With Millennials disrupting the future of work and the gig economy picking up, freelance working options abound. For companies, it makes financial sense and eases the burden on HR to contract independent workers on a project basis for short- and long-term engagements. For Millennials, who are almost always online and don’t want to be bound to 9-5 desk jobs, what can be better than being able than freelancing where they can do what they love, when they want, where they want.
The world of freelancing offers exactly that. Freelancing does have its own set of problems — the irregular projects, delayed payments, and more. Yet, these problems can be ironed out to a great extent once a person establishes a good professional network and thereby builds a brand. As a result, the freelance market is growing at a phenomenal pace and India has the largest pool comprising 10 Mn freelancers, according to a survey by PayPal. According to industry estimates, 30%-40% of the student community in India is exploring freelancing options.
PayPal: Facilitating Freelance payments Glocally!
PayPal has been constantly innovating payment solutions to make the lives of freelancers easy with a plethora of options, like Paypal.me, which helps freelancers receive payments faster through a personalised link with just one click, email payments backed by PayPal’s Seller Protection, Invoicing, which remains another problem for freelancers, is made easy through PayPal’s Invoicing solutions.
One of the most significant milestones by PayPal for the freelancers has been the process simplification of the Foreign Inward Remmittance Certificate (FIRC)/ Advice. Statutory authorities accept FIRC as a testimonial that an individual or party has received payments from outside the country. With the digitisation of FIRC by PayPal, sellers can now apply for a FIRC online on PayPal’s website, thus reducing the tedious process of demand draft, etc. This has been coupled with PayPal reducing the cost of procuring the document by 50%.
More recently, PayPal has launched its domestic operations enabling freelancers to accept local and international payments through a common platform.
The Rising Freelance Economy-A webinar Series
To understand the growing trends of freelancing and the solutions by PayPal which facilitate this growth, Inc42, in association with PayPal, is hosting a series of webinars titled The Rising Freelance Economy, in which experts from PayPal and successful freelancers share their experiences and insights to help young freelancers in their journey.
In a recent webinar, Break Free & Build A Successful Freelancing Career, Yash Parkar, an experienced freelancer from Mumbai and Narsi Subramanian, Director, Growth, PayPal India, gave valuable tips on how students can build a sustainable freelancing career.
You can catch up on the webinar here.
Here are the key takeaways from the webinar:
Inc42: When and how did you break free and build your successful freelancing career over the years?
Yash Parkar: I first started in 2011 right after the financial crisis. It was a sense of independence that drove me towards monetising my skills and finding an independent way to extract value at a young age and get experience at the same time.
Inc42: What are the sectors that you currently work for?
Yash Parkar: I have an underlying passion for Behaviour Psychology and optimising conversions on websites so I help clients optimise their sites, the user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI) to get the highest levels of conversions for their site, applications, and even services.
I try to guide clients in a direction which makes their customers get the best experience. And, on my path of doing this, I am now certified in gamification. I have slowly built my body of work so that I can help as many people as possible and also handle a broad spectrum of responsibilities for the clients. I enjoy doing things that bring a real change in the world.
Inc42: What’s been the biggest driver of success for you?
Yash Parkar: The single biggest factor for success as a freelancer is to learn to take ‘No’ for an answer. Out of every ten clients, I would approach, eight would say no to me for various reasons, maybe the price, maybe the fitment, etc. Many of my friends whom I introduced to the world of freelancing also gave up for this reason. One has to build resilience in taking ‘no’ several times as an answer.
So first is resilience, second is being able to communicate with clients well, understanding exactly what they want, and understanding exactly what you can give them. Third and most important is having your own brand somewhere, it adds to the brand value. These three aspects together give you a big boost above your competition.
Inc42: How does a platform like PayPal help you in your freelance journey?
Yash Parkar: PayPal is the first platform through which I got paid from a foreign client while I was freelancing. It helps a lot because the brand value and the brand recognition across the globe for PayPal are epic. Clients may hesitate in making payments to my bank account but if I give them details of my PayPal link or PayPal.me link, there is absolutely no hesitation, everyone’s familiar with it, it is very easy for me and the client feels secure as well.
When I started working on platforms like Upwork, the first account I linked was my PayPal account and later on my bank account. So, PayPal has helped me a lot on this journey, apart from this, I also have affiliate marketing sites and an ecommerce store and they are all very easy with PayPal. It saves me a lot of lot of paperwork, menial, and input work and gets the job done faster.
Inc42: From PayPal’s point of view, have you noticed a rise in freelancers as compared to previous years if we specifically talk about the current generation?
Narsi Subramanian: Yes Absolutely! And we have seen increasingly newer verticals that freelancers are exploring. Software development continues to be the top area and we continue to see it growing significantly and evolving over time. One of the things that is happening is that especially students are contributing to a significant part of this growth as well.
Industry research shows that close to 30-40% of students are exploring freelancing as an option. We are seeing online tutorials as an emerging trend with the current generation. Globally, from startups to large corporates, everyone is looking at ways to tap into the freelancer market in India which is driving growth.
Inc42: In your opinion what is the biggest reason for this phenomenal rise, In the time to come do you think freelancing will make up for most of the workforce that we have?
Narsi Subramanian: The ability to be one’s own boss, enjoy flexibility in work schedule and be able to control your own destiny are big drivers for growth. Apart from this freelancing doesn’t require high capital investment besides investing in up-skilling to grow one’s business.
Globally there are estimates being made that freelancing is going to be a significant part of the workforce, whether it is online or offline, an upwards of about 25% of the workforce. From that standpoint, it is going to be really big.
Inc42: What are the domains that you see as the popular ones towards which you see freelancers gravitating today?
Narsi Subramanian: Designing is one area, lot of homemakers who are looking at online tuitions is another upcoming freelancing opportunity. The evergreen software vertical is dominating the entire freelancing space.
Inc42: What are some of the new career options that you see for students opening up in the future?
Narsi Subramanian: Students today are trying to leverage their skill-sets, explore their passions and also making money on the side and this is contributing to growth in the sector. Online services dominate growth as the offline model has its own set of challenges.
One of the freelancers we know has become a small and medium enterprise (SME), initially by hiring friends for different skills and eventually starting a company and becoming an entrepreneur. In India, there is a lot of push towards entrepreneurship and I see this as a great career opportunity for students.
Inc42: PayPal has always been at the forefront of innovations; especially to facilitate freelancers, what has PayPal done recently to facilitate freelancers and small-sellers in India?
Narsi Subramanian: We continue to provide payment solutions for freelancers to accept payments from outside of India which is critical as Indian freelancers work on a large number of international projects. PayPal enables freelancers to receive payments in a safe manner in over 100 currencies and giving them access to our global customer base of 237 Mn.
Recently, for international payments, we have simplified the process of procuring the FIRC advice by digitizing the process. We have also enabled PayPal for acceptance of local payments. Now freelancers can use a single PayPal account to receive payments from both Indian and overseas clients.