Freelancing – The Both Sides
If you are employed but want to subsidize your income, unemployed or a tertiary level student interested in obtaining a way to pay your school bills and meet expenditure – then you need to give serious consideration to the idea of freelancing.
Or you may be a business owner in need of low-cost professional services or a student with projects or academic papers to submit.
In all circumstances, online freelancing is a great option whether as a client or freelancer.
What is Freelancing?
By definition, a Freelancer is a self-employed person who offers services to one or multiple clients at a time. A freelancer works similarly to an independent contractor, meaning he/she is able to work following their own schedule, as long as a job is completed before a set deadline.
Freelancing through the internet is a great way to earn money online with $0 investment and average returns. It can generate an income on par with a job as an employed individual.
According to Freelancers Union Survey 2016 approximately 35% of United States workforce are freelancers, with the majority citing “having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than having one employer.” This study also determined, 73% of freelancers find it easier present day to obtain freelance work due to technology.
Freelancing also offers a global solution for many in lower income countries where unemployment is high or is one of the solutions for circumstances requiring working from home.
“Opportunities for online jobs and businesses are on the rise. Online outsourcing offers advantages for companies and workers alike: broader access to specialized skills, faster hiring, 24-hour productivity by leveraging people from around the world, global job opportunities, and a more flexible work environment.” Jobs Without Borders- The World Bank
Professional Services for Your Business
There are loads of services that can be sourced through the services of freelancers and freelancing websites. This applies if you are a business owner (brick and mortar or online store), need services for your place of work, or a home task. This is especially true if you single-handily operate a business or simply wish to reduce overhead cost.
The high positives of using these services are firstly the low rates. Secondly, as a business owner cost can be reduced by contracting services on a per need basis rather than incurring monthly salaries for full-time staff. Thirdly, the wide range of services covers many fields of business.
Additionally, these services increase the pool of talent for firms by providing expertise and talent in fields that may not be readily available on the local market.
As a business, we highly recommend freelancers for logos, videos, script writing, diagrams, marketing, articles, website maintenance & customization, brochures and much more.
Freelancers become an extension of your business, much like employees.
The benefits here are the reasonable cost without the quality of work being compromised, through the use of reputable Freelancing Platforms which ensure dedicated and skilled professionals.
✓ Global labour pool of available services
✓ Cheaper source of labour
✓ Process is quick (can obtain a freelancer in minutes)
✓ Jobs can be done without making long-term commitments
✓ Obtain skills and services which may not be readily available in local economy
✓ Reviews of prior clients available to help select most suitable freelancer
✓ Range of services needs to be expanded
✓ Language barriers (this is only significant for article writing- their portfolio write-up is a great guideline or request a demo)
✓ Occasional unsatisfactory work (resolved through revision being offered by freelancer, extreme cases through Platform’s Dispute Centre)
Fiverr – The Freelance MarketPlace
One of the top Freelancing Platforms is Fiverr, which can boost not only of thousands of freelancers and services but also at the lowest cost. Using this platform provides the option of sourcing freelancers either by searching in the respective field or posting a service request.
Reviews from prior customers, the option to message and discuss job requirements (highly recommended to ensure satisfaction) and for most ‘gigs’ a display of their portfolio, provides a user-friendly and efficient service.
Additionally, stringent measures are maintained to ensure the security of all users and limit fraud or sub-standard services.
Services rendered are suited for business, education, and everyday tasks.
Freelancers offer services from a scope of categories; Graphics & Design, Digital Marketing, Writing & Translation, Video & Animation, Music & Audio, Programming & Tech, Advertising, Business.
Each consist of subcategories e.g Digital marketing- Social media Marketing, Video marketing, Email Marketing, E-commerce marketing, SEO, Web Traffic etc.
A category such as Graphic Designs ==> Business cards for example below- provides a wide scope of designs, templates, packages and freelancers.
Freelancing Services for Academic Projects
Students also benefit greatly from assistance with projects; having their articles written, videos for presentation and more. Less time can be spent assembling and creating school projects, which are required in virtually every academic field of study.
Fiverr is a popular and reliable source for the enhancement of presentations with video and whiteboard visuals. ‘Gigs’ are reasonably priced, so you spend little to obtain quality services.
Why Freelancing as an Income?
With the increasing global growth of the internet, and with it, the explosion of different money making businesses, online freelancing is able to cater to the needs of online entrepreneurs.
A 2016 analysis of the U.S Freelancing Workforce done by the Freelancers Union, as shown in Infographic, determined 35% of the working American population are now freelancers, with 54% earning more than their full-time yearly salary, and 14% earning the equivalent.
Additionally, the world is becoming increasingly automated, which means many jobs have been and continue to be replaced by some form of computer system or software.
This shift requires individuals to position themselves to take advantage of these changes.
✓ You can work from home. This is especially suitable for stay-at-home parenting, or for anyone interested in working from home.
✓ Job flexibility allows you to determine your workload and schedule
✓ Wages may be higher than paid in home country
✓ Work opportunity for women and young adults in especially lower income economies
✓ Can be used as a full-time income or to subsidize
✓ Procedure is simple to get started
✓ Working from a freelancing platform provides safety and security
✓ Easy to find clients. You can find clients through freelancing networks or by independently sourcing your own (searching online or by building a LinkedIn profile, or a website)
✓ No cost to start. Provided you have the equipment or software needed to deliver a project
✓ You will be able to pick your clients. Initially, to build a portfolio you will want to accept all clients whose job offers you can fulfill, as time progresses, you can be selective
✓ Computer and a reliable internet service is a necessity
✓ It takes time to build a clientele, and there really is no guarantee how quickly you will begin to make a substantial income (possibly 3+ months)
✓ Freelancing platforms can be highly competitive, thereby forcing sellers to work for below market rates in their field of expertise. A disadvantage to sellers, a plus to buyers.
✓ The use of freelancing sites comes at a cost to sellers who automatically pay a percentage of each sale to the network (this % varies by network)
✓ Requires freelancer to possess efficient time-management skills, discipline and excellence at customer service to build clientele and repeat customers
✓ Allows for only some types of services
✓ Language barriers
✓ Countries do not promote and leverage the opportunity as a solution to unemployment
✓ Little or no training provided
✓ Short-term job solution (does not provide job stability, insurance, pension)
✓ Isn’t passive- i.e requires time investment (unlike affiliate marketing, online store, kindle publishing)
Source: Survey of online workers on microworkers.com, where the majority of workers are from developing countries, especially South Asia. The survey was done as part of the background work for the World Development Report 2016.
From Your Side…
There are pros & cons to freelancing, which varies according to which side you stand.
As a client it’s a great way to obtain services at a lower cost and as required.
Freelancing for an income is certainly intriguing and rewarding in many aspects but also carries its setbacks. These can be negated by freelancing temporarily while studying or in the early stages of beginning a more stable business solution.
Consideration in either aspect or both is certainly recommended since the world is becoming increasingly automated. This means that manual labor jobs and low skill jobs will soon be replaced by one type of computer system or another.
This shift will require people to have more creative skills – and be prepared to optimize technology. Take action now to be ahead of the curve by getting familiar and started in online outsourcing.