Ditching the 9-5 grind and starting something on your own can look draining, daunting, and demanding at first. But the rewards often outweigh your struggle. It is not only about satisfaction, working for yourself means more money as well.
According to Upwork’s report, 75% of the freelancers earn equal or more than when they were doing a full-time job.
Upwork Freelance Forward 2020 Report
The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way businesses and employees work. Now, companies and employees are increasingly adopting a remote work model. And the Upwork report indicated the same.
Here are the key findings of the report:
Two-third of non-freelancers say that they would consider doing freelance work full-time to support their families
58% of freelancers have worked for more than 5 clients in the past six months (up from 2019)
86% of freelancers say that the best days of freelancing are yet to come
71% of freelancers say that freelancing as a full-time career becoming more acceptable
Hayden Brown, President and CEO of Upwork, said, in a prepared statement, “Amid all of the uncertainty brought about by COVID-19, the data shows that independent professionals are benefiting from income diversification, schedule flexibility, and increased productivity,
“At the same time, companies are finding that these professionals can quickly inject new skills and capabilities into an organization and strategically flex capacity up and down along with changes in demand and workloads. We expect this trend to continue as companies increasingly rely on freelancers as essential contributors to their own operations,” he added.
Adam Ozimek, Upwork Chief Economist, said, “To adapt to the changes and uncertainty of COVID-19, we saw many professionals enter the freelance workforce for the first time. At the same time, the shift towards greater workforce flexibility coupled with the necessity to maintain continuity brought new demand for independent professionals from businesses. The changing dynamics to the workforce that has occurred during the crisis demonstrate the value that freelancing provides to both businesses and workers.”
Upwork data suggests that working on your own can be an excellent option even in the COVID-19 world. So if you have fire in your belly, you can take the plunge.
However, you should understand that freelancing is like running a small business. You should make an aggressive plan to get more work as a freelancer.
Also, you should get ready to work on long-term gigs as 97% of freelancers plan for long-term gig work.
About the Report
Upwork commissioned an independent research firm to do research for this year’s Freelance Forward report, including 6000 participants. You can click here to know more about the findings of the report.
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U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivers remarks during a voter mobilization event, at Miramar Regional Park in Miramar, Florida, October 13, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
With the presidential election coming, Carolyn Bothwell, a freelance copywriter from Charlestown, Massachusetts, has been hearing from concerned members of the freelancer community she started, Freelance Founders, about what the results may mean for their business.
Some are wondering what Democratic candidate Vice President Joe Biden‘s public support for AB-5, a union-backed California law, aimed at preventing the misclassification of rideshare drivers by giving them the status and protections of full-time employees, means for the future of their businesses. AB-5 had to be modified repeatedly after taking effect on Jan. 1, 2020, because it was putting so many other types of freelancers out of work. “They are really worried about it,” says Bothwell. That’s because Biden — historically a supporter of unions — wants a federal law similar to AB-5 that could place steep restrictions on who can be a freelancer.
With more Americans freelancing than ever before, the future of freelance work is a key concern for some workers as the presidential election approaches. A recent Upwork survey, Freelance Forward 2020, found that 59 million Americans did some form of freelancing in 2019, up 2 million from the year before.
Many freelancers across the nation have been keeping an eye on headlines about AB-5. The law that took effect on Jan. 1, 2020 is an attempt to address inequities in the gig economy including the independent contractor policies of ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber. It assumes that every worker in the state is an employee unless employers can prove otherwise using the rigorous “ABC test” it is based on.
The B-prong of the test says that to be considered a contractor, a worker must perform work that is outside of the usual course of business for the hiring company — making it harder or impossible for many freelancers to work for clients in their own industry. Similar measures have been considered in other states, including New York and New Jersey, so far unsuccessfully.
A California Appeals Court has been hearing arguments this week by lawyers for Uber and Lyft as they try to overturn a lower court ruling that said they had to reclassify their drivers as employees.
In addition to rideshare drivers, AB-5 swept many other types of freelancers into its net, making some employers decide not to hire freelancers from the state and prompting a heated outcry from freelancers in fields that did not get carve-outs that exempted them. The law has now been amended so many times it offers exemptions for more than 100 industries. The fixes are likely to continue, says Steve King, partner in Emergent Research, which studies the independent workforce. “It’s still really confusingly written,” he says.
On Election Day, California residents will now be asked to vote on Proposition 22, a ballot measure that would overturn AB-5, backed by a group of rideshare and gig economy companies that are investing more than $180 million in defeating it. Proposition 22 would deem rideshare drivers to be independent contractors, rather than employees or agents. The ballot initiative would also require app-based rideshare companies to provide a guaranteed minimum wage, a subsidy for health benefits, medical and disability coverage for workplace injuries, and added protection against harassment and discrimination. “It effectively creates a third category of worker,” says King.
Biden has opposed Proposition 22. In a tweet on May 26, the same day he was endorsed by the AFL-CIO, he urged Californians to vote no on this issue.
