Answer to Frequently Asked Questions by Newbie Freelancers – Where to get started freelancing in India and Why College Grads Should Consider Freelancing as a choice of career?
Online freelancing is not considered as a career option by college grads in India and still remains as a personal choice of being a freelancer. There are lot of questions in the mind of the college grads as to how to get into online freelancing. So I will try to answer such questions so that Indian college grads can think about freelancing as a choice of career.
I started understanding online money making game especially freelancing in 2002. I wanted to get myself educated about stuffs I can do online in my spare time.
I am member of Elance since August 2002.
I was member of vWorker (Now acquired by freelancer.com and was RentACoder at that time) since October 2003.
In December 2003 I completed my first homework help type of project and earned my first $$ from RentACoder online when I was still in college. I could not get the money in my hands because at that time PayPal did not allow withdrawals in India but what it did was it made me to believe that money can be made online doing freelancing.
As of today Freelancing is very small percentage of my total income online but still I don’t give up freelancing and have no plans to give up as well because for me it has more advantages than disadvantages. Yes you can say that freelancing has changed a lot for me in the given scenario. I started freelancing doing homework help type of jobs in C-C++ and as of today I mainly work with vBulletin, WordPress and AWeber and also provide consultation for Internet Marketing as well as Equity Investment.
Now this article is for new freelancers in India and the most first question that comes into the mind of new freelancer is where to find freelancing work to start with?
Where to get started as freelancer?
From my way of freelancing you may start to think the best place to start freelancing is where I started i.e. from bidding and freelancing sites but the reality is slightly different. Actually if you know the answer to the question – Why I started in 2002 you could better understand where to start freelancing.
When I was in third year of my Engineering I (actually a bunch of us) was keen on doing some live projects. I started to tell anybody and everybody I meet about what I can do and it’s amazing what happens when you simply just talk about what you do to everyone you meet and share your business card.
I got my first project to develop software using a direct referral. I was not expecting any money from it and wanted to learn the concept of understanding client requirements and things like those but actually I was paid really good amount of money for getting the software done. Remember I was not expecting anything and so any money will always be good money for the task I did.
So to answer the question where to get started as freelancer – Direct Referral. This is where I started and Direct Referral is where I think every freelancer should start. This will allow you the space you need when you are getting started. Once started you can think about Direct e-mail or even calling. Then you can move to Social Media sites like LinkedIn to let people know what you do or what you can do. Once you have good set of work experience, you can showcase your portfolio and get into job boards and bidding sites like Elance, vWorker, oDesk.
When I was doing my Job from 2004 to 2008 I was not very active member of the bidding sites but that did not stop me from earning doing freelancing from direct referrals and also from my forums where I used to market my services in my sig and sometimes people used to hire me for advice. The key here is “contributing” to the community and learn in the process.
Yes I have tried many things that did not work as well and one of them is local newspaper advertisements. They have always been a waste of time and money for me and instead of getting clients many a times I got calls from local computer hardware suppliers to buy computers from them. 😀
As of today I rarely add new clients because most of my freelancing work comes from repeat business and maintenance of existing clients but yes I get lot of clients through my Internet presence on social networking sites like LinkedIn.
Coming back to sites like Elance, In August 2010 I published the following Image in an article about Freelancing here
And as of today my Elance profile shows
It means 7,000 USD or 350,000 INR annually. Note that the above numbers do not include my direct clients.
Why College Grads Should Consider Freelancing?
Yes I know that Indian education still lack good solid foundation for Web technologies but still I think it includes lot more things that it used to be in the past. My kid who is only 7 years old knows how to play minesweeper. If I remember correctly I learnt minesweeper in college. Opportunities for graduates to use their internet skills to impress potential clients and win projects are lot more these days.
I know I have not answered lot of questions that may be in the minds of newbie freelancer’s in India and the reason behind it is – I did not intend to make this post very lengthy. So I will answer more freelancing questions in the upcoming posts and link them here.
If you have question in your mind about freelancing post in comments below and I will be more than happy to answer them all.
Further Reading …