My Freelancing Journey 2021

In this article I will talk about how I started and my experience as freelancer.

In 2019 I took a break from being a full time employee. I was learning SVG and animations while enjoying my break. I created many codepens and participated in many codepen challenges; some of them were liked and picked by the community. In 2020 when we were in pandemic, one client from US saw my work online and contacted me for the animation prototyping work. And that’s how it started. After this, I worked on handwriting animation work, I wrote an article about this and it got published in CSS TRICKS. Publishing on CSS TRICKS helped me in branding and gave me so much confidence. After this I worked for few more clients. Along with working for clients I kept learning and exploring. In 2021 I worked on bigger projects with better pays. 2021 was improved version of 2020 and that matters. It is a journey where I am learning, exploring, working and enjoying what I do.

I am sharing this information based on my experience and knowledge.

How to get projects

Create work on your niche and share on social media(Twitter, Linkdin). Create a portfolio website which showcase your work, talk about who you are and how can you help client. Be part of the community - various slack and discord groups in your niche. Create profile in various marketplaces such as Upwork, fiverr etc.

How much you should charge as freelancer

I would say it is trial and error method because it highly depends on factors such as nature of your work, skill level, the company for whom you are woking for, the time required to do things and urgency of the work. I charged as low as $5/hr to high as $50/hr in the span of 1 and half years along with the fixed price. I have tried different rates depending on the above factors. There are certain points based on which you can decide your rate initially.

  1. If you work for a company how much you will get paid and based on that calculate your per hour rate.
  2. Do some market research and figure how much people are charging in your niche at your skill level.
  3. Try different rates and see where you hit threshold.

Mode of taking international payments

I have used direct bank transfer (HDFC), Paypal and Transferwise. Transferwise is much better than other two as it transfers money almost immediately and deduct very little transaction fee. Where as other two has more transaction fee and takes time to transfer to your bank account. Some client prefers paypal/direct bank transfer, so please make sure to include respective transaction fee in the total bill or add it as separate component in the invoice.

TIP: You can use Transferwise exchange rate for determining how much INR you should receive and accordingly how much extra the client needs to pay to offset Paypal service charge and currency conversion charges.

Handling finances as freelancer in India

Invoice

Send invoices to the client and make sure to include invoice number, client name, address and GST number(if applicable) along with other details.

There are plenty of softwares (ex- ZOHO) available to generate invoices and to keep track of your income and expenses. Or simple excel sheet will also do.

Tax

You can file tax under Presumptive Taxation Scheme more details here or normally as well. You need to fill ITR 3/4. If your income is reaching 20lakhs/year you need to take GST number and include that in invoice. Once GST number is taken there are number of things to do; a professional chartered account will help you do this.

My experience

Freelance good part:

  1. Flexible hours. Sometimes you need to overlap with client’s time at-least for the communication purpose.
  2. You can choose what kind of project you want to work on.

Freelance tough part:

  1. You need to manage all your finances or hire some one to do this job
  2. You need to market yourself in order to get more work.
  3. Income in not consistent
  4. Some months you are out of work

Conclusion

Have patience do work hard and get better at your work. It is a journey 🙂 In case you are interested in reading, I have read this book by @kelly it talks about all the points required to do freelancing https://startfreelancing.today