Biden’s Pro Act
What concerns freelancers in other states, in the meantime, is that Biden has expressed support for the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, tweeting that he would sign it on Sept. 7 and expressing his support in the Biden Plan for Strengthening Worker Organizing, Collective Bargaining and Unions on his campaign website. The PRO Act would use the same three-pronged ABC test as AB-5 to decide who is a freelancer nationwide.
The PRO Act, heavily supported by Democrats, would weaken right-to-work laws in states that let employees opt out of participating in unions and paying union dues. It also gives the National Labor Relations Board the ability to fine companies that retaliate against workers for organizing and give collective bargaining rights to many workers who do not have them now.
Jim Hoffa, the Teamsters general president, noted his support of the legislation in a blog post: “The misclassification of workers is on the rise and too many working Americans are falling through the cracks.”
Some freelancers are so fearful of what would happen if the PRO Act were enacted with the ABC test that this is affecting their choice of candidates. “My vote is 100% on this issue because we are talking about 100% of my income,” says Kim Kavin, a freelancer writer from Long Valley, New Jersey. She co-founded a Facebook group called Fight for Freelancers NJ to oppose a law similar to AB-5 that was proposed in New Jersey but did not make it to a vote. “Especially in the current economic situation we face, I want to keep earning a living.”
The Biden campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the candidate’s positions on AB-5 and the PRO Act. However, in the plan for strengthening worker organizing on his website, Biden says that if elected, he will “aggressively pursue employers who violate labor laws, participate in wage theft, or cheat on their taxes by intentionally misclassifying employees as independent contractors.”
“As president, Biden will put a stop to employers intentionally misclassifying their employees as independent contractors,” the statement goes on to say. “He will enact legislation that makes worker misclassification a substantive violation of law under all federal labor, employment, and tax laws with additional penalties beyond those imposed for other violations. And, he will build on efforts by the Obama-Biden Administration to drive an aggressive, all-hands-on-deck enforcement effort that will dramatically reduce worker misclassification.
He will direct the U.S. Department of Labor to engage in meaningful, collaborative enforcement partnerships, including with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, and state tax, unemployment insurance, and labor agencies. And, while Trump has weakened enforcement by sabotaging the enforcement agencies and slashing their investigator corps, Biden will fund a dramatic increase in the number of investigators in labor and employment enforcement agencies to facilitate a large anti-misclassification effort.”
Trump’s stance on worker classification
The Trump administration has also taken a position on worker classification. The Department of Labor in September proposed a new rule to clarify employee and independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It would adopt an “economic reality” test that looks at whether workers are in business for themselves or are economically dependent on the employer for work. The determination of whether they are in business for themselves would depend on the nature and degree of the workers’ control over the work and the opportunity for profit and loss based on initiative and investment.
The analysis would also look at the amount of skill required for the work, the degree of permanence of the working relationship between the worker and the hiring entity, and whether the work is an “integrated unit of production.” The 30-day comment period on the rule ends on Oct. 26, 2020.
At the Freelancers Union, executive director Rafael Espinal says there needs to be more education about how freelancers’ livelihood will be affected if the PRO Act moves forward as written. Although the group’s membership leans Democrat, Espinal says many freelancers generally don’t feel represented by either party.
Freelancers Union executive director Rafael Espinal says although its membership leans Democrat, many freelancers generally don’t feel represented by either party. “Those who are aware of the negative impacts of AB-5 in California are extremely concerned about what the next presidency can mean for their industry.”
Christina Emilie Photography
“Those who are aware of the negative impacts of AB-5 in California are extremely concerned about what the next presidency can mean for their industry,” says Espinal.
A grassroots movement underway
The Freelancers Union has been actively reaching out to legislators to make sure they are aware of the potential impact of the PRO Act on its members. On Sept. 10, the Freelancers Union held a town hall with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), where the group raised concerns about the PRO Act. “He committed to working with us and making sure we don’t have the same outcome that came out of California at the federal level,” says Espinal.
The Freelancers Union now plans additional outreach to other legislators, says Espinal.
“We are doing our best to build lines of communication with legislators that can help us guide the PRO Act and any similar legislation to a point where freelancers are not negatively impacted by it,” says Espinal. “We also are working on creating a space to raise awareness so freelancers’ voices can get heard and legislators can hear how laws like this have been detrimental to the freelance workforce. We hope to get to a point soon in which we are playing a more active role in the conversations around the PRO Act and any similar legislation on the state level.”
With many people losing jobs or forced to find more flexible work arrangements by the demands of the pandemic, the issue of worker classification is likely to increase in importance in the next few years.
“I expect the number of freelancers to grow after pandemic, given previous trends,” says Espinal. “After 2008, there was a huge increase in the number of people who decided to go freelance.” And for many, whatever laws are on the books about how they are classified will determine how easy, or difficult, it is to earn a living independently.
Taaryn Brench is an independent designer and illustrator based in Leeds whose style reveals a love of bright colour, geometric shapes and playfulness across everything she does, that’s whether she’s crafting a brand, making her illustrations move or designing new packaging.
