Freelancers: ‘Be your own BOSS’

A freelancer or freelance worker, is a term commonly used for a person who is self-employed and is 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.

But if you want to hit big league with freelancing, you better be real-skilled, hardworking and a great believer in luck. India is the second largest “freelancing hub” of the world after the US. Going by PayPal estimates, India has close to 1.5 crore freelancers — many of them working on home-generated projects with others dealing with clients (work providers) from the US, Europe and Australia.

We often think of freelancing as simple contract work, however freelancing can take a variety of forms:

  • Taking on a freelance gig at night to supplement an income from full-time employment (“moonlighting”).
  • Cobbling together employment through a variety of sources: For instance, taking on a part-time job as well as one or two clients and/or and temporary project-based work.
  • Taking on a temporary contract or job. For instance, working full-time for one employer or client for a time-limited period.
  • Freelance business owners: These are freelancers who have hired on employees or freelancers to help with their workload.

A high-quality Indian freelancer earns roughly $20 per hour. Top jobs include web & mobile development, web designing, data entry & Internet research, accounting and consultancy services. Writing resumes, wedding vows & cooking recipes, online Bharatanatyam courses, online tutoring, online patient consulting (allopathic, aurvedic & homeopathic), data analytics et al are other upcoming areas of interest.

Many people think of freelancing as being a good way to “make a few bucks on the side.”  However, according to this freelancer survey, 78 percent of freelancers say that within a year they earned more than they did in a traditional job. Writers on average get $58 to $82 per blog post written. Programmers on average get $63 to $180 per hour range. Most report that it’s more than they were making 12 months ago.

A new generation of online marketplaces for freelancers are reporting increased demand and activity in PR-related requests. These platforms include the likes of Fiverr, Upwork, and Toptal. They are attracting employers or “buyers” with detailed listings of freelancers, including bios and portfolios, rates, and even buyer ratings and reviews.

Fiverr has a database of professionals in eight major verticals: graphics and design, digital marketing, writing and translation, video and animation, and fun and lifestyle. Its subcategories indicate a spike in the total dollar amount spent on PR-related requests on Fiverr.

Upwork, another freelancer-hiring website, is the outcome of a merger between elance and oDesk. About $1.5 billion worth of completed work is done via its platform every year.  Web, mobile, and software development represents about half of all transactions on Upwork, followed by advertising, sales, and digital marketing; graphic design and content production; translation, localization, and writing; and administrative and customer support.

“When day job turns monotonous or there’s a need for more family income, people start freelancing … The trend is catching on big time in India,” says Narsi Subramanian, director (consumer & sole prop exports), PayPal India. “The growing startup ecosystem is also churning out more freelancing projects … Startups contract out a lot of one-time jobs to experts in relevant fields. Some big corporations have also started contracting out their non-core jobs,” Subramanian adds.


Want to be your own boss? Try freelancing




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