Around 30 percent of the workforce in developing countries is freelancing in 2018. This figure will grow to more than 50 percent by 2025. What does it show us? It shows that almost 30 percent of people or everyone in three people is freelancing successfully online. They are earning between mere $100 per month to $1000 depending on the work they put in and the time they spend freelancing.
As we improve the technology around us, freelancing as a career in itself is becoming more than a reality. So, in this post, we will discuss how you can earn a living while freelancing.
Freelancing in Pakistan Statistics:
Freelancing has become a $1 billion industry in Pakistan. Around 150,000 people in Pakistan are freelancing in 2018 and the government has launched many schemes triple this figure in the next three years.
- Freelance is a significantly small industry in Pakistan
- Combined revenue from freelancing is not more than $1billion
- The government of Pakistan has launched e-Rozgar program to promote freelancing across all tech domains.
- Upwork has ranked Pakistan on 4th number in freelancing on its platform
- Most Pakistanis are freelancing in software development, Video editing, multimedia, content writing, and sales and marketing, according to the report produced by Upwork.
- Majority of freelance clients are from USA and Australia
- Top freelancing platforms in Pakistan are Upwork.com, Fiverr.com, Guru.com, and Freelancer.com
Remote Working vs Freelancing
One thing that people often confuse is remote working and freelancing. Freelancing is not remote working. In fact, freelancing means you are not bound by any company policies. We have tried to explain this difference in more detail below.
Remote working is when you are doing a job from a remote location. This means:
- You won’t have to attend the office everyday
- You are not bound by location of work and timings
- Attendance is not necessary
- You have the liberty to move freely
Freelancing is when you are not doing a specific job but working with multiple clients.
- You have the liberty to choose as many clients as you want.
- You can work from anywhere just like you do in a remote position but you are not confined to a single employer
How to do freelancing?
Freelancing is difficult for beginners because they don’t have a specific skill that they can market and that’s why they are often limited to asking ‘How to do freelancing in Pakistan?’
For those who are already working in a job i.e. know their career path can work on freelancing gigs because they know the skillset.
Most freelancing opportunities are related to technology, digital marketing services, and software development. As you can see, these are some of the most demanded skills for freelancing in 2018. We have taken the screengrab of Fiverr, and Upwork.
Skills on Fiverr
Skills on Upwork
These jobs are further divided into subcategories and you will have to be an expert in one of these sub-skills.
For example, let’s take web developers. Web developers are of many kinds including mobile, web, machine learning, data analysis, and many more.
So these are some of the most demanded jobs in web development.
I have selected mobile development to see what skills are important in mobile development.
As you can see the categories are ever-expanding. You can see that Android and iPhone both have different types of jobs and skills. So, I will now select iOS or Android development.
You can search for iOS development skills. At the bottom of the page, they have provided a list of skills necessary for iOS development. These are:
How to learn skills for Freelancing?
Unlike previous years when you had to pay to learn some type of skill. Now, you can easily learn any skill online and that too for free. Many websites exist for freelancing including Udemy, Coursera, Edx, and numerous others.
Let’s say I want to learn content writing and marketing:
These are all paid courses, but you can get most of these for free from free courses websites on Facebook. Simply search for free Udemy courses or ask the admins to send you free courses related to these fields.
Now that you have the skills, now what?
How to EARN $$$ From Freelancing?
Yes, now that you have the required skills how can you earn from these skills through freelancing. What should you do to get projects that pay good money?
Find freelancing platforms that pay the highest money.
Best freelancing websites
Here is a list of some of the best freelancing websites that get projects on a regular basis and that you can use to earn decent money from gigs.
If you are not sure about Fiverr, simply visit the website. The process of applying to the website is pretty self-explanatory. You can easily get projects that can keep you afloat.
A basic gig on Fiverr starts with $5. You can also send custom gigs ranging from $5 to $500 or even more. Fiverr keeps 20% profit of all gigs. This means for a $5 gig, you will get $4 only.
For Fiverr, you will have to create a profile and add gigs. Gigs are your skills displayed with the price at which you can do a certain type of work. For example, if someone is looking to integrate Google Analytics to his website, he will search ‘Google analytics on website.’
So, if you want to rank for those keywords you should have a gig, ‘I will add Google Analytics to Website’ or something similar.
Hacks for Fiverr
- Make all gigs on a similar topic so that you get more real-estate
Note: an Unethical way to earn faster. Create multiple accounts and make one account your primary account.
