This is the second installment of “Freelance Path” with Sodiq Ajala. The freelance path is a series where we follow the journeys of our community members from when they started their marketing journey to where they are now.
Sodiq Ajala is a graduate of our first Tech SEO Cohort with Aleyda Solis. He is now a Technical SEO Analyst at Second Eclipse.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Hello Sodiq, how did you get into freelancing?
I graduated with a degree in Mechanical engineering, had a very good result, and hoped to work in an oil company, but it didn’t really work out. I couldn’t sit at home and be doing nothing, so I started my career as a classroom teacher for about 4 years.
During that time, I was focused on up-skilling and adding value to myself as much as I could. I started learning data analytics and perfecting my writing skills. After 4 years in the classroom, I got a job as a research associate at a management consulting firm.
A friend of mine was a freelance writer and since I know how to write well, I decided to become a freelance writer.
I was doing all types of writing. I wrote articles, press releases, social media copy, statements of purpose for people trying to relocate, and more.
That’s amazing, what was your experience as a freelancer in the beginning?
I was earning very low as a writer in the beginning. About 3 years ago, LinkedIn turned my life around during the pandemic. I started getting gigs from LinkedIn and I was making more money.
So I decided to focus on Linkedin.
How did you hear about the freelance coalition and how has it been beneficial to you?
I connected with Chima on Linkedin and came across her post about the FCDC Technical SEO Training with Aleyda Solis. I applied, got accepted, did the training, got an internship after, and now I’m a Technical SEO Analyst.
Before joining the FCDC, I was writing for really low pay. Would you believe I wrote a 1,000-word article for $5? This was because I have a wife and 3 kids, so I felt like I had to do what I had to do.
It was when I started following Chima and seeing her posts on LinkedIn, that I had an eye-opening moment and understood that I should never be earning low as a freelancer. Now, I charge a lot higher for my services.
Knowing Chima is one of the best things that happened to my life last year. I really look up to her and Aleyda Solis.
Yes, they’re amazing! You mentioned that you were one of the trainees at our First Tech SEO with Aleyda, how was the experience and how did it impact your career?
Honestly, I was trained by the best, the literal queen of SEO, Aleyda is an amazing teacher. Chima would also check in with us, to make sure we were following up on our tasks.
The company I interned with after the training, was so impressed with my work that they sent a message to Chima saying they “want an intern like Sodiq”.
Sometimes at work, I would reach out to my bosses to ask if I could implement something, they’d be shocked and say that’s the developer’s duty, but I already knew how to do it thanks to Aleyda.
As long as a person has been trained by Aleyda and followed her teachings thoroughly, that person will be excellent at their job. All of us from my cohort are doing so well, look at Katherine Nwanorue, Ebere Jonathan, Goodness Azubuogu, and others.
Aleyda taught us how to be detailed in our work. We all had no excuse to slack because the lessons were so valuable.
What were the biggest lessons you learned from Aleyda that had the most impact when you started your internship?
The biggest lesson I learned from Aleyda that had the most impact during my internship is that I must first understand the client’s goal before I carry on. My client at that time was the SEO lead.
So when they set up a task for me, I try to understand what they want to achieve, ask questions, and read more about the tasks, before actually jumping into it.
In the long run, that saves time and effort, and many times, it saves you from breaking a site that could cost the business millions of dollars.
What were the major challenges you faced as an intern and how did you overcome them?
The most challenge I faced as an intern was getting paid.
Opening dollar accounts to find out that you can receive funds with it, trying out Payoneer, Paypal, wise, etc.
It was tough, but with constant trying and understanding of my company, I was later able to get a platform that it’s manageable for me.
If you could do the training with Aleyda all over again, what would you pay more attention to from the module?
Truth is, I paid attention to everything Aleyda taught us.
I just can’t ignore or sleep in Aleyda’s class. She’s one of the best teachers I’ve had. She has lots of information to share and very little time to share them, so she’s always dropping valuable insights back to back, showing us how things are done.
Taking questions and working on case studies. And when I think I’m forgetting anything, Aleyda already created https://learningseo.io/, so I always run to the platform for solutions.
You got a Full-time Job with the same company you interned with, how has the experience been?
Yes, before I finished my internship, the company ask if I’d like to join them full-time and I agreed.
The experience has been amazing, I have a great boss and everyone is always willing to help.
What has been your biggest highlight since you started your freelance journey?
My biggest highlight is gaining confidence. Being confident in knowing my value and worth.
I can now speak at any level and I have successfully pitched to speak on top SEO podcasts.
What is your long-term plan as a Technical SEO Specialist? Do you ever hope to have your own agency someday?
I have already registered “SA-Digital” but that’s still in the works. I’m hoping to have more speaking engagements in the future.
Do you have any advice for freelancers who are starting?
My advice is to always be valuable in anything you’re doing.
Being valuable in the sense of wanting to know more, and adding value to yourself. When you seek knowledge, you can build confidence in your skills.
Connect with Sodiq Ajala on LinkedIn
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Passionate about content and diversity, Jadesola is a content writer. In her free time, with a cup of coffee in hand, she binges on reality shows.