Humans of TapChief -- Jyoti Agarwal

HoTC Chapter 3: Jyoti Agarwal

Reading Time: 7 minutes

It’s been nearly three years since we launched TapChief, and the journey has been fantastic. We’ve had the pleasure of serving and interacting with 86,000 plus people who signed up to our platform to find gigs and monetise their expertise. Their stories of curiosity, determination, passion, and commitment are what make us strive harder every single day. So, it is only fair we shared them with you.

For this week’s Humans of TapChief, we sat down with Jyoti Agarwal. She is a freelance content writer with nearly a decade of experience.  

We wanted to showcase her story because it is truly an inspirational one. Jyoti is from a non-literature background, even started as a software engineer, but that didn’t stop her from making the transition to writing successfully. What’s more, she managed to retain her passion for writing and continuously stay ahead of the curve. All of this while going through pregnancy and motherhood. 

Read on to learn about her journey as a content writer — her experience till now, what keeps her motivated, how she manages her motherly duties and professional ones, and more. 

About Jyoti

Jyoti is a software engineer turned content creator and marketing consultant. Presently, she works as a freelance writer with The Hindu Group and also takes up gigs on the side. 

I specialise in areas such as copywriting, editing, blogging, technical writing, story writing, journalism, PR, and strategy building for online marketing.

A glimpse into her professional career

After completing her B.Tech, Jyoti joined Wipro as a Software Engineer. She worked there for two years, but, it was becoming clear to her that she needed a change in career.

Things got so bad that at one point, the black screens with colourful codes made me feel like I was staring into the abyss. It made me realise that coding is not something I could do for the rest of my life. 

At this point, she hadn’t even considered taking up writing as a full-time career. Although it is something that came naturally to her — from contributing articles to school magazines to writing poetry — she wasn’t sure if she was good enough to turn professional.

But, pretty soon, something interesting happened. A colleague of Jyoti wanted to send a heartfelt goodbye letter as she was leaving the company. So, she asked Jyoti to ghostwrite it for her. 

The email was very well received, many of our colleagues were quite touched by it, and my friend was super impressed. And a few months later, the same friend approached me, asking if I’d like to take up a content writing role at her new company. That’s what lead me to switch to content writing.

The shift towards content writing

Jyoti feels her transition to content writing wasn’t as difficult as she thought it would be. She believes it was made easier because she was an avid reader, and also had a technical background.

Growing up, I used to read quite a lot. It helped me build a worldview about almost everything under the sun. That’s why I guess it is easier for me to work on all kinds of topics — from real estate to digital marketing.

Also, I was certainly helped by the fact that most of the companies I worked for were in the technology domain. Being a software engineer, I didn’t face too much trouble understanding technical concepts or writing about it.

Moreover, Jyoti loves to write. She feels that it gives her the platform to share her emotions and ideas with a much wider audience. 

Honestly speaking, I’ve always loved writing. I believe the written word is the best way to express your emotions, whether it is happiness, excitement, sorrow, or anxiety. 

However, this transition wasn’t completely bereft of challenges.  

Content writing came with its own set of requirements and rules. There are many things you need to be aware of — style, tone, consistency, SEO, and much more. That was the biggest challenge I faced while making the transition to content writing.

I did a lot of self-learning during this period — attended online courses, read a lot of books and articles, and spoke to experienced content marketers. This helped get upto speed quickly.

Her freelance journey and the challenges that she faced

Jyoti left her full-time content writing job after she was pregnant with her first child. And she became a full-time freelancer and started working from home. She didn’t want it to affect her career, but at the same time, she wanted to ensure she will get to spend enough time with her child.

But, her initial few months as a freelancer were fraught with challenges. She had to wade through a whole host of problems, both from a professional and personal perspective. 

For starters, I had a tough time identifying which client is fake and which one is real, and I ended up getting scammed a few times. I was part of these Facebook Groups that were meant for content writers. Clients would post their requirements in these groups regularly. And once you express your interest for a project, often, the client will ask you to write a sample article. 

