Freelancing, which means working for companies or individuals in short contracts with desired time and payment, is not an unfamiliar concept anymore. It is possible to earn quite a handsome amount by offering skills like content writing, programming, web development, graphics designing, SEO, business, finance, tech solutions, academic content and so on. Platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, Guru, etc. provide floor to anyone with a certain skill to showcase their work and willing buyers or employers can take their service. Other than these platforms, many just showcase their work online on an independent website or social media platforms from which different clients contact them.
Usually, the payment in this field varies based on the work, skill level, the difficulty of task and delivery time. International freelancing platforms usually pay freelancers through PayPal. Since it is not available in Bangladesh, the most common method is payment via a bank account.
Freelancing is an education-friendly part-time work option for students. Aspirant students can choose a particular skill they think they can excel in and learn that through online courses and tutorials. How much time should one spend on this entirely depends on them. This makes freelancing flexible for the students.
Md Shazid Hasan, a second-year student of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at BRAC University is a freelance expert. For SEO, he had to learn the basics of ON-page SEO and what a user wants to read or like about a particular topic to start his freelance career.
"Many foreign clients would hire an SEO expert for around US$ 20-40 per hour. Also, an SEO expert can easily work for multiple clients in his desired time. So, this can be a good opportunity to earn a handsome amount of money for students," shared Shazid. The SEO industry is a relatively new area for Bangladeshi freelancers. So, according to him, SEO can be the next big thing for freelancers because it has a huge demand in foreign countries.
Another student, Rafiunoor Rahman Rajjo, studying in the Department of Apparel Manufacturing and Technology (AMT) at BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology, freelances as a content writer and is currently improvising his Fiverr account. Initially, he had to research and learn about content writing; he developed and sharpened his skills as a content writer by observing other website's engaging articles. Due to the Covid-19 situation, both the education sector and the job market of our country are heavily affected.
"But with freelancing, we can efficiently work from home and still earn something in this challenging situation. Many people are shining with the power of their talents in freelancing. And I'm confident about the fact that freelancing will have a significant role in fixing the unemployment issues of Bangladesh," added Rajjo.
Srabon Arafat is an SSC-2019 graduate who is utilising his time in the pandemic through freelancing apart from his regular studies. Before starting, he learnt the basics of Adobe Photoshop and then took six months to learn Illustrator--both from YouTube tutorials, and all by himself. About the requirement of creativity, Arafat explained, "If one has creative ideas, it is an added benefit to graphics designing. Otherwise, practising other's works can also enable creative thinking and help generate new ideas." Most of Arafat's clients come from his Behance portfolio. Apart from that, he is enlisted as a premium artist in two wallpaper companies.
Currently, in Bangladesh, freelancing has become very accessible. Hence, anyone with one or two months of learning jumps to the marketplace and starts taking orders. This results in not so good task outcomes.
"For this incomplete or not up to mark work outcomes, Bangladeshi freelancers are becoming a name of terror to foreign clients which is creating a negative impact on professional freelancers," sighs Arafat. So, whoever is interested in starting freelancing, should learn the required skills properly and then start taking orders, be it students or full-time freelancers.
When asked if freelancing is a good choice for students of Bangladesh, both Sazid and Rajjo replied with positive notes. Both think that the prime benefit is the freedom of doing work whenever they want according to their will and there is no pressure or stress like other jobs. The experiences gathered from freelancing, sometimes even from foreign clients, can add up to their CVs and create an experience-heavy good impression for future career or job prospects.
With a good effort, freelancing can work as a great alternative to a full-time job as well, believes Rajjo. Arafat, however, has a different concern. Since freelancing is an entirely independent form of job, it is good for those who can work and have those opportunities. It is good for students for earning and gaining experience. But he thinks, for full-time, people should go for a fixed job and work on freelance tasks as a side job because financial stability is not always guaranteed in freelancing.
To tie the knots, freelancing is a sector full of possibilities for students who desire to explore and gather versatile experiences from the entire world while sitting in the comfort of their homes. However, aspirants should do adequate research about the skill, test their capabilities, make sure they have required devices and tools, access to payment channels, etc.
The writer is a second-year BBA student at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka