The girl once dreamed of becoming a successful freelancer. Growing up, she made millions, followed her dreams, and lived happily ever after. There was no turning back. It’s too bad things can’t be that simple. In reality, isn’t the fantasy much different? our own story is also unlike anything we had ever imagined. Born to a strong mother who always encouraged me to believe in myself, we somehow gravitated to the societal norms that portray happiness among girls as finding her soulmate and marrying her.
I wouldn’t give up despite being a single mom.
In response, we began dreaming about it. In 2013, we became a Dulhan when we turned 24 and lived our dream. we know, sounds funny, right? I’ll join you in your laughter. our life was about to get a lot easier now since we finished our final goal, but fate had other plans for me. We were barely 18 when our parents separated. A short time later, we moved in with our grandparents. Despite the care we received from relatives, there was a void that we could never fill.
I thought we were finally going to end our hardships when we met our soulmate after going through some serious financial issues. At the time of our marriage, we had already joined a consultancy in the UK. Our career as a freelancer was a disaster after we worked for a conman as a freelancer. We worked all night every day for one whole month, with no pay. We were scammed immediately after starting as a freelancer. We decided to avoid freelancing in the future after a disastrous experience.
When we worked part-time as a content writer for the consultancy firm and were married, life seemed to go smoothly at that time. During our first month of marriage, we became pregnant, kept working from home, and finally took maternity leave a month before our due date. The moment we held our newborn, we took a break from work, i.e., promised never to work again so that we could fully enjoy motherhood and wifehood. While quitting work for good, a new challenge arose.
You can’t rest so easily, Sharoon! I’ve got more work to do.
I obliged, of course. our husband asked me to resume our career when our son was three months old. It was not easy. We accepted his offer as our duty as a wife. We moved on from working as a part-time writer to becoming a full-time writer while he quit job after job and business after business. In the end, this meant we worked around 8 hours at our job, usually with our son in our lap, did a lot of housework, caring for our husband and son when necessary, and barely slept at night.
Then, when things were getting tough, we had to deal with emotional and physical abuse in our marriage. It made sense to me because, after all, aren’t Pakistani women expected to suffer every assassination undertaken by the ‘Majazi Khud’?’’ Khud’?’’ Khad?’ After all, the woman keeps the house together (ghar you aurat sambhalti hai na.) In our freelancing career, how did we get started?
In the early days of our freelance career, our husband suggested that we join freelancing platforms. At first, we worked with Upwork and found a couple of clients. The consultancy firm required me to work full-time, and we also managed client projects from Upwork, so we worked over 12 hours a day. It became even more difficult on certain days when we were beaten. We remember that it was in 2014.
In the first few months, our freelance client relationships grew stronger, and we began making twice as much as we were making at our previous job. Due to our sense of business closing, we made a very wise decision at the right time. A few months later, the Pakistan operations of the company closed. In our life, abuse progressed as well. The situation of our finances improved when we worked 20 hours a day. During this time, he was subjected to horrific abuse, including beatings and threats of divorce.
Angry at ‘log kya Kahen age, we devoted ourselves totally to our work and son. Due to all the trauma we faced every day. We weren’t aware of growing our clientele base or increasing our skill. A few of our projects on Fiverr had brought in around $200 by that time. The average monthly income we earned on Upwork was about $1000.
Since we were working with him full-time, we lost interest in freelancing sites, as the client who gave me regular work directly contacted me. The Upwork platform suspended our profile because we applied for more projects than we were being selected for. The Upwork platform was flooded with content writers. After that, we gave up on Upwork. Feeling discouraged but not hopeless, we devoted all our energy to the Kenyan client who offered me regular work. our company began to hire writers, mainly females. The majority didn’t have the consistency and grit needed for long-term success. There were even those that copied from others, so we had to let them go.
our supposedly better half kept piling even more responsibilities on me by that point, so we were already holding the bulk of our household’s finances. The burden that unimaginable abuse brought to our soul made that okay. we realized how parties like jail existed when Thapar turned into kicks, punches, jabs, or slaps. The pain in our knees began to trigger when we had been kicked in the house to the point that we were falling as we held our toddler. He was three months old. We realized we must live with this trauma for the rest of our life after being dragged from one corner to another and threatened with divorce. As a result, we let it continue. It was our magazine Khuda’s habit to beat and abuse me whenever he felt like it. We have endured various forms of abuse.
