Nguyen LNP - Vietnamese freelance writer | Vietnamese freelancer | Web design, writing, digital marketing services

Freelancing & Mental Health

Staying healthy is often referred to physical health in common sense but mental health is also as important and is necessary to take care for, and should never be neglected. But the concept of mental health seems to be quite abstract in comparison to physical health.

There sure is a lot of research has been done on the topic but everyone seems to pay more attention to and discuss more on physical health like how to keep form, how to have nice body, ways to cut fat, etc. not to mention acknowledge mental health’s importance enough to take action to keep one’s mind healthy.

To keep our mind healthy, we can’t just tell it to stay positive as we cannot simply avoid running into problems, staying away from frustrated situations, we cannot make our mind work the way we want just by saying “Hey buddy, let’s have a good mood and be nice.” And to me, the solution is taking action in advance, “work out” with my mind to get it ready for everything, not just wait to react when things happen.

And in order to do that, I take up new hobbies to keep my mind busy outside working hours. Some choose reading books, some favor playing board games, solving puzzles etc. and I choose Photography. As a form of visual art, it can as well amuse me and help me develop new skills I can put into use. After spending hours writing, crafting words and sentences, please my mind with something visual is a good thing to do. To take photos, I have to walk around, to take a look at everything around and many writing prompts can suddenly come up which is good for work. And walking is also a sports activity which is good for my physical health.

To me, hobbies do not simply keep our mind from being idle, keep us staying positive, hobbies can help us sharpen our mind and in many other good aspects. Overall, it’s good for our mental health.

I want to hear about your hobbies!

Nguyen LNP - Vietnamese freelance writer | Vietnamese freelancer | Web design, writing, digital marketing services

When I First Got Started

Around late 2014, when I had to wait for my academic diploma on legal to be officially issued, I got bored and decided to turn my back on the field I had been studying for more than four years to start with something new.

I applied for VNG as a collaborator to help a team there with content creation and community management. I got in easily thanks to my skills, partly, and my experience with a video game called “DotA”, mainly, as the product they were launching based directly on this DotA game. Anyway, while working there, I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours writing content and copy for websites, social media outlets, reports, etc.

At that time, the “content is king” idea was shaping up here and there in the business. I would see articles on Reddit, sites like Adweek now and then regarding how crucial content was. I figured that my contribution was vital. I started taking the craft more seriously, attended workshops, events. And eventually, I fell in love with writing.

I quitted VNG after two years and decided to build everything from the ground up to become a writer or as an English Vietnamese translator. The ultimate goal in my head then was to write a book, commonly loved by people, with my name on it. I think I don’t have to detail how tough it is with this career path, but here are some of my experiences I want to share.

The first thing I knew I had to do is setting up a website to introduce myself. I did it, the site is a bit outdated for now though. It was built on HTML5, using an Adobe Muse template bought on ThemeForest or CreativeMarket. As getting traffic for it was already a tough task, let alone striking a deal from there. I had to join freelancing platforms like Freelancer, Upwork looking for opportunities. I got the first one after one month searching, applying. Then more offers kept coming more often.

Most of the gigs I got from the platforms were English to Vietnamese (my mother tongue) and vice versa translation – a skill I had to list on my profile to increase my chance of landing a job, for a living, after completely quitting a full-time office job.

I got overly excited when the first ‘real writing’ job came. It was a ghostwriting one, I wrote under an alias, client’s choice – “Clark Kent”. After a while, feeling like I was underpaid and ghostwriting was not so exciting, I dropped the contract to get a new one. This time, I could choose my one ‘Author Name’ – Nguyen LNP. The first article published under my pen name made me proud I shared it on my Facebook.

After around fifty articles, I had to take a break as it was stressful, like any stressful full-time job – 5 articles a day, must be done within a limited period. Then I came back, worked with the client a bit more, when I felt like the articles – which were published online, always with my name at the header section – were good enough for me and for my portfolio to land some better gigs, I chose to leave the project. Soon after that, the articles disappeared. The website is still there, just that my writing is not there anymore.

Well, at least I got paid and got to practice my craft for quite a while.

Moving on, I knew I had to settle down with a long-term project. I still work on it until now, two years later, but there is quite a problem. Though on this project, I can write as much as I want to, my creation belongs to the “grey” area, so I can’t talk about it freely. The client pays nicely, and I have been doing a lot for them as a key team player, but the work makes me feel incomplete.

Last month, after a long break from work, I started practicing and applying for more serious writing projects. After four years from when I first got started, I feel confident enough to take the first step for my’ big dream’.

Nguyen LNP - Vietnamese freelance writer | Vietnamese freelancer | Web design, writing, digital marketing services

Industry 4.0 and Freelancing

Industry 4.0 has already passed the starting line and AI has started taking over human’s place in some work sectors. That’s the truth. It is said that the service sector and industrial sector are the most heavily affected sectors. Jobs in factories, related to assembly lines, or in banks where some works are repetitive and based on sets of rules which require no human judgement. Or even jobs like barista or chef, recent news show that labs and universities are working on various kinds of AI that can do human jobs efficiently and that corporations are more than willing to replace human workforce with robots, AI to cut costs.

But the real thing we should care about here is whether if it would affect the freelancing world. The exact answer is yet to be known but I would give it a Yes and would like to make an analysis of how Industry 4.0 could affect the world of freelancers.

As more and more human jobs in some sectors are going to be taken over by AI, more and more people will be in need of new work opportunities, will seek alternative sources of income, and, we can say that, doing freelance jobs using online platforms is a viable solution.

Why? Because it requires little to no transportation, people can work online conveniently from their home. Some may try to argue by saying that it’s unlikely the case as people can’t do jobs they don’t have skills for. But then there are always simple freelance jobs and more than that, they can start studying, acquiring new skills. With clear goals and determination (just like how we started) they definitely can start online freelancing in no time.

The problem is, for the newcomers and also for veteran freelancers, more people in the fields meaning pitching will become more competitive, finding a job will be harder. Everything will change when suddenly there are many more freelancers start getting into the market at once.

That’s very likely to be the case and it’s high time we started acting to adapt to the changes, maybe by acquiring new sets of skills, new knowledge pertaining to Industry 4.0, to machines, robots, AI while also sharpening our skill sets to make sure that we would stay in the market.

All in all, to go along with Industry 4.0, we act, not just react.