Freelancing in Bangladesh is a popular term all around the world. Freelancing needs no more definition or introduction to understand what it means. Yet, for those who need a quick introduction, here it is: Freelancing is the freedom of being self-employed.
However, not everyone must be aware of what should you do and what you shouldn’t if you want to start freelancing in BD. But before jumping to an ultimate beginners’ guide on freelancing in Bangladesh, let’s just recall why you should be considering a freelancing job over a regular job.
So if you have made it so far to the article, you surely know why you are here and if you continued because freelancing and outsourcing are something you wish to understand more without spending a lot of hours in research, let’s start with an understanding of online outsourcing jobs.
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What are online outsourcing jobs?
In this era of digitization, workspaces are no more dependent on the physical availability of people unless it’s a job that requires the handling of physical assets, etc. In order to reduce manpower, and fixed costs and get the benefits of skilled resources from around the world, a lot of companies outsource online jobs where someone can sit and work in any time zone.
A guide to outsourcing jobs is to encourage work from across the globe since the output is not required in runtime and available low price points but better quality of work.
Online outsourcing jobs can be from variant businesses such as IT, design, writing, virtual assistance, data entry, call centers, on-call consultancy, etc. There is a huge list of possible online jobs that are being outsourced to Bangladesh. Other than the freedom to have skilled resources around the world, experienced manpower at relatively lower wages is another reason for an increasing number of online job outsourcing in Bangladesh.
History of Online Freelancing
The concept of freelancing dates back to ancient times, but the history of online freelancing is relatively recent. The rise of the internet and online platforms in the late 1990s and early 2000s paved the way for the growth of online freelancing as we know it today.
One of the earliest examples of online freelancing platforms was Elance, which was launched in 1999 and offered a marketplace for businesses to connect with freelancers for a variety of projects. Around the same time, platforms like RentACoder and eLance offered similar services, and in 2003, a new platform called oDesk was launched, which later merged with Elance to form Upwork in 2015.
As the internet grew and became more widespread, the number of online freelancers and the variety of services they offered increased, and the concept of freelancing became more mainstream. Today, there are a number of popular online freelancing platforms, including Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer, which offer a wide range of services, from writing and design to software development and data analysis.
The growth of online freelancing has had a significant impact on the global economy and the way work is done. It has given individuals the ability to work from anywhere and offer their skills to clients around the world, and it has provided businesses with access to a flexible, cost-effective workforce. Despite some challenges and limitations, online freelancing is likely to continue to grow and evolve in the coming years.
History of Freelancing in Bangladesh
The history of freelancing in Bangladesh is closely tied to the growth of the internet and online platforms in the country. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as access to the internet became more widespread in Bangladesh, a growing number of individuals began to offer their skills and services as freelancers.
Initially, many Bangladeshi freelancers relied on local networks and forums to connect with clients, but as the internet grew, they began to explore international freelancing platforms like Elance, oDesk, and Freelancer. These platforms offered new opportunities for Bangladeshi freelancers to connect with clients from around the world and expand their reach.
In recent years, the freelancing industry in Bangladesh has grown rapidly, driven by the country’s young and tech-savvy population and growing demand for services such as software development, graphic design, and content creation. Today, Bangladesh is one of the largest and most successful freelancing communities in the world, with a large and highly skilled workforce.
Despite some challenges, including limited access to credit and financial services, the freelancing industry in Bangladesh is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, providing new opportunities and supporting the country’s economic development.
Online Freelancing vs Outsourcing
Online freelancing and outsourcing are two distinct concepts in the world of work.
Freelancing refers to the practice of working independently and offering services to clients on a project-by-project basis, usually through an online platform such as Upwork or Freelancer. Freelancers typically have the freedom to choose their projects, clients, and work hours, and are not considered employees of the businesses they work for.
Outsourcing, on the other hand, refers to the practice of a business hiring a third-party company or individual to perform a specific task or provide a service that would usually be done in-house. Outsourcing is often used by companies to save time and money or to access specialized expertise. The outsourcing company is typically responsible for managing its own staff, and the workers are considered employees of the outsourcing company, not the business they are serving.
Both freelancing and outsourcing can offer benefits and drawbacks, depending on the needs and goals of the business and the individual. Ultimately, the decision between freelancing and outsourcing will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of work to be done, the level of control and involvement desired, and the cost and resources available.
What are the Pros and Cons of Freelancing Work?
Freelancing work or freelancing business (yes, these two are different!) have benefits as well as crucial points. When you are opting for a freelance job, do consider these points.
Here is a quick list of both pros and cons, which will help you to develop a broader perspective for getting into this field:
Advantages of Freelancing in Bangladesh
Be Your Own Boss
Everything is in your own control. You decide on your own when you want to work, and what type of schedule you want to work. If you want to work or not work for some time because you have enough cash flows to go on holiday.
