Be a ‘Masala Chai’ in the World of ‘Espresso’ & ‘Latte’

Hey!

How are you doing?

I see that you are secretly reading my emails but haven’t given me proper feedback, yet.

Though I like your style of staying in the shadows (I personally love doing that too) but I would love to hear what you think about FreelanceBytes soon. (Just reply back if you have to say anything about it).

Anyway, leave that and hear this out!

So, I was watching a distasteful flick on Netflix recently and got a sudden realization. (Yes, I get ideas watching movies too, just like you). 

The story was of an Indian who settled in the US and launched a business of tea shops in the land of coffee. Everyone in the movie demotivated her using the same logic: “No one needs your product.” “There’s no market necessity” “You should try something else.” Still, she launched, failed, and rose again in the end, defeating her rival.

The movie was bad in itself but the plot line made me realize the sad state of freelancing nowadays. When I began, I barely had anything with me (Not even a laptop to call my own). I just knew I had to make it work with whatever I had and knew. I never gave a thought to what others are doing. (I barely knew any freelancer till the last year.)

Now, we have all the fancy tools, platforms, automation, communities, boot camps, workshops, webinars, and what not!

Everyone talks about growing their reach and being more visible. Hell, many even idolize people who use automation sequences, tools and platforms to be available on all platforms. 

In short, many are trying to imitate what has worked for other industries, particularly the influencer marketing world. And in the process, somehow, they’re losing their originality and creativity.

It won’t be wrong to say that the influencer culture has hijacked the freelancing community. I don’t know if you noticed this, but everyone’s trying to be an influencer. (Well, I am also guilty as charged, when I think to pursue this, at times.)

That’s the reason we see a lot of people trying to be active on multiple platforms. They want the biggest slice of the social media pie. I am in no way saying their path is wrong. Everyone’s entitled to build their own path. But it’s not for everyone.

While I was thinking all this, I realized that what should one do, if one isn’t too active online or can’t sweep the tide? Should he/she leave freelancing?

The reason I started freelancing is because I loved my freedom and the idea of being an introvert without any guilt. And while I’ve tried to become a socially-acceptable person over the years, this was not at all forced.

So, I want to say this to you: You are awesome and valuable, as you are. Don’t try to change yourself just because ‘it’s the need of the hour’.

  • Just because others are posting online, you don’t need to.
  • Just because others are using tools to automate the distribution of content, you don’t need to.
  • Just because everyone’s getting a ‘hundred thousand’ reach on a platform, you don’t need to create videos.

That’s the beauty of freelancing – you can be anyone you want to be, have your own routine and work with any business/client you want. Why dilute your identity by following ‘best practices’? Why fear exploring the offbeat path?

I’ve seen freelancers with massive social following and freelancers who are practically non-existent for the digital world. Both are earning, and both are happy in their lives.

My point is, don’t just follow, lead in your own way.

To lead, you don’t need to have a team. You can be your own leader too. I have tried to stay in the driver of my life journey through some mantras over the years. I just hope these make sense to you too:

  • Stay true to your roots: No one knows you more than you. Don’t try to be something you’re not. If you don’t like getting on calls, build a different lead qualification model or learn to identify red flags early in the conversation. If social isn’t your thing, focus on something else. If you don’t like working with a particular client, say it clearly. Don’t try to fool yourself by saying it’s just for this while.  You know what I am talking about. Right?
  • Don’t rely much on tools & automation: While tools, platforms and mediums help us a lot, don’t be overdependent on them. You never know when they backfire. Instead, focus on your strategy, goal and the process to bridge your strategy with the goal. See, automation as just the bridge. Even if it collapses, you can swim or take a boat to the other shore- towards your goal.
  • Be patient: It took me six years to be ready to write this letter to you. So, don’t rush into things you are not confident, yet. The best thing about working for yourself is that you don’t have to prove anything to your boss or anyone for that case. If you stay at it, you’ll surely succeed one day.   

Coming back to the movie I was talking about, there, the protagonist was advised not to do business at first because she was a girl, then everyone advised not to open a tea outlet in the US and finally, rivals tried to shake her off. But she did what she wanted to- she was a masala chai in the world of lattes.

I want the same from you- be yourself when others are following the popular trends. Don’t start chasing glamor just because others are looking successful or popular doing that.

Trust me you’ll be more happy and satisfied when you create your own goals and path.

Till the next time. Keep freelancing!

Your freelance companion

Anmol