Qudsia Ehtram is one of those remarkable personalities who give up on their well-settled lifestyle to live their dream, to become what she thinks is her ultimate goal; to become a writer. Qudsia is a living example in the modern world where we underestimate Language and Literature.
She quit her job as a facilitator and restarted her career as a freelance writer.
Her journey is a reflection of sheer hard work and commitment to her dream; as it is rightly said, “a goal without a plan is just a wish“. Not only is she the CEO of her own company but she also now provides training and courses.
During our interview with her, one of the biggest lessons highlighted was to leave your comfort zone to achieve what you desire.
Tell us a little about your love for words?
“Well, I think I have been in love with words for as long as I can recall, my mother used to tell me that I used to talk and rhyme as a kid, and I used to state the obvious as well, for which I think I cannot blame myself as I was an amateur. But yes, I used to write a lot of poems since I was a kid, which were pretty lame I think when I read them now.
When our family used to sit and mingle I was the one who sit in a corner and write all my thoughts in a notebook. I think I am designed to write only.”
How do you recall those days when you started your career as a freelance writer?
“I was an experienced teacher at that time, even used to train new teachers, but I was unsatisfied cause I always wanted to be known for my writing. When I quit my job and restarted my life five years back, I was all alone and was being paid which was not even considered an income.
I started with writing articles, content for websites for a long time then I took the next step and started writing eBooks. I would sell the copyrights obviously. And now by the grace of Allah! I am half way done with my own eBook which will be published later this year.”
What do you think is the secret of your success?
“I started this journey alone with not much clients but I was lucky to get a client based in the UK. He acknowledged my work that got me more clients of the same region, so I think it‘s all about presenting the quality work and rest of the things do make their way out.
The next step just kinda falls into place, I finally realized that I have to counter my fear, I have to counter failure. I was scared of giving exams, so I started with short online courses and recently completed a comprehensive course of SEO writing. So,
What is your source of motivation?
“My nana (grandfather) was my first source of motivation. Although many people had faith in me but he was the first to polish my skills and bloom the love of words in the most unconscious way, in Persian, Arabic and English languages.
In the late 90’s, my nana got a desktop PC and an internet connection at his place so he made a deal with me that if I teach him how to use the internet and he will teach me English language. Courtesy to this *win-win* agreement, I improved and learned to value wisdom in most humble manner.”
Once you decided to take the U-turn in your life have you ever regret your decision?
“No. I was well aware of the fact that my bank balance will not be the same once I will be on my own, initially it was my love of writing that kept me going even though I was being paid very less.
Later I got MUGGED. And yes I’ll prefer the word ‘mugged’ and not ‘ripped off’ because people actually take your work and vanish; which is very common in the freelancing world. So, that was quite a blow for me. I had second thoughts of quitting my dream and get a job, but a very close friend of mine advised to stay strong as teaching may be safe but it will not bring that satisfaction in my life.
5 years have passed now and I have learned to differentiate between real clients and muggers.”
Related: An Interview with 3-Idiotz Pakistan
Speaking of getting ripped off by the frauds what advice will you give to the new ones? How can they prevent themselves from being mugged
“I now implement a few things before accepting work from the client.
- Always talk on phone or Skype.
- These frauds often don’t mention their name instead they will come up with a fake name for instance *companyXYZ* and they will prefer to be referred by that name.
- I make sure I have all the contact information of that client so later I can report or at the very least warn others.
But I always consider it as a lesson now and I made myself roughly believe on this one saying that my mother used to say a lot while I was growing up:
it’s a Bollywood song which means:
If you keep on repeating this mantra it will surely do wonders in your life.
Tell us a little about your company?
“It a month old baby right now, CWSEO (Certified writers and SEO Services). We are a team of 15 writers.
He plays a very important part in our company and right now I can say he is the biggest source of motivation for me as well. It’s quite remote, I’m in Karachi and he lives in Peshawar but that’s the perk of freelancing that no boundaries can stop you from working.
Right now we are focusing more on writing but we also provide Web developing and graphic designing services.”
What is your vision as a writer?
“My vision broadly as a writer is “to facilitate the youth of my country and bring them on top of the writing world. Pakistanis are surely doing a great job in the technical field of freelancing but there is a long way to go to top it off in the writing field. ”
I am also planning some quick fixes as well, one of my near future plans is to start training via webinar so that maximum people are facilitated and trained.
I wish that Pakistani comes up with new and great writers just like the old times. Language is a very important element of any society and today it is taken for granted.
As for the training for my company is concerned, we do offer internship programs before hiring. I love to see my students growing and improving. I feel extremely proud when I see them successful in the freelancing world.”
Being able to successfully counter your fears to live your life’s dream, what advice will you give to our readers?
“WHAT IF” scares us the most, I know a lot of people with great skills have ideas but they are all scared of WHAT IF; here you have to make the big decision and stick it in your mind that: trust yourself and take calculated risks.
One thing I would like to mention here is that you should always be ready to face your fear. I know it’s easier said than done; still the world of possibilities open up the minute you attempt to counter your fear.
Let me just quote a small example here, when we learn to ride a bicycle first we do it on training wheels, next, we learn to balance it on our own. All we need is a push, sometimes we fall but that is the only way to master balance.
Similarly, I would repeat that you have to kill your comfort zone to see the wonders of life. It’s not a pretty picture on its own but the gain will always be worth the ugliness.”
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