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Who is a Freelancer?

A freelancer is a self-employed individual who is not committed to a particular employer for a fixed salary. A freelancer has a particular skill (like coding, designing, etc) and offers to provide such skill-based services to anyone in need of it, be it a company, individuals, or anyone. Freelancers may work independently, in co-working spaces, or can be represented by a company.

Who can become a freelancer?

Anybody who possesses a skill which is required by society and companies, using which he/she can provide services to others can pursue a career in freelancing. In fact, you can learn a few skills in demand and seek out to freelancing as a career. There is no right age or time to become a freelancer, you can do it anytime you want.

If you want to begin a freelancing career, as a side gig, pros & cons of freelancing, read this article for some meaningful insights and tips.

Freelancing as a side gig for students

Nowadays, a lot of students pursuing their degrees mostly offer freelancing services as a side business for various reasons, but majorly:

  • Want to starting earning (little but still) while pursuing their degree
  • Want to utilise their skill so that they can get a real-life practical experience out of their services
  • Provide free services to learn new things and give back to the society

Frankly, this is a very smart choice. Freelancing at early stages provides you three most important things required by a freelancer:

  • Experience
  • Contacts
  • References

So, If you want to pursue a career in freelancing and already have got an hands on experience of it in your under-graduation, it is going to be a kickstart for your career is multiple ways. Even if you do not want a career in it, you have mastered yourself in the skill you possess, got good contacts who might be helpful in future, got some practical experience of working with people and also earnt some money xD. So why not give it a shot.

Some Statistics

India ranks 2nd in terms of no. of freelancers, after the United States. There are about 15 million people working as freelancers here. 50% of them are hired by start-ups. Based on a report from PayPal among 500 Indian freelancers, had an average income of Rs. 19lakh per annum. 23% of them had an annual income of Rs. 40,00,000 – Rs. 45,00,000.

Their international clients came mainly from Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.  By 2030, worldwide estimates show, over 50% of the workforce will be working on a freelance basis.


If you are already employed but do not like your job, you just hate your 9-5, then you can give freelancing a try. It will give you a good exposure to life outside your corporate life. But freelancing requires a lot of dedication. If you think its going to be a piece of cake, you might want to rethink. Starting a career in freelancing requires a lot of hardwork, flexibility and guts. Not everyone is okay with the fact that your income will not be stable until you reach a certain level. So, to decide if freelancing is for you or not, and if it is, how to go about it in a planned and progressive approach is given below:

1. Decide your Niche.

So, what service will you provide as a freelancer? Is there a demand for such a service? If not, can you create a demand for your services? You need to ask these questions to yourself and if you get a positive response and you know what service you are going to provide; you are good to move on to the second step

2. Take a few gigs/beta clients while employed (if)

If you are already employed and want to jump into freelancing, do not just quit your job immediately. While you are employed, take out sometime and actually practice freelancing. So maybe 2-6 months prior to your quitting, try to take a few gigs or work on beta clients to figure out if your service will be accepted by people and what are the areas where you got to improve. It will also build contacts and give to experience while you are employed, and maybe you might already have clients ready to work on post quitting for some steady income.

3. Have a vision & Plan of Action

Once you have worked on few gigs, you will get a better picture of what you want to do. After which you will have a clearer picture of what you want to do ahead and where you want to be. Have a vision, which will keep you motivated and moving. Once you have a vision, decide upon your objectives post which you can make a plan of action to achieve it. Your work and your approach should strive to achieve your objectives aligned as per your vision.

4. Financing

You might require some initial investment maybe, maybe to buy a software, equipments, hire a co-working space, etc. You have to arrange funds for that either via self-financing or seeking investment from someone else.

5. Legalities

If you want to start your company, there are few legalities you have to fulfil. Depending upon the type of company you want to begin, you have to go about different formalities.

6. Build your personal brand

This is the most important aspect of Freelancing. The term “personal branding” is popular today than ever. Personal branding is the process of creating a brand of yourself, such that one is able to build a unique image for themselves which enables others to identify then from the name they have branded themself. It is an extensive process which involves positioning and marketing yourself in such a way that you want others to perceive as.

Recommended: How to build a personal brand.

7. Contact people, let them know and Networking

Let people know what you are up to now and that you are open to getting clients, you never know who can help you get clients or be your clients. Networking plays a very important role. You get to know/meet new people, explore new opportunities, and get exposed to new adventures. Strong network groups can take you places. A freelancer without a strong network cannot be very successful.

8. Secure clients, collect testimonials

If you have worked on beta clients, collect their testimonials as soon as you launch your social handles/website, etc. Use it to secure new paid clients and expand. Collect feedback from your clients to see where you can improve. Positive testimonials attract new clients because someone is speaking their experience with your service in reality. Testimonials and feedback can help you grow, improve, and get more clients. 

Keep improvising and offering newer good quality services to stay in demand and become successful as a freelancer.

This is not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it. There is no perfect path for this career. You have to figure what works best for you and that comes with practice. Make a plan, become braver from within, and then the sky is your limit.


1. Stay updated on current trends and provide the latest services in the industry (Keep improvising)

People are always looking for new ideas, services, and products always, either as an improvisation to existing ones or stand out from others. Keep yourself updated of the industry, experiment new ideas and provide good quality services to your clients.

