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How to Earn money as a Freelancer in 2021 ?


Ashish Kumar
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The question that I am answering is a question that is being asked all the time. And that is, how do you make money as a teenager or How do you earn money as a freelancer or How do you make money as a 20 year old, or how do you go out there and make a side income? 

But before we get started, there are a few disclaimers that I want to give you.

The first Disclaimer that I have for you is that I primarily believe that it is important for you to go out there and seek an understanding of the people around you because people's skill is by far the most valuable skill that you can cultivate during your school times and during your College times. Why? Because the moment you jump into corporate, the moment you mess up with people in the corporate is going to get you into trouble. In College, it might get you into less trouble. So I would say fail over there so that the stakes will be low and you will acquire your learnings before the stakes go high.

The second Disclaimer that I have for you is that the teenage or the early 20's is the time where you're supposed to explore a lot and as much as people think that it is important to find what you love, I think it is equally important to find what you do not love. So I would say go out there and try a lot of things and then try to understand what you love and what you don't love, because the moment you find what you don't love, you go one step closer to what you love. So go then and explore a lot, Fail a lot. Eventually you'll begin to understand that this is your thing and this is not. If this is very, very clear to you, Let's get started. 

 

Now this post is divided into three segments.

The first segment is where I will give you an understanding of the freelance economy. The second segment is where I teach you - How do you exactly go on to become a good freelancer? I am going to give you a framework that you can use no matter which profession you belong to. The third and most importantly, I'm going to introduce you to a few tools.

 

The first segment - Understanding the freelance market. 

The first thing that you need to understand is that Internet is becoming more and more important by the day. When it comes to the early 1990 wherein India actually opened up to the foreign markets.

That's when Internet was merely a tool, a fancy tool that could be used in the offices. Several companies are very reluctant to use the Internet. But as we started going towards early 2000s, Internet became an essential tool because of which your organization could perform better and could become more efficient. By 2010 Internet became a necessity because of which if you did not use the Internet, your competition would Outperform you. But as soon as we started to go towards 2014-2015, we started to see startups like Ola and Uber lay their foundations in India.

And in 2016 the JIO wave happened. So practically speaking, although Internet is not new to India, the accessibility of Internet is something that is fairly new to India. And after 2016, when everybody started to get access to Internet, today, Internet is not just a tool that will turn you into an efficient organization. It is a very Foundation based on which your organization has been built. So Ola cannot exist without the Internet. Uber cannot exist without the Internet and so is the case with Zomato, Swiggy and the rest of the startups.

Just because of the rise of Internet based companies, the accessibility of employment has also increased by a large extent. Now one of the best ways to actually draw a correlation between Internet and the freelance economy would be to have a look at the average speed of the Internet and try to understand how this happened in the US. And in 2014 it was about 12 to 13 Mbps, which is now the case in India. The average Internet speed in India is close to 12 to 13 Mbps. And you will see that from 2014 onwards, the US freelance economy started booming, and today the United States is looking at 1.2 trillion dollars freelance economy.

Now come back to India. We are at the stage that US was in 2014 because of which by 2025, even India could be looking at a trillion dollar freelance economy. So this is my economic projection to tell you as to what exactly is the future of freelance economy. 

Now I come to the second point. That is, why do Indians have a much upper hand as compared to the citizens of the US when it comes to freelance economy. Well, if you look at the rise of companies like TCS, Infosys, these are consultancy services Firms which have clients in the US And because Labor is extremely cheap in India, they have their entire setup in India because of which they're able to provide cheap Labor, hence maximize their profits. And even the companies in the US are able to benefit from companies like the TCS and Infosys. So practically speaking, they would rather hire an Indian, keep them very happy in India and pay him more than the average salary offered to Indians as compared to paying the exact same amount to an American who will be extremely sad because it is way below the average American income.

And this format is the reason why consultancy services like TCS, Infosys and all these IT companies have been very progressive and they were able to hit their pot of gold. And now in the next 2 to 3 years, the same thing is going to happen to the freelance economic over here in india. 

Let's take a very simple example of hiring an editor in the US versus hiring an editor in India. Both the guys will use the exact same software. It will either be File Cut Pro or it would be Adobe Premiere Pro. Both of you guys might have the exact same laptop. You would have a MacBook Pro, he would have a MacBook Pro. Both of you might also have the same skill. But when it comes to a US citizen, he would charge, say, 6000 rupees per minute for the footage that he's going to edit. But in India, even if you charge 2,000 rupees per minute and you edit a 10 minute long video, that is enough to put Food into your belly for the next one month. But for him that will not even be sufficient for one week. So if you see the same win win situation that was caused to TCS and Infosys is now going to be caused to Indians in general because they can charge very less for the exact same work and yet provide the exact same skill set with the exact same competency. And because of this, Indian citizens like you and me will have a much upper hand as compared to US citizens.

This is the reason why freelance economy is going to become extremely progressive in India and in the next five years it wouldn't be surprising to see people working from their homes. In fact, it would be weird if you see people going to office. So to put that straight, there are three reasons why you should believe that freelance economy is going to become extremely progressive in India. Number one is the economic projection from the United States, number two is cheap Labor, hence the pivoting is going to happen from the United States to India, giving you the upper hand. And number three is the rise of internet companies in India, which badly require the freelance economy because it is Super cost efficient.

 

The Second Segment - how do you exactly become a successful freelancer in India. It's very, very simple three steps :-

Number one is - Find a Skill in demand. Go there and do some market research wherein you just have to go to different freelance websites. Go there and find out the skill that you could be mastering or you are a master in.

Number two is - Find a specialisation niche. After you pick that particular skill, go there and find out which one of those subsets in that skill is actually Trending. For example, when it comes to something like video editing, Let's say making trailers is Trending, and that is a skill that is in demand. You should learn making trailers by using video editing and not video editing in general. Obviously, the general understanding is more important, but you also need to know where is the specialization required. And once you have a clear understanding of where the specialization is required, you can go out there and take up courses on that.

 

Then last and most importantly - Find out what specialists are doing. Find out people who are actually very good at it, who have been given five star rating or four star rating by 1000-2000 people. And when you go to their profile, check out the quality of work that they are putting out. Once you understand the quality of work that they are putting out, that will be your benchmark that you have to achieve in the next 1 or 2 months. If you're already a master in that, then you can just go there and put out your gig and people will come and hire you.

So once you do this procedure, you will understand three things, number one is your skill in demand. Number two, in that skill, which is a subset of that skill which is in demand and will pay you well. And number three, and most importantly, what is the benchmark of that skill which you are supposed to achieve. Once you have a very clear understanding of this pathway of with which subset and what benchmark, you can go there and take up courses which will help you obtain that goal of reaching that benchmark. And Here's where websites like Udemy, Skill Share and all these other websites come into play.

Just make sure that you don't do it for the certificate and you do it actually to acquire the skill.

Now, the one Disclaimer that I want to put out over here is if you want to learn a skill, you take up one course. It doesn't look good. Do not quit over there. Take up many more courses once you are done with taking a four to 5 courses which I've got social validation. And then if you feel this is not your Cup of tea, go there and look for the next skill and repeat the same procedure all over again.

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