Folasade, Ghost Writer

Omofolosade Guavabean

Hi, my name is Folasade and I live in Lagos, Nigeria.

I started my teaching career tutoring in after-school classes and I also led adult classes in English language; all whilst attending local workshops and training in performing arts!

I received my professional training in Art at Penn Foster Career School International, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I had a total of eight years’ teaching experience before becoming a freelance writer.

What do you do?

I’m a Ghost Writer. I write for other people without claiming ownership for the content.

How did you become a freelancer?

Being a book lover who reads a lot, writing comes naturally to me. In 2015, I started collecting and assembling my old short stories. I sent them to a few publishing houses, but was rejected. On the side, I had a few people ask that I proofread for them.

In 2016, a family member who had written a young adult fiction book in Norway asked that I read his book and share my thoughts. I ended up writing captions from the book for social media handles and that’s where it all started.

Why did you become a freelancer?

I actually didn't plan on leaving my job, but one of my kids had complications at birth and needed a series of surgeries to get better. I resigned from my teaching job to care for him. It was a very sad and painful period for me; writing was the only thing that kept me sane and helped me maintain hope that things would get better.

Where did you find your first paid freelancing job?

I got my first paid job on Upwork within a few months of signing up.

What expectations did you have going into this kind of job? And how has it been the same or different from what you expected?

To be honest, I thought it would be easy. I thought that people would read my bio and give me a shot straightaway. I got rejected quite a number of times after sending in sample work. For some jobs, I just wasn't qualified, mostly because I’m a non-native English speaker.

It’s a fact that the market is very competitive and maybe there are a lot of mediocre workers who have damaged the chances for some of us. So my expectations have really been watered down.

What’s your favorite thing about freelancing/working from home?

The flexibility and the fact that I get to be in control of my own time and use it to the fullest.

What's your LEAST favorite thing about freelancing/working from home?

The endless wait to get noticed by clients.

I mean you see a job post and send in your bid/proposal and wait and wait for the message from the client.

Sometimes I hear myself saying, “Hey there, hire me. I’m fit for your job.” while I keep going over the job post to see whether applications are closed yet. The other thing that can be very tough is the competition.

How long did it take for you to feel like a "successful" freelancer. Until you were able to pay your bills regularly without worrying?

I think a year ago in 2017, since I realized I had to open up to local jobs as well.

How did you price your services when you were just starting out?

At first I wasn’t sure how to go about it.

It was difficult because I didn't want to over-price or under-price myself so I did some research around what freelancers who were just starting out were charging and I applied similar rates.

What was your biggest struggle when you were just starting out?

My biggest struggle was to hold onto my values, to bring a job alive and not bend my principles. In the words of Stephen Davies, "Your value shouldn’t be judged (or priced) by how many hours you’re prepared to work, but on the outcomes of the work you’re doing.”

What do you know now, that you wish you knew back then?

I was afraid of being turned down.

But now I know that whenever that occurs, the client doesn't need the kind of energy I possess and so I'll wait for client who’s the right fit to come along.

What's your favorite way to find new clients and job opportunities? What worked the best for you?

I mentioned earlier that a family member who lived in Norway had asked for me to proofread his books. I always offer to do proofreading at no cost to close friends and relatives and this has gotten me a lot of job referrals.

I make use of my social media handles as well as writing creative posts through which many people have sent direct messages to inquire further about what I do.

What's one BIG lesson you learned the hard way on your freelancer journey?

Never doubt yourself or your abilities, nor give in to fear. There is a tendency to do so the moment you are getting to know your client, especially if you think you might get the job. The minute you allow the fear or doubt to seep in, the client can smell it even if there's a screen between you two.

How do you stay motivated when work is tough or there aren’t enough jobs coming in?

I just use that time to do the things I enjoy. I love to read (currently reading a Gerald Seymour book: Traitor's Kiss) and write my own stories. I watch movies too, and sometimes paint.

If you met a new freelancer who wanted to get into your line of work, what advice would you give them?

I would be sure to let the new freelancer know that there is competition but what sets you aside is the consistency of your work, and that they should prepare for disappointment but never to give up nor compromise their values in any way.

Any tips or tricks for working with difficult clients?

The trick for me is to get a hang of what the client wants, with lots of patience. Why? Some clients aren’t entirely sure what they want (even if they tell you they are) or are not so good with words. So to understand exactly what they’re after you need to communicate daily with them.

Other types of clients know what they actually want but will nonetheless try to test your patience and expertise in your work, so you just have to be able to read each client as they come and know and be ready for whatever temperament they bring.

Now that you've experienced all the ups and downs of being a freelancer, would you go back to a regular 9-5 job?

Maybe if I was offered a 9-5 that still afforded me my freedom and flexibility I would consider it, but until then I am totally happy with my freelancing work.

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