There is no doubt that freelancing is the fastest-growing industry in Pakistan and all over the world. According to Upwork, more than 56 million people in America were freelancing in 2018, of which 42% were between the ages of 18 to 34, while 35% were between the ages of 35 to 44. That’s a huge number who are freelancing, which is more than 16% of the US population.
Seeing the growing trend of freelancing, businesses are also hiring freelancers for their projects instead of hiring permanent employees. The most famous internet giant Google also prefers freelancers. As of March 2019, the total number of Google employees was 102,000 while the number of contractors/freelancers employed by Google was 120,000.
Freelancing in Pakistan
Freelancing is booming not only in America but also in Pakistan. According to an estimate, there are more than 1 million freelancers in Pakistan who are working from home and if we look at Pakistan’s global rankings in freelancing, according to the report of Online Gig Economy Q2 2019, Pakistan has surpassed other Asian countries including Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Russia, and won the 4th position followed by the United States, United Kingdom, and Brazil.
Another data from Upwork states that Pakistan ranks third in the list of registered members on Upwork, while Freelancers (a freelance website) has the largest number of registered freelancers from Pakistan.
Freelancing also makes a difference to the country’s economy, a report by the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) said that Pakistani freelancers earned $150 million in the fiscal year 2019-20, while in 2020-21 For the first time in Pakistan’s history, IT exports increased by 47.4% and exports reached $2.12 billion. Learn more about the scope of freelancing in Pakistan by clicking on the image below.
Freelancing is one of the most beautiful and flexible careers as it is the most adaptive career in this era of unemployment. Due to the flexibility and expansion of freelancing in Pakistan, many people are adopting it but they are confused to know the future and scope of freelancing in Pakistan. Two major factors that attract people to start freelancing in Pakistan, one is freedom and the second is flexibility. People also start freelancing due to low wages and I think this is another reason for the growth of freelancing in Pakistan and Asian countries.
These are the statistics that show the rise of freelancing in Pakistan and across the world. Freelance pundits and gurus are also saying that freelancing is the future of the work industry as the freelance industry continues to expand every year. According to an estimate, 50% of the workforce will be freelancers by 2028.
But the major question is how you can understand that freelancing is right for you. As everything has its pros and cons, freelancing also has its pros and cons, and due to the cons of freelancing some freelancers leave freelancing which we rarely hear about. So let’s dive deep into it and try to find out the pros and cons of freelancing.
Pros of Freelancing
Freelancing gives you the freedom to live a life and the option to maintain a work-life balance that a 9 to 5 job does not. In a traditional job, you have to travel to your office every day on time even in inclement weather wearing an office suit but in freelancing, you don’t need to go to your office daily because freelancing allows you to work from anywhere anytime and it does not matter what you wear. Imagine you work from the comfort of your home as a freelancer and earn money.
In a traditional job, we have to work with many clients that we don’t like or want to work with but freelancing gives you the option to choose the clients you want to work with. As a freelancer, You can choose clients or projects that are meaningful to you and pay well while you can also work with many clients at the same time.
Not only this, the freelancer can increase or decrease the working time with the compatibility of the workflow because there is no boss or manager to order above them.
2- Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is primarily about establishing a stable and sustainable way of working and reducing work-related stress while at work. To maintain a work-life balance, you need to take small breaks during work that keep you physically and mentally fit but if you’re working a 9-to-5 job, then it is very difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance because you are bound to sit at a desk from 9 to 5.
Freelancing allows you to maintain a work-life balance that keeps you fit. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important for your health and relationships, but it’s also effective for increasing your productivity and performance.
3- Earn Unlimited
There are more growth opportunities in freelancing as compared to employment as you already know about your limited income in a traditional job but in freelancing, you can earn as much as you want. Freelancing does not obligate you to earn a limited amount a month. It allows you to sell your services worldwide and earn as much as you want. On the other hand, You can start a side hustle to generate passive income like starting a youtube channel or a blog.
Being a self-employed person, you are the one who has to manage everything but the good thing is that you will get all the profits and no one will ask you to share the money.
4- You are the Boss
Being a boss is pros and cons at the same because you are a man who has to do all the things manage orders, meet deadlines, etc we take it as a pro now because a man who was working for someone now working to build their empire.
In our traditional jobs, we don’t have the opportunity to be our own boss but if you choose to freelance as a career, freelancing allows us to be our own boss. There is no obligation to work in freelancing, you can work as much as you want because there is no one to dictate to you and you work like a boss. If you have a dream to become a boss and work when you want then freelancing allows you to be your boss. If you have a plan to go on vacation then you don’t need to ask someone because you are your boss.
5- Turn your freelance Career into a Business
Freelancing is a very adaptable career because of its flexibility, as I mentioned above you can start a side hustle in freelancing. Not only that you can turn your freelance career into a business by building an agency or software house. You need to hire competent and professional people who work for you and you just monitor them.
Cons of Freelancing
1- You have to find more & more work
Finding work is a real challenge at an early stage of your freelance career because you don’t have a name and reputation in the market and due to this reason your earnings may fluctuate. To build your name and increase workflow, you need a good reputation and recognition that will attract more buyers to work with you and it takes some time.
If you get work, there is a deadline for that work and it will be completed one day and after completing that work, you will search again for the new work. Finding more and more work is a bit hectic process but if you are smart enough and good at communication and business development skills then you can easily find more work. You can also do marketing related to your work.
