According to estimates there are nearly three million freelancers in the country, which puts Pakistan among the top countries for freelancing globally.
This article focuses on explaining what is freelancing and how it works in Pakistan.
It examines the different types of freelance work available, the challenges freelancers face, and what makes Pakistan an attractive place to pursue a freelance career.
Furthermore, it outlines some key tips on getting started as a freelancer and offers advice on avoiding common pitfalls when taking this route.
So, if you are considering this career, you’ve come to the right place.
We will show you everything you need to know to gain enough confidence to launch your business and start making money soon.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
What is Freelancing?
Freelancing involves providing services to clients on a contractual basis, typically for short-term projects or assignments.
Freelancers can provide their services remotely from any location, allowing them to be their own boss and set their own hours, rates, and working conditions.
You can work both fulltime or part-time as a freelancer.
In Pakistan, this new freelancing wave creates opportunities for professionals from all backgrounds and expertise levels.
Types of Freelancing in Pakistan
As you can guess, several freelancing types are available, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
One type of freelancing is consulting services.
This involves working with clients on an advisory basis, helping them strategize solutions for their business challenges by providing advice based on industry knowledge and expertise in specific areas such as web design or marketing strategy.
Freelance writing is another popular option.
This includes writing articles, blog posts, press releases, web content, and other types of writing for various clients.
This type of freelancing in Pakistan requires strong communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to meet tight deadlines.
Then there’s freelance coding.
Here, your tasks involves developing and programming software and websites for clients.
It requires strong technical and coding skills and the ability to understand clients’ needs and develop solutions that meet their requirements.
In fact, you can work as a freelancer in any industry. Others common jobs include:
- Web designer.
- Digital marketing consultant.
- Social media manager.
- Media buyer.
To get more ideas and better understanding of this, read: 11 Profitable Freelancing Jobs For Students In Pakistan
How Does Freelancing Work in Pakistan?
Well, first, it works similarly to how it works in other countries😁.
Freelancing involves offering your services or skills to clients who are looking for specific work to be done on a project basis.
That means as a freelancer in Pakistan, you can offer services in a variety of fields, such as web development, graphic design, writing, accounting, marketing, and many others.
You can find these clients through online platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and PeoplePerHour.
Here, you will find people actively looking and willing to pay for your services!
Once you find a client, you will agree on the scope of work, project timeline, and payment terms.
You will then work on the project remotely from your own location, and submit your work to the client for review and feedback.
The client will pay you for your work once they are satisfied with the final product.
Payments can be made through various methods, such as PayPal, bank transfer, or mobile wallets.
That’s how freelancing works.
Benefits of Freelancing in Pakistan
Everyone is singing freelance! Freelance!
What is unique about? What do you gain from it?
a. Flexibility in terms of timing and location
Unlike traditional jobs, freelancing offers flexibility in terms of timing and location.
This means you can work from the comfort of your home, anywhere in the world, and at any hour of the day.
For instance, if you are offering web development services, you can find clients from the UK.
Well, since you are working remotely, you won’t have to take a trip to the UK to meet them.
All you need to get the job done is a good internet connection and a working laptop!
The client will give instructions on what they need done, and you get to work!
b. Access to international markets
Tired of local clients?
Freelancing in Pakistan gives you access to a global market.
This means you can work for clients worldwide, and you won’t be limited to working for clients in Pakistan only.
You can find clients from the US, Canada, and the UK, among other countries.
This is a great way to expand your career and make more money.
c. Ability to choose projects
When you are a freelancer, you have the freedom to choose the projects you want to work on.
This means you can pick and choose the projects that interest you the most.
You won’t be stuck with a job you don’t like and that doesn’t motivate you to work.
d. Increased earnings
Freelancing is a great way to supplement your income and make more money.
You can charge whatever you want, depending on the project’s nature and the task’s complexity.
This means you can earn more than you would with a traditional job.
e. Learning new skills
When you work as a freelancer, you get to learn new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry.
This will not only help you in your current projects, but also help you in the long run when you are looking for new clients.
f. No commitments
You don’t have to worry about any long-term commitments or contracts when you freelance.
