’t know when a person will get back to you.
This unintended lag between coworkers and staff adds up, which is why clarity and consistent communication, I’ve found, are some of the biggest keys to remote working success.
And here I go with another clever segue. . .
Communication is nothing without clarity
Like I mentioned, clarity is important. Speaking with other staff means absolutely nothing if they’re not clear on goals, intent, or what you want.
In freelance writing, I’ve had a handful of jobs stop in their tracks because I couldn’t get a clear idea of what the client was after. Sometimes it was a contract that was too vague with their expectations, sometimes a language barrier, other times the client was “hard to reach.”
So if I had to stress anything in remote working and freelancing, it’s getting a clear picture, on both the client and worker side (or management and worker side).
You need a lot of patience
Personal patience helps with individual success. You have to give yourself time to adapt and learn. The world will try to rush you, and even demand you learn fast, but honestly, you have to go at your own pace. Reasonably so, of course.
In freelancing, though, I had to learn to be patient between contracts until I built my reputation up. Also, with clients, patience helped, because everyone has a different schedule. This isn’t also to insinuate you should wait around for important info or payment. If you need something, ask for it.
Stick with the ones who treat you well
If you’re in a remote working position, I chance to think at some point you may get into freelancing too. And, if you happen to dive into that world, one piece of advice I’d like to offer is to stick with clients or companies that treat you well. Guaranteed hours and pay, raises, and a friendly work environment is a lot harder to come by than you think.
In freelancing, I also learned to stick with clients (or form strong relationships) with those that are consistent with work and provide something to do.
Not everyone finds the right one, and I definitely got lucky with Bytagig. I put in the work and have been shown a lot of appreciation, which is why I like writing for them.