How To Become a Freelancer in India? Tips, Skills & Platforms For Freelancing

If I tell you that more than 50% of the workforce is working as freelancers today. You would believe me. This is believable. There has been a massive shift in the world’s economy. More people have started working as freelancers. Why not? 

how to become a freelancer in india

Freelancing has its own benefits. These benefits are adored by most of the population in the world. Everyone loves to work and grow in their comfort zone. There is a reason why a comfort zone is called a comfort zone.
Gone are the days when you were asked to sacrifice yourself to get something out of life. The Internet has changed everything. If you have a skill you can work as a freelancer. This article provides all the relevant information you might need to become a successful freelancer in India.

how to become freelance in india

What is Freelancing?

The concept of freelancing dates back to the 19th century. It is when a person takes work on contractual terms. Freelancers enjoy working at their own pace. Deciding how much work they wish to take. Usually, these projects are short term.

They do not enjoy the benefits of being an employee like dearness allowance, gratuity etc. But like it is said, they are their own boss. 

Step By Step Guide to Become a Successful Freelancer

There are a lot of things that can be included in this topic. A lot of steps to climb this ladder. I will discuss only those that will force you to think and take that action. To make it more clear for you will start by saying

1. Start It

Not saying this to amuse you. You are reading this article, this means that you need freelancing in your life. For whatever reason. So why not just start with it. 

There is no rule book for becoming a successful freelancer. Something that may have worked for Mr. X does not mean it will work for you. The basic thing is to start it anyway. You were not born with all the knowledge. And everything can be learnt with time and dedication.

You know what you are good at. Find your calling. And just start freelancing. You will feel better once you take this step. The first steps are always hard. But this would be my advice for you.

2. Map It

step by step guide to become a successful freelancer

Wondering, why not map it first and then start it? Nah! Once you have made up your mind to start something, the next steps become uncomplicated. Mapping your journey becomes easier. 

You will need your skill in hand, no matter how basic it is. You’ll need contacts. You will have to pitch your gig. Work on the gig. Provide customer care services yourself. You’ll have to become emotionally intelligent. Work on your social media skills. 

Learn digital marketing. Prepare a portfolio. Last but not least you’ll have to keep believing in yourself.  Let’s talk about these things in some detail.

3. Skill

Freelancers are no superhumans. Just like you and me, they start with basic skills. You could be someone with basic knowledge of programming. When you start freelancing your service, make sure to brush up on your skillset. 
The market is full of programmers who provide these services at affordable prices. What will set you apart from them? Compete with yourself. Provide the best value to your customers. This is what will help you in becoming successful. 

4. Contacts

how to get success in freelancing

You can choose how you want to start. When starting with your inner circle, your friends, your family. Approaching them is clearer. You know these people, they know you.  The risks are low when working for family or friends. So are the rewards. But that’s just how I see this. You might experience something amazing. 

The other option is approaching everyone else. This is not as difficult as it may sound. There are several service marketing platforms where you can register yourself. 

Use different social media platforms to connect to people. Nobody knows who might turn into a potential client. 

5. Pitch

Learn about the market you work in. Learn about your clients. Pitch accordingly. They need to know what you are providing most genuinely. Have a portfolio, that helps. Learn to sell your skills.

Hear the cues that you can use to your advantage. Say, someone tells you they had a bad experience with the last freelancer. They did not deliver the project on time. Use this to tell them about your reliability. Just pitching is not enough. Follow up with people. That is how the leads get converted into contracts. 

6. Pricing

Learn about the pricing that is prevailing in your market. If you are pitching people who do not have a lot of budgets, you can not expect high returns. 

Do thorough research on the market you are functioning in before quoting. 

7. Collaborate

ou might say, Oh! Freelancing is about working solo. Yes, it is. But just sometimes you need a different set of eyes to grow better. Working with like-minded people provides that opportunity. You may get to work on bigger projects if you collaborate.

My friend works as a freelance Interior Designer. She likes being her own boss. Just sometimes, she works with other interior designers. It has not only helped her be better, but it has also opened new doors for her. You learn to work as a team.

8. Believe

Rome was built every day. A little development, every day. Take small steps every day and keep believing. 

Skills Required to get success in Freelancing in India

skills required to get success in freelancing in india

The key skill to be a successful freelancer is having belief. A belief in yourself, a belief in what you do. This becomes the core of all the skills that you have. Freelancing can become difficult at points in life when there’s no work. 