You can choose the projects that interest you, and once you are done with them, you don’t have to worry about them anymore.
This means you can move from one project to another without any hassle.
Related: 16 Pros and Cons of Freelancing in Pakistan
How to Start Freelancing in Pakistan
Now that you know the perks of freelancing in Pakistan, the next question is, how do you get started?
See, to have a better chance of success, there are some steps you need to follow to launch your venture.
So, let’s discuss some of these steps.
a. Identify marketable skills you have
You can’t just wake up one day and start earning as a freelancer in Pakistan.
Remember, the money comes as a result of clients paying for something you have!
What is that?
The most successful freelancers in Pakistan are those who possess a combination of technical, creative and interpersonal skills that makes them attractive to potential employers.
There are many skills that you can turn into a freelance business. Here are some examples:
- Writing and editing – You can offer your writing and editing skills for various types of content, such as blogs, articles, social media posts, website content, and academic papers.
- Graphic design – If you have skills in graphic design, you can offer services such as logo design, brochure design, poster design, and website design.
- Web development – You can offer services in web development, such as creating websites, web applications, e-commerce sites, and content management systems.
- Digital marketing – If you have skills in digital marketing, you can offer services such as social media marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, and email marketing.
- Photography and videography – If you have skills in photography or videography, you can offer services such as event photography, product photography, and video production.
- Translation – If you have skills in multiple languages, you can offer translation services for documents, websites, and other content.
- Accounting and bookkeeping – If you have skills in accounting or bookkeeping, you can offer services such as financial analysis, tax preparation, and financial reporting.
- Virtual assistance – If you have skills in administrative tasks, you can offer services such as email management, scheduling, data entry, and customer support.
When identifying your marketable skills, think about what sets you apart from other freelancers on the job market.
Are you adept at coding or website design?
Do you have exceptional writing or editing abilities?
Or perhaps it’s your communication and collaboration skills that will make you stand out from the rest.
Say you know your way around social media platforms. This means you can offer social media management services a freelancer.
b. Building a portfolio
You must show potential clients that you know what you claim to know!
How will you do that?
That’s where a portfolio comes in.
A portfolio is a compilation of all the different types of work a freelancer has done or can do for clients.
It showcases a freelancer’s skills and abilities and can be used to attract potential clients.
As such, before you can start looking for clients, you need to have one ASAP!
Building a portfolio requires careful selection of samples from projects that demonstrate the freelancer’s best work.
Include only those pieces that show their true strengths, such as writing, graphic design, web development, marketing, etc.
Using the social media manager example, here’s what the portfolio should include:
- Introduction: A brief introduction that highlights your experience and skills as a social media manager.
- Case studies: Showcase examples of social media campaigns or projects you have managed in the past, highlighting the results achieved for your clients. Provide details such as the goals of the campaign, the platforms used, and the metrics used to measure success.
- Examples of content: Provide examples of the social media content you have created or curated for clients, such as posts, graphics, and videos.
- Social media strategy: Include examples of social media strategies you have developed for clients, highlighting the goals, target audience, and key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure success.
- Analytics and Reporting: Provide examples of social media analytics and reporting that you have generated for clients. Showcase your ability to analyze social media data and make recommendations for future campaigns.
- Social media tools: Highlight your proficiency in using various social media management tools, such as Hootsuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social.
- Client testimonials: Include testimonials from previous clients to showcase your professionalism and expertise as a social media manager.
What should I use to present my portfolio?
There are several tools available to present a portfolio, ranging from online portfolios to printed materials.
For those who prefer creating an online portfolio, websites such as Behance or Coroflot offer great platforms for showcasing work samples and displaying skills.
At the same time, creating a website through WordPress or OLITT can also be used for this purpose; these sites allow users to create their own portfolios with customizable layouts and graphics easily.
On the other hand, printed materials such as brochures and pamphlets can also help professionals show off their talent.
Creating leaflets highlighting accomplishments or services offered is another way to ensure potential clients know your abilities.
c. Find the right platform and create a profile
To succeed as a freelancer in Pakistan, finding the right platform and creating a profile is essential.
