Freelancing: Work From Home
Millions of people in India have lost their job in the first wave of covid-19, to make it worse the second wave resulted in lockdowns, economic slowdown and more job losses. But, hang-on, you don’t have to worry, this is an opportunity for you, an opportunity for the entire nation to bounce back and do something better.
So what is the opportunity?
The pandemic has brought up a revolution, and there may be no point of return. As per Forbes, “The genie is out of the bottle.”
There is no going back, the world has changed the way it works, and this is a permanent change. This opportunity is called “Remote Work”.
A few years ago, when anybody from Asia used to approach a prospect in US, the most common demand was, “let’s meet at my office.” That was the move that always proved to be a game-changer because the people sitting far away from the US have to reveal their location and most likely they lose the opportunity. This was because nobody in the developed world wanted to give work to a person located in a developing country for obvious reasons.
Now, the pandemic has brought almost every work online, and here comes the huge opportunity – there is no difference between someone sitting in San Francisco working on the project and the person sitting in Faridabad, a city located in the NCR region of New Delhi. Nobody is going to the office, and this is the biggest opportunity for India to get work from abroad.
So, I’ve understood the opportunity, but how do I get the work?
First of all I would request you, Don’t Rush! Please understand it completely, I have written this article just for you. The most important point that you need to understand it is difficult to get work from abroad? If you understand the challenged, then you will be definitely be able to overcome them.
Shishir, why have you written this article? What’s the catch?
I can understand you might have this question, because almost everyone I came across the social media is selling his/her books, online courses or making money through YouTube ads by helping people learn something new. But, let me tell you that I don’t have any commercial motive in doing this, and you will believe it if you go through my past social media posts and browse my profile. You will get a fair idea that my objective is to bring a larger change to our country by supporting the people. I promise you one more time that this post or the entire training doesn’t have any commercial objective.
Why don’t people from developed countries give work to individuals from India?
There are several reasons, despite the good quality work at less price, many people from the west don’t want to trust the individuals from India. This is majorly the effect of the factors like cheating, lack of commitment, low quality, and wastage of time, faced by the western people who tried to take a chance. Exceptions are always there.
If anyone has to outsource some work to a freelancer in Japan, then it’s not difficult to trust the quality, commitment, and honesty of a Japanese, here also exceptions can be there. By large the image of a nation is built by the people at large, not through an individual, but each individual matters as collectively the individual actions will create the larger picture.
The call center scams by dishonest Asians have snatched the opportunity of honest Indians. Do you remember, 17 December 2020, there was a story in the New York Times, “Indian Call-Center Plot Fooled Americans Into Paying Over $14 Million.” – The scammers told victims that their assets and bank accounts had been linked to drug cartels and would be seized if they didn’t pay up.
Let me elaborate it point wise to explain the problem, here it goes:
- Reputation: The overall reputation of the nation matters a lot. It is extremely difficult to get on a first call through someone in the west when your reputation isn’t good.
- Laws: The laws in India aren’t strict or much supportive for small businesses outsourcing from the west to Indians. If anyone takes a small amount of 500 USD and then starts ghosting, then it is extremely difficult to trace or take any action.
- Lack of Experience: Despite the fact that now most of the people in India are highly skilled and learned, most of them will become “gyaani baba” for the stuff they don’t know. This hampers the entire relationship with the client.
- Communication: The client wants to talk to people who understand the same language and can communicate flawlessly. The communication gap becomes a turnoff for the entire project.
- Time Difference: There is an unfavorable time difference between India and the west, therefore the client would avoid such deals at it is difficult to reach the vendor in case of urgency.
- Quality Issues: Overcommitmet and under-delivery have destroyed the business opportunities for India.
- Over Charging: There have been several cases where a western client was charged more for the services not much familiar to the client. However, when the client comes to know about the overcharging later, then it’s a loss of trust.
- Cheating: The frauds, scams, and cheating with one client lead to bad worth of mouth in the entire community and region, information spreads fast in today’s world of technology.
- Delay: The unnecessary delays in the work result in loss of the project and loss of reputation.
- Attitude & Behaviour: Some people are extremely polite and well behaved till they receive an advance from the client, but the scenario completely changes after receiving the payment. This kind of behavior leads to permanent damage to the opportunity of getting work.
Now, I have understood the challenges. How do I get work from abroad?
I am going to tell you the simplest and easiest way of getting work from abroad, follow these three simple steps:
- Find Customer
- Build Trust
- Offer Cheap Price & More Convenience
While the above three steps seems to easy, you will be surprised to know that it is the most difficult part of the entire activity. Before I explain you these three steps, I would like to tell explain you what is Freelancing.
What is freelancing?
Essentially, a freelance job is the one where a person works for himself/herself, rather than for a company or (the employer) at his/her own terms, location, and flexible time. While freelancers do take on contract work for companies and organizations, they are ultimately self-employed.
A freelancer is a self-employed person who offers services, often working on several jobs for multiple clients at one time.
So how do I do freelancing?
The objective here is to remotely work for foreign individuals and companies by offering them then benefit of less cost. We all know that if the same work is done in India, the price could come drastically down, in comparison to the west.
You will be able to generate foreign income in dollars and this will support the Indian economy too. You just need a computer with a high-speed internet connection. I will guide you on how you can successfully work as a freelancer without any investment.
You don’t have to depend upon any freelancing websites, you don’t have to pay for any courses, you don’t have to buy any book, you don’t have to do any nonsense. I will guide you in an effective and efficient way.
What will I learn in this free training?
You will learn the complete process from beginning to end. You will be able to successfully find customers, reach them out and offer them solutions for a good fee. You will get work and you will get good earning if you are persistent. The best part is that you don’t have to depend upon any freelancing network, and you don’t have to work for any company as an employee. You will work for yourself and contribute to India’s economic development by generating foreign income.
I am indexing the contents for you as follows:
- Identity Service Offering: You should identify which service(s) you will be offering to your customers. First of all, find out the following:
- What can you do easily: You should list what you can do without much difficulty like content writing, marketing, graphics designing, consulting, teaching, translation, web development, coding, copywriting et Cetra. You have to list everything and as many things as you can do. It will be better to prepare an excel sheet for this purpose.
- What do you love to do: The first filtration will be on the basis of what you like to do and what you love to do, from the list you made in step 1. For example, you can write content, do online marketing, create financial reports, designing logos, and teach; But out of these you only like content writing, teaching, and online marketing, then filter out the rest. You shouldn’t do what you don’t like to do, your performance won’t be good if you do.
- What are you qualified to do: The people would like to give you work for which you are qualified, for instance, if you are a qualified lawyer then you can get legal writing work, however, it will be difficult for you to get graphics designing work being a lawyer having no formal training of graphic designing. Therefore, filter out the services you are not qualified to offer.
- What people say that you can do best: It is good to do what you think you do best, however it is not advisable to continue doing it if people don’t think that you are the best at it. You should prefer doing what people think you do the best, for instance, you might think that you are good at graphics designing, but people may not like it, instead, people appreciate the content you write, then go for content writing and filter out the graphics designing from your list.
- What is in demand: By the time you reach this step, your list might be short. This step intends to identify what is in demand, you have to check your list whether the offerings you have listed are in demand? Arrange according to the order in which you put the services more in demand on top. Then, filter out the services that are not in demand, because you can’t create a market for your offerings and you don’t have to create the market.
- Whether customers will pay for it: Although it is obvious that if there is a demand for anything then the customer must be ready to pay for it, still you should do a reality check and find out whether the customer will pay for your service offerings or not? Filter out the services for which the customer isn’t ready to pay.
- How much the customer will pay: You should ascertain that how much the customer is ready to pay for your services. Arrange the services in the order, keeping the most paid on top. This will help you in prioritizing the service offering. In case the customer is paying very little for a service, you should remove it from the list.
- How many customers are there for it: You should estimate the number of customers for your service offerings, filter out the services for which the customers will be less. You can’t depend upon a very small number of customers, pick only the services that have demand from a large number of customers.
- Whether customers will demand it again: You have already filtered your list too much, now it’s time to find out which services will have repeat demand from the customers? This will help you reduce your marketing efforts and focus more on the delivery of services. Prefer the services that will have repeat demand.
