In 2009 married couple Hasnain Shah and Shazia Jilani suffered a tremendous setback. While looking for alternative means of earning a living, the couple discovered Freelancer.com, the largest outsourcing and crowd sourcing marketplace in the world. Together, they formed EssJay PKWriters, a writing solutions company that offers high quality SEO-optimized articles, public relations materials, research papers, reviews, blogs, marketing materials, and web content. Nearly four years later, the couple stands proud of their greatest achievement: a company that transforms people’s lives.
Shah Ji (as Hasnain is commonly called) and Shazia talk to TechJuice about their journey and how paying it forward gives them fulfillment.
TechJuice: Has online writing always been the direction you’d like to take?
Shah Ji: I never had any passion or desire to become a writer. My wife, Shazia, and I just had a stroke of bad luck and we lost almost everything—everything but us. She stayed at home while I was out looking for work. Those were difficult times and traditional jobs were unavailable at that time. But online jobs were quite popular.
TechJuice: Did you actively look for work-from-home opportunities? How did you get your feet wet on online freelancing?
SJ: We heard about work-from-home opportunities purely by chance encounter. Ali Ahmad, who’s now family and brother to us, introduced us to online freelancing sites and helped us register on Freelancer, oDesk, and Elance. We got our first breakthrough on Freelancer.
TechJuice: Tell us about Essjay PKWriters.
SJ: EssJay PKWriters consists of full-time and part-time writers who provide clients with quality, fresh and unique content that is guaranteed to be 100% original and Copyscape-passed. We currently have more than 50,000 live articles on numerous web portals. We write about anything—Forex, law, medical, hobbies, product descriptions, fashion, etc. We aim to increase our clients’ ranking and boost their Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
TechJuice: How has it been so far, managing your own company and dealing with employees and clients that come from all over the world?
SJ: I found some very good writers and clients, and one even became our closest friend. Cheryl Taylor, an Australian, started out as a writer and ended up as our best friend—one whose presence we can rely on no matter what. Cheryl is our partner in teaching, guiding, quality monitoring, and grooming of new and old writers. We have been conducting online classes for individuals from around the world who are interested in learning and improving their skills. Many come from Pakistan, India, Africa, and USA. Volunteers who support our cause assist us in grooming writers and helping them earn online.
TechJuice: EssJay PKWriters has since evolved. It’s become more than a business for you.
SJ: We started writing articles as freelancers on the site to get out of our financial difficulties, and that worked. Now, we guide and support other writers, especially the newbies. We promised ourselves that we will help and guide every person who comes to us. We have helped many learn the basics, improve their presence, and achieve their goals. This freelancing opportunity became so much more—it has transformed into something that guides people on how to make their lives comfortable and we began to support them morally and financially.
EssJay PKWriters is a family of writers. We treat our writers like our children. We listen to them, hear their stories, guide them, and suggest things that will help them. We deal with human beings, not machines. Human beings commit mistakes and are not perfect.
Shah Ji’s story is just one of the countless number of freelance success stories from Pakistan. Like Muhammad Haris, a Pakistani freelancer who managed to earn $1,000,000 from a single WordPress theme, Avada. Maria Umar is another example of how a technoprenuer whose work started with freelancing and evolved into something huge. There are numerable freelancers working in Pakistan right now but there’s still a greater potential for a lot more people to join the freelancing scene. Freelancing is being promoted by entities like Plan9’s TechHub, a co-working space for freelancers which is a great step towards encouraging the people to consider Freelancing as an earning option.