The past few months definitely made us realize that everything adapts itself to the changing times. We have seen new brands coming, new trends becoming a part of the industry and therefore giving rise to, and providing more chance to the gig economy. The growth has been tremendous. This has made way for a lot of freelancing opportunities as well. A ‘gig economy’ is a rather new term that defines the concept of companies hiring people for temporary, flexible jobs rather than recruiting full-time employees.
The Growth of The Gig Industry
A study conducted by McKinsey tells us that around 20% to 30% of professionals in developed markets are engaged in gig economy. The factors responsible for this include independence, freedom to choose the kind of work they want to do and better financial prospects. Another key driving force is technology that has made all of this possible. Most importantly startups are driving the growth of this industry. In India, the freelance industry is estimated to grow to $20 to 30 billion by 2025. Freelancers are in demand because of the following reasons – they are cost-effective, they offer flexibility and domain expertise, networking & reach.
The Meaning of a Freelancer
Freelancers are professionals who are self-employed and work with an organization or a team for a particular time. If you are someone who plans to step into this industry, you have to be ready to market yourself and be a part of the platform. Once you step into the market, you will meet like minded people who are keen on working for smaller projects or working for different companies. It involves work in which talent is paid for a task assigned, it includes diversified workers with many sources of income, contract workers, freelancers, small business owners, and temporary workers.
For more information, the government of India has also engaged gig workers for projects like Digital India, Swacch Bharat, and Smart Cities. The various Survey results show that in terms of skillset, IT(41%), Marketing(23%), and design(21%) are leading the way. Freelancing is popular and the reason is the benefits it provides like a greater job opportunity, independence, higher income, and a move in the direction of wage equality. While 83% of freelancers work from home, 17% work from other places like coworking spaces, library, and private offices.
Who can Become a Freelancer?
Anyone can become a Freelancer. The key to becoming one is that you need to have some kind of niche expertise; as long as you have some kind of skill, ability, or wisdom that will help in the recognition of a brand, there will be somebody willing to pay for it.
I also want to elaborate on how to go about becoming a freelancer. Firstly, remember to be motivated enough and be ready to present yourself as a brand who offers expertise in the field. There is a higher demand in all sectors that allow previously full-time-only workers to seek more independent contractor-style relationships with employers. Technology has brought us closer to people, enabled us to communicate smoothly, and connect with other individuals and organizations across the globe. Due to these new opportunities and capabilities, freelancing is an option for almost anyone, in any position. Remember Networking is Networth. All the contacts you make will help you grab opportunities.
Kickstarting your Freelance Career
After listing down the details of who is a freelancer, lets now talk about how you can start your journey as a freelancer.
Know your skills
Do not limit yourself to a niche category. Find out your secondary skills and explore new areas to work. However, make sure you don’t run behind many things at a time. Chart out and select a reasonable skill set. A single genre might not be taken too seriously by a company or a client.
Make your portfolio
It could be anything, an Instagram page or a website, a blog. Be regular with whatever you post and make sure you showcase your skill set through your posts. There are many sites like Behance that will help you to make one.
Chose the road you want to take
Never lose sight of your goal. Always keep in mind what you seek to achieve in every project that you take up. Make a plan, and work according to it. Prepare a proper schedule and know what kind of clients you want to work with, a number of clients you can handle at one time, mode of communication to interact with your clients, etc.
Be confident and motivated
Everything you do depends on your confidence and how seriously you will do your work. The work represents you and the truth is freelancing is like a single person business. You have to be responsible and balance everything out. Always have the motivation to work, you know yourself better than anyone. Come up with strategies that motivate you to work.
There are ample of websites available like Upwork.com, and Fiverr.com. that enable freelancers to connect with businesses and companies and look for freelancing jobs/projects. Upwork has a bit of a learning curve when you first get up and running. You have to learn the fancy way of writing effective proposals, and you may have to bid below your pay rate to build up your feedback rating. Many freelance jobs are posted on Upwork, but there’s a hungry audience competing for them. Fiverr is also a place for freelancers and is supported by an app too. LinkedIn and LinkedIn Pro too offer a lot of opportunities.
In the end, I want to tell you that there will be challenges it is present in each and every field. Know your skills, choose a platform, and promote these skills through your work. Grow through your journey, take steps towards your goals, and grab all the opportunities that come your way.