Belief is what will get you going. Apart from that some more skills that will make the list are

1. Patience

When starting working as a freelancer, know that you are going to test the waters. You are going to do that all by yourself. Having patience will help you sail the boat through the storms. 

2. Social Interaction

It is important to learn and excel in social skills. You have to establish a bond with your client. This becomes crucial. Having an emotional intelligence serves you even better. 

3. Zeal

To get better and better. This comes from within or money can be a motivator to this too. “Run after perfection and success shall chase you” – 3 Idiots. This works just fine in life. Whatever you do.

4. Update

As a freelancer, it becomes your duty to check the updates related to the work you do. Related to the equipment you use. This not only helps you in optimising your output but keeps you on the top of your field. 

freelancing

Best Gigs to Start as a Freelancer

The gig is when you work as an independent entity to provide a service. The best gigs are the ones that are the highest in demand in the economy. Any service that is high in demand will make the best gig. To start as a freelancer you need to know and expertise yourself in one of these. 

To learn some of these skills online for free you can check out our article. 

1. Artificial Intelligence

artificial intelligence in freelancing

What is artificial intelligence? Well, it is when machines use human intelligence for various processes. Voice recognition, fingerprints recognition, self-driving cars, hi-tech robots, Siri are some of the examples of AI from our day to day lives. 

AI engineers make the list of highest-paid individuals. The minimum salary for AI freelancers is about 45K a month. AI is in demand across the globe. Its demand is increasing. It would be one of the most demanded professions by the year 2025. Starting to work as a freelancer in artificial intelligence is advisable. 

There are free courses on AI by Google. Feel free to enrol in one and get started as an AI freelancer. 

2. Program Developer

program developer

A program developer is someone who designs a program. Provides instructions to other computer programmers. Once the program is developed and in use by the customers he works on its improvisations. If needed. 

With everything switch online at a fast pace, these jobs are in high demand. An entry-level developer earns ₹37,500 a month. Program development is one of the highest-paid jobs in the world. Coursera is providing some related courses.

3. Content Writer

The job of a content writer is to provide a write-up to the client that speaks the essence of the business. Content writers are not just writing articles but working with social media managers, digital marketers, travellers. The scope is wide. 

Freelance content writers are paid per article. Usually, the rate is decided on the words the article contains. On average a content writer with minimal qualification can make 15K a month.

Do checkout the list of best Indian content writers as their stories will inspire you.

4. Graphic Designers

graphic designers as freelancer

Graphic designers are needed in almost all business sectors. This makes the scope of working as a freelance graphic designer pretty high. As per a survey by the Department of Labour stats, it is booming as a career option in India.

You have to become friendly with certain applications that work for graphic designers. You can take up projects from various platforms, online. Bid on them as per your demand. Graphic designers in India make ₹500 – 5000 on micro-projects on an hourly basis. 

5. SEO and Web Development Services

Search Engine Optimisation is a way of making websites more visible. Web development has to be user friendly. These services have been in high demand ever since. 

According to a report by the Times of India, SEO, web development, and digital marketing will create more than 1.5 lakh jobs in the coming years. The freelance SEO and web development service providers are paid lucratively.

6. Virtual Assistant

virtual assistant in freelancing

We are spending more and more time in the virtual world. This world is growing at a fast pace. Today almost everything can be done online. Virtual assistance is growing in demand too. It is when a person provides administrative, technical or creative assistance to a client virtually.

According to a recent survey conducted in the USA the demand for skilled virtual assistants is set to increase all around the world. On some of the freelancing platforms, this gig is requested at ₹175 an hour (minimum).

7. Typing and PDF to Word Conversion

Have you heard of data entry operators? This is very similar to that. You can easily find this gig. You have to be fast at typing. Your language skills should be good enough to spot errors. Many platforms provide freelance projects of typing and PDF to word conversion. 

The gig starts at ₹388 an hour on Fiverr. One can start this freelancing very easily.

8. Transcription

Transcription is gaining attention. It is becoming a good gig to start with. Transcribe Me is one of the best platforms to start with. They would require you to take up a training course with them followed by an exam. 

If cleared they provide 15 US dollars per hour audio transcription. The payment gets transferred to your PayPal account. 

Having given all this information, I would like to tell you something else. Some gigs take up less than 5 minutes. Some websites are offering such gigs.

