In this post, I talk about the three most important factors to help you sail through initial freelancing hiccups and set a stable career.
The three factors are:
- power & brains to research
- knowledge of currency power
- negotiation skills
It’s still early days for freelancing in India. Most of the popular freelancing sites like Elance and Freelancer.com have headquarters in Western countries.
While India is a popular destination for outsourcing, the infrastructural development of media agencies, IT companies, marketing agencies working 24 x 7, and the allure of “make money online” is influencing the demand for freelancing sites in India.
Personally speaking, it is not easy to choose freelancing sites and try earning a decent amount of money. By a decent amount, I mean at least a minimum of 35,000 to 40,000 INR per month.
How to Choose Freelancing Sites in India?
Here, I explain in detail the 3 factors mentioned in the beginning.
1) Power & Brains to Research
Note these things –
- Do NOT sign up on any freelancing sites blindly.
- Even if you do, do NOT disclose bank or PayPal details.
All freelancing sites in India are not legitimate. A recommended legitimate freelancing site is WorkNHire.com.
There is another faction of upcoming freelance sites in India whose intention to scam people. They give offers like “just spend an hour daily and earn 40,000 per month” or “make money online doing copy-paste work”.
Dearies, freelance writing work is very tough and there is no copy-paste or easy money making scheme involved.
Instances of freelance writers waiting for payments for months aren’t uncommon. These sites, agencies or individual clients get the work done from you, the writer, and take payment from their clients but you never see a penny for the work.
What to do?
Research the freelancing sites online before signing up with them. Search with keywords like –
- “is xyz.com a scam”
- “xyz.com reviews”
- “do xyz.com scam”
If the site is dubious in nature, be sure to find comments or reviews or warnings about it.
If the site is too new with no feedback online, wait for a month and then search again. You will surely come up with something.
Alternatively, you could always call up the company and talk with their representative. You should always be very wary of sites that don’t list full contact information.
As you know it already, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
2) Knowledge of Currency Power
The prime reason why Indian writers avoid Indian freelancing sites is because of the currency disadvantage.
While a USD ($$$) based freelancing website pays a minimum of $10 for 500 words, which converts to 500 INR in our currency; you rarely get any Indian freelancing site that offers more than 250 INR for 500 words, which in USD converts to just $4-5.
Therefore, the prevalent perception is that working for freelancing sites in India is a losing deal.
I too had the same opinion but now I believe it is not a losing proposition at all. The reason is that the freelancing industry in India is at its nascent stage but with a lot of potential, both domestically and internationally.
What to do?
I know that USD is a globally-accepted currency but if you want to establish yourself as an experienced and credible freelancer in India, you cannot pass the opportunity to work with the domestic sites.
What you need to do is set up a benchmark. For instance, the absolute minimum you could charge for a 500-word simple article is 175 INR. Thereafter, start searching for those freelancing sites that offer at least this minimum benchmark. Setting up the benchmark totally depends on your skills, experience and expectation.
If you want to work with freelancing sites in India, you have to forget comparing INR and USD currency.
3) Negotiation Skills
Whether you’re getting freelance writing work through project bidding sites like WorkNHire.com or Freelancer.in (India Edition) and/or directly communicating with prospective freelancing clients, you need to improve negotiation skills.
It is already in bad light when foreign recruiters think that Indian service providers come cheap; the worse is Indian recruiters think the same way.
Therefore, unless you are happy getting measly sum for your hard work, you need to improve negotiation skills.
Negotiation skills will involve setting a minimum payment benchmark, time commitment, deadlines, performance measurement and selling skills.
What to do?
Take to the clients and clarify doubts and project details.
Begin by asking the following questions and note down the answers for future reference.
- Any references? Ask the client for reference/s and then contact the person concerned asking for an honest feedback about the client. I know most of us don’t do this but if you do, you add an extra layer of protection. Similarly, be ready with few references for the client.
- What are the work details? Make sure every aspect of the work is given in detail through email or work contract.
- What is the expected deadline? The concept of deadline is tricky. Some clients prefer a fixed deadline and yet others are flexible. Try to decide on a mutually beneficial timeline.
- When is the payment sent? If you’re getting work via bidding sites, payment is sent once the client approves the work. If you’re getting work from agencies or directly from a client, you receive the payments monthly. Of course, you can negotiate for a faster payment disbursement. A lot depends on the nature of freelance writing work.
Do not lose heart reading all this.
There is a lot of freelance writing work available in India. You just need to find a good agency, business or individual client to work.
Just follow the three thumb rules and sooner or later, you’ll start getting relevant freelancing assignments.