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. Freelancers by nature are not full-time employees and as such treated more like consultants.

Freelancers have the freedom and flexibility to structure their workdays, take holidays, sleep in, and be their own boss. On the other hand, 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 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 working on their own terms. According to an industry estimate, the Indian freelance market is expected to be worth $20-30 billion(~Rs 2.1 Lakh Crores) 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 study found that nearly 29% of the Indian freelancers surveyed had annual earnings of over ₹40 lakhs (~$85,000).
  • PayPal’s report states that 41% of the freelancers they surveyed witnessed a  growth in their business in 2017.
  • Most respondents of the above-mentioned 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.

*All the data were gathered from reports by QuartzTOI, and Forbes India.

What are 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, we’ve listed down the pros and cons of freelancing.

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 permanence. 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.

Is long-term freelancing difficult?

Freelancing is no doubt a difficult path to embark on. There is uncertainty and the opportunities are unending. But to make your freelance journey last long, you have to be passionate about what you are doing and should be ready to work hard. Moreover, the freelancing economy is growing and is only expected to get bigger. Freelancing can be a long-term endeavour.

Here are a few points that substantiate my claims:

  • The cost of hiring freelancers is much lower than what it used to be.
  • Due to the rise in collaboration, communication, and productivity tools, remote working is not a far-fetched concept anymore. 
  • Nearly half of the Gen Z workforce are freelancers.
  • Online payment systems have made it easier to collect invoices and payments.
  • Freelancing is no longer limited to fields like design and development. Each year we are seeing new professions coming into freelance space like teaching, household services, and so on.
  • Most freelance marketplaces have separate ratings and reviews sections for each freelancer. This increases transparency and trustworthiness.
  • Some freelance marketplaces also offer online tests — a good way to measure the expertise of freelancers.
  • Online courses provided by MOOCs make it easier for you to update your skills and remain competitive.

How to start freelancing?

You can’t become a freelancer overnight. Like a business, you have to plan and start the process months in advance carefully. This is true regardless of whether you are a content writer, a photographer or a big data analyst. If you don’t set yourself up in the right way, it will be like stepping into the unknown, and you may end up losing your way.

So before you quit your job and decide to freelance full-time, be sure to get the foundations built right. It will make your freelance journey a lot easier. In this section, we will give an overview of the primary stages of your freelancing journey so that you can get started quickly

STEP 1 – Sign up and create a profile on freelancing platform Adconnekt.

Because of the internet, freelancing is no more restricted to one or two professions. Nowadays, you find freelancers everywhere, including software development, event management, to even teaching. So, the question becomes how do you connect the demand and the supply?

That’s where freelance marketplaces like Adconnekt have come in and changed the game. Unlike, newspaper classifieds of the bygone era, these platforms are interactive and easy-to-use. They make the hiring process seamless for the companies, and at the same time, help freelancers get more business.

STEP 2 – Build a Freelance Portfolio

Once you have signed up on Adconnekt platform, you need to build a portfolio.

What is a portfolio?

Your portfolio is a compilation that depicts who you are as a professional —  your style of work, expertise, interests, educational qualifications and what your colleagues and clients have said about you.

It is much more than just a profile. When you pitch your services to a prospect, your portfolio helps them get a rich and more in-depth understanding of what you have done in your career. It supports your claims and increases your chances of landing the deal.

How to create your portfolio?

Regardless of whether you are a designer or a writer, to build a steady stream of clients you need an impressive portfolio. Most people have online portfolios now — a website that lists down everything from the services you offer to your contact details.

STEP 3 – Market your Freelance Portfolio

Once you set it up, be sure to include your portfolio’s link to your email signatures, Twitter Bio, LinkedIn Profile, Facebook Profile or Page, and the project proposals that you are sending out. The aim should be to get your prospective clients to visit your online portfolio.

Final thoughts

We hope you got a fair idea about how to get started as a freelancer. Always remember, you can never stay still when you are in freelancing. You have to keep finding out new ways to do things, learn new skills, expand your knowledge, and stay up-to-date with what is happening in your industry.

Want to further your freelance career? Check out Adconnekt. It is a platform where you can find open projects, interact with prospective clients, join communities of freelancers, and more.

New to freelancing? This guide provides everything you need to know before you get started with your freelance career.

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