Unpacking Freelancing Part 1
Introduction to Freelancing
Here is a common challenge among the young, old and skilled people in Zimbabwe. There is great talk of learning to invest early in life. But first question is what do I invest when I don’t have the money? Secondly if I want to invest, what do I invest in?
The money market in Zimbabwe is paying virtually close to zero interest on money invested. On another hand the stock exchange is very volatile and unpredictable. Furthermore the the investment analysts and asset managers advise to invest not to lose and not to invest to win.
Who do you turn to in a case like this?
And yet the question remains, what can I invest in?
Well there is an investment that you have already made which only awaits your activation.
You are a moving business, a chest full of endless hidden treasure.
Firstly, you may be asking “Me?”
Secondly, “Is that for real?”
And the answer is, Yes very real!
And maybe lastly, “Then show me how.”
What this article aims to achieve
This article aims to unpack to you your hidden potential and treasure. It will go further to show you the possible returns you can reap from the years you invested in your education and those spent gathering your experience and expertise.
Well lets unpack it.
An important thing to note is for many years Zimbabweans have been crying because of unemployment and the scarcity of jobs. Many have lost their jobs due to the poor state of the economy. As a result people have been left with questions on how they can thrive in such an economy.
But guess what?
It is not the end of life. There are other ways of earning more money from those skills outside of formal employment!
The Indians did it, so did the Bangladeshis, the Americans, the Pakistani, the English, the Filipinos and others, but we have potential to surpass them all if we get our game right.
These countries have used the secret weapon of freelancing to combat unemployment.
You must be asking now “What is freelancing all about?” Rightfully so. However rest easy, and tag along as I unpack and explain what freelancing is all about and how it can help alleviate challenges caused by unemployment in Zimbabwe.
What is Freelancing?
Freelancing refers to a profession where a person independently offers his or her skills, expertise and services to clients outside of or without formal full time employment. Some refer to it as self employment though to some extent it may be different.
History of freelancing
According to Wikipedia, “The origin of the term freelance has now been widely accepted as emerging from the historical novel, Ivanhoe, written by the Scottish novelist, playwright and poet, Sir Walter Scott in 1820.
In this novel, Scott used the term freelance as two separate words “free” and “lance” and used it to refer to a mercenary who was willing to wield his lance or weapon to fight for the highest bidder. “I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.”’
Interesting isn’t it?
Well that is not all!
There are different types of freelancers. Johnson (2016, April 27) groups freelancers into four categories which are;
Freelancers in this first category have a part-time or full-time job and use freelancing to supplement their income after their day job. Side project freelancers are often in the phase of starting their freelance businesses and hope to turn it into a full-time freelance lifestyle.
These are also called moonlighters. The term comes from working during the night after the day work.
Second category freelancers are not formally employed and work at different projects for a number of clients. Full-time freelancers often work from home or from shared office spaces and charge an hourly or project rate for their time.
Single Contract Freelancers
In this third category, the freelancers generally work for one client at a time for a fixed term contract. This is a great way to go if you want to work certain months of the year and have set breaks. This type of freelancing can be difficult because you generally only have one income source (or client) at a time which can make it difficult to manage your cash flow over the year.
Freelance Business Owners
Lastly we have freelance business owners. This is an interesting category.
Freelance business owners are those people whom I believe have leveraged the opportunities presented to freelancers for business growth. Although they still undertake some traditional freelance project they have found ways to create more passive streams of income in their business.
Freelancing in other countries
According to Guillory (2017, September 25), the following is the ranking of the top most countries where serious freelancing is done:
On top of the list is India. Approximately 24% of the world’s freelancers live in India. Outsourcing is one of India’s main exports. 55% of India’s freelancers are into software development and technology.
Second country on the list of countries with high bigger numbers of freelancers is Bangladesh. Approximately 16% of the world’s freelancing population live in Bangladesh. These work in sales and marketing support, creative and multimedia, software development and technology.
