Anneke Steenkamp is a full-time freelance writer, social media manager, and copywriter based in Cape Town, South Africa. When she's not typing away at client content she's spending time with her pet dog, Zoey. Find out how she's able to work-from-home as a freelance writer.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your freelance writing journey.
After I finished my studies, I soon realized that I wanted to work for myself. I did an internship here and there and learned some valuable skills in building your brand, and marketing yourself as a product. I’ve been freelancing since 2011, and I still learning something new every day.
How did you land your first client?
I think I got a few clients at once. One is a local company, Little Pink Book which my brother owns. Another client was through a mutual contact.
Where do you find freelance jobs in Cape Town?
I’m not afraid of rejection – so I apply for almost any job that sounds relevant and contact companies that might be in need of my services. I use every platform available to me – job boards when I’m desperate, Twitter for hashtag and phrase searches, LinkedIn for industry-specific information, and then just ‘cold’ emailing companies.
How are you making money as a freelance writer?
Even though I did a few guest posts here and there, I do get paid for all my work. Some rates differ, and it took a while to increase my price, but I’m happy with the growth.
What do you believe has contributed to your freelance success?
The fact that I’m not quitting even though many people urge me to get a ‘real job.’ It’s tough to defend yourself and the stereotype of freelancers – society seems to think that we are always in our pajamas or chilling with our pets.
I believe that I will be successful, even if it takes a bit longer than it would for someone climbing the corporate ladder. Freelancing allows you to streamline your skills and expertise and create the job description you want.
What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own freelance business?
I think it has a lot to do with your personality. If you are afraid of rejection and you don’t want to embarrass yourself by approaching others – this journey might be much harder than it needs to.
Go in with a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude and don’t quit until you get what you want. It took me quite a while to stop undervaluing myself – which is the biggest downfall in freelancing.
So in a nutshell – don’t fear rejection, don’t let others define you and be open to change.
On those “don’t feel like it days,” what motivates you to keep going?
This is especially hard for freelancers because we don’t have a boss to tell us when we are slacking off. It helps to stay in contact with other freelancers and ask your support system to keep you accountable. In those first few months, you will need to establish a routine – this is something that I fought against at first- but now I understand the importance.
Although I’m working from home, there are also two other businesses being run from this location, so knowing that others around me are working motivates me as well.
If I’m feeling lazy or unmotivated, I will go work in a coffee shop or a friend’s house just as a change of scenery.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
As a freelancer, it’s quite hard to separate the two. Sometimes I find myself baking some muffins or running personal errands during work hours – but then again that’s the flexibility of freelancing.
I mostly draw up a to-do-list and try to tick off all the items before 6 pm. If I finish earlier or have a chilled workday, I might go for lunch with a friend, exercise, or catch up with my reading.
Thanks to Anneke Steenkamp for sharing her story!