- Identify the Target Customer: You should identify your target customer now as you have to customize your search and offerings according to the customer needs. You have to divide the prospects into 4 basic categories and few subcategories as mentioned below:
- Demographic segmentation
- Age: You have to customize the offering according to the age of the customer, the color, theme, language, tone, behavior, attitude, everything has to be tweaked according to the age of the customer. For instance, if you plan to offer Instagram posts to the customer, then the age group of your customer may be between 12-29. Similarly, if you plan to offer Twitter posts, then the average age group may be between 26-69.
- Gender: Identify the gender of your customers to offer your services effectively. For instance, if you plan to offer beauty tips, cosmetics tricks to women, then you have to customize the offering according to the taste and preferences of women.
- Income: The income of your customer matters, you have to identify whether you are offering luxury or affordable services. For instance, if you offer essay writing services to University students, then you may have to keep the services low priced. However, if you are offering luxury services like private jet travel, then you may have to keep the prices high to keep it exclusive for the elite class.
- Location: People from different locations have different mindsets, beliefs, tastes, and preferences, you have to identify the location of your target customer. For instance, a service offering customized for Israel may not be suitable for Japan. You have to study and become like your customer as much as possible in terms of beliefs, taste, preferences, etc.
- Family Situation: The family situation in the demography is the study of the composition of families and of the transitions individuals make into and out of various types of families. The family composition includes factors such as the number of family members, their ages, marital and cohabitation status, and relationship to other family members.
- Language: You have to speak in the language of the customer else the communication won’t be complete, it might never happen. Nobody would like to interact with the service vendor who doesn’t understand his/her language. If you have to learn a foreign language for offering your services, then do it, as it is one of the most important factors.
- Education: The education of your customer will matter, you have to identify the education of your customer group and customize the service offering. Remember, you can’t offer a maths quiz to a person who didn’t study mathematics after basic.
- Ethnicity: An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation, religion or social treatment within their residing area. It is also important, for instance, you may not be able to sell the religious reading services of the Hindu religion to a Christian.
- Company size & age: If you are marketing your services to a company, then the company’s size and age will give you a fair idea about how to customize accordingly. For instance, a big company may not take risk of trying services easily, they may prefer an established company to offer them services. Similarly, a company recently started may take the risk as they might not have vendors working for them at all.
- Industry: You have to customize your offerings according to the industry, for instance, you cannot offer the same service to the medical industry and the airline industry at the same time without making any changes.
- Job function: If you are offering your services to a person in a company, then customizing as per the job function of the person is important. For instance, if you are offering your services to the CFOs, then you may have to make necessary changes to suit the CFOs well.
- Psychographic segmentation
- Personality traits
- Psychological influences
- Subconscious and conscious beliefs
- Behavioral segmentation
- Purchasing habits
- Spending habits
- User status
- Brand interactions
- Geographic segmentation
- ZIP code
- Radius around a certain location
- Urban or rural
- Demographic segmentation
- Dress up: Just like you dress up while going to the office, you have to dress up yourself and your tools while you start freelancing. You may need the following marketing collaterals:
- eBooks: You have to show your customers that you are an expert in the subject matter that you offer as a service. Pick up a topic related to your service offering and write an ebook, distribute it free of cost to your customers. This will build their confidence in you as a subject expert.
- Social Media Posts: Your social media posts reflect you as a person, therefore be careful about what you post and what not to post. Make sure that you definitely post regularly, don’t keep your social media idle. Plan a post related to your service offering every day and post to your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter (just a teaser), and Instagram. Remember that your posts should be non-promotional, people don’t like to see ads. You should focus on educating your customer through your research and knowledge instead of asking them to buy your services.
- Blog Posts: A blog post is one of the most effective marketing collateral for you, therefore write blogs related to your topics and request the other bloggers to mention your services in their blogs. The objectives of your blog posts should be to educate the customer, not to sell. Besides that, your blog posts may also contain a call to action that persuades new readers to try your services free or at a trial price. They don’t know you, don’t expect them to offer you a regular (full) price initially.
- Pillar Pages: A pillar page is a detailed information page about a specific topic, on a single web page. In case you haven’t noticed, you are reading one right now. Pillar pages may go in-depth into related topic clusters and can be interlinked with other blog posts and content pieces. You can build pillar pages to generate interest in a topic related to your services.
