Ather Yeasir Fahim
People use the word ‘freelance’ quite often now and this generally refers to someone who does not have a ‘real’ job. A freelancer or freelance worker is a self-employed person pursuing a profession without a long-term commitment to any one employer. Usually, freelance jobs are suited for students. But nowadays anyone willing to diversify income with an international identity can be benefitted by doing freelancing. Besides, undergrad students have much leisure time to do a lot of activities. According to September 2015 survey of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Bangladesh currently has 2.6 million unemployed youths. Freelancing jobs can be a solution to this. Moreover, freelancing gives one an opportunity to work for multiple employers. It also exhibits a sustainable doorway to understand what global employers want and how to live up to their expectations.
Many large companies in developed countries like the US, UK and Australia turn to outsourcing to cut costs, increase efficiency and reduce risks. Researching and editing books, consultancy, computer programming, web design, content development, mobile apps development, data entry, logo design or music video production— every type of work is now outsourced to low cost destinations. A freelancer can even work for a US or UK company sitting in his/her village in Bangladesh.
According to a report by oDesk Corp in 2015, a United States-based leading marketplace for organisations and online workers, Dhaka is positioned third among worldwide urban communities where online employments are outsourced from the West. India ranks number 1 and Philippines number 2. However, Bangladesh is competing with India, Pakistan and some eastern European countries for freelance jobs. Mostly employers from United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore hire Bangladeshi freelancers.
In recent years Dhaka university students, specially the ones living in the halls, have found significant success in freelancing jobs. Nurul Islam, a student of University of Dhaka said, ‘I have come from village. In first year I was running after tuitions. After understanding about freelance scopes, I took training in BASIS Institute of Technology and Management (BITM) and started freelancing.’ He added, ‘All you need is a computer, a fast Internet connection and a skill that sells.’
Mainly the students are involved in freelancing in five sectors as these are comparatively more creative and profitable. They are facebook, twitter, youtube, email and google+ based marketing jobs. In these sectors, one does not need any special knowledge or specific skills. Yet, the freelancers have become very successful in youtube marketing. In Dhaka University more than 600 students from different halls have been working in youtube marketplace. Among them Nurul Islam along with his team consisting of six members earned around $9,000 in December 2016. But the path was not easy for them at all.
Likewise S.R Robi, another student of University of Dhaka said, ‘It was our great mistake that first when we started youtube marketing without knowing perfectly about the terms and conditions. Our youtube channel was banned four times and we were at loss.’ He also said, ‘Then we searched for tutorials in google or youtube but there was nothing. After that we have joined in youtube community of Bangladesh which is basically a facebook based group. There we got the actual solutions which are mostly given by the professionals.’
The main spheres of youtube marketing are google ad-sense, affiliate marketing, sponsorship and rented video. But the easiest earning comes from ‘Ad sense’. When a viewer views any video then Google gives an advertisement on the video. On the basis of clicks 55% of the income is given to the video owner. Second one is affiliate, it is done by adding a virtual product link to a video. Third is sponsorship, it is done by promoting different types of products by a video. Renting video is to rent or buy a paid video, a user chooses an offer. The offer determines the terms of the rental or purchase. These processes have been described by another youtuber Shihabuddin Ahmed. He added, ‘Mainly from five types of videos generate good income, they are entertainment video, product review, tutorials and lists or general information based video’.
However, there are many problems in freelancing, mainly in payment method, monitoring and Internet speed. If the government can provide a faster Internet service at a lower price, it would make the jobs a lot easier for the hardworking freelancers of Bangladesh. Moreover, students are comparatively less skilled than global freelancers. So, they have to be enough skilled in business grade English and cross cultural training to improve ‘soft skills’.
BITM forecasts that the young freelancers are going to earn $100 million per year by 2020. Freelancing can set anyone independent. Freelancers need to promote themselves continuously in order to reap maximum benefits of freelancing. Initiatives to recognise outstanding performance of individuals in the field of freelancing will go a long way of earning foreign remittance.
The writer is a third year student of Department of Marketing, Faculty of Business Studies, University of Dhaka. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Financial Express, Dhaka, Bangladesh