Some popular platforms for finding freelance work in Pakistan include Upwork, PeoplePerHour or Freelancer.com.
These websites allow freelancers to easily post their skills and experience so potential employers can search and select them for projects.
Having an up-to-date profile with a clear list of services offered, a portfolio of past works, and personal information will help employers make informed decisions when selecting freelancers.
Steps to join and find work on Upwork
Here’s a quick guide on how to join Upwork in Pakistan and find work.
Go to the Upwork website and sign up for an account.
You can either use your email address or sign up through your Facebook or Google account.
Once you have signed up, you must create a profile showcasing your skills and experience.
Make sure to fill out all the necessary details such as your work history, education, and skills.
You may also want to upload a professional-looking profile picture.
In the “Find Work” tab, click on “Profile” and fill out the details about the type of work you’re interested in, your hourly rate, and your availability.
This information will help Upwork match you with relevant job opportunities.
You can search for jobs on Upwork by using the search bar, browsing job categories, or applying to job invites.
You can also set up job alerts to receive notifications when new jobs are posted that match your skills.
When you find a job you are interested in, you can submit a proposal including your cover letter, hourly rate, and other relevant information.
Make sure to tailor your proposal to the specific job you are applying for.
Communicate with clients: If a client is interested in your proposal, they may contact you for an interview or to request more information.
And respond promptly and professionally.
If the client decides to hire you, they will send you an offer that includes the project details, payment terms, and timeline.
Review the offer carefully before accepting it.
Once you have accepted the offer, you can start working on the project.
Communicate with the client regularly and deliver high-quality work on time.
When you have completed the project, the client will release payment through Upwork’s payment system.
You can then withdraw the funds to your bank account or payment service.
d. Start bidding on projects
Most platforms allow you to submit bids on the available projects to find work.
Before submitting a bid, read through the job description carefully and ask questions if anything is unclear.
Be aware of the client’s budget and try not to underbid or overbid for jobs.
It’s best practice to submit proposals that offer competitive rates without sacrificing quality of work.
The goal should always be to provide services that exceed expectations while maintaining a fair fee structure that allows freelancers to make a profit from their services.
Once a bid has been submitted, clients will review all applications before selecting the best candidate for the job.
Related: How To Start An Online Ad Business (Everything You Need to Know)
Challenges of Freelancing in Pakistan
If you thought this industry has no issues, think again.
a. It can be hard to manage time
The ability to manage your own work hours can be a double-edged sword; without an external force keeping you on track, it can be easy to get sidetracked or become overwhelmed with commitments.
To avoid this, freelancers should create a schedule that works for them and stick to it as much as possible.
This might involve setting aside certain times for working on projects or meeting deadlines each day or week.
It could also mean carving out some time away from work to focus on self-care or relaxation activities such as yoga and meditation – this helps ensure that you stay productive and motivated in the long run!
b. Limited access to Resources
Freelancing in Pakistan is not as widely practiced as it could be, largely due to limited access to resources.
Many freelancers struggle to find reliable and up-to-date information on the market and opportunities.
Often, they do not have access to the same technology or networks that other countries’ freelancers benefit from.
Not to mention, there is a lack of financial infrastructure for freelancers in Pakistan, meaning payments are often slow and unreliable.
The Pakistani government has made efforts to improve the situation by providing online services such as tax filing systems, but more needs to be done.
Increasing internet speed and accessibility would help many freelancers stay connected with potential clients from around the world who demand high quality work.
Another important step would be improving financial infrastructure so that employers and workers can more easily track and manage payments.
c. A lot of Competition
Freelancing in Pakistan has become increasingly competitive, as more and more people are turning to freelancing for their income.
With the growth of the internet, people from all over the world have access to a wide range of services that can be done remotely, making it easier than ever for them to find suitable jobs.
This has led to an influx of applicants vying for these opportunities, creating intense competition.
The most successful freelancers in Pakistan have learnt how to stay ahead of the competition by staying on top of trends and adapting their skillsets accordingly.
