Who is a Freelancer?
According to Investopedia, A freelancer is an individual who earns money on a per-job or per-task basis, usually for short-term work as an independent contractor.
A simplified definition of a freelancer is a person who works according to his/her rules, the job term Freelance came about as most individuals did not want to be held down by the constraints of a 9-5 job.
Another layman’s definition of a Freelancer is an individual who wants to have peace of mind, does not want to be held down by corporate hours, has his/her eggs in different baskets, and does not want to have one primary income, someone who wants to be a lone wolf. (Money, Time, and Location are for the choosing of the Freelancer).
A left-out definition of Freelancer is one that is left out most of the time, someone who is trying to figure out his/her next big steps in the labour market/outside world because not everything is being taught in school, and freelancing is used to gather experience from varieties of clients all around the world.
Freelancing in Nigeria has significantly increased due to the adjustment in work systems caused by the pandemic, before COVID occurred, Nigeria had a workforce of over 80 million Nigerians as of 2020, afterward, 20% of the workforce was cut off, which means 16 Million Nigerians lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
The pandemic became an eye-opener for Nigerian individuals and organizations in the labor market, for individuals, a platform where you could work without the constraints of time, where you can beat the constant naira depreciation and ease the effects of inflation, and for organizations, a platform where the company can hire a freelancer for a specialized work after seeing his/her portfolio pertaining to that specialization, freelancing also helps organizations reduce the cost of training, benefits, health insurance, paid time off, and payroll taxes while getting a freelancer hired, the only cost that needs to be paid for is the cost of the job.
Being in the freelancing world is simply putting yourself out there in the market, Literally.
Freelancing begins with you uploading all your works or portfolio, there are so many freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, Truelancer, Rev and so many more, there are even specialized platforms for people that deal with web designing, UX/UI designing, word-press website, and others. But one common thing to have when becoming a freelancer is your portfolio, there is nothing more important than your portfolio, in freelance terms, it is more like your C.V.
It is so important that it differentiates you from the next person. From what I have gathered as a freelancer on these platforms is that you would not get chosen by a client unless you have past work, it is like a sign of trust to them because there is a credible number of fake freelancers and clients that roam around these websites looking for people to scam.
Personally, I experienced a fake client who offered me a sports content writing job, they offered to pay me 750 Rupees (Indian currency) which is approximately Four Thousand Two Naira. At that point in time, I was a greenhorn who knew little about the website, unknowing to me that before a job starts, the client is meant to pay at least half of the cost of the job and by that time, it was already too late. I did the work without getting paid.
Luckily, the platform’s moderators responded when I raised the issue, the first correction they spoke to me about was ‘never start a job without getting paid at least half first’. My second correction was the fact that I had no portfolio on my profile, they stated that having no portfolio makes you vulnerable to fake clients because it signifies somebody that is new in the business, still getting the hang of it and lastly somebody skipped the ‘about the platform’ side of the website because they clearly stated that freelancers should have that portfolio ready to go.
After uploading your portfolio, what follows is to keep learning. In the freelancing world, nobody ever stops learning because if you do that, there are going to be 100 of you hustling for the same job and chances are you might never get a job.
The best advice, keep on learning, you see another freelancer’s job that you never encountered, try to learn at least the basics of the work, then get some volunteer work under your belt. With that alone, you have a portfolio.
From there begins a cycle of working in the freelance work systems, Enlarging your portfolio, Learning from other freelancers, Sharpening your skills, Getting contract jobs from clients, and the same thing all over again.