What is Freelancing?
Freelancing is a self-employed job. Such as the freedom of choosing deadlines, controlling the workload and unlimited money earning opportunities.
Moreover, these advantages directly attract people, who are fed up of working for 9 am to 5 pm stressful jobs & unfriendly environment just to get paid a fixed salary for years.
A freelancer offers services he has majored in & charges for it right after submitting the project. Freelancer doesn’t work permanently for one single client. Furthermore, freelancers are just as home-based contractors who complete the project & submit it & charge a fee.
Freelancing has opened new opportunities for people who look for flexible & comfortable way of working. like students, women as single mom’s or girls who are in college & the people with disabilities. Everyone around the globe is trying to grab the opportunity to make money from the comfort of their home.
How do you start Freelancing in Pakistan?
According to Forbes Magazine, Pakistan has been ranked as the 4th growing freelance market with a higher growth in freelance earning as compared to the last year. Moreover, the US scored a top position with 78%, the UK stood second with 59%, Brazil 48%, and Pakistan stood fourth by 47%.
In addition, Pakistan surprisingly came in the top list of freelance markets leaving India, Russia & Bangladesh behind. So this report was taken by a sample of 300,000 Pakistani freelancers in Payoneer’s network. It was also mentioned, That Pakistani freelancers are mostly young adults looking forward to starting a career in freelancing market.
There are few public figures that have success stories in the freelance market as a career. Which inspires you enough to start a career in freelancing and earn limitless cash.
Being inspired and moving onto the same path is good but before you choose it as your career. You should be aware of both sides of the story. Think for a second, Despite having the scope in freelancing, Why very few people make it to the high ranks and carry out freelancing as a long term career option?
Well, here’s why.
Firstly, Putting a step ahead into freelancing is easier if one has majored in the skills or services they have to offer to clients. If one has a clear idea where does their skills fit in the whole freelance market, he’ll be able to operate as a freelancer. The next step is finding potential & relevant clients. Building portfolios and website or making a profile on “LinkedIn” and promoting skills & online resumes will make a big difference. Advance technology has made networking sites easier to distribute content and share it within colleagues or friends circle. This is another way to persuade clients to hire oneself.
Is Freelancing a Right Career for You in Pakistan?
Freelancing industry’s growth is surprisingly more from nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines & India. The main reason for the growth is low pay-rate in regular jobs in these countries. People are more attracted to self-employed, limitless earning potential work. In fact, people who started as freelancers have developed their own companies by now and hire local freelancers from these countries.
Before heading towards, take a minute & think if freelancing is the right option for you? If so, what you can do as a freelancer? What would be your service?
Here’s a set of questions to decide whether or not you’re good do a freelance career.
Why do you want to freelance?
Are you looking for a home-based job? Or you’re just trying to escape the culture of working morning to evening straight? Have you heard a quote which says the grass isn’t always greener on the other side?
Mind this, pursuing freelance as a career for the wrong reasons or expectations will not let you go any longer.
The facts are there’s nothing as of right or wrong answer. Whatever suits your schedule, background, family & goals is the best choice for you.
Can you afford to freelance?
A freelance career does promise unlimited handsome amounts. With your choice of what you want to do & when you want to do. But you’ll not reach there right after entering into this market. The first few months/years are typically for building your roots as a freelancer, setting & promoting your business, sharing and engaging with people from the same field & finding clients.
Freelancing or any other work in this world doesn’t work if it is not making you uncomfortable at times. Freelancing won’t give you paychecks on time. People would reject you for any random reason. There are no strict rules. These are the learning bits you will be having during your startup or freelance business. It will be challenging & if you have chosen freelance for the right reasons, you would take the challenges right away.
“I want to freelance but what can I do in freelance?”
Well, the next few questions will draw out answers for those who are interested in freelancing but don’t know what to do.
Do you know your potential?
This question has you thinking already. What you’re good at? What you answer when people ask about your skills. This is all you need to decide right now, that what you’re willing to major in? What brings you joy?
There’s always one profession or skill that brings joy in your life. There’s always something you want to accomplish & you know it will bring you happiness & comfort. Now think about it as a freelance work? Does it excite you to think you can do what you like and earn limitless through your passion? Well, you have your answer then.
How to Start your Career in Freelancing?
Before even thinking about work & make money, you need to have a proper setup business. You also need to understand the nature of business & how to do self-marketing. This will help in getting clients right away & also make you understand why & what you’re freelancing.
Here are a few things you need to know implement to make sure yourself as a successful freelancer.
Build yourself as Brand in Freelancing
Personal branding should be the first thing to do when starting a business. For a long-lasting impression on clients and making your business look more authentic. Add your purpose, goals & services and hand it over to an agency to make a personal branding canvas for you. Along with a decent logo, personal brand also consist of a business name. You can only promote your business when you have a name.
Your social media accounts also reflect your personal branding. Twitter, for example, is great for sharing portfolio and connecting with potential clients. Meanwhile, LinkedIn is good for publishing online cv & making valuable connections with professional freelancing community. Facebook is a great platform to join groups of your business/freelancing related work and lastly, there’s Instagram to show-off bit of your portfolio every now and then and promote your work.
There are different places that can reflect your personal branding. For example, you attend network events or do local work, a business card is a to-go for the tool. Your brand should also be mentioned on contracts & requests or any other materials that go to clients.
Why personal branding is so important? A trustworthy, organic freelancing businessman/woman comes after a lot of hard work & patience. Personal branding makes your business clean, authentic & professional to anyone looking at your business as a whole.
Creating a Portfolio
Whatever type of services you have to offer as a freelancer, whether its content writing, web development or animations, without a portfolio no client would trust to give you a chance to work. Portfolio of your work builds an impression on clients. It features action of your work. It gives an image to your skills as a freelancer.
