What is Freelancing?
Do you have the ability to become your own boss? Do you despise the regular 9-5 job in your life and want to get self-employed? Or do you want to take up your passion as a side business? Then a career in freelancing may be the best option for you. It is one of the most lucrative and self-rewarding engagements in the job market.
Freelancing is a contractual job where a person works for themself by getting employed by a company, agency, or another individual to perform a certain task for a stipulated period. They are not employees of the organization but an independent worker on a contract basis.
A freelancer earns on a pre-task or per-job basis. These tasks are usually short-term work. They work for a predetermined fee based on the time and effort they have to give to finish the task. However, some tasks may require long-term contractual services from a freelancer.
Freelancing has been a very popular form of self-engagement and a source of second income in many countries of the world, especially the USA, Pakistan, and Ukraine. A study by Upwork and Freelancers Union shows that around 57 million Americans freelanced in 2019 either as full-time or part-time freelancers. This trend is quickly catching up in India very recently.
Freelancing is becoming a lucrative career option in India
There was a misconception regarding freelancing. Freelancing was thought to be a lesser-valued engagement predominantly chosen by those who are unemployed due to lack of skills or inability to find jobs. Once considered a low-paid job many avoided taking up freelancing as an option for earning.
However, situations are changing now. According to the report ‘Freelancing in 2020: An Abundance of Opportunities’ by Payoneer we have seen a rising trend in the freelancing market of India. Here are some of the key findings of the report:-
- “India witnessed a 46% increase in new freelancers from Q1 to Q2 in 2020”
- “Covid-19 brought a short-term slowdown in revenue growth, but it bounced back even stronger with 28% growth from May to June”
- “Ranked as the second-fastest-growing freelance market in the world, India’s freelance economy currently consists of an estimated 15 million freelancers.”
The sudden onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic caused a sharp drop in the employment level in India as many companies shut down.. Many unemployed but skilled workers then opted for freelancing as one of the means of survival during the pandemic.
Rapid adaptation of work from home culture by the companies and the society, changes brought about in the technology, and government rules and regulations have allowed people to adopt this method of self-employment without struggle. Moreover, many organizations have now started hiring freelancers permanently to perform specific tasks for them.
The key takeaways of freelancing business:-
- Become independent decision-makers
- Have the freedom to work from home or from anywhere in the world
- Choose the projects they like to work upon
- Pick the highest bidder for their service
- Can choose a flexible work schedule and maintain a better work-life balance
- Can complete different jobs concurrently by various individuals or firms
- Avoid destructive office politics
- Demand for freelancing services is on the rise all over the world
Apart from these, freelancing also provides an opportunity to learn and earn at the same time at a pace set by the freelancer. As one can pick up projects according to choice and requirement, a freelancer can spend time learning new trades alongside the assignment, which is otherwise very difficult to do in a regular full-time job.
Tips to Make it Big as a Freelancer
To become a successful freelancer you need to focus on certain important points and follow the basic tips given below:-
1. Define your service(s) and offering:-
Identify your strengths and abilities in the field of work that you wish to pursue as a freelancer. A person may be an expert in both Graphic Designing and Copywriting, but one has to choose one over the other to reap the maximum benefit of being employed as a freelancer in that field. Try to recognize the problems faced by the clients and how your services can benefit them. Try explaining what you offer and how you intend to solve their problems.
2. Find your target audience:-
Identify the type of clients you want to serve. Clients with similar interests and problems tend to gather on specific forums or social platforms. Take advantage of the social media platforms, reach out to them via direct approach, or advertise your services online. There are certain freelancing platforms like Freelancer.com, Upwork.com, etc. that allow freelancing job seekers and clients looking for such services to come together and interact on a mutual basis and thus hire or get hired.
3. Develop a pricing structure:-
To attract a potential client you must have a well-defined pricing structure for your services. Survey the market well, find out what other freelancers are charging for a similar type and quality of services as yours, and then define a price chart. Try to be consistent and reasonable while quoting prices for the services.
4. Create a portfolio with past jobs:-
A well-designed and well-presented portfolio is the foremost weapon used to attract a client. Keep the work that meets the industry standard and meet up to the expectation of the target audience. If you have different types of work to showcase, make sure that they are categorized under proper headings. For example, keep all the brochure design works under the category heading “Brochure Design” and do not include any packaging design works in that list.
5. Learn how to write a good proposal:-
Try to learn how to write a winning proposal to close a freelancing job. Much of your success in acquiring an assignment as a freelancer depends on how well you can pitch your client with relevant work examples and quotations. You may follow a template to organize the proposal, but it would be better if you learn to tailor it according to the client’s requirements.
6. Develop a good relationship with your client:-
Successful freelancers try to create good relationships with their clients to get a reference and more assignments in the future. Establish such relationships through prompt delivery of high-quality services, good communication, and building trust through consistency.
7. Continue developing skills:-
Explore the online learning resources to upgrade your skills and keep up with the current trends. If you offer new services based upon your acquired skills your clients will be joyous to hire or rehire you.
Some of the most popular freelancer jobs in India are:-
- Content Writing
- Digital Marketing
- Graphic Designing
- Website/Mobile App Development
- Video Editing
- Freelance Coach/Trainer
- Marketing Specialist
- Financial Consultant
- Business Consultant
- Independent HR Solution Provider
- Commercial Artist
India is fast becoming a freelancers’ hub as this gig economy is growing here too. More and more members of the young workforce are keen on taking up smaller projects so that they can concentrate on them and bring out the best results by giving the maximum effort. The Indian Government’s effort to promote its flagship projects like “Digital India” has infused interest in freelancing business among the Indians.