If you look past the more popular writers online, you will see that there are lots of talented wordsmiths out there that do not get enough credit or are just silently doing their own thing successfully.
Jawad Khan may be one or the other, if not both.
One of my personal favorite writers, Jawad has made a living as a freelance writer for Writing My Destiny. I got hold of his awesome posts on NicheHacks (some of which you can find below), which prompted me to reach out to him for this interview. Really stand-up guy, with great insights about marketing and writing that laid the foundation to what I consider a pretty successful freelancing career.
What was the moment that made you decide to become a professional blogger?
To be honest, it wasn’t a particular moment. I had been reading and learning about the different ways blogging and online marketing could be used to generate a reliable income stream. The more I learned the more I realized that freelance blogging is the safest starting point since it not only gives you a healthy income, but also allows you to experiment with other money making models. I didn’t come to this conclusion in one day. It took me a few months to finally make the move.
Before you started blogging, what were you doing as a professional?
I was working as a Project Manager for a B2B eCommerce portal, TradeKey.com. I was primarily responsible for managing the end to end execution of marketing and sales related projects that involved technical IT development.
What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome as a beginner blogger?
I wasn’t sure where to start. There was a lot of different advice on the web and as a beginner I couldn’t decide which path to choose. Secondly, even when I did choose a path, I had to grind initially and land several guest posts on high authority blogs before clients started noticing me and considering my applications seriously.
Any horror client stories you’d like to share with us and how you dealt with the situation?
I have been pretty lucky in that regard, so I’m yet to encounter a horror client.
Which blog post you have written that you feel the proudest?
Hard to answer that really. I’ve written hundreds of posts over the last 2-3 years. When I’m publishing them, I feel they’re great. But when I look back at them in a few months, I see a lot of improvement areas. That probably means I’m learning quickly lol.
But here are a few that I like.
Who among your blogging peers do you consider the best and why?
I’m a fan of Tom Ewer (leavingworkbehind.com) and Bamidele Onibalusi (WritersinCharge.com). I found a lot of help on their blogs when I was starting and I think they are great examples for anyone starting out s a freelance blogger.
Other than that I keenly follow Neil Patel, Byan Harris, Glenn Alsop and several other bloggers.
What do you think separates yourself from other good bloggers out there?
I think every blogger has his own style and over a period of time he develops his own following if he’s consistent. I’ve made a conscious effort to focus on two things in all my blog posts
a) My posts are not just my opinions, they are backed by solid data evidence that gives credibility to my arguments
b) I make them very actionable
My university degree in marketing and professional experience also help me add valuable real world examples and experiences to my content.
List down the blogging tools that you use and explain why people should use them for their own blogs.
I don’t have a long list of tools but here are the ones that I regularly use
- Trello – for project management
- MailChimp – List building
- MS Word, Google Docs and Google Sheets
- Canva for creating images
- Buffer – for social media scheduling
- TwitterFeed – for automatic Tweets
How “successful” would you consider your blog?
Success depends on your objective. When I started my blog, my objective was to get freelance blogging clients and use it as a sample. I haven’t written for my personal blog for more than 1 year now. But I still regularly get clients from it. So in those terms, I believe it’s quite successful.
But I haven’t really focused on growing it too much. May be I’ll do that in the coming year.
What do you think are the upcoming blogging trends people need to watch out for?
I think…Visual content and email list building are only going to become more important in the coming years. Click To Tweet
Plus, I think a lot of the general opinion based blogging advice that you out there won’t be able to exist in the long run. The readers are becoming more informed and they like to see solid evidence for every tip you share.
If there’s any one advice that you would say to a starting blogger, what would it be?Focus on building your brand. Don't consider your blog as just a content hub. Click To Tweet
Make it your branding and marketing engine and use it to power your business. At the start, get your name on as many authority blogs as you can. Write high-quality guest posts, lots of them. Learn from the best in your niche and avoid shortcuts. This is a real business, and it needs hard work.