The portfolio should be the showcase of only a few of your best works reflecting the skills you’re good at. Also, most commons ways of showing your portfolios are Contently, Google drive Dropbox.
The best part of freelancing is that it is not limited to content/article writing only. There’s a huge range of skills one can learn & start offering in the freelance market.
Here’s a list of some of most demanded freelancing skills:
• Graphic design
• Photo editing
• UI design
• UX design
• Video editing
• Video production
• Voice acting
• Web design
• 2D animation
• 3D animation
• Ajax developer
• Java developer
• API developer
• HTML developer
• WordPress developer
• Administrative support
• Email tech support
• Virtual assistant
• Data entry
• Academic writing
• Copy editing
• Creative writing
• Business analyst
• Advertising consultant
• Google AdWords
• Marketing strategy
• Lead generation
These are a few types of skills available in the market. They come with huge benefits when one start freelancing with them. You must have a few of these skills already. And if not, you can develop them by learning.
Another great advantage of freelancing is, it gives you opportunities to enter a specific business line. Makes you learn the rules & regulations of that specific business type, let you meet people from its community & lastly open ways in other work areas of business.
Business & Self Marketing
When you step into the freelance market. Majority of your time goes by building profiles, looking for jobs and self-marketing. Until people start noticing your skills & you work for them till you become famous for your services. It costs a lot of time to build gigs (each service portfolio) & contacting clients. And you eventually reach your goals.
To get work in the freelance market. You need to create a profile that well portrays your talent on freelance job sites. You will get clients who post jobs & projects as well as another active profile link for your personal website.
These are a few freelancing websites where you can create an appealing profile and gigs.
Join freelance related communities. This will build a circle of colleagues & freelancer friends. Also, open ways to learn more about strategies of getting clients & will give opportunities for getting passed on work from colleagues & friends who can’t complete projects on their own.
Readout – How to Make Money Online in Pakistan
How did I Start Freelancing?
Starting my freelance work aka freelance business was the most right decision I made during my stressful job phase. Though starting 18 months of my freelance career were so difficult. But they brought success and led me to my present successful career path.
Whether freelancing is your choice in career or means for your needs. Basically we are gonna make each step informative for you to learn to start your own business, making a schedule and managing clients all according to your choices
Here’s a guide to promoting oneself & skills to attract clients & get hired!
The more your family, friends & colleagues know about your freelancing business, the more likely they’re to promote/prefer you in their circles.
Get connected with other freelancers, bloggers, and clients looking for a freelancer with the skills you have on LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook, etc. Ask them questions or share their content under their names. Add yourself in groups related to freelancing, share your experience & engage with people. This is one great way to make a permanent place in the market.
When you’re a new freelancer, give out your services for free to new & real websites or companies. Whether its article writing, web development, graphic designing. Work for them at low to no price. This will build a portfolio of your work with genuine clients associated.
Be Direct but Nice
Client’s looking for freelancers can be found anywhere. Especially social media like Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn Etc. Staying active plays a good role in getting clients. After getting clients, pay attention to their demands and clearly state conditions you want to work under. Remember to never scam clients, be kind & stay connected till you complete their task.
Be Confident & Patient
Freelancing is a single person business. If one doesn’t take the business seriously, it can be shut down. Reach out to clients professionally. Keep yourself strong as clients can criticize your work in the beginning also. It takes time to gain trust. So be patient. Once the trust is gained there’s no career that would look more friendly and comfortable than freelancing.
I talked to over 20 freelancers, most of them talked about the loneliness they go through while freelancing. Freelancing is a lonely career, and this shouldn’t stop you from taking it as a career of your choice.
Here’s a solution to escape the loneliness in freelancing.
Try to meet people from the freelance market. It will help you stay connected & aware of updated news on jobs & scope of skills. Not only this groom your skills but learn about upcoming trends also.
Here are some solid ways of learning & staying connected as a freelancer.
Opting online courses
Taking Online courses have the potential to make you an expert on your current skills or master you in new trending skill. Most of the online courses are free & some give certificate also that can update your resume & boost online Jobsite profiles.
Digital Technologist offers the Best Digital Marketing Course in Pakistan from Basic to Advance with an Expert Trainer and Google Certified.
Mentor to guide
Firstly, I started freelancing in 2016, I hired a mentor to help me understand & build my business roots. I basically needed help with how to get potential clients, how to write & make money from it.
My mentor helped me to become a freelancer, a businessman in my choice of work area & also helped me set my payment rates. Not only she helped me learn about tools & built my confidence but referred me a few jobs also.
Experience of hiring a mentor or coach isn’t the same for everyone. Due to some conditions like industry, budget, location or skills. Otherwise, there are Local consultants that can help or online learning courses are already present for your help.
Befriend Freelance Community
Today’s advanced technology has made communication so easy with freelancers. Websites like American Writers & Freelancers union & Artists Inc. offer a membership that open doors to great & genuine communities of freelancers around the globe. As for social media, there are groups to engage with freelancers to increase your knowledge while some groups also provide work.
Lastly, never put yourself away from your local freelance network/circle. Organizations like creative mornings & local co-working spaces arrange networking get-togethers that let you meet with freelancers in your surroundings. Opportunities like these provide great knowledge & interactions in an advance digital lifestyle.
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This was the guide to freelancing as a career choice in Pakistan. However, there’s a lot that goes within the freelancing industry. Also that you’re capable of doing anything a freelance market requires but only when you’re passionate and enter freelancing for the right reasons.
Freelance is a straight forward career line. Finally after self-analysis & asking yourself questions like how to build a personal brand, how & where to find a job & how to stay on track.
The only question remains is: Are you ready to take the challenges & start your own business of freelancing?
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