Originally from Bradford, she went to Sheffield Hallam University to study law but didn’t complete the course, dropping out and moving into the world of digital marketing. When she realised she needed a creative outlet, she did a graphic design apprenticeship through Voca Voca, an independent provider founded by Bob and Erin Sanderson. That led to her working as a multidisciplinary designer for a full-service agency.
After a few years, Taaryn went freelance and now works independently across design, illustration and motion. When she’s not working, she enjoys gardening, sewing and bird watching – gentle pursuits that sometimes spill out into her work. We caught up with Taaryn to find out about her career so far.
What made you decide to go freelance?
I’ve always wanted to be my own boss! I’ve never really enjoyed any of the full-time jobs I’ve had before and always felt boxed in. When I retrained as a graphic designer (from client services) in my mid-20s, I saw it as a career that would eventually allow me to work for myself. I’ve been freelancing on the side of having a full-time job ever since I retrained.
In the last year, I’ve had more time to dedicate to freelancing since leaving my agency job. I’d started there as a junior designer, but in 2019, I was getting a bit restless. I was stuck doing jobs that weren’t fulfilling. I felt like I’d progressed as far as I could, and there were all these things I wanted to do but couldn’t because my job took up all my time.
The dream had always been to quit and go freelance, but it always felt so far off in my head, I’d not actually made any concrete plans for how to get to that point, I was plodding along! And then my work pal handed in her notice last summer which gave me the kick up the bum I needed to finally hand mine in too.
How are you finding it so far?
It wasn’t easy at first. I struggled with transitioning from full-time to self-employment. I felt bad if I wasn’t at my desk working and it took a long time for me to realise that I don’t need to be sat there for eight hours to be productive and work hard.
Then with more jobs coming in, I started to get into the swing of things a lot better after figuring out a routine that works for me. I absolutely love it now! For me, I think it’s about having that level of control and my career progression not being dependent on someone else. I’m involved in everything, talking to the client, project managing, doing the work, all the business stuff, I really enjoy it all!
2020 has been quite a year. How have you coped?
Oh, it’s been so up and down! At the start of the year, I went on a much needed three-week holiday to India, and I was looking forward to coming back refreshed. Then two weeks later, we went into lockdown! I freaked out massively. For the first two months, I didn’t have any freelance work, and I wasn’t eligible for any of the government’s help schemes. I’d started a part-time design job at the beginning of the year because I was getting really lonely working on my own and having that small amount of money coming in was a lifesaver. Freelance work has slowly begun to pick up again and financially; I’m hanging in there.
I’ve been conscious of being a lot easier on myself throughout the pandemic and not expecting too much day-to-day. The absolute minimum I need to do is get dressed and go for a walk. If I can do more than that, super. And if not, that’s ok. I’ve also been enjoying pivoting my business during the quiet periods to do some mentoring, start an online shop and experiment with making illustrated textile homewares. Helping other people and learning some new things has been really beneficial and has helped me come back to client work feeling refreshed.
Exercise has massively helped my mental wellbeing this year. Before March, I was pretty lazy and hated all forms of exercise. Now I start every day with a workout, and the difference it’s made mentally is amazing.
That’s great to hear. What have you learnt about yourself this year – or, in fact, since going freelance?
Before I quit my job, I was worried that I would struggle mentally with freelance and I’d let knock backs really affect me as I tend to let negative thinking patterns spiral out of control. However, I’ve learnt that I have a lot more inner strength and resilience than I give myself credit for. If I can get through a pandemic, I can get through anything, to be honest.
We all doubt ourselves. But it seems you listen to your gut a lot and change things when they’re not working?
Oh, definitely. It’s taken me a long time to hone that. When I first started out, I was crippled with self-doubt and anxiety and I always felt like a fraud. I still have those feeling occasionally, which is normal and we all get that at some point.
But over the years, with experience and learning from mistakes, I’m a lot more confident in myself and my work. Thankfully, I’ve also got a perfect support system. I’ll usually chat through things with my partner and my best fellow illustrator pal to get some clarity and perspective. My partner’s not a creative type, so it’s especially helpful to get a different take on things.
You dropped out of university. What made you realise it wasn’t right?
I was studying law, and it was incredibly dull. Looking back, it was a low point in my life. I wasn’t really enthused about going to university in the first place, but it had never really occurred to me that there were other options. I was toying with the idea of journalism or history but there was pressure from my parents to study law. It came from a good natured place, I’m sure. South Asian folks will understand what I mean. Each generation had its struggles and your parents want you to be successful and have a better life than they did. But there’s that real lack of education at school level about how you can have a viable career in the creative industries.
Right before I moved out, my parents got divorced. And then things quickly began to unravel after Freshers’ Week. I struggled to apply myself to my course and then just stopped going to lectures. I would frequently get panic attacks and feel anxious, so I stopped leaving my room. I’d just sleep most days and then go out at night. Trialling out different anti-depressants took their toll on my body. I constantly felt dazed and spaced out. I ended up losing a lot of weight while on them, I was under 7 stone. So it wasn’t at all surprising that I failed everything and would have to repeat the year. I decided to take a year out, but after getting a job, I never went back.
