We recently spoke to freelance writer Dr Rashmi Byakodi.
Tell us a little about your background outside of writing.
I am a Dentist by profession and a passionate writer. An introvert by nature and I like traveling and exploring. I practice yoga and meditation and always try to follow a healthy lifestyle. I feel frightened to try adventures, but I have tried scuba diving in the deep-sea and gliding in the open sky, which gave me a thrilling experience.
Staying positive is my mantra for life and in every difficult situation, I try to bring positivity. I don’t like cooking much but I manage to serve healthy food for my family :).
Why I chose health writing? I am a Navy officer’s wife and a mother of two wonderful boys. It was difficult for me to practice as a Dentist as we kept shifting due to my husband’s work requirements. Though it is a great experience, as we learn about different lifestyles of various states of India and the hidden unity across, my career was taking a back seat. This made me choose health writing as I never wanted to give up on my knowledge and skills.
What all industries have you written for so far?
As a Dental graduate, I had no idea about getting into content writing. It almost took one year to figure out things and take up writing as a profession. In the beginning, I wrote on whatever that came my way. I started with academic writing, but that was not enjoyable for me. Following a certain pattern, adding citations didn’t interest me much. I have my own style of writing and wanted some freedom to express my views. I tried writing in other niches, though the content came out good, my clients appreciated my work, but I didn’t feel motivated.
I started my career as a health writer in 2018 December, by then I had understood a bit about having a niche and worked mostly on the healthcare industry. Having a medical background I connect with the healthcare industry and understand the needs better. Understanding the health project needs and crafting the content accordingly has made me feel proud of every project I have completed.
I have written content for various hospitals, health products, yoga, fitness, the health insurance industry, Dental articles, and also, on artificial intelligence. I enjoy writing about the health that creates awareness among people.
How did you get your first paid client?
Let me admit that I experienced many scams before landing on a paid project. My first two clients kept telling me they would pay, but they didn’t. I am sure we all face such scams, but I took it positively, as I just wanted some experience in writing that time. Those two projects though didn’t get me money but they gave me a start. I learned more about the actual writing process, editing, and all with those two projects.
I was only active on Facebook and applied for writing projects that came in various Fb groups of writing jobs. That is where I got my first client for whom I wrote a 1000 word article and received $20 along with positive feedback.
I have no regrets of working for free or less pay a year back because that is how I polished my writing skills and understood where I stand. Now I charge premium rates because I know how to blend my medical knowledge in my writings to create great content.
What are the kinds of projects you are working on currently?
- Presently I am working as a health writer for Best for Nutrition.
- I am also creating content for Indira IVF.
- I am designing a course content on mental health and procrastination for one of my clients.
- Writing HARO pitches.
When a client approaches you with a subject you have almost no understanding about, how do you begin?
It is not possible to know everything about every subject. When I get any project I do thorough research and try to understand the basics. Then I discuss with the client about the requirements of that project and what he/she is trying to achieve with the content.
I ask about their target audience and based on that create an outline to begin any project.
Have you found clients through online platforms (LinkedIn, FB, Twitter, Instagram)? How did it happen?
As mentioned earlier on Facebook I used to apply for projects. Presently I am more active on LinkedIn. When I created my account on LinkedIn I did the research for optimizing my account. Then queries started coming in my inbox, and few are long term projects.
I don’t try to chase any projects but if there is any posting regarding the requirement of a health writer I send my portfolio. That has worked till now.
Tell us something about your blog.
My blog rashmibyakodi.com is my portfolio. It is the space I own where I can express my views. My services and my expertise is all displayed well in my blog.
How do you typically start a writing project?
I like to follow a step by step approach when it comes to creating content. Requirements of content vary depending on the target audience and the marketing objectives.
I personally prefer to gather information about a subject from popular journals, and published researches and reports from credible news organizations, and magazines.
With my writing, I try to explain health issues in simple terms, backed by scientific studies. My tone is always inspirational to motivate my readers to follow a healthy lifestyle or explain well about complicated medical aspects.
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
There are many, my clients call my writing motivational and creative. They also appreciate my dedication and enthusiasm.
