Career as a freelancer

While freelancing offers manifold benefits, there are certain challenges one needs to navigate

February 17, 2024 03:19 pm | Updated 03:19 pm IST

Freelancing in India is growing quickly, as the nation is pushing the gig econom

Freelancing in India is growing quickly, as the nation is pushing the gig econom | Photo Credit: Freepik

Aman was very passionate about computers and graphics from the age of 12. After Class 12, Aman joined a neighbourhood institute to learn Graphic Designing and grew up to become an expert in his chosen area. While everyone expected him to join an IT, gaming or media and entertainment firm, he chose not to stick to one company. Instead, Aman decided to offer his expertise to multiple companies who needed his skills and became a freelancer. Welcome to the word of Freelancing, an exciting career option today.

The online platform Upwork defines freelancing as “doing specific work for clients without committing to full-time employment”. Freelancers are self-employed individuals who often take on multiple assignments with different customers or clients simultaneously. They handle contract work on a part-time or full-time basis and often sign agreements before starting assignments.

India has an estimated 15 million freelancers working across various domains such as IT, graphic design, web development, data entry, and others. There are multiple reasons for you to prefer freelancing as a career option, such as flexible work hours, autonomy at work, and scope for earning more by working for multiple assignments simultaneously. What makes it interesting and different from regular jobs is the independent work location and schedule, the freedom to set your own rates for your work and not be bound by any long-term contracts.

Areas of work

As companies seek to trim their overheads and supplement their existing workforce, freelancers are more important than ever. Some popular domains are web development and design, graphic design and multimedia, content writing and publication, digital marketing, web and mobile app development, data entry, consulting and coaching, translation and localisation, video and audio production, home and office solutions, IT and networking and so on. If you want to freelance, look at popular online platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, Craigslist and many more that connect you with individuals or businesses who can then hire you for projects.

Scope for growth

There are certain qualities and skills that will help you succeed as a freelancer. One is updating your skills in your area of expertise. Do online courses, attend workshops, earn certifications from recognised platforms or institutes and get mentored by industry experts are crucial to stay relevant. Another important step is to build an online presence. A professional website and active social media profiles will help improve your visibility and popularity. Remember that it takes time to grow if you are new to this career option. Patience and persistence are key.

The good news is that freelancing in India is growing quickly, as the nation is pushing the gig economy. Factors such as robust digitisation initiatives, strong government support for gig workers, numerous online platforms for freelancing, and special tax benefits for freelancers are making it an attractive career option. However, success is determined by one’s skills and abilities in improving and popularising themselves.

Flipside

However, freelancing comes with its fair share of challenges. One’s income depends on the projects and the nature and amount of work to be delivered. This means that there aren’t regular pay checks. However, careful financial planning will help you manage expenses during the slack period. With increased access to the Internet, freelancers from across the world offer competitive rates and present stiff competition for those aspiring to enter the domain. Unpredictable workload, inconsistent work hours and payment delays are other challenges.

Yet freelancing can be a rewarding and fulfilling career option because of its benefits. A combination of functional skills and personal abilities will help you navigate the rough terrain.

The writer is Head and Professor, School of Business Studies, CMR Institute of Technology, Bengaluru.

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