It’s great that you’re in a good place now. You mention the high expectations we put on ourselves – do you think that pressure comes from the creative industries? Can you see it changing now?
With social media, it’s so easy to see what everyone’s up to. And we tend only to show the good parts, the client wins and the shiny new work. I know I have an unhealthy relationship with my phone and social media. When I’ve been scrolling endlessly, I definitely feel the negative effects. That I’m not good enough or that my work must be crap because I haven’t had a big job as so-and-so has recently done. It’s awful to let myself feel that jealousy burning. I have to remind myself that I’m on a different path, and there are a lot of other things going on behind the scenes for people.
I’d also like to see more chat about different career paths. I don’t know if this is a common feeling with other people. Still, when I first started, I always thought that to be a successful designer, you needed to work at a fancy pants agency with high profile clients with the kind of projects that are splashed about on all the design blogs. Even now, sometimes, I feel like I should have more big names on my client list.
Is there anything else about the creative industries you’d like to see change?
Definitely the lack of diversity and inclusion. Representation matters. If you don’t see yourself reflected in the industry, you start to question whether it’s a space where you belong. I’ve talked about this a lot in the past and I’ve had that sentiment minimised by other people which is so frustrating. I blocked out some time recently for free mentoring, I had a lot of chats with black, South Asian and East Asian creatives who all said similar things, that it can feel alienating at times. I’ve been to countless events and design festivals where I’ve been the only brown woman in the room. It’s rare to see someone like me, a woman of Indian descent, be in a senior leadership position. Especially up north.
With the spotlight over summer being on Black Lives Matter and the murder of George Floyd, it felt like people were making the right noises. But it quickly disappeared. I’m seeing a lot of sharing of content on social media but very rarely does this translate to real life action. I want to see some accountability and what white agency owners and white people in senior leadership roles are actually doing to not only increase diversity but make their spaces inclusive and nurture people to rise through the ranks. It’s been a bit quiet on that front.
If you’re not using your privilege to do outreach at schools, looking at how and where you advertise your jobs, speaking up in your company or giving up your space on an all white event line up, then you’re complicit in maintaining the status quo that benefits you and excludes marginalised groups.
Let’s talk about your gorgeous work. Recent clients include the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. You must pinch yourself?
All the bloody time! I mostly work with small businesses, but every once in a while, I’ll get something like this in my inbox, and I’m like, “Have I made it yet?!”
We’ve got to celebrate the wins. Are you optimistic for the year ahead?
In all honesty, I’m finding it a little difficult to be positive about the future. Last month I was feeling pretty low, as most people were what with it being around the six-month mark. It’s hard because you can’t see a point in time to look forward to when this is all over and back to normal. And who knows if it ever will be normal again. Which makes it challenging to think ahead and make plans because you just can’t predict what’s going to happen.
The self-employed and the arts have been left behind during the pandemic. Did you take Rishi Sunak’s job quiz, out of curiosity? And how does it make you feel, how the government has responded?
I just took the quiz, and my top three were paramedic, lecturer and magistrate! Ironically, I really do want to be a part-time lecturer, but not having a degree is a barrier to that.
The government’s response made me really angry. Especially as I wasn’t eligible for any of the help schemes despite paying my tax my entire working life. And when you see tax-dodging businesses getting a life line, it’s like rubbing salt into the wound.
Sinead Taylor wrote an excellent Instagram post with sources that I look back to every so often that said that creative industries create £12.7m every hour for the economy. And workers with a design element to their work were 41% more productive than the average worker. Creative people are so resilient. As if we’re going to let some out-of-touch posh Tories tell us our careers don’t mean anything!
Many people have gone freelance this year, some not out of choice. What would you say to them to help?
Start with emailing everyone you’ve spoke to in the last few years to let them know you’re going freelance. You can’t get hired if people don’t know you’re available!
Also, Twitter is so underrated as a networking tool. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion on things. Get involved with industry discussion, build up organic and authentic interactions with potential clients and your peers. Share other people’s work without expecting anything in return, and you’ll find people will want to do the same for you. The goal is to be seen and to make people aware of who you are and what you do without being salesy.
I think it’s fair to stay the ‘working from home trend’ is here to stay after the pandemic. However, it’s not a new concept but recently people are looking for more ways to earn money online.
You might also want to get started with freelancing or even to work independently. So, this article will help you get on the right track.
Full disclaimer: You probably know this by now, but I’m not a freelancer myself, however, all the tips and advice on this article have been collected from people who are successful at freelancing.
Focus on your skill set
The first step towards becoming a freelancer is to list down all your skills and then only choose the ones you’re most experienced in. Discovering your strengths will help you stand out from others.
Sometimes we’re able to do multiple tasks, which is completely normal. But, you don’t have to be a jack of all trades. It’s a lot easier to beat your competitors if you only focus on a specific niche.
At the beginning, it’s also very important to build your reputation as an expert in a particular field. This will help you get permanent clients because if they’re looking for quality work then they’ll always prefer an expert instead of a general-purpose freelancer.
Later on, you may gradually expand your services in that skill to get more work.
