When Sajid, one of the two speakers of LEF-03, asked my brother and me to write articles for their upcoming newsletter, my brother replied in affirmative instantly as there would have been no big fools than us to decline such a valuable offer. On my way back I started recalling everything from the beginning and it started to move like a film in front of my eyes.
The first perception
So let’s begin! The first session which I attended was an introductory session by Empower Pakistan, sponsored by The World Bank Group. Sajid stepped up and started speaking. No doubt the crowd was large and extended, but most of it didn’t have a slightest idea of what online work is. He started with the definition. I didn’t pay much attention to it as I already knew. Frankly, I lost my interest and messaged my brother,
“KYA THANDA BANDA HE! YEH HUMEN FREELANCING KESE SIKHAYEGA?” (What a sluggish person. I can’t imagine him teaching us Freelancing).
But who knew he was going to be one of the best mentors I would ever have. Later on, Sajid started showing the statistics of income generated which was indeed a jaw-dropper! And the best part of it was that the income was generated without any investment of capital. At that very moment I said to myself, “Man, I definitely have to attend this whole workshop!”
Only half an hour was left when Farhan, the second speaker, came forward and started briefing about the workshop LEF-03. He was so active, enthusiastic and full of energy that many among the crowd could be easily seen setting to do something.
Start with identifying your skills
Time flies and it did, I was short-listed and then selected for the workshop. The workshop began. The first session was on Sunday and it started around 12:30 in the noon. Farhan was the speaker and the topic covered in the first session was about identifying ones’ skills. I guess that was the most difficult part because it involved discovering oneself and knowing what to excel at. Farhan spoke continuously for hours. Even he once said, “Man I am tired now” but still he didn’t stop. He was trying his level best to clarify all the confusions generating in our minds. This was a very interactive session and both of the speakers were answering all the questions patiently and in great detail.
Create a profile around your skills
Second session was to make a profile. Sajid was the speaker in the second session and he gave a detailed description of each and every step. One thing both of them were emphasizing on was to keep everything genuine. In the whole workshop, this is what I have perceived as the best thing so far, keep everything genuine. I remember Sajid saying, “Honesty always stands out” and that is true indeed. Second thing they had their focus on was creativity and uniqueness in a freelancer’s overview and cover-letter. According to them, creativity was the key element to gain a client’s attention. Later on, it proved to be exactly the same.
The bliss of getting your first freelance work
We made our profiles and started bidding exactly following their steps. None of us were expecting that we will get a response the same day. Haris was the first to get a response. I, Aamir and Marium Malik also received a response that very day. Haris was called on stage to share something as he was very happy and had already started working on the job. He said, “I had been bidding on jobs for months and had received no reply from a single client. Before the session, it was a total disaster!” and he said that he had received a response just because of his cover letter which he wrote by following exactly the same steps taught in the session. Amir said, “My work has rocked the client’s mind!!” Marium and I felt like dancing.
We were so happy but more than us were our mentors, it could be seen by just looking at their faces. For most of us, it was our first achievement and I felt as if I have found a direction to move towards. The workshop would be this effective, nobody knew. Outcomes would be this astonishing, nobody knew. We will be this happy and satisfied, nobody knew. Everything was mind-blowing. Maryam Noor, who was also an attendee, said, “I felt this workshop will be more of something flummery and mummery but now when I look around, I look at you people (referring to Farhan and Sajid), when I look at Ismail (who was part of Empower Pakistan’s team and at the time is one of the most successful bloggers in the country) and everyone in the team I feel very motivated and can feel this is real!”
Remember the first step, identify your skills
I remember Farhan saying in the introductory session, “There are many writers here. That I can sense, but you just don’t know it”. It turned out to be true when we discovered our skills. Haris didn’t know he is talented enough to get 3 jobs in just 3 days. Marium didn’t know what to do with the job yet she took home her first 10 dollars. Even we siblings didn’t know how good of a writers we are, it was just before the workshop. But now, we know what we are and what we can become.
After the last session, on my way back it all again started moving in front of my eyes. That was the time when I felt sad, because next day there would be no session, there would be no workshop.
Our mentors indeed were one gem of a person. Let me say this. They were not mentors, they were our leaders and the workshop was a direction-finder. Now, I have an established platform to aim and strive to achieve my aim!
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