The work economy is in constant flux globally. Things are in the mode of perpetual disruption and things are changing faster than you can expect. This is true for how our ‘career’ works as well. With easy access to internet, opportunities are now more evenly available to people than before. You have options to choose from and you can work from anyplace, anytime. Consequently, new verticals to work, professions, and career options are also growing. More often than not, people now tend to become an independent professional than taking on a regular, underpaid job.
Freelancing, as a career option is becoming a realistic choice for an increasing number of people. Unlike before, independent professionals now have their own social status and community to make things even better for them.
With opportunities becoming freely available to everyone, we are also seeing a consistent investment from the government of Bangladesh and bodies like BASIS to work in the space to train, support, and connect freelancers and independent professionals.
Recently, the government has announced that it will train 40,000 more people on the art of freelancing. It means there are programs that support freelancers and people who want to be freelancers. Given all these facts, it seems like there hasn’t been a better time to become a freelancer.
We have tried to explore the factors in Bangladesh that are paving the way for the freelancers.
This story is first of a four parts series we are running on Freelancing and more to better understand it. The series is supported by Transpay, and prepared by FS StoryLab
A recent statistic shows that, every year around 2 million young people join the work-force in Bangladesh, only 60% of whom get a job either inside the country or abroad, rest of the 2 million remain unemployed or underemployed. It means there is a realistic chance that you might be part of those unlucky 40% and end up not doing anything significant for awhile. This is the time to become self-employed.
A sense of security is one of the many reasons why people choose a job over anything else. A job in a big corporation feels permanent and it gives a false sense of security. And yes, corporations are supposed to take care of their employees but it is not true all the time, especially nowadays. The bond between corporations and its employees are becoming more and more fragile. As competition is on the rise, this is going to be even difficult in the coming days.
On the other hand, as a freelancer you live with uncertainty, it seems from the outside, but you have full control to grow and develop clients which can be a lucrative option for many.
A recent statistic shows that, every year around 2 million young people join the work force in Bangladesh, only 60% of whom get a job either inside the country or abroad, rest of the 2 million remain unemployed or underemployed.
Most of the jobs, especially if you are an early stage employee, are underpaid. Your salary seldom increases at the rate of inflation. There are very well paid jobs too. But the numbers are few. But as freelancer, if you work hard and are a little thoughtful, you can make good money. There are people, like Amirul Islam Rajib of Rangpur Soft, who have built big companies just by doing freelance work.
Yes, it is not guaranteed. Then and again, nothing is guaranteed in life. You get to work hard and make it happen. The advantage is, unlike a regular job, where no matter how hard you work your salary is fixed, freelancing gives you opportunity to earn more by working hard. There is no bar and no one to hold you back.
Internet has been a great force when it comes to democratizing the opportunities. You now have access to all the opportunities that exist out there. You can work on the platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com. Even getting paid for global work is a breeze through an online payment method like Transpay.
To make things even better, we have 3G all over the country. It is true that internet speed in many parts of the country is not as good as in Dhaka but it is improving fast and other cities are catching up as well. It means if you are sitting out there in Chittagong or Rangpur or Sylhet you can have the access to the same opportunities like the person who is sitting here in Dhaka.
There was a time when freelancing was a subpar option and society looked down on people who choose to become independent professionals but that perception is changing rapidly now. With continuous support from government and media platforms freelancing is now a socially accepted profession and it has its own status. Top of that, freelancers now have local and global communities that put them in even better position.
There are many cases of people who started as an individual freelancer but then turned their initiatives into big companies. I mentioned Rangpur Soft that operates from Rangpur. It started as a one man show and then turned into a big company. They now have around 200 people working for 40 local branches, and they educate people in freelancing in Rangpur and few other parts of the country.
As a freelancer you will have this opportunity, making it big, to yourself. If you do well, you can always think about taking it to the next step.
There was a time when freelancing was considered not that good an option and people looked down to the people who choose to become independent professionals but that perception is changing rapidly now. With continuous support from government and media platforms freelancing is now a socially accepted profession and it has its own status. Top of that, freelancers now have local and global communities that put them in even better position.