- Now, give fake orders to this one gig. Or, ask your friends or family to boost the ratings of your profile by giving you orders.
- Rank higher in Fiverr searches by optimizing your gigs for keywords
- Use buyer requests to promote your gigs. You can get many orders this way
- Promote your Fiverr gigs through social media, blogs, Youtube, and on forums
- Keep price low in the start and focus on gigs that are rare but have high-demand. For example, optimizing Youtube description, Android Search Optimization (ASO), technical articles on Hosting and VPNs and similar others.
- Promote your gigs on Facebook and ask users to order them on Fiverr instead of freelancing for them without a platform. This way you will be able to improve your ratings.
- Try to reach Level 1 and Level 2 rankings and then sustain them on Fiverr
A few years ago Upwork was two websites: Elance and Odesk. They merged together and all the projects on these two websites were also combined. Upwork is now one of the biggest freelancing platforms with over 25 million registered users.
Almost 1 million users from Pakistan have an account on this website and around 10,000 users actively use it on a regular basis.
Upwork is simple to use just like Fiverr. You will first have to create an account on the platform.
Once you have the account created, simply add certificates to your profile. These certificates are usually called ‘Tests’ on the platform.
These certificates aren’t necessary but if you are just starting out they can add more weight to your profile. Think of a profile as your resume.
You will also have to select relevant skills that will help you find freelance jobs.
These are the skills of an iOS developer on Upwork
Once you have the skills. Search for jobs relevant to your skills on the platform.
This is an example of freelance careers and jobs that employers post on Upwork. As you can see it has a fixed price so you don’t have to negotiate with him.
A few things you need to check about the job and client.
The client if US based. He has a 67 percent hire-rate. This means he doesn’t always hire from the jobs that he posts. And, he has spent over $1000 on the platform, telling us that he is a reliable client.
He is looking for intermediate level iOS developers to get the job done. If you are new, then don’t waste your time applying on the job. In most cases, Upwork won’t even allow you to post your proposal.
This is an average number. Most proposals are declined by the client and they are not counted in the list. By the above figure, we can estimate that around 10 people posted proposals for the job and the client is interviewing one of them.
Hacks for Upwork
- Work on small gigs to build your portfolio
- Ask your friends and family members to invite you for projects to help you build your profile
- Optimize your profile so that you get prominence in searches
- Keep your per hour rates low in the start so people can work with you
- Ask your clients to give you reviews. Don’t let them leave without a review
- Bid on all relevant jobs. It is a better idea to stick with a single skillset in the beginning. This will help you create proposals specifically for the job posted
- Always create a new proposal or amend the already made one, so that clients think that you have created the proposal for them
Next, we have Freelancer freelance website. Freelancer has over 40 million customers and is one of the best freelancing websites in the world. You will have to create an ID just like you made one on Upwork. Freelancer also has some test that you need to take to stand out from the rest.
Here is how the Freelance careers and jobs post look like.
As we are not signed in, it is not showing us how many people have actually applied for this job. But one thing is good and that’s the reviews section.
This shows that the person who posted the job has a decent rating. He/she is based in the US, which is another plus.
If you think you have the required skills, simply apply for the position.
A look at the screen exams that Freelancer uses to determine the skill level of a particular user. You can get skills that are relevant to your field. Once you have passed the exam, your badge of an examination will appear with the application name and ID.
Hacks for Freelancer
- Create custom proposal for each job
- Give more tests and certificates that are relevant to your field
- Always try to make a decent bid that is lower than what others are offering
There are many ways to get freelancing jobs online. While you can easily find jobs on Freelancer, Upwork, and Fiverr, you can also go for Facebook Groups where people are providing freelance work. Simply search for ‘KEYWORD + freelancing’ and search on Facebook.
For example, if I am looking for Content writing freelancing work, I will search this term on Facebook.
But since most scammers are highly active on social media website to loot people off their money, that’s why while finding freelancing gigs on these groups, make sure to do the following:
- Always search the profile of the job poster, cross check the information on Linkedin or do a Google search to see if that person is a real person. In most cases, people are using fake profiles to get jobs done for free
- Set milestones for working. This means, if you are writing content, then you will only write 1000 words and then get the payment. This will build trust between both the parties
- If you are not sure whether the person who is offering the gig is trustworthy, ask others who have worked with him. Or, you can also post his information in the group to verify that he is an authentic employer
- Don’t send the actual work. Show screenshots of the content (if it is a content writing job) or the final program (if it is a programming job) and don’t send the content piece or code. Ask him to pay first and only then send him the content piece.