Find low competition but profitable keywords
At this point, you’ve selected a skill to provide freelance services. Now, there could be many types of services that you can offer for each skill. For example:
So, the main idea is to rank your profile/service in search results. It’s very important to get continuous work because now clients will find you organically. But, the thing that matters the most is if a client is searching for a freelancer and your profile or service is not showing in the search results, then they will probably never find you. Hence, you’ll not get any jobs.
To do so, we’ve got to perform extensive keyword research. It’s absolutely fine if you have to spend a few days on it. Having a basic understanding of SEO will help you at this stage. In case you’re not familiar with SEO concepts then I would recommend learning it.
As you’re just starting out so your main target is to find keywords for services that no one is working on or has a very low competition. This is because you can easily rank on low competition keywords as compared to high competition ones.
Also, remember to find keywords that are profitable. Meaning that people must be willing to spend money to buy your services. There’s no reason to waste time on services that no one is looking for.
Select a few freelance marketplaces
Recently, I published an article about best freelancing websites on Live Code Stream. Try to have a look at it and select two or three platforms to get started.
The major benefit of a freelance marketplace is that they act as a broker, which highly reduces the chance of fraud as compared to dealing with clients directly.
It’s time to create engaging profiles on these platforms. Basically, you have to provide details about your services as well as display an attractive portfolio.
Some platforms don’t let you display the portfolio. So, in that case, simply show your previous work samples to clients when they contact you.
The reason behind only working on a few websites is that you could easily manage workload. Later on, you may expand this list when you have a team. For now, it’s better to start small.
How should I set the price?
You’ve to keep an eye on your competitors. Find out what they are offering and at what price. It will help you determine what employers are usually willing to pay for your services.
At first, always set a low price than your competitors. Let the clients examine your work before you increase your rates.
As you’re just starting out, so it’s a bit difficult to get your first project organically. My recommendation is to find customers on social media networks and bring them to freelance marketplaces.
To do so, share your profile/service on social media platforms. For example, there are many groups on Facebook where people are looking for specific talent. Similarly, LinkedIn can also be a great opportunity to connect with potential customers.
Initially, you have to give your best and do a tremendous amount of hard work. But, it will quickly pay off once you start getting continuous work.
Always provide high-quality results
The best thing about freelancing is there is no limit on how much you can earn in a single day, month, or year. So, if you take it seriously as a business then it has a lot of opportunities for growth. The only requirement is to deliver the highest quality results to your customers.
I’ve even found that customer feedback/review/rating is the most important factor that helps us rank higher in search results of freelance marketplaces. So, if your clients are impressed with your work then they will definitely give you good ratings. In turn, it will increase your chances to get hired by more and more clients.
Sometimes you even have to convince the buyer to leave their review after the task is done. It can only be possible if they like your work.
Always remember that a good customer feedback/rating is the key to success in freelancing.
Manage time efficiently
Freelancers quickly get overwhelmed when they start getting consistent work. At that crucial time, your time management skills come into play.
Unlike day jobs, freelancing is not like a 9 to 5 job. But, you’re your own boss, so it’s completely possible if you create a schedule and stick to it.
We just saw the vulnerabilities of a regular full-time job during this COVID-19 pandemic. It enlightens the usability of online freelancing work like never before.
I would say you did the right thing by selecting freelancing as a career. It’s capable to give you a way better income source then your current job. But, only if you follow the guidelines mentioned in this article.
More and more people are eschewing traditional 9-to-5 jobs in favour of freelancing and the independence that comes with it. In fact, at the current rate, more than half of the U.S. workforce could be made up of freelancers by 2027.
Does working from home, setting your own hours, and being your own boss speak to you? If so, here’s a step-by-step guide to making it happen.
96% of freelancers are of the view that they’ve seen a changed market within the freelance industry
If you’ve decided to find freelance work, you may need to use a completely different approach compared to job seekers looking for more traditional positions in businesses or companies.
For people who enjoy being in complete control of their careers, a freelance career might be the ticket.
The Growth of Freelancing
Every year, Upwork and Freelancers Union release a study that takes a look at the freelance economy. Their 2019 report found that more people are now seeing freelancing as a long-term option.
The great news is that 96% of freelancers reported that they’ve seen a changed market within the freelance industry in the last three years: 77% said technology has made it even more easier to find freelance gigs and 71% feel that perceptions of freelancing are more positive.
When it comes to the earnings growth of freelancing, Upwork found that freelancers have a higher median rate ($20/hour), compared to the $18.80/hour median rate for the U.S. overall.
“… the median skilled freelancer earns more per hour than 70 percent of workers in the overall economy,” the report says.
Finding a Freelance Job in Ghana
The great news is that freelancing is growing. Lets look at how one could find freelance jobs in Ghana.
Look for your network from past jobs and professional contacts. As you begin your freelance career, think of your network as a foundation on which you can build your jobs going forward.
Make connections with professionals in your targeted industry, this networking method can provide some leads. Identify and join industry associations where you can meet like-minded people. Attend conferences or events organised by third-party professional groups in your career field as well.
