Thriving as freelancers: Young professionals share their experience
Freelance jobs have opened up an array of opportunities for young professionals in recent years, across different industries.
Alongside being a staff photographer for an online news portal, Piyas Biswas has been freelancing for three international organisations and a newspaper based in Bangladesh, since 2016. "If someone is passionate and wants to turn freelancing into a viable career, they must know people from their industry, gain certifications, and create a strong portfolio to sustain amidst the competition," he shares. His work has been published in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, CNN International, BBC Bangla, Deutsche Welle, Yahoo News, AP, MSN, Forbes, UCANews and The Daily Star.
While the coronavirus pandemic obligated different professionals to newly cope with the work-from-home culture, many freelancers have always worked this way. However, working is harder for women, as they are often expected to deal with all the familial responsibilities while maintaining professionalism at their jobs equally well.
"My workload increased by many folds amidst the pandemic. Being a mother, I had to adapt to newer family dynamics, since my children are always home," says Azanta Rezwana Mirza, a freelance writer, editor, and transcriber. "That being said, flexibility and efficient time-management are sought after in our trade, since clients do not check how long we work, but rather, how effectively the projects get delivered."
Abdullah Rayhan, a first-year English Literature student at Jahangirnagar University, is a writer at SteamPug Content, an agency that provides freelance employment to young professionals to earn money through specialised writing. He occasionally writes for the Literature page of The Daily Star as well. "I want to pursue my career in Literature. Besides pocket money, freelancing helps me build and improve relevant skills such as critical reading, writing, researching and time management among others," shares Rayhan.
Umme Hani Esha and Zarin Tasnim Noushin are part of Women in Digital, a social enterprise that facilitates female creators who want to work in digital platforms to showcase their skills.
"I have ample opportunities as a freelance graphics and website front designer to build international client relationships," says Esha. "Work flow has declined globally due to the pandemic. However, locally, it has increased because clients are outsourcing from us. Frankly, the income is usually flexible, just like the nature of the work itself."
Zarin, a graphics and website designer, recently started working as a digital marketer as well. She chose to freelance since she lives out of Dhaka, and finds it difficult to commute back and forth. She gets to keep all the profits, work from the comfort of her home, and choose her own clients. However, the unpredictable and inconsistent workload, unpaid legwork, and absence of employee benefits are drawbacks of the job, she adds.
The author is a freelance journalist and a Marketing and International Business student at North South University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.