- Most people undersell themselves on social media to get content writing gigs. Don’t do that. Instead, focus on improving the quality of your work. Most people are looking for quality content and they can become your long-term clients.
High-demand Freelancing jobs for beginners
Most people who are new to freelancing often get confused about what type of job they should look for. In short, they are unsure about the scope of a skillset. We have created a list of jobs that are going to rule the world in the next 10 years. These are evolving skills and have already taken the top spots in the list of Freelancing jobs for beginners.
Programming has always remained on top and it is no wonder that it will continue to grab the top spot in near future. The reason is that people are moving toward a digital-first world. The software is needed to make things work in the digital arena, may it be web, mobile, IoT, AI or virtual reality.
Programmers of all top languages are in high-demand and earn around $70 to $100 per hour by making programs for their clients.
Mobile & Web Design/Development
Next, we have mobile and website design/development. Mobiles are now in the hands of almost $2 billion people. Infact, most countries have directly transitioned from lacking internet to mobile internet. This has given a rise to mobile apps in these countries. So, mobile developers can easily get projects from across the globe. On average, mobile developers earn between $70 & $100 for an hour on most freelancing websites.
Content writing, marketing, SEO, link building, all these jobs are relevant to digital marketers. Now that websites are increasing every day, people are seeking decent writers that can write easy to digest content on their websites. This also increases the demand for SEOs and link builders because they are a core aspect of content marketing. On an average, content marketers earn $25 to $50 per hour.
Where there is content, there are graphics. Graphics designing is another field that is going to last for a long time. Almost all top freelancing websites feature graphic design as a specific niche where money is to be made. Most graphic designers are earning $10,000+ per month by their creative graphic designing services and just by freelancing. In fact, Fiverr has case studies where graphic designers have even bought their own houses by the earnings they make on Fiverr.
Now that video content is at its top, video editing jobs will simply increase in the future. Video editing ranges from basic video editing to animation, illustrations, gifs, after effects, and visualizations. If you are a video editor, it is high time that you start freelancing by getting expertise on one tool.
Social Media Management/Performance Marketing
Social media marketing and paid advertising is another field that is getting prominence around the world. Whether it is drop shipping, e-commerce, print on demand, or affiliate marketing, performance marketing and social media management is essential for all these business models. In fact, many digital marketing services freelancing jobs revolve around performance marketing. The demand for these businesses is on the rise and so is are the freelance jobs. If you are an expert or looking to become one in near-future then this is one promising field for you.
Expert Advice for Beginner Freelancers
Here is a curated list of advices that expert shave given to young freelancers who are just at the start of their careers.
Don’t leave your day Job
This means don’t leave the comfort of a decent job until you are sure that your freelancing career is blossoming. If it isn’t, then keep doing your day job and keep running freelancing as a side gig.
Focus on providing value
You need to put yourself out as an authority in the niche. This doesn’t mean you have to cold call each client asking them to get your service, instead simply provide value. You can do this by answering to question on forums, social media sites, or even on blogs. Start guest posting on various blogs to turn yourself into an expert.
Keep going even if you fail
Don’t worry about failure. You just need to keep your risk low so that you don’t lose a lot of money or time. Failure is inevitable and can happen to the best of the best. The best thing you can do is to learn from it and keep moving forward. This means if your project was rejected by a client, or you are not able to land a decent gig, then focus on what you are missing. Add those things in your proposal and send it again.
Focus on Client’s Needs
One major reason people are not able to get long-term clients is because they simply don’t understand the needs of their clients. Clients are looking for work and they want it completed in the way they want it to be done. If you are not providing them that type of work they will simply not hire you again. So, what should you do? Keep them in the loop. Offer revisions until they are satisfied. In the end, your job is to make them satisfied rather than trying to make them accept your version.
The Crux of the Story
Freelancing as a career in Pakistan is still in its infancy. But at the same time, it is an emerging industry so one has numerous opportunities available. If you are trying to start your freelancing career, then now is the golden period to start. Because, the competition is almost non-existent, and most skills that are in high-demand are still emerging such as AI, IoT, Robotics, Content Marketing, Voice Search, Performance marketing, and many more. Simply search for a skill that looks best to you and starts searching for projects that relate to it.
Have we missed something in this guide on making freelancing your career?
Let us know in the comments below.