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media channels can offer opportunities to use social media in your job search. These days, majority of companies use social media to find new employees. If that’s where the hiring professionals are, it makes sense that you should be there too.
Cedijob is a fantastic place to start looking for freelance jobs! While there may be some job sites in Ghana, Cedijob can guarantee you a safe job search free from job scams and fraudsters, which is often one of the most difficult parts about finding freelance work.
As a freelancer, you’ll need to spend a lot of your time hunting down jobs. Cedijob makes it easier since they accept and verify the legitimacy of jobs and compile them into different career categories for easy searching.
Your Own Website
No matter your skill, you may need to let others know what you can do. You can start with a website to showcase your skills and accomplishments. It could be just a simple website telling people what they gain by giving you their job.
LinkedIn already has a big network for professionals. By connecting with your network, and publishing on platforms, you could reach valuable contacts.
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In accordance to the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) Employment Insurance System, the number of unemployed cases in Malaysia peaked at 67,068 on 31 July 2020. With the second wave of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) coming into play following the spike in COVID-19 cases, many are beginning to feel anxious about the possibility of being laid off.
As the nation witnessed a switch in the working trend amidst the pandemic, freelancing has emerged as one of the preferred modes of income. In accordance to the World Bank data in October 2020, 25.15% of Malaysia’s workforce are self-employed, with a portion attributable to freelancers. Freelancing appeals to those who want to explore different industries or acquire new skills and knowledge. This gives people the chance to pursue their passions and be entrepreneurs without abiding by the stringent 9-to-5 working hours.
Self-employment is a double-edged sword. While freelancing in Malaysia has been incredibly empowering as of late, every wrong step has a price to pay. This is because scammers are constantly looking to take advantage of eager gig workers. Although having the freedom to make decisions and to determine your working environment may sound tempting, it is crucial not to neglect the risk(s) i.e. miscommunication associated with it.
Receiving constant and prompt payments is one of the few struggles freelancers face. As some freelancers do not get to meet their clients or employers face-to-face, this creates the opportunity to be “ghosted” by their clients – making it difficult for freelancers to track them down for overdue payment.
Gigworks is one of the online platforms freelancers can use to ensure the safety and assurance of their gig work. As a leading provider of online professional service engagement, Gigwork offers a secure platform for freelancers to display their portfolio to potential clients, effectively addressing concerns such as fraudulence. To ensure both parties comply with the agreement, Gigworks has set up a protection policy whereby the payment is only released once the work is completed.
Glenn Tay, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Gigworks, shared that freelancers are often misled to work for free, hence are easily deceived by attractive rewards.
“Sketchy job listings are commonly sighted, and unfortunately, without warning labels. Most freelancers have seen their fair share of fraudulence, especially those who are inexperienced in the industry. Though self-employment is extremely alluring for the money, it is important to be vigilant of the ‘red flags’ associated with the job,” said Glenn.
Theseare some ways to identify credible freelancing job listings to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of fraud:
SIGN A CONTRACT
Contracts are legally binding agreements that allow both the business and worker to deliver and clarify their roles in the deal, preventing miscommunications and disputes from arising.
Regardless of who you are doing the work for, sign an agreement that establishes the work, fees, and the time and mode of payment. Once both parties sign and date the document, you’re good to go!
AVOID FAKE JOB POSTINGS
Be aware of fake job postings even on official websites. Take your time to scroll through their profile and only accept jobs from employers with a verified rating, as this determines that the client is genuine. Additionally, you may search for reviews online to determine if your client is able to meet their contractual obligations.
SUSPICIOUS PAYMENT METHODS
Freelancers often offer various modes of payments to attract more clients. Such payment methods include direct deposits, cheques and credit card payments. Scams may occur through unusual payment systems such as vouchers, gift cards and other forms of goods and services instead of cash. The best way is to limit yourself to the payment methods you are familiar with.
AVOID CONTACTING CLIENTS OUTSIDE OFFICIAL CHANNELS
Freelance sites are often equipped with integrated communication systems that allow both parties to communicate and make deals without divulging personal information. This provides privacy protection for workers, preventing fraud and allowing paper trail. If deals are being made outside these platforms, it is advisable to create a business email address to protect and record every agreement being made, as this enhances the credibility for your job opportunities.
DO NOT PAY TO WORK
In uncertain times like the pandemic, freelancers are worried about their job stability. They become blinded to the contentious criterias, i.e. payment to the employer, just to secure a job. Legitimate freelance job listings do not oblige you to pay for an interview. Do not fall for false promises made by the organisation such as securing plentiful tasks or rewards after paying an entry fee. More often than not, these clients do not have the integrity to keep their promises and you will wind up on the losing end.
“Many scams often involve taking advantage of people eager to increase their savings quickly. Although cruel and extremely unethical, many people are willing to exploit the emotions of these troubled freelancers, especially during worrisome times like this, when the future of their cash flow remains unknown,” said Glenn.
“We continuously strive to provide the best quality of service for our users. To ensure their safety on our platform, we have developed an internal software system to detect scammers, preventing innocent emerging freelancers from being a victim of fraudulence.”
