When I started freelancing in 2008, I was wary of telling people that I worked independently. Back then, there was still a stigma against freelancing. Thankfully, since then, the stigma has lessened considerably as freelancing has gained more respect and acceptance — and has become more lucrative, too.
A 2014 report from the International Data Group indicates that an astounding 40% of working Pakistanis freelance in some capacity. As a result, Pakistani freelancers have helped the country earn a spot among the top 10 earning countries for freelancers – no mean feat.
Removing Obstacles to Freelancing
One of the drawbacks of freelancing in Pakistan was the lack of a strong community of freelancers. Today, all that has changed and new connections have been made thanks to online and offline groups who share advice, arrange events and celebrate each other’s success stories.
Not surprisingly, global businesses are taking notice of the active freelancing community, and as a result, international technology companies like WordPress are establishing themselves in Pakistan. There is also a growing culture of co-working spaces and incubators in metro cities, which provide an encouraging environment for both new and established freelancers.
Obstacles to lucrative freelance opportunities have also been overcome, as Pakistani freelancers are successfully building their skills in web development, mobile application development and graphic designing. Within these verticals, there are good quality projects available with higher earning potential and possibilities for long-term engagement.
Additionally, competition is still low in these sectors, boosting chances for being hired and acquiring repeat clients.
Expanding the opportunities for freelancing is the emergence of online job marketplaces, with Upwork and Fiverr being two of the fastest growing marketplaces in Pakistan. Envato, 99designs.com and Guru also have a significant following in the Pakistani market.
Finally, archaic payment systems that have made getting paid for freelance work difficult are being replaced. With top freelance platforms adopting payout services that use local bank transfers, freelancers’ earnings are deposited directly to their bank account, no matter where they live in the country, with no hidden fees.