This article first appeared here.
Disclaimer: I have two wealthy progenitors (a joke). They provide me with food, shelter, and everything else. Hence, I had the freedom to choose.
This article is an attempt to spell out a few aspects of freelancing. Just as a warning, the viewpoints presented in this article are solely out of the personal experience and may not generalise well. This article is not a guide to how you can be a successful freelancer.
What is freelancing?
Freelance, a freelancer, and freelance worker are terms commonly used for a person who is self-employed and not necessarily committed to a particular employer long-term. Freelance workers are sometimes represented by a company or a temporary agency that resells freelance labour to clients; others work independently or use professional associations or websites to get work. ref
All it means is that you set the price, choose the employer (often short term), and the work that you’d like to do.
Where should I offer freelance services?
Fiverr is one of the most popular platforms out there. Upwork is another excellent platform. You can also ask your friends, the alumni, or anyone else that you can contact about short term work opportunities. But, internet listing is one of the most common ways to sell your services.
- Selling your services online can earn you extra income so that you don’t have to depend on your parents for everything.
- You have the flexibility to negotiate. You set the price, you define the timeline, and more importantly, you’re not bound by a single employer.
- You get to put your skills to practice. Often, the buyer would demand work from you that you won’t have done yourself if you were implementing the same thing.
- You’re exchanging hours for money. This is how most things work in the world. But, sometimes you might not gauge the scope of the work correctly, and this can lead to frustration.
- Some buyers are dumb people. They won’t have any idea about the service they want.
- The buyers might request modifications in between the order. That’s not the ideal case, but should you choose to not agree to them, they can give you a lower rating which might affect future orders.
Do you recommend freelancing?
It depends totally on you. Like I mentioned above, you are exchanging time for money. Sometimes, this can be costly for you. Your time here on Earth is limited. You might as well do something else and learn a new skill or a new language instead of earning a few dollars. However, it is also possible that you are just passing your days, scrolling through Newsfeed and sharing memes. In that case, it’s better to work on small projects I guess, you’ll have some extra cash to burn.
Why did you do it?
Short answer: for money.
I wanted to buy the Kindle Paperwhite for a long time. However, asking my parents for the money seemed not so cool. I don't know about you, but I feel a sense of guilt while taking money from my parents, nowadays. In fact, things are so out of control, I ask them for small loans whenever I need cash, saying things along the lines of, "Hey, dad! Can I borrow XYZ INR for blah?"
So, when I got my first paycheck, I was thrilled beyond measures. It’s one of the significant incomes (except prizes, and scholarships) that I earned in my life.
How much did you make, though?
Sorry, if this sounds like bragging or something. But, I guess people shouldn’t be advising unless they’ve experienced something and did the thing themselves. Yeah, I did freelancing for a month and earned $148. I got that from completing three orders. Other people reached out as well, but I turned them down mainly because I did not have the skill set that they required, some did not offer a good deal, and others did not interest me. Like I said before, I had the privilege of choosing. So, I decided on the three projects that I liked and delivered.
Endnote. I have been trying out almost all the things that I ever wished to try, but did not have enough time or energy to do so. Since the lockdown started, I have both the time, and mom has been doing a pretty good job of refuelling me. It would be utter shamelessness to say I did not have enough time later on.
On that note, please allow me to promote the YouTube channel where I have been posting free video lessons. I have only started recently, so make sure you go through the videos if you have time and hit the Like and Subscribe button! If you feel like it, you can leave a comment as well.
I don't know when and how I'll do it. Still, the mission is to provide free education to anyone living in India with an internet connection. Thanks for reading. Stay safe!