Now that you have some insights on what to look out for when searching for freelance jobs, get started to establish your portfolio! Take the opportunity to build a career that will provide a living during this pandemic. Remember to follow these steps to avoid being a victim.
Gigworks is a mobile application inspired by the impact and advancement of technology in our lives. With an extensive online catalogue of listings being posted every day, users can expect to gain more flexible access to buy and sell quality services at their fingertips. Launched in 2020, Gigworks began in Singapore and has since been well-received by both local and regional users as the go-to platform for online professional service engagement.
While the COVID-19 crisis devastated industries and left millions unemployed, freelancing accelerated, presumably due to displaced workers seeking a new source of income. A study released in September by Upwork found that more than one-third (36 percent) of the U.S. workforce earned income through freelancing during the crisis, an increase of 8 percentage points over the company’s 2019 study’s results.
Freelancing is at the heart of the new gig economy, but does it work in architecture? The answer is yes, but with the caveat that it requires good planning, solid project management, and the right situation.
“You have to clearly define the scope of work for them,” said Michael Ross president of the 18-person, California-based RossDrulisCusenbery Architecture, Inc (RDC). “Have a kickoff meeting with the freelancer and the team so that everyone understands the parameters of the project. Team onboarding is crucial, and you need to give the full background to the freelancer so they understand, in context, the project, and their role. That way everyone is pulling in the same direction.”
Ross says they use freelancers to augment an existing team based on the available skills of that team. “We’ve used freelancers to convert AutoCAD drawings to Revit (building information modeling software), to assist the office in completing construction drawings and to model topographical 3D maps for us. Some of our projects require more experience on the front end, in schematics or design development, and others require more input on the technical side.”
Ross, whose firm focuses primarily in the justice, public safety, and community-based building markets, says it is preferable if the freelancers—who could be in Europe, Asia, or some other U.S. time zone—have at least a couple of hours of overlap with his staff, so that project coordination can be addressed immediately. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter to him if the freelancer is in Rome, Italy, or Rome, New York.
“We have found freelance designers and architects particularly useful when the freelancer was in a different time zone. I like the idea of our projects being worked on around the clock,” he adds.
Freelancers also need fixed, realistic parameters and deadlines added Ross. “We’ve never had a problem using freelancers. If we tell them we need the drawing in five days, it shows up in five days, as long as we’re accurate and honest about our expectations.”
Bridging the Full-Time Employee Gap
Others who use freelancers do so as a way to bridge the gap when project demands are higher than the existing staff can handle, but are not yet abundant enough to justify a full-time hire. Kyle Brunel was the sole employee of Pencil Box Architects, Inc. until January 2020 when Fumiko Docker joined her. Prior to doubling the size of the firm, Brunel used freelance help when the workload became too much for her to handle alone.
“[Freelancers] really helped me get through some tight spots,” says Brunel, who is based in San Francisco, but who maintains an office in her native Massachusetts. “In my position, it’s difficult to turn down work, so there are fits and starts and waves. Some months are busier than others. There have been points where a project would come in and I was at or near maximum capacity, but it wouldn’t have been responsible to hire someone else because there wasn’t enough steady work to justify it.”
Since Docker joined the firm, and the COVID-19 crisis has ravaged many industries, Pencil Box has been able to handle its workload in-house. However, Brunel sees opportunities on the horizon that may call for the firm to need a freelancer bridge to the third full-time employee.
Hope Proctor, the sole proprietor of Proctor Architects, LLC, initially tried to bridge that same gap by hiring part-time employees to work in her office. She found, however, that a strong freelancer is preferable because of the increased flexibility that it provides her.
“With a part-time employee, I have to be in the office to manage them and make sure everything is okay,” said Proctor, whose Connecticut-based firm focuses on coastal residential properties as well as small commercial and institutional projects. “When a freelancer is working remotely on a project for me, if I need to run out, I can, and I know the work is still getting done. I’m not constantly running back to the office.”
Working Effectively with Freelancers
When considering whether a freelancer is a good option to help balance demand and project resources, it is important to be realistic about what a freelancer can contribute. “They definitely provide value, but you have to recognize that they are not going to do your design for you,” says Brunel. “You have to own that portion of the project, as well as the municipal coordination, client coordination and the intimacies of project management that you can only learn by directly coordinating with the municipalities and clients. You can’t just send a freelancer a napkin sketch and say, ‘Do this.’”
Typically, the freelancer’s value lies in the time it saves the principal architect or their team.
“No matter how good and hardworking they are, they’re only as good as the information you give them,” adds Brunel, who offers reference points to freelancers, such as examples from a previous successful project or a design template. “They’re not going to reinvent the wheel for you, and they can’t read your mind, nor are they aware of the nuances of the conversations you’ve had with your client. Their biggest value is providing you a quality and depth of drawing that you don’t have time to do yourself.”
Brunel says she also tries to be available to answer questions and deliver data when necessary. She is not as fond of freelancers who are halfway across the world because she prefers to have more frequent communication with them than others may want or need. “Considering the time difference and that you’re usually connecting by phone, it’s important to put as much in writing as you can. It’s a lot easier to make mistakes if it’s not in writing.”