  • Mobrog for conducting online surveys they pay ₹30-250.
  • Listverse pays you 100 US dollars for writing a list of ten things you love. Anyone with basic knowledge of English and a little sense of humour will be able to get it. 
  • Amazon pays for writing reviews. This is something viral all over the internet. It is ILLEGAL in India. As per Indian Federal Law, the practice of writing favourable reviews for products or payments is considered ILLEGAL.

To market yourself, choose a perfect Instagram Username and start building your social following.

Best Freelancing Platforms Recommended For India

There are many Indian platforms where one can start freelancing. You can post a job or select a job from these platforms. It is easy for both parties. The freelancer, to provide the service, has to bid his/her hourly rate in most of them. 

The party then selects the best bidder. Works with that freelancer. Pays these platforms a certain amount for their usage. I am going to discuss some of the most relevant ones here.

1. Freelancer

freelancers

Out of all the platforms I checked, Freelancer is my favourite. I will tell you why. You don’t need to register to check out the job options available here. For someone who wants to start working right away, this is a special place.

The postings are listed in a very informative manner. Freelancers bid on the offer. The best offer wins. Simple. You can put the keyword of the kind of work you are looking forward to. Checking the genuineness of an offer becomes your job. Like it is easy to find a job listing, it is easy to make one.

Payments start from 600 INR for micro-projects. May go up to 2.5 lacks for major projects. Freelancer charges 3% commission or 150 INR (whichever is higher) for platform usage. 

Registration is easy

  1. Sign up – You can sign up via email or Facebook.
  2. Provide a username
  3. Select your account type and you will be all set

For more information visit their website

2. Chegg

chegg

Chegg is an American company. Chegg India is its subsidiary company. It is one of the leading platforms that work on a student-first model. Professionals get hired by Chegg to serve students with academic, educational lessons. It pays well to its hired personnel. 

One has to be the subject matter expert for getting hired over here. They provide special offers to their registered professionals. 

The minimum amount you can earn is about 75 INR on answering an academic question. The rate of answering questions depends on the level of difficulty of the question. The more advanced the question, the better the pay rate. 

Registration can be done in 4 simple steps

  1. Sign up and fill in the registration details.
  2. Online screening, you have to clear the subject and guidelines test online.
  3. Verification, their team verifies the documentation and your credentials. 
  4. Start Answering, you can start answering the questions and earn. 

Visit the Chegg website for further details. 

3. Upwork

upwork

You can get a lot of information by just looking at Upwork’s web page. This platform is getting a lot of attention from freelancers across the globe. It connects businesses and skilled personnel with a lot of ease. 

It is a Microsoft trusted platform with thousands of contractors in each niche. It is rated over 4.5 stars by its professionals and clients.

They charge a commission fee on agreed amounts on every project from the buyer and the seller. You are paid on an hourly basis. The minimum contract hourly rate is 3 US dollars. They do not advertise any contract that pays less than that. 

Registering on the platform is easy. 

  1. Sign up, you can sign up using your email, Google account or your apple account.
  2. Personal Information, you have to fill in your personal information.
  3. Account setup, complete your account set up.
  4. Profile, complete your profile on Upwork.
  5. Highlight your expertise, experience, hourly rate

It takes a while to complete your profile on Upwork. A complete profile allows the business to know the freelancer better. You get better recommendations if your profile provides better information. Visit Upwork for more information. 

4. Fiverr

fiverr

Fiverr is a global platform for freelancers. It serves as a service marketplace. It was developed in Israel. Fiverr had over 3 million buyers in the year 2020.   

It offers services like writing, graphic design, SEO optimization, web development etc. The charge starts from a minimum of 5 US dollars and can go up to thousands of dollars depending on the service extras. 

Fiverr pays 80% to its freelancers and keeps 20% with itself. 

Registration on Fiverr can be done in the following simple steps. 

  1. Join the platform 
  2. Activate your seller account
  3. Start selling your gigs

Visit their website for more information. 

5. Guru

guru

Guru is a brilliant platform connecting service providers to various businesses. It has an interface that is a combination of Upwork and Freelancer. It has an Indian name. It was developed in the USA in 1998.

The top three niches where freelancers are in high demand on this platform are program and development, design and art, writing and translation. 

The freelancers are paid well according to the services they render. Registering on the platform is easy. 

  1. Sign up, you can sign up using your email, Google account or your apple account.
  2. Account setup, complete your account set up.
  3. Personal Information, you have to fill in your personal information.
  4. Proceed, click proceed and verify the account. 