2- Risk of not getting paid
Starting freelancing in Pakistan can be a risky decision because it doesn’t give you the financial security that you can get in a traditional job. In a traditional job, you don’t run the risk of not getting paid, even if it’s low, but you get enough to pay the bills. As I mentioned above, finding work in freelancing is a real challenge, you have to be smart enough to find work in freelancing in Pakistan.
If you find work, it does not necessarily mean that you will get that work because there will be many other people looking for work besides you. You should be competent enough in your skills especially communication and business development skills as it helps you to get work and build a good relationship with clients. New freelancers face these difficulties with increasing competition but once they gain experience and improve their skills, they can easily get rid of it.
3- You have to isolate yourself
Another con of freelancing is that you have to isolate yourself from your friends and relatives too as freelancing requires dedication and hard work in the initial stage of the career. Freelancing is a 24/7 job as you are selling your services all over the world so clients can approach you anytime.
If you are shy or an introvert or the type of person who doesn’t like hanging out with friends and doesn’t waste much time then freelancing is perfect for you but if you are an extrovert or want to spend more time with friends then It is not easy for you to make a good career in freelancing.
4- Freelancing can take some time to flourish
ٖٖAs you know freelancing is a contract-based job and is not like your 9 to 5 job that you start and get paid every month. You have to find work, bid on that as other freelancers do, and win the project if you win the project you will get money. To reach this level, you must have an identity and positive feedback that will attract people to work with you.
Every new freelancer wants good recognition and experience in freelancing to enhance the workflow but you need time to get it.
5- Freelancing requires you to be very organized
If you want to make a good career in freelancing in Pakistan, you have to be very organized and disciplined. Being a freelancer at an early stage of your career, you are the only one who has to do all the things. To manage all these things, you must have to be very disciplined. Many freelancers apply self-discipline that makes it easier for them to meet their commitments on time.
Getting organized is a bit difficult so if you want to be a good freelancer you have to be very organized because there are so many distractions in the form of social media that make you lose your premium time.
6- Be responsible for everything
In your freelance business, you are responsible for everything good and bad because you are running your own business and as the business owner you have the ultimate responsibility. You have to take all the decisions, take orders, deliver on time, receive money and calculate taxes, etc.
These are all the responsibilities that every freelancer has to do and these are the cons that you must know before starting freelancing in Pakistan.
Why do Freelancers fail in Pakistan?
Freelancing has been the most adopted career for the last few years. Many people start freelancing in Pakistan but are not successful. When a newbie listens to freelancing, he thinks that freelancing is just a piece of cake. He envisions himself as a freelancer who works from home whenever he wants and earns money. As far as imagination is concerned it is fine but the reality is somewhat different.
Freelancing is not a difficult profession. It is very easy and doable but keep in mind that you have to have something to sell and as I mentioned above, you are responsible for everything whether you are successful or not. If freelancing is so easy and doable, you might be wondering why freelancers are failing. There can be many reasons behind the failure of freelancers but the main ones I want to bring to your attention.
1- Starting freelancing without any specific skill
Many people in Pakistan decide to jump into freelancing without any skills because of the flexibility and freedom of freelancing and you know very well what the result is. They don’t know that mountains look good from a distance. This is not to say that freelancing is very difficult but the point is, without any specific skills you can’t swim in the sea of freelancing.
Many new freelancers offer outdated services like data entry, MS Word typing, PDF to MS Word conversion, etc. These are services that have more competition and fewer jobs. So they don’t get orders and give up. If you want to be a successful freelancer, you have to learn the skills that are in high demand.
Nowadays, the skills of web development, digital marketing, content writing, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, UI designing, graphic designing, etc are in high demand. The World Economic Forum released a list of 10 skills needed in 2025.
If you don’t have any skills yet and want to start freelancing in Pakistan, you should learn skills first. There are many ways to develop skills online in Pakistan but I recommend you join Digiskills. Digiskills is a platform launched by the government of Pakistan to empower youth by teaching them skills. If you want to know more about Digiskills, click on the image below.
Lack of Communication Skills
Communication plays a make-or-break role in freelancing. Many freelancers don’t have good communication skills, which is why they don’t get ahead. If you are poor at communication, it will be very difficult to get a job because you are not meeting your employer face-to-face in a cafe or somewhere else. Perhaps your employer is seven overseas. So the weapon you use to facilitate your employer is communication. Many freelancers bid on projects and don’t get a response from the employer.
This is due to a lack of communication skills. Freelancers cannot convince employers without good communication. Another major reason why many freelancers fail is their lack of command of English.
English is an international language as well as a business language, so if you offer your services worldwide, you must master English because Your client may be from anywhere in the world and may not understand your native language. You should be proficient in writing English and also proficient in speaking English accents like a British accent, Australian accent, etc.
Lack of Passion & Consistency
The majority of People start freelancing in Pakistan because of its flexibility, but freelancing is not their passion. A famous saying is that Lucky are those whose passion becomes their profession. If freelancing is not your passion then you should not start it because it requires hard work, dedication, and time at an early stage of your career, and without passion, you cannot do hard work for free.
One Person with passion is better than forty people merely insterestedE.M Forester
Some people are not consistent due to which they cannot progress in life and many freelancers also remain unsuccessful due to lack of consistency. Consistency is said to be the key to success، if you are passionate and consistent about freelancing then you will become a successful freelancer one day.