Sitting on the third position is the USA. Approximately 12% of the world’s freelancers are believed to be in the United States. The difference between these freelancers and those from other countries is that most of the American freelancers do part time freelancing in addition to their formal jobs. These mostly fall evenly into software development and technology, creative and multimedia, and writing and translation.
Pakistan falls onto number 4 with its freelancers approximating 8.6%. These focus mainly on computer science and software engineering. Its freelancers constitute approximately
Approximately 6% of the freelancers are found in the Philippines. Guillory (2017, September 25) says, “Ranked as one of the best English-speaking countries in Asia, many Filipino freelancers specialize in content writing, customer service, and technical support. With solid English skills, the Filipino market is appealing to companies in need of English-speaking freelancers the world over.”
The United Kingdom’s freelancers major mainly into professional services freelancing industries, which include accounting, legal services, and business consulting.
The balance of the other freelancers are dotted around the other countries in the world.
Reasons Why People Freelance
Have you ever wondered why people decide to do some side work while still formally employed?
Or better still, why they leave their employment to go full time into freelancing?
Well here are some reasons!
- Scarcity of employment: The first reason why people do freelancing is because there are to many skilled people chasing a few formal jobs.
- Flexibility: Abella (2016, March 9) says, “People want the flexibility to telecommute, work when they want, travel and not be bound by a location or time frame. This also helps them show up for things that matter – like when your kid is sick and needs to go to the doctor.”
- Increased Income: Thirdly, freelancing whether part time or full time offers a chance for one to increase his or her income as compared to rely on one source of income which is a salary.
- Freedom/Independence: In addition freelancing offers freedom or independence. You choose your working hours, who to offer services to, where to work from, the days to work and so on.
- You Follow Your Passion: Furthermore freelancing gives you an opportunity to work at what you love. As opposed to full time employment where you may have less say in the scope of the things that you do, in freelancing you have the ability to choose what you love and to concentrate on that. That’s not all!
- Self-Development: More good news is, not only will you do what you love but you will also invest in your development in that passion.
- Traffic problems: Last but not least, in some cities, for example in the Philippines, there are problems of traffic jams and in order to avoid these traffic jams some people have resorted to work from home.
Robert Kiyosaki says, “There are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who seek security and those who seek freedom. As some of you know, security and freedom are exactly the opposite. That is why those with the most security have the least freedom.”
Freelancers look for and find freedom!
So what do we do now?
Let jump to Part 2 where we look at our Zimbabwean freelancing context!
But before we do here is a summary of what we have discussed so far.
- Firstly, freelancing refers to a profession where a person independently offers his or her skills, expertise and services to clients outside of or without formal full time employment.
- Secondly, the following are the types of freelancers
- Side-project freelancers: Those that are fully employed and do freelancing on the side.
- Full time freelancers: Those that are self-employed full time.
- Single contract freelancers: These generally work for one client at a time for a fixed term contract.
- Freelance Business Owner: These are the people who leverage on offering services to freelancers to enable their freelancing. For example 7 Wonders Market
- Thirdly, the following are the countries with the biggest numbers of freelancers
- India ~ 24%
- Bangladesh ~ 16%
- USA ~ 12%
- Pakistan ~ 8.6%
- Philippines ~ 6%
- UK ~ 5.7%
- Lastly, we also talked about the reasons why people freelance.
Let us move on to Part 2
- Abella, A. (2016). 3 Reasons Why People Are Quitting Their Jobs To Freelance. Due. Retrieved August 09, 2018, from https://due.com/blog/qutting-jobs-to-freelance/.
- Guillory, S. (2017). These 6 Countries Are The Clear-cut Capitals of Freelancing, Payoneer Blog. Retrieved August 09, 2018, from https://blog.payoneer.com/freelancers/industry-tips-fl/6-countries-capitals-freelancing/.
- Johnson, A. (2016). What is a Freelancer. Quora. Retrieved August 09, 2018, from https://www.quora.com/What-is-freelancing.