- Landing Pages: Landing pages are standalone pages tied to specific marketing campaigns related to your services. This is the page where your audience will land when they click from a digital ad. They usually include a form asking for your prospects’ contact information. They act as a cover for pages they link to, depending on each campaign’s purpose. You can connect your Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram ads to this page.
- Branded Content: The branded content is created specifically to be featured in a news publication. You have to pay the media to do this coverage, remember that if you promote your services abroad, you should get these branded content only where your customer is located.
- Infographics: An infographic can be an illustration, graph, chart, or a combination of any of those elements, that can be used as standalone pieces of content or included as part of a blog post or article. It gets listed in Google Image Search and is also for sharing on WhatsApp and Telegram.
- Event Magazines: You can create a series of zoom meetings (or any other videoconferencing) to build the interest of your customers. If the events are more than 5, you can build an event magazine, in which you can list all your events, presentation schedule, and timings.
- Brand Stories: Your brand story is your company’s or your personal narrative. This can exist in the form of a video, a digital publication, your website, or the LinkedIn/Facebook page. The brand stories are crucial for building trust and humanizing your services.
- Case Studies: The case studies depict your company’s or freelancing success in the past by solving the problems of the customers. Case studies usually include four main components: the challenge, the solution, the result, and the client’s testimonial.
- White Papers: White papers are long-form, detailed pieces on a technical subject. They are often used to position you as a thought leader on a specific topic or area of expertise. They are similar in length to eBooks but written in a more technical manner rather than the entertaining style of ebooks.
- Corporate Brochure: In the past brochures were foldable pamphlets that were distributed to prospective consumers during in-person interactions, but now PDFs have replaced them. The brochure contains information about your products or services, as well as your contact information.
- Product Catalogs: A catalog can be described as a book-length brochure. A Catalog has detailed information on products in a similar manner to brochures but is much longer since they sometimes include feature stories about the products or services. They are better suitable to showcase a broader range of products and services.
- Proposals & Presentations: You have to create offers, proposals, and presentations to be sent to your customers. This could be done in PowerPoint or a similar tool.
- Re-engagement Emails: Re-engagement emails help urge your clients to complete a purchase or subscribe to a service. Maybe your client has been using your product or service for a while now, and you think they should upgrade to a higher plan.
- Corporate Magazine: You can keep your customers engaged by sending them a corporate magazine that you can create for them. This magazine should have content related to the service offering to your clients.
- Newsletters: You may use newsletters to stay in touch with current clients. They are also used to keep clients up to date on new features or product updates. They’re commonly sent out as emails, and nearly 65% of businesses rely on them to keep up with their customers.
- Digital Reports: You can create digital reports to present data that is vital to both organizations and individuals. Information in a digital report is commonly concise and contains many statistics. This digital report will bring in more customers to you and enhance the engagement of the existing customers.
- Customer Magazines: A customer magazine is a magazine produced by a business as a means of communicating to its customers. It is a branch of custom media, a product that broadly shares the look and feels of a newsstand or consumer magazine but is paid for in part or whole by a business. You can use the customer magazines to communicate important announcements about your products in a more entertaining and reader-friendly way.
- Member Magazines: You might be wondering how a member magazine is different from a customer magazine. They can both follow the same format, but member magazines tend to include more exclusive content that is only made available to current paying customers or subscribers of the company’s services. In this case, the content is usually gated and requires login access from a current paying customer.
- Building Personal Brand: You have to build yourself as a brand. The following social media platforms shall be useful in this:
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an important marketing tool for freelancers that shouldn’t be ignored. Almost everyone views your LinkedIn profile before allocating any work to you. You should build a great LinkedIn profile, follow the points below:
- Profile Picture: Your profile picture is your calling card, make sure the picture is recent and looks like you, make up your face takes up around 60% of it (long-distance shots don’t stand out), wear what you would like to wear to work, smile and keep your eyes open. Do to put your logo in your personal profile and never leave it blank.
- Profile Banner: Your background photo is the second visual element at the top of your profile page, include your services list in it. It grabs people’s attention, sets the context, and shows a little more about what matters to you. More than anything, the right background photo helps your page stand out, engage attention, and stay memorable.
