Remember the question: what do you wanna be when you grow up? Surely, none of us responded that we want to be freelancers. Some wanted to become doctors, architects, artists, and the most ambitious wanted to be executives or owners. No way a freelancer. What would your parents say? Get yourself a steady job, have a steady income, so you can get a bank loan! … Right?
Today we tell the stories of two people who, most likely, did not want to become freelancers when they were little, but who didn’t refuse an extraordinary challenge when it appeared.
Stefania Trandafir and Dragos Bunea are the superheroes of this post, with 7-8 years experience in freelancing.
Stefania worked in Real Estate when the crisis hit. She had to find another way. Curiosity pushed her to take some courses on how to make money from Social Media. So, she was introduced to the concept of affiliate marketing.
At 48 it’s hard to find a job, nor the idea of working for someone else didn’t please me. I started learning affiliate marketing from online courses, my mentor was Chris Farrell. Affiliate marketing means you do research all the time, in a word: to learn. Stefania
Ever since he was a teenager, Dragos was the go to guy for laptop/ computer problems. In college he took various jobs in order to maintain a steady income, but after three years he decided it was time for a change.
I dreamed of being my own boss, to do what I like and only in the afternoons because I disliked having to wake up every morning and going to work. Now, I wake up early in the morning only when I’m on vacation. Of all things I tried as a freelancer, affiliate marketing matched perfectly. The ability to collaborate with shops and companies in various niches, freedom to try new things, to innovate in online marketing made me to place a long-term bet on affiliate marketing. Dragos
Ok, you decide to become a freelancer you say. And then what happens? How do you work? The answer? However you want!
Stefania is a morning person, she wakes up at 6 am and with a clear head she starts writing the first article of the day, with all the research done the previous day. Then she monitors the advertising. She works about 6 to 10 hours a day and on the weekends she focuses on research and learning.
I love to write and I’m really happy that I can share ideas and experiences with my readers. Some articles take some time to bring in a “form” that I like. In the meantime I write down all ideas that come to mind, to gather materials for future articles. During the day I begin two or three articles that I finish in the coming days. I hate to rush things, so if I feel I lack creativity I’m definitely going to do something that I really like and I instantly disconnect. Stefania
Dragos, on the other hand, is more productive in the evening. He starts his day at about 10 am, he checks his websites, ads, messages and reads some news. After lunch he goes to the gym. In the evening he returns to his computer and continues to work.
I don’t have a preset schedule, I never did like to work “by the hour”, I believe that this is irrelevant because you can edit 5 average articles in an hour or you can write a great article in the same interval. However, to answer your question, I’d say I work about 30 to 35 hours per week. Dragos
Probably for most of you, the transition from being a student to the “working man” was translated into the dramatically cut back of vacation days from 4 months to 21 days per year. In freelancing making a vacation request is quite difficult, because you have to address it to yourself. Stefania decided to take lots of vacations, she goes and visits her children, in Doha or Dubai, for 2-3 months a year.
I can go to Thailand or China and work from there … being on holiday. I’m really inspired when I get in such places. 4 years ago I decided to leave Bucharest and move to Transylvania. Freelancing made it possible, I could move without worrying about losing my job. I wish I would move more frequently, stay 4-5 years in various cities. Stefania
Dragos decided that weekend getaways do not increase productivity. So, he increased the number of vacation days.
Two years ago I began to appreciate more the relaxing moments so I invest as much as possible in these moments. Last year I had four vacations, and this year I planned at least one more, in fact, the past days we were making plans to go away in the first part of this year. Dragos
Freelancing means you work your own hours, how you want, and especially where you want, as long as you have a laptop, an internet connection and a permanent desire to learn. Another advantage discovered by Dragos is that the myth “Work more, get more” is not a myth after all, but a reality.
All unknown road have some challenges for which it’s best to be prepared. The lack of a stable income can be a problem for those who don’t do well with finance management. There are times when things don’t work out as you planned, and apart from the lack of income, you get the feeling that nothing works and whatever you do is wrong.
With time you learn to adjust, I learned to put money aside, so I’m always covered from a financial point of view. The second thing is lack of confidence. Those moments when nothing goes your way, you don’t have clients, you don’t earn anything and think about whether it was a poor choice to become a freelancer. These are hard times, but if you get over them you certainly become more confident and this counts. Dragos
In addition, other unfortunate situations may arise, such as problems with websites, instability of some advertisers or unfair competition.
I had several unpleasant moments. I can’t choose one in particular, these things have happened to me year round. The important thing is to quickly get over them. Unpleasant moments are not worth preserved in memory. Dragos
Although we always live in a constant competition with others, we often forget that our biggest competitor is ourselves. We rarely remember to compare ourselves from what we are today to the ones we were yesterday and to contemplate and appreciate how we grew and learned, and just to enjoy the victories.
The greatest success as a freelancer was when I learned to build my first functional website, from beginning to end. Stefania
The greatest success as a freelancer can be classified as a 55 euro investment in Facebook Ads campaign which ended up with a ROI of over 2,200 euro in a very short time. Dragos
Every beginning is difficult, every change can inspire fear. But no experience worth sharing will ever start with “It was super easy …”
It was a radical change in my life and I don’t think it occurred by chance. The whole process of going through affiliation was a beautiful experience, full of emotions and attempts. At first I gave it up twice a month, then I’d start again. The beginning is not easy. I was like a dry sponge that absorbed everything it learns. I remember sitting up to 14 hours at the computer, trying, trying … and finally succeeding. It is a very complex job where you have to have knowledge in many fields: wordpress, hosting, SEO, photoshop, social media, adwords, etc. Stefania
Freelancing is a challenge. A challenge to a great adventure.
I have been on my own for 8 years now, I had good periods and less good times. I would have probably regretted it if I had not had the enormous courage to follow my dream. It wasn’t easy and it will not always be easy on your own, you are the only person on a ship at sea. You are simultaneously the commander, mechanic, deck officer and sailor. You will encounter calm sunny days or stormy ones as well. The important thing is to love this lifestyle. I can sum it up in just five words: I’m living my dream. Dragos
Do you miss the weekdays when you got to stroll in the park? Having a weird feeling in your stomach as you go through articles of people going around the world? All you have to do is dare.
If you don’t love what you do, don’t fool yourself that it will get better, it won’t. Live your dream today, tomorrow may be too late. It will be hard, very hard sometimes, but if you love what you do, you can’t fail. Remember that you must first believe that you can, and if you will, anything is possible. Dragos
Stefania and Dragos enjoy tremendous freedom, they are doing what they love and they have already learned to turn any disadvantage or hindrance into a learned lesson.
We thank them for sharing their experiences and we wish them success!
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