Other Benefits and Drawbacks
Freelance help can come from several sources. This ranges from generalist online “matchmaking” sites that provide a seemingly endless supply of freelancers across many professions and industries, to closely managed companies dedicated exclusively to A/E firms. Freelance service providers can also flip the process, helping temporarily overstaffed firms to avoid layoffs by finding work for their people in other companies.
With firms cutting back due to the COVID crisis, freelancing is becoming a viable source of income for furloughed architects, designers, and drafters. Even prior to the sudden economic dip, many chose to freelance because its flexibility is a better fit for their lifestyle. Some have family responsibilities during normal work hours, while others simply like the freedom of not being tied to one firm. This is architecture in the gig economy.
Many freelancers in architecture are younger designers who may offset their lack of experience and expertise with a better grasp of technology. “I had a freelancer show me commands in pdf files that I never knew existed,” said Hope Proctor. “We want our projects in Revit, and using freelancers has helped push me toward using it more. When the freelancers are putting it together in Revit, it can force you out of your comfort zone.”
Proctor says she has had great success with international freelancers secured through a company dedicated to providing freelance architects, but like Brunel, she also prefers having them available for a larger part of the workday. Lack of immediacy can be a minor annoyance. “You can’t just walk over to someone and say, “Hey, can you quickly make these revisions for me and print them out,” she says. “You don’t have anyone right there to do it immediately.”
Freelancers can also lack institutional knowledge. “If they don’t understand the way you want the drawing done, and you explain it to them, a person in the office will know what to do the next time. If you explain it once, then get a different freelancer the next time, you have to explain it all over again,” added Proctor, who—partly for this reason—has used the same freelancer the last few times she needed one.
Ross notes that his project managers, while appreciative of the additional resources, sometimes need to be sold on freelancers and the changes to workflow that they demand. “PMs believe it takes more of their management time to bring someone up to speed, so the PM has to become adept at utilizing this unique resource,” he said.
For Brunel, working with freelancers has made her a better manager. “It has always been difficult for me to delegate,” she said. “Having a remote person forces me to create instructional tools and systems in the context of the architectural documentation we produce. This way, it is all more universally understood.”
Ross added that freelancers are part of his firm’s strategic business approach. “I really believe that a well-managed architectural practice needs to have a complete toolkit. Using freelancers is part of that. Knowing when to utilize the service is critical, and for us, it has been a successful tool.”
Marc Arnold, AIA, is a former operations director with three of the largest A/E firms in the country and is currently an operations consultant and president/founder of Studio-Desk On-Demand, Inc., a provider of freelance staff and services exclusively to the A/E industry.
When you think of the Overwatch League, you likely have a few things immediately come to mind: Josh ‘Sideshow’ Wilkinson acting like an absolute buffoon and then shifting immediately to provide in-depth analysis. Meta’s that can change at the drop of a hat to the chagrin of every team within the League.
And Mitch ‘Uber’ Leslie, the Australian motor mouthing rap-god who somehow manages to keep up with frantic action while punctuating brilliant plays and strategies.
To say that Mitch Leslie, along with his partner in crime Matt ‘Mr. X’ Morello, has consistently been a hallmark of excellence across the entirety of the Overwatch League for the past three years is accurate; to say that his involvement has strengthened the League during his tenure is an understatement.
Yet his contract only locked the Australian rap-god up until now; he is finally free to consider offers from other tournament organizers and titles (including another offer from Blizzard).
Unfortunately for Overwatch League fans, Mitch Leslie is likely a hot commodity that many will be trying to snatch up; ten years casting titles ranging from Goat Simulator (it happened) to every Grand Finals Overwatch League has had, able to speak clearly while offering insights and hyping up fans to astronomical levels.
Any game. I’ve covered over five different titles at the professional level over my career and I have extensive experience as a stage host.
FPS? ✅ MOBA? ✅ Card games? ✅ Whatever the fuck world of tanks is? ✅
Ive literally taken a check to cast goat simulator 😂
This isn’t necessarily to mean that Mitch Leslie won’t be coming back to the Overwatch League in the interim, but it similarly isn’t etched into stone by any means; many fans have posited that losing Mitch Leslie would have consequences for fans and the League alike, and it’s plausible that he shifts into a new and burgeoning esport (perhaps somewhere in Riot’s domain.
In Overwatch, where two teams of six with a myriad of various abilities collide on singular points into a fury where action is happening across twelve separate perspectives, Uber has shown that he won’t even break a sweat handling it.
Now, one of the biggest casting names has an opening for any interested companies, and the man’s resume and legend both are easily noticed by anyone paying a modicum
of attention to the scene; if there’s a time to snipe this legend of casting, it’s now, and it will likely bring a heft of fans from Mitch Leslie’s previous works.
The question that seems to be left unanswered is what title Mitch could shine in, with a fantastic orchestra of mayhem being steadily conducted by the Australian into moments of obscene hype and anticipation.