2. List yourself on freelancing websites

There are plenty of websites and platforms where freelancers can list themselves. Figure it out and list yourself, you might get few clients from there. But do not stop at it, there is no guarantee that these platforms will give you a steady supply of clients.

Few websites are Upwork, Guru, LinkedIn, etc

3. Skills required for becoming a freelancer

To become a freelancer, you require dozens of skills. The idea if you are working alone, you have to imbibe these skills, or if you have a partner/companion, etc, then you should complement each other.

  • Can work alone: Since you are a freelancer, you will have to start off alone, maybe plan collaborations later, but there are times you have to work alone. So be prepared for it.
    • Self-motivated: Since you are going to work alone, you have to motivate yourself through the ups and downs and persevere.
    • Jack of all trades (know to do a lot of things): Unless you have a team, you have to do a lot of things like maintaining accounts, budgeting, analytics, marketing, payments, etc. So, you should know how to do them, if not learn how to do them.
    • Communication skills: You have to network and interact with people, so to be able to communicate and speak your mind is important.
    • Flexibility: There is no 9-5 here. You got to work whenever you have it. You have to go out of your way to secure clients, clients will not come to you while you are sitting at home.

Also, you need to work as per the demands of your clients and give them what they want, and not what you want. So, flexibility is very important in freelancers.

  • Be comfortable with risk and uncertainty: When you start, your business will not be stable. You might have clients, you might not. Your strategy to get new clients and your quality of work will determine your future client base. So, you should be willing to take risk and not freak out when you do not have clients.
    • Good at organizing time: Since you do not have to go to office and nobody is watching you, you cannot skip your deadlines. It will create a very bad image on you. So, you have to organize your time wisely.
    • Time Management and self-discipline: Explaining the previous point further, once you have organized and made a timetable for yourself, you have to abide by it. If you do not follow your timetable, you will eventually break deadlines, not give in your best at securing new clients or take a toll on yourself.
    • Good at dealing with clients in terms of payment: Freelancing gets you to deal with some clients who do not make payments on time or agree to pay after a long credit period. This is one problem faced by freelancers in general. Hence knowing how to deal with such people is important.
    • SEO and Analytics: One of the most important skill for a freelancer is to know SEO and analytics. SEO drives customers to your profile organically. Deciphering the analytics and using it wisely is another important skill.
4. Believe in Yourself and your work

There will be times when you do not have work (clients), but you cannot give up at that point. If your service is bad, then improvise it, learn new things. You need to be able to believe in your work. Great things do not come easy. Sometimes, you need to go beyond your limitations to achieve something. So, take a break, gather your thoughts, and come out strong.

5. Provide good quality work

Good quality service is like sweet nectar, and clients are like bees. Sweet nectar attracts the bees. So, keep doing great work and let people know about it on your handles and website, bees will come to you.

6. Know if you have to quit

There might be a possibility that you do not like freelancing, or things are not working out for you. So rather than just being stuck in this maze, you got to move out of it and explore and experiment new things. You can shift careers at any age, so do not pressurize yourself of something unwanted.


  1. Programming and software development
  2. Website designing
  3. Graphic designing and animation
  4. Video making and editing
  5. Content Marketing /Digital Marketing
  6. Copywriters


  1. You are your own boss: There is no one to give you orders anymore. You are accountable to yourself only. Welcome to the world of freedom.
  2. Flexible Hours: You can choose when you want to work and from where you want to work, there is not limitation to anything. What only matters is your work at the end of the day.
  3. Keep are the profits: You no more have a fixed income. Your income depends on your work, goodwill, and the number of clients you have. So, there are chances of earning much more than your 9-5. Keep working hard.
  4. Freedom of choosing clients: Earlier you were assigned clients, now you get to choose them. Clients which agree to your criteria’s and fine by your judgement can be chosen. But this can happen when you have a pool of clients. Initially, you may have to accept clients who will pay and match few of your criteria’s.
  5. Holistic development: Working on your own provides a wide variety of exposure and learning. You have a more holistic learning rather than a just a particular thing.


Payment issues:

According to a survey, 61% of freelancers face problems when it comes to receiving their payment, or the clients demand a good credit period. This might be difficult for you too, but you need to figure out ways to overcome it.

Red Ocean:

There is a lot of demand for freelancers, at the same time, the supply is also increasing. There are already a 15 million freelancers in India. So, if you are planning to enter this industry, welcome to the red ocean and to be visible, you need to implement red ocean strategies, have a strong USP and have great work.

Risk and Uncertainty:

The first work that comes to mind with freelancing is risk. Not all are risk takers. So, to be part of this field, you must be comfortable with risk and uncertainty.

Go beyond your limits to get new clients:

Client will not come to you; you have to go out of your ways to get them. It might be a ride initially, but it is what it is.


Freelancers are one of the professionals in demand as it is easier and less expensive for companies to outsource some work from freelancers and easier too.

Freelancing is a risky career with unsteady income until you reach a certain level, but it is possible to achieve it if you have the talent and a strategic plan. If you have read this article, you already know it. So now, sit aside, gather your thoughts, and make your plan of action.

If you have become a freelancer does not mean your leaning journey is over. No, it is now that you learn new things and implement it. So, keep yourself updated of the industry and keep learning.

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