A Balanced Work-Life Routine
Since you are your own boss, you will have the freedom to choose the perfect balance between work and life chores. You are no more needed to spend hours in hectic road traffic in order to reach your office. Instead, you can utilize that time to do other chores of the house, go jogging, and do whatever you want to do.
All Money is Your Money
Whatever money you make doing online jobs will be yours. Relatively fewer taxes, no deductions, and no share of company stakeholders. Every penny is yours and you can make decisions of whether to spend all or invest it somewhere or keep it reserved with you for odd times.
Freedom of Work Selection
Being your own boss comes with the freedom to choose what you like to do. Unlike ordinary jobs where your supervisors put any work on you to do regardless of your area of interest or mood, in the freelancing business you can say no to a job if you think it will not help you polish your skills or is an irrelevant task.
Disadvantages of Freelancing in Bangladesh
You are the Only One to Blame
It may sound fascinating that you are the boss, you report to no one and make your decisions. But then in the end, you are the only one to be blamed for the choices you make, the mistakes you do, and the issues with the work you perform. So you have to be extra vigilant in performing your freelance work because there would be no one to overlook or cover your mistakes.
No Work means No Money At All
Another limitation of the freelance business is that there are ups and downs. Some days you will find a lot of work and some days there would be none. So you have to maintain your cash flows to handle such pauses. Otherwise, the perfect work-life balance won’t make any sense if you would have no money to do house chores or spend on basic necessities of life.
No Other Benefits
Another limitation in terms of financials is that freelancing jobs have no other benefits associated with the payment plans. You just get money for the work you do and that’s all. No medical policies, provident funds, mutual funds, etc. If you wish to secure your benefits for you and your family, you have to invest in plans yourself using the money earned from freelance work.
Isolated Work Environment
Though outsourcing in Bangladesh has created a lot of freelance business at times it can lead you to an isolated work environment. You may feel you are doing one kind of job, with no interaction with other people or companies.
However, if executed well the cons are manageable and you can create a balance between work and career progression by implementing the correct strategies. If you have made it so far you must be wondering how to get started with freelancing, especially in Bangladesh. While we are leading to a complete guide to freelancing, let’s kick start with the understanding that what it takes to be a part of outsourcing in Bangladesh.
What does it take to be a freelancer?
All you need to have is an understanding of freelancing in Bangladesh. This means the understanding of relevant work sources which are providing online sourcing jobs, a freelancing skill or freelancing skills, adequate cash flow to start work, and a stable/quiet work environment.
That’s if you do not need to spend money on branded clothing, shoes, or anything to feel comfortable in your corporate culture. You can start a freelancing business in your comfy pajamas as no one is going to judge you on that.
Let’s get started with a complete guide to freelancing
So far if you have made up your mind to adopt freelancing, you have what it takes to be a freelancer then all you need now is a beginner’s guide to freelancing or a guide to outsourcing jobs and most importantly, a guide to freelancing in Bangladesh.
Here the focus of the guide is from a beginner’s point of you. When you understand the basics, you can build on that depending on your exposure to freelancing work. Here you go with a complete guide to freelancing.
A beginner’s guide to Freelancing in Bangladesh
Freelancing in Bangladesh is emerging just as in other corners of the globe. So if you are a student, an active experienced professional or a wife sitting at home with an interest to work flexible hours here is your beginner’s guide to freelancing, meaning what you need to do if you are looking for a basic set of guidance steps that you should be taking in order to kick start your career in freelancing job.
Identify your freelancing skills
So, first of all, what you need to do is that you need to identify what freelancing skills you have. It could also be the skill that you want to develop in order to excel in your career in freelancing. You either choose a skill that you are already familiar with and have experience in or you should choose a skill that is emerging in freelancing and you have the motivation to learn and work hard.
It may not be rocket science rather it’s the confidence that you have in yourself to ensure you will learn, enhance, improve, and will create a unique selling point in that particular skill set as compared to other freelancers that are already working in that. Skills may be from the following categories but not limited to this:
- Engineering etc.
Identify a reliable source of work
People take advantage of emerging things. This is true for the freelancing industry as well. So you have to be careful in the selection of the source of work. There are unlimited options such as your own network of people in the industry you want to work, friends working in outsourcing companies, online portals, Facebook groups, etc.
Since the options are not limited in terms of emerging and established sources of work for freelancing, so your focus or priority should be on known sources of work at least in the beginning so that you land secure jobs and establish a secure cash flow to start building up your freelancing job setup.
Start with building profiles on online job portals, registering yourself in Facebook/digital workgroups, and pitching for jobs there (Butler, 2019). How to write sales pitches is another vast topic that we can cover in a detailed article so keep checking our blogs for upcoming tips on freelancing in Bangladesh.