For any further details, visit Guru

Growth of Freelancing in India: Should you really do it?

There has been a growth of 42% in the freelancing sector of India in quarter 1 of the financial year 2020. Have you heard of the term unicorn in startups? It is when a startup reaches 1 billion US dollars. Startups start with freelancing.

They start in shared office spaces, in coffee houses. We have 26 unicorn startups in India today. This number is growing fast. When freelancing “sky’s the limit”. To know more about Unicorn startups click on the article by CNBC.

Let us see the growth of freelancing in India

growth of freelancing in india

1. Setup

The setup required by freelancers in comparison to companies at large is minimal. This encourages a lot of people to work as freelancers on the sidelines. They acquire certain skills, register on some platforms like Freelancer and Upwork. They are good to go.

In an interesting survey, it was noted that 85% of freelancers worked from home. While 15% worked from coffee shops. I know a friend of mine who goes to CCD four times a week just to sit and work there.

Next time you head to a coffee shop, observe the freelancer sitting with their laptops in some corner. 

2. Individuals

Freelancing is very similar to being your own boss. With online marketing taking over. Many freelancers are taking over the economy with a storm. It has been observed that one in every four freelancers is a woman.

Freelancing can be done from home. Most women find this comforting. It allows them to take care of their household duties along with stepping up in their career. 

There are some great freelancing opportunities especially for women at freelancingfemales. Feel free to check them out. 

Pro tip: It is always a good idea to start your WordPress blog and create a portfolio that you can show to your clients.

3. Shift In Economy

There has been a tremendous shift in the economy. As covered by Forbes, India’s freelancers have grown by 160%.

Freelancers are becoming a viable option even for well-established corporations. Big corporations like KPMG, PwC hire freelancers for various projects.

It could be for a client with law, financial, accounts queries. This saves the big companies from incurring losses that can occur if the person hired is wrong. 

Check out this article by Nasdaq to know more about this shift.

FAQs About Freelancing in India

We are also freelancers. Yes, We get our web development, content writing, SEO and digital marketing business from various freelancing websites too.

This guide we prepared with our 5+ years of experience in freelancing.

Can freelancing replace full-time jobs in India?

Freelancing can be a part-time profession at the beginning. You work solo, you do not have a guarantee of fixed income at the end of every month. As and when you keep learning the skills, you can increase freelancing. It eventually can replace a full-time job.

Can you earn consistent income from freelancing?

Freelancers are not permanent employees at any particular place. They work with different clients. They have approaches to different platforms. They are self-employed. The consistency of their income depends on the consistency of their efforts. 

What is the expected monthly revenue of a beginner freelancer?

There are a lot of variables attached to this question. The field of work, the experience of a freelancer, client’s terms and requirements, availability of that work for the freelancer etc. if I have to mention an approximate value, it is between 10-30k per month.

What is the qualification for freelancing?

In general, a freelancer is required to have some prior experience of the job. He/she should have the relevant skills needed to perform the job. Necessary equipment ie. hardware or software that would be required. A portfolio can be very helpful for any freelancer.

The portfolio is often used by the parties to finalise any freelancer.

Is freelancer legal in India?

There are some countries like Cuba, Syria, North Korea which pose restrictions on their people to freelance. However, freelancing is very much legal in India. You can start working as a freelancer here freely. Build yourself a career as a freelancer. Even pay taxes as a sole proprietor. 

If you need personal consultation regarding freelancing, blogging and YouTube channel creation, watch this video created by me.

Final Words: How To Become a Successful Freelancer

This article was made for you keeping in mind the value it can provide you. Freelancing is Hope it serves you well. Let me know your views on it with your comments. For more such informative articles visit Digital Vishesh.

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About The Author of DigitalVishesh

authors BIO VISHESH GUPTA

Vishesh Gupta

Founder of DigitalVishesh.IN

I am an MBA, A Certified Digital Marketer with 14 years of experience in Sales and Business Development.

I am a full-time Blogger, Affiliate Marketer, Digital Marketer and Web Hosting Reviewer. Being a certified marketer, I am now able to generate over 5000 page views for my blog “Daily”. Click to learn more about me here.

At DigitalVishesh, We are creating exceptional content for our clients, Promoting the brands in social media and search engines, Developing WordPress websites and Reviewing the popular web hosting companies.

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