We remember him saying to be clear and simple that if we hadn’t had a child with him, he would have murdered me. We remember nothing else about that. We continued to breathe despite threats, violence, and harassment. He breathed heavily. Despite the pain, we smiled a fake smile, and we endured it all. The support of our son during that time and the job we had kept me sane. During those difficult times, they provided us with strength and hope. The toxic relationship we was in was a toxic one, and at one point, we was ready to kill ourself. We would silently, and sometimes out loud, pray to Allah Allah for me to die in a car accident after dropping off our son at school.
I drove for a few days without knowing where we were going. We hated opening the door when we first returned to our apartment because we knew our tormentor was about to dish out another garland of abuse, blame, and taunts. There was also infidelity in the equation, so it does not end here. He confronted me over his other relationship, telling me we were to blame because, yeah, we did not give him enough time. our family’s financial responsibilities were more than 70 to 80% of our responsibilities. The man imposed it on me simply because he couldn’t handle it. There had been gaslighting and narcissism by our husband.
It became quite painful to have our son slapped, jabbed, and harassed daily after enrolling him in a good A-list school and managing our household expenses. It would never be possible to fix something inside me that had been shaking by the punch we received during maghrib after we had broken our fast. The tenth time he apologized had been a few hours ago. There had been no change. The fact that he allowed this person to ridicule me, humiliate me, and harass me, was our fault. The disrespect he showed me was our fault for not respecting ourself. At that moment, all the lessons in the books we wrote about being your friend and loving yourself became vividly clear to me. Your love for yourself is essential. It is essential to respect self-determination.
Confidence is key.
Become awake, Sharoon, become awake! It’s not a good day for you if you aren’t having a good day. We wish you good luck! Best wishes! The walls of our head were collapsing. It was crushing me to our core. The moisture in our eyes never stopped. But as we did, our stance didn’t change. After the trauma was over, we were free. our relationship with the parasite ended. We have finally completed the constant escalation of abuse we experienced. In addition,weI were freed from our past pain, agony, and mental wounds. We put ourselves first upon realizing we had to take care of ourselves if we wanted others to value me in any way.
Thus, we ended our toxic marriage by throwing in the towel. The tormentor took care of all the house expenses on his own while we managed them all. It happened last year. It was a tough time in that period, however. our depression was severe then. We had never felt more alone than we did when our son, 4, lived in a house that we rented. Two little eyes observed me as we wanted to fall, but we stood up confidently and resolved to continue our journey without a doubt. We stood up with faith in Allah, and we demonstrated our skills with our actions.
In the meantime, we began working with Oxford Creative Hub on a contract basis. Initially, we joined them as a freelancer, but they hired me as their full-time employee when they liked our work. They paid me well. We used to make 1lac a month three years ago, but the hours grew insane. To spend more time with our son, we had to compromise our career. In 4 months, we became full-time freelancers after leaving our job.
There was no easy way to do it. In the past,weI didn’t have enough money to pay for our son’s class fee, feed him food, and have had to compromise all our wishes to do so. A day later, a tire burst on our car, our son was hungry, and we barely had $3 in our wallet. This was the point when we felt I’d hit our low point. To sleep, we fell on our bed and cried for hours. The situation was simply beyond me. The depression we were experiencing was so intense that we could barely function. We had a client who offered regular work, but he did not raise the rate.
Nevertheless, we were not able to give up.weI swam to the shore that fateful day. By improving our relationship with our son, we loved ourself more and healed from the trauma. We also began looking for better clients through networking and back to freelancing platforms. The results weren’t that good, so we spent some time using Facebook groups. The UK-based company that pays me PKR100,000 per month was introduced to me this way. A woman entrepreneur, Tehmina Chaudhary, also ran a social movement group, Connected Women. We are a volunteer for a grassroots organization in Pakistan that supports women professionals and entrepreneurs. When we first attended their meet-ups, we wished we could join as a team member
. In addition, we also began volunteering to tell stories to kids and became quite adept at it. The chance to contribute to a project as a voiceover storyteller attracted our attention. They continue to hire me only when they need our warm, loving voice. Their words are in this; we can’t bear to hear our voice) we were a full-time single mom as well as a managing home and content writer. our wounds certainly became evident when we gave back to the community in any way. A 100% scholarship enabled me to enroll in MBA in October 2019. We did our MBA for free inshaAllah with only some lab fees we could afford, while our son went to a school where the tuition fees were 21k per month.
