Freelancing & Financial Freedom For Women

By Sarah Adnan (Research Associate at WOWPK)

WOWPK is an online community for women which promotes female professionals and supports and trains aspiring female professionals through webinars, workshops and mentorship.

All through September 2020, WOWPK, in a bid to upskill its members, have been holding a series of free webinars to raise awareness about several trending topics.

With the onset of COVID-19, many people lost their jobs. And in a traditional setup like ours in Pakistan, where females are expected to take on the lead role of a homemaker, it has become imperative for us all to explore a flexible field where one can be their own boss and also work towards financial independence, using their own time and schedules.

On 8th September, 2020, WOWPK hosted a webinar on Freelancing and invited Ms. Eisha Gul to share her journey and provide insights into the world of Freelancing. Eisha is a potential Mechatronics engineer who is working as a professional content writer and editor via the freelancing website Upwork. In a course of just 4 months, she has earned her ‘Rising Talent’ badge on Upwork and is now on her way to become a ‘Top Rated’ Freelancer on Upwork. She has more than 9 published articles to her name on the international blog Weshare, where she is also currently working as an Editor. Besides being a writer, she has also secured positions in the All Pakistan Declamation contests.

This webinar majorly covered the topic of Freelancing using the platform of ‘Upwork’. Here’s a brief synopsis of the topics that were covered during the 60-minute virtual webinar.

Skills – Eisha first spoke about the skills of an aspiring Freelancer and how one can enhance their set of skills to succeed in this emerging field.

Upwork – Speaking about several freelancing portals on the World Wide Web, Eisha suggested viewers to start their Freelancing careers on Upwork which is a phenomenal website not only due to its partnerships with leading companies who use this portal but also because of their ID approval system which makes scamming close to non-existent on their platform.

ID Approval System – Eisha then went on to explain how one can successfully get their IDs approved on Upwork in order to apply for a job.

Profile and Bio – A prospective client generally spends just 2 seconds on a single profile before he/she moves to the next one. An engaging profile with the right picture that makes one look approachable is the magic trick to capture the client’s attention. She also discussed the points one should keep in mind when writing a detailed personal bio.

Skill niche – Choosing the right niche and selecting a group of coherent skillsets rather than selecting several unrelated fields not only confuses a client but also makes them question the reliability of the applicant.

Proposal – Next, Eisha explained about the kind of Freelancing jobs and the way to successfully pitch for them. She elucidated how one can make their proposal stand out from amongst many others, including those from top-rated and rising talents. Talking about the process of proposal formation in great detail, she gave some invaluable pointers, tips and tricks for getting the results.

Pricing and Payment System – Eisha then spoke about the pricing and payment system on Upwork. The different types of payment contracts, how to successfully bid on a project, especially when one is just a beginner in this field and need to build on their portfolio. She also mentioned how Upwork keeps a check on the timelines of successful applicants and shed light on the Escrow payment system that Upwork uses.

Ethics and Challenges – The final topic of discussion was about the challenges one faces when working as a Freelancer and how to overcome them. Commitment, motivation and time management are the biggest markers of a successful Freelancing career.

As a Freelancer, it is important to earn good reviews from the clients and through dedication and professionalism, this is not an impossible feat.

Pakistan has consistently remained in the top 5 Freelancing markets in the world. Most Pakis­tanis under the age of 35 (90%) are opting to go into Freelance work — more than the global average of 70%, according to a report released by the digital payment company Payoneer. One of the more optimistic findings from the report was that women’s participation in the Freelance workforce had been gaining momentum and the average wage for females was leaps and bounds ahead of the greater workforce. Female Freelancers earned on average 84% of men’s earnings across all fields, and while there is room for improvement, the gap is much smaller than the 64% average for all workers reported by the World Economic Forum.

We would like to thank Eisha for sharing her valuable experience with our community. We hope that  these tips will encourage and help our viewers to grow as Freelancers. With our work culture taking a shift towards a more flexible approach and more professionals opting to go Freelance, we can firmly say that the future of work has arrived.

Watch her webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vftVL_k2gio