Is freelancing a thing for me?

Thinking of rebranding?
Bernard Kelvin Clive, Brand Strategist at BKC Consulting, making a point at the maiden Brand-CON Africa in Accra
  • “We are all not called to be entrepreneurs but we can all be enterprising in our chosen fields” — Bernard Kelvin Clive

People are still looking for innovative ways to make extra money and still enjoy what they love doing, regardless of the economic downturn. For some, it may be just a way to survive the lean months, and for others, it is another entrepreneurial adventure.

Entrepreneurship is often discussed at many events and through the media. So it is easy to get the impression that everyone should start a business. Well, while that may be helpful, it may not be the best fit for everyone. Beware of false promises.

Entrepreneurship can be an incredibly rewarding endeavour, but it’s important to remember that not everyone is cut out for it. The reality is that the majority of people simply don’t have the aptitude for entrepreneurial endeavours. Being an entrepreneur is a huge undertaking that requires a lot of resilience and creativity. But there are many other ways to be enterprising in our work lives. For example, we can use the skills we already have and find new and unusual ways to apply them.

During the height of the pandemic, many nations went into lockdown. That was when people discovered all kinds of new ways to get, by as well as things they wanted to invest their time in doing for the rest of their lives. Some people went back to rediscover themselves, others discovered a whole new passion and it changed who they were, for good.

Some others also learned new skills and realised new avenues of generating income.

Interestingly, global statistics reveal that, as companies resume full in-person services and operations, several staff members are not willing to return to their jobs. They dread the 9-5.

People value the opportunity to grow and expand their freedom these days. More and more people are embracing the idea of not just having one job or a sole stream of income, but having multiple sources of income.

Working from home and freelancing have begun to take centre stage.

Will this be the best fit for you?

The best thing to do at this point, is to explore your passions and find something you love doing. Then, once you find it, learn as much as possible about that particular field so that you can make an informed decision on the type of business you want to start.

There are many ways to earn an income, and freelancing is an option open to you.

What’s freelancing?

Freelancing is the practice of being self-employed and not being employed by a single company. A freelancer works for many people or businesses and is often paid on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.

Freelancers work in a wide range of fields and have a diversified set of talents. Some freelancers are graphic designers, others are writers, and many freelancers specialise in digital marketing or coding. Freelancing is an excellent method to broaden one’s skill-set while earning some additional money.

The freelance market is growing exponentially, with more and more people leaping to be full-time freelancers. A recent survey from Payoneer found that 53 percent of freelancers had been freelancing for less than three years. It’s not just the younger generation who are going freelance due to their inability to secure traditional jobs.

Jobs in today’s world are scarce and it is necessary to find new ways of securing employment. New opportunities are arising, such as crowdfunding work, remote work, and contract work.

For example, on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, people raise funds to start a project they want to do, and they are able to pay the creators of their work if their Kickstarter is funded.

On the more informal platform Patreon, people can pledge money toward a creative idea as an investment.

Remarkably, my uncle, who is set to retire this year, is not giving up his expertise in computer engineering and coding. Instead, he has begun actively planning ways to secure contract works and become a freelancer.

The good news is that the Internet has provided numerous means to start side gigs and passion projects. That can eventually lead to full-time employment that pays and fulfills your needs and desires.

If you’re considering taking on freelance work, do your research to find out whether it’s right for you before plunging in headfirst. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do I have the needed skill?
  • Do I enjoy my own company enough?
  • Can I handle working in isolation?
  • Do I trust myself enough to submit invoices and get paid regularly on time?
  • Am I organised enough to maintain files with client information?

Here are some freelance global statistics:

  • About 50% of freelancers are highly skilled.
  • 84% of freelancers say their jobs allow them to live the lifestyle they desire.
  • India accounts for 33% of all freelancers.
  • In America, there are 59 million freelancers.
  • Freelancing contributed US$1.2trillion to the US economy in 2020.
  • The average freelancer earns US$67,164 per year.
  • Approximately 75% of freelancers believe that freelancing boosts their earning potential.

You can freelance any skill that you have, once there is a demand and need for it. However, the most popular freelancing jobs include: Writing, Digital Marketing, Software development, and Graphic designing.

The field of writing is one that majority of people think about when it comes to freelancing. Freelance writing can be anything from copywriting, blogging or ghostwriting. If you have a talent for storytelling and put your heart into your words, there is no doubt that you will be able to make some extra cash by getting paid to write.

Software developers and programmers are in high demand, but so is the supply. If you have any skills in these areas and are looking for a way to make some extra money, I will highly recommend freelancing. This could even lead to more opportunities than you can imagine – the sky’s the limit!

More and more people are getting into the e-Commerce space, so it’s not surprising that employers have been on the lookout for skilled digital marketers who can provide services to increase product awareness and generate sales. Freelance workers with experience in digital marketing can benefit greatly from these opportunities.

With that said, here are the top 5 platforms to start your freelance career.

  1. Upwork is a large marketplace and one of the largest freelancing platforms in the world. After signing up, freelancers go through a series of steps to create their profile, including collecting information about their background and skills. When people are ready to start freelancing, they can put themselves on the platform for employers or search for a job.
  1. Freelancer, by the number of users and projects, is the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace. They engage over 58,508,906 employers and freelancers from over 247 nations, regions, and territories worldwide. Employers can use their marketplace to recruit freelancers for projects ranging from software development, writing, data entry, and design; to engineering, the sciences, sales and marketing, accounting, and legal services.
  1. Peopleperhour offers competitive rates for both talent and clients alike, they have connected over 1 million clients and freelancers, and have paid out over £100million in freelancer payments. You can sign up and start monetising your skill.
  1. Fiverr is increasingly becoming popular over the past few years and is a good place to start your freelancing career. It has over 7 million registered users. I have hired people on Fiverr to help in some projects and I have also been hired to help people write and publish books. Try it today!
  1. 99Designs is one of the best places to hire a professional designer. From poster design to brand identity designs. You can find an expert to help. So if graphic designing is your field of expertise, hop on to 99designs and sign up.

The future of Freelancing:

‘Work and happiness’ – the saying goes. The future holds more freedom and enjoyment while earning a living. According to the MBO Partners 2020 Report, the share of independent workers who felt more secure working independently increased dramatically between 2011 and 2020. It began at 32% in 2011 and soared to 56% in 2020.

Work that has been typically done in offices is becoming disrupted; and the sooner we adjust, the better because it would provide a better environment for businesses to thrive.

If you’re thinking of taking on a freelance job, you should know that by 2023 the global gig economy is forecast to reach US$455billion. In addition, 59% of non-freelancers also plan to take on freelancing jobs in the near future. The gig economy’s growth is driven by consumers who are increasingly seeking flexibility and opportunities to earn additional income.

Change is inevitable. And as the gig economy grows, it is important to consider if freelancers are the future of work. Although the future of work is still unclear, some predict freelance work will be the norm, while others believe that it’s part of a larger trend.

Why stay back and miss out, when you can plug in and grab your share.

Bernard is an Author, Speaker, Lecturer and Corporate Trainer – Africa’s foremost authority on Personal Branding and Digital Book Publishing. He is a brand strategist at BKC consulting and runs the monthly Branding & Publishing Masterclass. visit

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