Ivana Jarikj Sousa Rocha, a graduate journalist, worked as a photographer on cruise ships. Now, while studying digital marketing at Semos, she works as a freelance journalist for CrnoBelo, while enjoying the most exciting part of her life, motherhood.
Please share with us about yourself and your work experience.
I am a graduate journalist by profession, but in 2014 I started a career working on a ship, and I worked as a photographer until March of this year. Since my husband is Brazilian, we decided to build our home in Indaiatuba, a small town in the interior of São Paulo.
During the pandemic, when all the cruisers were anchored, and I was in Brazil, in a new, unknown city, I saw an advertisement for the employment of a journalist in CrnoBelo. Thus began my collaboration with them, based on freelance. I had several topics and interviews that I had to write monthly, but without fixed working hours and strict deadlines.
As the grips of the pandemic began to loosen slowly and ships returned to sea, I also returned to my old job, as a photographer. But I continued to write about my adventures on a ship.
I decided to enroll in the Digital Marketing Academy because now that I’m on land, I knew that with a journalism degree, I wouldn’t be able to find a good job in Brazil. Although I love journalism and writing, I still had to think about my future career.
Therefore, I decided to combine my previous journalistic experience with new skills from digital marketing as a profession of the future and start to educate myself in the field of content marketing and copywriting. And it’s one of the better decisions I’ve made lately regarding my career. The course is still ongoing, one year, so for now I’m just working as a journalist for CrnoBelo and I’m studying intensively and preparing a portfolio for the next stage after finishing the Semos Academy.
Why did you decide to become a freelancer? How long have you been a freelancer?
Traveling has always been my passion, so I was always on the go, I rarely knew how to stay in one place. Now that I’m starting to build my life on land after almost ten years at sea, freelancing is my only way of earning. I still don’t know 100% Portuguese to be able to look for a job in our city, so I work from home in my free time while I dedicate myself to the course. I first started working as a freelancer in 2013 and have always been in the field of journalism. The combination of a new country, a new culture, and building a career for me meant that I had to choose a field that would allow me to work from home. I’m still discovering the Brazilian way of working and living, so freelancing is welcomed.
What is your first freelance experience?
In 2013, news, travel, and lifestyle sites began to skyrocket. So, I started writing for two American sites, one for home and design and the other for travel. I also worked in a Macedonian news agency, so as a new journalist, it was great for me. I was perfecting my journalistic craft in a Macedonian media outlet, and I was earning extra by working from home in the evenings.
After a short time, I realized that I earned better by writing for foreign sites than for Macedonian ones, so I quit and continued writing on different topics for several sites. Back then we were paid per content written, so the more I wrote, the better I was paid.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of working as a freelancer? How does freelancing as a career affect your lifestyle?
The biggest advantage for me is that I set my working hours and don’t waste extra time on trips. As a foreigner in a new country, completely different from my own and from what I am used to, the opportunity to work from the comfort of my own home is priceless.
I’m not an early riser, so the opportunity to work when I’m rested motivates me much more than when I had a strict schedule and fixed time. I feel much more refreshed and ready for any work challenge.
A disadvantage is that sometimes I’m lonely. I miss that coffee and conversation with my colleagues!
As a journalist, I continue to write, we agree on topics and ideas with the editor from CrnoBelo, so it is an excellent way of collaboration despite the time and geographical difference.
In terms of digital marketing, for now, I am working on networking and market research. I have scheduled some interviews, but mostly I am dedicated to mastering the material, finishing the projects, and preparing my portfolio. It is my strategy for a good placement in the labor market after finishing the Academy. Fortunately for me, there are many options for remote working in the field of digital marketing.
How do you organize your day as a freelancer?
I don’t have a fixed organization, because I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy, so every day is a new adventure. Apart from lectures, which are twice a week, every other obligation, study, or preparation of an interview or topic for CrnoBelo depends on the mood of the moment. Pregnancy and frivolity are a winning combination for me, especially as a first-time mother when everything is unknown, and new and I often have to take a nap. Because of a moment of inspiration, it has happened to me to stay and write all night, and to sleep through the day, or to get up early in the morning and study! That is the biggest advantage of being able to organize your working hours.
What advice would you give to women who want to become freelancers?
To be persistent and tireless! It is not easy to start, to find the perfect job or a sufficient number of clients, it still depends on the choice of career. The job market is competitive, but there are many options, they just need to find what works best for them. For me, the freedom I have, being the boss of my own time is the biggest benefit and I can’t imagine myself in an office from 9 to 17. For women who want to build a family and a career at the same time, freelancing or the possibility of working from home is great a way to complete all obligations, work and home, and to have quality time with their little ones.