The days when we took classes, finished client work in between, and rushed home to pick up our son from school, then returned to college for another lecture with our son by our side seem so long ago. The professors supported me greatly, allowing our son to come to class with me several times. In addition to our coursework, submitting client projects, attempting quizzes, and taking care of our son’s needs, there were days when we could barely sleep at night. In the car right before lectures, we worked many times. In the past few weeks, we have woken up every morning feeling even more restless than usual, and we have not typed until the teacher came to class.
Professor Tehmina, who kept pointing out our potential during our college days, was crucial to raising our self-esteem during those days. We were gradually able to put together the pieces of our self-image, and as a result, become more accepting of ourself. Then Covid-19 shook things up. Just as everything was looking up, it happened.
Now we have to homeschool our child, work from home, and manage our life and parents around the world. It wasn’t easy, but we managed. We also worked on fantastic projects thanks to Covid-19, which brought me some great clients. Things improved financially, and we were able to strengthen our connections. To find high-paying content writing projects, we began networking more online, following people on social networking sites and joining online communities. The first time we submitted our thesis, we lost hope. In a way, it was overwhelming. We felt like we couldn’t handle everything, but we persisted.
A 3.94-grade point average and a perfect thesis led me to graduate with an MBA degree. In our celebratory spirit, we decided to try another freelancing platform, People Per Hour. Fortunately, we received a call from a company founder in Austria looking for help with his project. We are employed in the Marketing department in our position at the company, and we are paid as we choose. As a team, we are also working to improve the lives of Pakistani women by preventing and fighting gender-based violence and discrimination. The company, now known as Rising Above Ventures Ltd, will be launched by year-end.
The present-day finds me working with many clients in Kenya, the UK, the US, Canada, and even Pakistan, having written more than 3000 e-books on various topics, being a trainer with Learning Lab (which requires kids to be entrepreneurs), and developing our products. Having been involved with Skills To Do, Suno Kahani Meri Zubani, and Luqmay, as well as Rising Above, we are committed to improving our community.
Furthermore, we are also teaching content writing in Cohort 4-Seekhna Seekho, which Sir Hisham Sarwar launched long ago. As a child, we desired to be in contact with him, but we could never imagine that our wish would be granted. We thought we would never have the opportunity to participate in a live presentation on Content Writing that he asked me to join him about three weeks ago. We are also grateful for his encouragement and support throughout the process. Most successful people do not work intensely to uplift others after gaining success themselves.weI discovered that we had a deep passion for teaching people when we joined his platform. It will not be long before we upload our YouTube channel, as we have become a pretty good video producer.weI hope everything goes well!
- It has taken me many years to get over our reliance on paycheck to paycheck and finally no longer stress about money. Finances are improving, but we’re still a long way off from where they used to be.
- Having a healthy bank account has enabled me to relax even when we are sick by working arduously.
- We are having difficulty affording home repairs and buying new furniture.
- I was working all the time and had no time to relax.
- It can be devastating for a child to be abused, ridiculed, and harassed.
- Having faced many challenges as a scared, weak 23-year-old girl, she is now a strong, self-aware, and confident 32-year-old single mom.
Freelancing was crucial to our success. The dream of owning our own house and traveling the world with our son is still a long way off, but I’m confident it will come true soon. It gives me great joy to share our life with our amazing son, our best friend and loves me so much. We have a wonderful bond, and friends often ask why it is so. We provided him with quality time whenever he needed it since we did not have a 9-5 schedule. There was always a temptation to take a higher-paying office job, but we never took it because of our son.
Our mutual contributions have made us stronger, happier, and more resilient. We consider ourselves to be successful even if we don’t make much money. This week, it’s about being present and being grateful, about stating gratitude for all we have, and about having a good day with our son. Whenever rain fell, we’d dance, sing out loud before bedtime, and doodling fun things while cuddled up. In the past few weeks, he had some success selling juice. He aspires to become an astronaut and an animation creator who manages his YouTube channel properly now. We believe in his dreams, and he displays tremendous potential. It is possible because his parents choose to think outside the box and believe in him.
I am resilient, grateful, and full of faith. In despair, Allah somehow supported me and kept me going whenweI could no longer see your light at the end of the tunnel. our family and mentors provided emotional support, as well as God’s blessings. Since we chose not to give up, we find ourselves surrounded by rainbows full of hope, happiness, and love. As a proud and happy single mom, we publish our blog on Facebook and Instagram. You can find it at Raised Alone, Raising Alone. Feel free to visit it.