You can check out testimonials at my website – https://rashmibyakodi.com/
One such great complement-
Rashmi has been great! Really. She started with aseptic topics and boring technical pieces of content and turned them into a series of easy-to-read, effective, and even engaging articles.
– From Maria Silvia
What do you do to constantly improve as a writer?
When I started as a writer I didn’t know if I had the needed skill. I decided to learn whatever it takes to be a better writer. I kept improvising with every project I worked on, also there were some amazing clients who helped me to improve with the comments and changes they asked for in some assignments.
Google is the best place to learn when you know exactly what you want to learn. For every project, I try to find answers to decide how I can make my writing effective for that particular assignment.
I always had positive feedback from clients and one thing I have realized you can’t become a writer just like that. You need to have some talent in writing and a lot of hard work to put in, to achieve what you aim for.
Any awards or prizes you’ve won till now? Any special achievements?
As a writer, my special achievement is getting featured in many articles as a health expert. I have been mentioned in Healthline, BestLife, EatThis,NotThat, Babygaga, BulkSupplements, Incredible edibles, etc.
You can check out my mentions here – https://rashmibyakodi.com/featured-in/
What is your all-time favorite quotation?
I believe in positivity and practice gratitude. Here are some quotes which inspire me;
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
– Oprah Winfrey
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
— Thomas Jefferson
What are your favorite books? Favorite authors?
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, this book introduced me to positivity.
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker
- Rich Dad Poor Dad
- Badass Your Brand by Pia Silva
How would you describe yourself in five words?
Simple, Confident, Hardworking, Positive, Introvert
Finish this line in no more than 15 words: To me, good writing is ___________
To me, good writing is the one that feels natural and expressive, has focus and clarity, and carries a flow throughout to engage the reader.
Would you like to share an incidence from your childhood that left a strong impression in your
I am a big introvert and it is difficult for me to open up about my personal life or childhood in that matter. But, I want to try sharing a bit here;
I grew up in a village in Karnataka and studied in a village school, and my first language was a regional language, which is Kannada. I felt a bit inferior comparing myself to kids who studied in a better school. But my mother always helped me to do better, she used to buy English books for me to read. I had an amazing English teacher who helped me to learn better.
When I moved to the city for higher education I still had a lot of inferiority complex. Soon I understood that my language skills are better than anybody and I need not feel less. English is just a language, which can be learned. From there I have grown as a more confident person, who refuses to give up on self.
I would like to tell everyone, we should never feel inferior for something we don’t know. With such digitalization, we have access to everything. So don’t ever give up because of your ignorance.
What is your research process like?
I first consider the purpose and audience of the project. I gather all the available information from published studies, scholarly journals, and organize them. I create an outline for the topic, then, write the first draft.
How do your relatives or friends react when they realize you are into professional writing?
My family and friends are extremely proud of my achievements. We celebrate every small win of my writing career. I feel blessed to have wonderful people around me who truly care for my happiness.
Anything specific when you learned something very valuable during an assignment?
Every assignment I have worked on is increasing my knowledge about the medical field.
Writing about yoga, meditation, and diet, made me understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. By writing about Amazon products, I understood all the amazon writing guidelines. Writing about IVF made me understand many fine procedures it includes. Writing about AI in healthcare just makes me wonder how fast our health industry is growing.
Every day I am learning and growing.
Is there an online course you’ve taken up and would highly recommend for writers?
I have done Email Marketing from HubSpot.
From Udemy I have done Writing with flair from Shani Raja, Productivity hacks for writers from Jessica Brody. All these courses have helped me in my writing career and are highly recommended.
Rapid-fire FUN questions. CHOOSE ONE in each of the following:
- Romantic movies OR Action movies? – Can I say Sci-fi movies
- Songs OR Podcasts? – Songs
- Exercise at home OR Exercise in a gym? At home
- Fruit OR Juice? – Fruit
- Beach OR Mountains? – Beach
Thank you Rashmi, it has been a pleasure talking to you!
Thanks Sahirank, it’s been amazing talking to you too! And thanks for the opportunity!