The concept of freelancing has evolved widely over the years. What was once an unreliable source of making a little extra money has now become a proper career prospect. Even huge corporate chains and business firms are willing to outsource their work to skilled freelancers rather than getting it done by in-house talent.
When Alicia Souza, a Bengaluru-based illustrator, designer and entrepreneur, started as a freelancer, she was nearly broke. A few months down the line, this changed, and after about a year, she started making her own range of products. Freelancing is a popular career choice, particularly among those in their 20s and even early 30s.
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Nicolas Dittberner, Country Manager for freelance website Elance.com explains the reason for the increase in freelancers as follows: “The changing economy, or the freelance economy as it’s been named, is enabling professionals to share their talent, their expertise, and their skills with businesses from around the world. Through online workplaces like Elance.com and oDesk.com, professionals are able to work when and from where they choose and on projects that interest them. Not to mention, working online enables professionals to grow their careers and ultimately their wages by helping them develop and expand their skill sets and online reputations, without the limitations of commuting.”
Here are some of the ways the concept of freelancing has changed over the years:
Gone are the days when scammers could take undue advantage of the skills of freelancers. Freelancing has become a very transparent process. Websites like Freelancer and Flexing It provide a good platform for new freelancers. Once you build your network, you will be in a better position to judge whom you should work for. Also, payments for most freelance assignments are now done in a legal manner with due attention given to tax details as well.
Freelancer earnings have increased tremendously in recent years. A Mumbai-based website freelancer said, “I earn more than most of my MNC friends. I have complete freedom from bosses, from eight-hour-work rules and traffic. Why would I even dream of switching?” As long as one follows the right instructions to kick start a freelancing career, everything should be fine.
Earlier, freelancing was restricted only to a few industries. However, now, as long as you have the necessary skills, someone will always be ready to hire you as a freelancer. You can be a teacher, advertiser, writer, editor, designer, photographer or just about anything. You just need to find your area of expertise and then create a profile on relevant freelancing websites.
You can build your own portfolio on an independent website or on your personal social media handles and build a network. Else, you can use relevant websites like Upwork, Odesk, Contentment and so on, to find a platform to showcase your work and get more clients. Word of mouth advertising can also work to a certain extent if you maintain a good rapport.
To be a freelancer, you need skills not a degree. Indeed, freelancing is now an option for everyone! Do you have any experiences worth sharing from your freelancing career? Don’t hesitate to share them in the comments below.