Know the market
Invest your time in studying what is happening in the market on a similar skill and keep an eye on any events, courses, or competitions that you can participate in. This way, you will not feel isolated working alone and can build your market presence with very little or no investment at all.
Decide price points and unique selling point
Initially, you have to be flexible in your price points. You will be experimenting a lot with different types of work assignments and the duration of the work. Based on your experiments, initial interaction with the client, and the time you invested in similar tasks, help you to set up a base rate.
It is important to offer a unique selling point keeping in mind that there will be a lot of people offering the same price, so your offering has to have a little extra to win the client in the end.
Build up your work history
The next step is to build a history of jobs that you can do on multiple platforms to strengthen your virtual presence in the market. Always keep in mind that work done on a portal or medium can be referred to when in discussion with clients on another medium so do not hesitate to mention whatever and wherever you have done similar tasks in order to show your customers that you can definitely do better than other freelancers. You can build your work history using:
Do not hesitate in asking your existing clients to refer to their family and friends or people from their surroundings with similar needs (Robinson, 2019). Similarly on your end ask your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to refer your work.
Online groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and others are also a great source of reliable and consistent outsourced jobs. Most of these online job groups do not require heavy fees, most of these would be free to register so there is no limitation in terms of financials. These job groups often conduct meetups which could be a great source of networking and may lead to getting work if you establish good PR.
Build your virtual presence by using customer feedback/reviews
Always seek positive remarks from your happy customers as they help to boost your confidence and profile. If you have recommendations and good ratings from existing customers then you have higher chances of landing more freelancing in Bangladesh. You are not limited to working for local clients only, job portals can get you to work from all over the world. For this, you should also have sufficient English speaking and/or writing skills.
Advance in your skillset
Do not get trapped in one skill, freelancing skills have no boundaries, and in order to get maximized benefit from it keep learning. Since you have more time to spare as compared to doing a day or night job, invest that time back into learning the advanced dynamics of your chosen skill.
Develop a niche
Everyone may be offering good writing skills, but writing academic research papers or sales proposals may get you more than a regular writer. This is just one example of developing a niche in the freelancing skills of a writer. Similarly, your focus should be always advancing toward an offering that is better than other people in the same skill set and stands out from the competition.
Invest in your own branding
Invest a little earned money back into doing your own branding. It’s all about digital branding so having a one-pager website will not do any harm. It will help you in building your digital presence and increase outreach out of job portals and personal contacts.
Increase your digital presence
Do not limit yourself to the job portal for freelancing in Bangladesh, to one Facebook group, or just your friends. You can have your website, and blog posts on private or public portals. Participate in relevant industry events and show your presence. Maximum utilization of available digital mediums for your presence in the freelancing business is going to increase your chances of landing more and better options for jobs.
Bonus Tip: consistency and hard work
There is this key to your success for freelancing in Bangladesh i.e. a consistent approach to work and enough motivation to hard work. Do not consider freelancing as an escape route to the hard work of regular jobs. It will require an equal amount of dedication, motivation, and consistency to become a reliable freelancer. So set up a target and then keep pushing yourself to achieve that target.
Freelancing in Bangladesh doesn’t come in a package or predefined rules. Yet it will come with benefits as good as in any other country. So one should not feel any less confident in adopting a freelancing career over a regular career. Here is a summary for you to reinforce your guide to becoming a freelancer:
- Make a thoughtful selection of education and skills that you want to peruse in freelancing.
- Have a clear head while outlining your priorities.
- Make selling profiles on job portals, write unique sales proposals, and keep the work quality at the highest levels.
- Keep consistent and good communication with your clients to deliver quality work.
- Ask for positive reviews and feedback on completed jobs.
- Increase your digital presence by publishing blogs, participating in events, etc.
- Be realistic and flexible in your price points.
- Never stop learning and evaluate yourself often.
- Never give up and have a hard-working approach.
This beginner’s guide to freelancing in Bangladesh will help you get started or even review that you are doing everything in the right manner. If you have anything to add based on your own experience or you have further queries related to freelancing in Bangladesh, feel free to reach out to us.
Butler, J. (2019, September 25). Freelancing guide for beginners. Retrieved from Save The Student: https://www.savethestudent.org/make-money/big-guide-to-freelancing.html
Digital Marketing Skill. (2020). Freelancing for Beginners: The Ultimate Guide to Making Money as a Freelancer. Retrieved from Digital Marketing Skill: https://digitalmarketingskill.com/freelancing-for-beginners/
Pam. (2019, June 25). The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Freelancing Career. Retrieved from The Creative Stretch: https://thecreativestretch.com/beginners-guide-freelancing-career/
Robinson, R. (2019). How To Earn More Money Freelancing (Even If You’re a Total Beginner). Retrieved from Skill Crush: https://skillcrush.com/blog/earn-more-money-freelancing-for-beginners/