However, sometimes they just vanish after you share the sample with them. Initially, I couldn’t see what’s going on, but then I went around and interacted with fellow group members. That’s when I got to know that this was a scam and I wasn’t the only one falling for it. 

After writing so many sample articles and not being paid for it, Jyoti learned her lesson and stopped trusting random requests on social media. Instead, she started relying more on her network to get projects. This helped her learn more about the nuances of freelancing, especially as to how to work with different clients and how to communicate with them.

I found it challenging to understand different client requirements and modify your writing style to match their expectations. 

Also, sometimes, you work with clients who are not clear about the objectives themselves. When that happens, you end up wasting a lot of time going back and forth.

After her first child was born, she took a break from writing for six months. However, Jyoti’s comeback to writing after this wasn’t as smooth as she thought it would be.

I found the whole process extremely hard. I had lost the flow and touch. It was so hard to concentrate, sit in one place, process my thoughts, and then, pen them down.

It was a real struggle for the next 2-3 months. I couldn’t get any work done at all. I felt exhausted and distracted every time I sat down to write.  

But Jyoti didn’t give up. She was determined to make things right. She cites that it was her passion for writing and her kids that kept her going.

HOTC expert 2

How did she turn things around?

Over time, Jyoti realised that she had to live a more disciplined life to balance her career as well as family commitments. She feels this has helped her become a much more productive freelancer and a better writer. So much so that she managed to get hired as a Freelance Writer for the Hindu Group.

My life is meticulously planned right down to every hour. I ensure that my daily schedules are on point and followed to the T. As I’ve been doing it for so long, it has become more or less a habit. 

I know precisely when to — wake up every morning, get the kids ready, drop them off at school, work on client projects (without my kids eating my head out), go to the gym, take my afternoon naps, and so on. So, technically, every minute of my life is planned. I couldn’t afford to break this schedule when working from home. 

I take my deadlines very seriously. So, if there is one coming up in the near future, nothing else matters, I have to meet it. The clients don’t care if your child is sick or not; they want the project to be completed on time.

Jyoti portfolio

She believes that, along with living a more disciplined lifestyle, her willingness to continually learn and evolve has helped her become a better freelancer. This is what led her to explore TapChief.

A friend of mine recommended me to TapChief. I checked out the platform, was quite impressed with the overall approach towards freelancing, and so I signed up. 

My experience with TapChief has been a pleasant one. I’ve worked on some exciting projects on TapChief. And the whole experience — from profile completion, applying for gigs, to working on them — has been smooth and streamlined. Moreover, the TapChief team is very professional and helpful in their communications.

The best part about TapChief for me is how the team gets in touch with relevant projects. It means I don’t have to always go out bid for projects, negotiate the terms and conditions, and so on. TapChief does everything on my behalf, and all I have to do is complete the assignment on time.

When asked about how she’s been able to get more gigs on TapChief and in general, she says that it is mostly down to her portfolio and how she’s been able to showcase it.

My TapChief profile is pretty exhaustive, I made sure every field is filled with relevant details. I think this helps the TapChief team suggest the right projects to me. Moreover, the client can see the domains and the websites that I’ve written for, and if my style and tone will fit their requirements. 

In addition to this, I’ve maintained a Google Drive where I’ve uploaded all my articles (including sample ones) and categorised it based on the domain they belong to.

When you are a freelance writer, often you will have to ghostwrite articles, which makes it hard to build a solid portfolio. So, having a folder like this helps you showcase yourself better and convince clients that you are capable of taking up the project.

Her plans for the future

Jyoti wants to become a newspaper journalist. She believes it would give her more exposure and enable her to work on topics that matter.

Jyoti Agarwal infographic

This article is part of our Humans of TapChief series, where we highlight the inspiring stories of TapChief community members who choose to live and work on their own terms.