What is freelancing? A guide to kick-starting a successful freelance career
New to freelancing? This guide provides everything you need to know before you get started with your freelance career.
What is freelancing?
Freelancing is the concept of working on a contract basis with multiple companies simultaneously. You may also see freelancers working on long-term contracts with companies or for one company at a time. Even then freelancers won’t be considered as a full-time employee of the organisation.
Freelancers have the freedom and flexibility to structure their workdays, take holidays, sleep in, be their own boss, and so on. But, they won’t be eligible for the same benefits that full-time employees receive — sick leaves, pension, HRA, and so on.
Freelancing is not restricted to any particular field of work. You can find freelancers in all walks of life, from web development to something like teaching.
The freelance economy in India
The Indian freelance economy’s been flourishing over the past few years. In fact, it is home to the second largest population of freelancers with almost 15 million. According to an industry estimate, the Indian freelancers expected to be worth $20-30 billion by 2025.
Here are a few more insights to help you get an overview of the Indian freelance market:
- According to a survey conducted by PayPal, 74% of Indian freelancers surveyed had a PayPal account.
- The same survey found that nearly 23 per cent of Indian freelancers had annual earnings of ₹60 lakh.
- PayPal’s report states that 41% of the freelancers they surveyed witnessed a growth in their business in 2017.
- Most respondents of the abovementioned survey said they choose to freelance because of freedom and flexibility it offers.
- Besides domestic clients, Indian freelancers get a considerable number of projects from the US, Europe and Australia.
- Industry estimates say that 30%-40% of the Indian student community are interested in freelancing.
- The fields of work where Indian freelancers have been flourishing are data entry, internet research, consulting, accounting, graphic design, web-designing, and web and mobile development. There is also a demand for specialised skills in disciplines such as robotics, artificial intelligence, UI and UX design, digital marketing, architects, lawyers and chartered accountants.
- Twenty per cent of the members of CoWrks, a popular Indian coworking space, are freelancers.
The benefits and drawbacks of freelancing
The numbers listed above is an indication of where we are headed. More and more people are taking the plunge, but is it the right career path for you? To help you decide this,
Pros of freelancing
- Freelancing permits you to lead a flexible life.
- Commuting won’t be much of a worry; you can work from home or local coffee shops or co-working spaces.
- Freelancers have the freedom to build daily schedules based on their preferences and interests.
- Better physical and mental health.
- Freelancers don’t have to deal with office politics for the most part.
- Most of the times each project you receive will be different from the previous one. It challenges you to keep learning and evolving, and eventually expand your expertise with every new job.
Cons of freelancing
- Freelancing life is full of distractions. You have to manage clients, settle accounts, file taxes, and more, by yourself.
- Unlike full-time professionals, constant cash flow is not guaranteed for freelancers.
- No way to regulate the flow of work. There may be times when you have 3-4 projects simultaneously, and other times when there is not even one.
- When you become a freelancer, you will have to do everything from marketing, client servicing to bookkeeping by yourself.
- You will miss the brainstorming sessions, the water cooler conversations, and the general hustle and bustle of an office environment.
Are you ready to be a freelancer?
Freelancing is not for everyone. It requires you to possess specific skills and qualities. If you lack them at present, you should focus on developing them rather than taking the plunge. This section aims to help you understand if you are ready for freelancing.
Signs that you are ready to become a freelancer
- Want to earn more. You don’t want to wait for an annual appraisal to get a hike. You want to see tangible improvement in your earnings quickly.
- Self-motivated. You are comfortable working alone. You are confident that you can keep yourself motivated and focused.
- Comfortable having a lot of things on your plate. You are someone who can juggle multiple projects, and doesn’t get too invested in one project.
- A strong network. You know where your first client is coming from and how to reach out to them.
- A highly-organised person. You are someone who lives a well-structured and ordered lifestyle.
- Mentally strong. You can handle rejections well and move past them without much hesitance.
- Independent and self-reliant. You value freedom and flexibility very highly. Job security not a major concern of yours.
- People person. You enjoy interacting, learning, and working with different people.
- One person army. You find yourself more productive when you are working from home.
- Frugal and environmentally conscious. You want to cut down on your expenditures and carbon footprint.
Signs that mean you are not ready for freelancing
- A shared sense of belonging. You aspire to be part of something bigger than yourself.
- Values collaboration. You want to bounce off ideas with someone regularly.
- Feel the need to be protected and secure. You value financial and job security very highly.
- A laid back person. You are content with the pace at which you are leading your life.
- Not proactive. You’d prefer to finish the tasks assigned to you rather than working on finding new clients or learning a new skill or software, and so on.
- Social climber. You are ambitious, class-conscious, and wants to climb the social ladder.
- Values long-termism. You are long-term oriented and wants to see your work outlast you after many years.
Highest paying freelancing skills
If you think you are ready for freelancing, the next step is to find out the skills that are in demand presently and how to learn or develop them.
We have compiled and categorised 25 insanely high-paying freelance jobs for you to choose from. Click on the links below to navigate to your preferred section