- Headline: Make your headline more than just a job title, include your high pitch in it like: “Freelance Technical Content Writer for Telecom”. You have to be specific and to the point, do not generalize like “Content Writer” as it will reduce your chances of getting work. You have to show that you are an expert on a specialized subject.
- Job Title: This is extremely important, this builds a lot of credibilities, you can’t get freelancing work without a proper job title. It has to be relevant like if you mention “Graphics Designer” at ABC Company, then you shouldn’t look for content writing work. In case you are building your own brand, then you should mention “Freelancer” or “Founder” or “CEO” at YourBrandName. In case you aren’t employed, and you don’t have your own brand too, then you may mention “Freelancer” at “StartupLanes”, and then you may utilize the brochure of StartupLanes to get work. As StartupLanes is present in 15 Countries, it will give you a level of trust while you approach foreign clients.
- Profile Summary: Turn your summary into your story, and make sure you narrate it wisely. Never leave this field blank, it will reduce your chances of getting work. Build a great profile summary that attracts customers and makes them connect emotionally with you.
- Services: Services is a new LinkedIn feature that helps consultants, freelancers, and those working for smaller businesses to showcase the range of services that they offer. Filling out the Services section of your profile can boost your visibility in search results.
- Skills: Scroll through the list of skills and identify those that are relevant to you. Marking the skills helps to substantiate the description in your Headline and Summary, and provides a platform for others to endorse you. Be assured, your customer will definitely notice your skills before considering you for allocating work.
- Education: You should mention your entire educational qualifications, clearly marking the schools, universities, and institutes you have been through. Your customer will look at your educational qualifications to find out whether you are qualified to do the work or not. Do not miss this step.
- Recommendations: Endorsements give people viewing your profile a quick, visual sense of what you’re valued for, your client will get a fair idea of your service quality by reading the testimonials. Recommendations are personal testimonials written to illustrate the experience of working with you. There’s a handy drop-down menu in the Recommendations section of your profile that makes it easy to reach out to specific contacts and request recommendations. Take the time to think about who you would most value a recommendation from – and personalize your request. It’s worth the extra effort.
- Connections: Just creating your profile is not enough, you have to use this profile for building connections. The most important point is that you should not accept everybody’s connection request, just accept the requests of people who are related to your service offering, expertise, and domain. Send connections requests to your prospective customers and their connections too, their connections can introduce you to them.
- Like: You should like the content of your customers and prospective customers to always stay in front of them. Always like good content, this builds your positive image in the LinkedIn community.
- Comment: Do not miss out on a single opportunity to show that you know about your topic, whenever you see any post related to your subject, always leave a relevant comment. Stay away from negativity at all times. Do not be harsh, do not comment about politics, religion, or anything irrelevant at LinkedIn.
- Articles: Articles are long posts that are written only through a laptop/desktop. The most important benefit of writing articles is that members that aren’t in your network can follow you from your article. Articles can be shared on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. Articles are listed in Google as well, therefore it brings traffic forever to your article, ensuring more eyeballs to your thoughts. It’s a great way to get more customers from all across the World. You should write at least 1 good article per week.
- Posts: LinkedIn posts are a great way of sharing your thoughts with people, building your community, and getting more clients. Always remember to post content that educates your customer, stay away from self-promotions and ads. You should post at least once a day, be regular with it and stick to your topic of expertise. Always recognize the people who comment on your posts, through your likes and replies. Always post positive content, refrain from trolls, politics, religion, and any kind of negative content.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an important marketing tool for freelancers that shouldn’t be ignored. Almost everyone views your LinkedIn profile before allocating any work to you. You should build a great LinkedIn profile, follow the points below:
- Find Customers:
That’s it for today! I am still writing this article. Please check back tomorrow for more. I will also set up a zoom call for explaining this to you.
I have created a Freelancing Telegram Group for you, join it.
In case you are not able to join the telegram group, then install telegram and copy-paste this link in any chat window, afterwards click it to join the group: https://t.me/joinchat/bTIW3lm5ioU3NTdl
The Zoom Meeting is scheduled for Friday at 1 PM. Register for Freelancing Friday
Shishir Gupta – Founder & CEO of StartupLanes