They also understand how important networking is when it comes to finding new clients, so they make sure they build relationships with other professionals in the field.
Further, many experts recommend having an online portfolio or website showcasing your work samples as this allows potential employers to easily evaluate your abilities and decide if they want to hire you.
d. Fraudulent clients
Yes, this is an unfortunate reality.
Someone hires your services and then they run away without paying!
This happens a lot when working directly with clients.
Consequently, you need to understand the warning signs of a potential fraudulent client so they can protect themselves and their livelihood.
One of the most common indicators that a client might not be legitimate is if they ask for extremely low rates or promise payment after completion of the project.
Other red flags include requests for additional services not included in the original agreement and lack of communication regarding progress or other details related to the project.
Some clients may try to pressure freelancers into providing them with their bank account information or other personal information, which is always a scam.
Never accept any offers from suspicious-looking clients without doing proper research and checking reviews from past customers
Tips To Succeed in Freelancing in Pakistan
Don’t let the challenges scare you.
Freelancing is a lucrative career, but only if you make it be.
Here are some things you can do now to improve chances of a successful career.
a. Developing a professional attitude
Professionalism comes down to having the right mindset, possessing the necessary skills and qualities required for success, as well as being able to project confidence when dealing with clients and employers.
Developing a professional attitude involves setting yourself clear goals, taking responsibility for your own performance and time management, thinking critically about problems and solutions, communicating effectively with clients, colleagues and stakeholders in order to build trust-based relationships.
It also involves keeping up with industry trends and embracing new technologies while ensuring quality of work is maintained throughout projects.
In addition to technical skills, maintain your knowledge of business practices by staying informed of legal matters such as Pakistani copyright law or tax regulations, which may be applicable in certain types of assignments.
b. Establishing a sound communication method
This begins with knowing how and when to communicate with clients.
Setting expectations from the outset, such as response times for emails or messages and frequency of updates, can help ensure that the client-freelancer relationship remains strong throughout the duration of the project.
Communication should also include discussing payment terms upfront.
And depending on the project’s complexity and length, this could involve setting up an escrow account or requesting a partial payment before starting work on the project.
Maintain an effective system for keeping track of all communication related to each individual project.
You can use your best judgment to create and send invoices while staying up-to-date with any changes in client requirements or payment due dates.
c. Understanding the client’s needs
If you take one thing from this section, take this.
Understanding the client’s needs is an essential part of success.
Knowing what the client wants and being able to deliver results that meet their expectations is a key factor in any successful freelancing career.
First, consult clients about their desired outcome and specifications for any project.
This initial consultation helps ensure that both parties are on the same page from the start and understand each other’s goals.
The second step in meeting clients’ needs is to communicate regularly throughout the project process.
Keeping an open line of communication between a freelancer and client can make all the difference in how satisfied both parties are with project results.
Always provide updates on progress during development cycles, so clients have assurance that their demands are being met and deadlines will be respected.
d. Maintaining timely delivery
Timely delivery is critical to successful freelancing in Pakistan, as it is with all types of work.
Clients and employers expect their projects to be delivered on time, and if a freelancer cannot meet deadlines, they will quickly lose business.
To ensure that the quality of services remains high, freelancers should carefully plan how long each project will take and make sure to stay on track.
Be aware of the local culture when it comes to timeliness in Pakistan.
For example, Pakistani clients often understand that deadlines may slip occasionally due to contingencies such as family or health issues – but only if the client is notified immediately and provided with an updated timeline for delivery.
Freelancing is a great way for people in Pakistan to make an income without working within the confines of a traditional job.
You can build skills, network with others in your field, and secure opportunities that they might not have been able to get otherwise.
As a beginner, be aware of the legalities involved in this type of work.
Pakistani laws are still developing regarding freelancing, and tax laws need to be followed closely to avoid any trouble with authorities.
Keep track of your earnings and expenses so they don’t lose out on some money due them at the end of the year.
Freelancing can be a great experience if done responsibly and has the potential to bring financial stability as well as freedom from traditional employment restraints.