How to become a freelancer in Egypt
A freelancer is someone who offers their services for a fee and usually with no expectation of a permanent single client, although the working relationship can be ongoing. It’s a form of self-employment, similar to operating a home business versus telecommuting. A freelancer can work as a contractor, as opposed to a home business.
statistics has shown that more than a third of U.S. workers are freelancers. Freelancing is popular in Europe as well, and the number of people who freelance grew by 45% in the last couple years. Across the world, small and large companies have significantly increased their use of freelancers.
Becoming a Freelancer in Egypt is quite easy and as simple A, B and C. If you’ve decided to become a freelancer, know that you are on to something good. Whether your goal is to earn some money on the side or make freelancing a full-time career, you’ll need to arm yourself with knowledge, determination to learn and improve, and lots of patience. Here’s how to start freelancing.
The freelance market is growing by the day, and if you want to be competitive, you have to prepare accordingly. Follow these steps to get started.
Why people sign up to become freelancers:
There are several reasons why people want to start freelancing. some of them include:
- desire to generate extra income to pay off debt or save for a rainy day.
- the affordability to start if you already have the skills and equipment to do the job.
- It allows for greater independence over a job.
- It’s often flexible, allowing you to work part-time or during off-business hours.
- It can take time to build a full-time income.
- Work, and therefore, income, can be irregular.
- Managing multiple clients and projects requires excellent organization.
- Pay for new freelancers is often low.
Now, having seen the ups and downs of freelancing, let’s get started with how you can be a successful freelancer in Egypt. The steps are highlighted in no particular order.
1. Be determined to be in the Business
Freelancing has its ups and downs as highlighted above, but in general, you must possess a specific mindset to be a freelancer. Being your own boss is a great thing if you’re disciplined and reliable. Freelancing enables you to set your own schedule, so you can take a day off whenever you want, but you won’t be paid for that time because there is no such thing as paid leave.
If you want to be a freelancer, you should maintain a daily work routine, be ready to juggle several projects at the same time and continually look for new projects so you can maintain a steady flow of work.
If you’re still working full time, don’t quit your job immediately. Instead, combine freelancing and full-time work until you accumulate enough clients and connections to support yourself as a freelancer. Working from a comfortable place of steady work and safe income is a much better environment for developing your freelance business.
2. Find a platform.
Most freelancers use freelancing platforms to find work. While recommendations and social media channels like LinkedIn can also be a great source of gigs, platforms are popular because they allow you to effortlessly connect with clients looking for freelancers. There is always a job available there.
Also, most of these platforms have policies and offer protection both for buyers and freelance workers. On freelance platforms, every project you take on is a mini contract, and both you and the client are required to adhere to its terms.
Choosing the platform with the model that fits your needs and salary expectations is incredibly important for your success. Plenty of freelancing websites encourage the so-called “race to the bottom,” where freelancers provide poor quality work in exchange for poor compensation. Ultimately, it doesn’t help anyone – buyers cannot find good quality of work and freelancers cannot earn enough money.
Some freelancing platforms, like Hiremotely, base their business model on admitting only top freelance software developers and connect them with clients based on very specific requirements. Being a member of such an exclusive platform allows you to connect with serious clients and get paid for high-quality work. The admission process on such platforms may take several weeks and include several rounds of relevant tests.
3. Build your Profile
You don’t have to prepare a classical CV, as most freelancing websites have already designed templates that you need to fill out with your information, but you shouldn’t treat your freelancing profile as a checkbox exercise.
Take time to create a substantial profile that will inform potential clients about your education, skills, expertise and experience. You don’t have to write novels – keep it short and sweet. List your skills, experiences, special achievements and explain why you’re the best person for the job.
4. Contact Everyone You Have Ever Known
The very first thing I you should do when deciding to make the switch is to get in touch with every single person you have ever known and let them know about intent.
If you was still studying, and working a job, why did you say you could take on projects? Were you not a bit busy already, studying/working 14+ hours a day and organizing yourself to go freelance or to take on projects in your free time’?
The reason you should tell your friends and family of friends, colleagues and ex-colleagues that you are willing to take on projects straight away is for three reasons:
Not only do you want to make your announcement actionable, but clients take time to develop. Don’t put yourself in a position to do the work “in a month”, when the discussion you need to start may take that much time anyway!
The more experience, contacts and references you have when you go freelance, the easier making that final break from your job will be. Remember,
“Building a network and finding work are two sides of the same coin.”
It’s never too late to start reaching out to people and expanding your network. If you have work to show for your efforts already, your outreach will go much further, a reason why this step should be repeated annually even once you are a successful freelancer! Keep yourself fresh in people’s minds and be their go-to person when they need a professional in your field.
5. Determine your price.
Speaking of discounts, while your hourly rate or project price heavily depends on your skill set and experience, don’t work for peanuts. We already mentioned how this devalues both freelancers and the quality of work.
If you have only a couple of years of experience, of course, you cannot charge the same rate as freelancers with 10 years of work under their belts. However, if you eventually want to turn freelancing into your full-time job, the rate should cover your monthly expenses if you have steady work, no matter how experienced you are.
6. Find work
If you’re actively looking for projects and clients, here are a few tips to help you find them. First, apply only for the jobs you are confident you can do. There is no point in applying for a project you cannot complete on time with satisfactory results. As a freelancer, you’re building your reputation from scratch and especially in the beginning, it’s of utmost importance to secure positive feedback.
When you apply for jobs, make sure you craft a relevant cover letter that explains why you’re the best choice for that particular job or project. Highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to requirements.
Over time, freelancing platforms reward top-rated freelancers with badges, lower fees and access to specially tailored job offers, so it’s in your best interest to keep your clients happy.
Some freelancers avoid online marketplaces because they come with the fees (usually between 5% and 20% of your earnings) that can really add up by the end of the month. In that case, try to use various groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to find work. However, be aware that with these gigs, there is no contract in place and no guarantee that someone won’t take your work and never pay for it.
7. Write A Plan of Action
I want you to pay very close attention to the next statement.
Never, ever, undervalue time taken to plan. Never.
Before you quit your job (if you are planning to), you should endeavor to have a goal. Sometimes that goal might be to email a relevant contact in your field asking for advice. Sometimes that goal might be to expand your network by a certain number of people, answer a certain number of questions, or attend a meetup.
And sometimes it might simply be to plan out the next steps.
Carefully drafted and redrafted a personal business plan , including your financial requirements, goals, and how you think that would actually translate into work.
Unless you’re one of these eternally adventurous types, freelancing is no fun as a hand-to-mouth game. Nobody chooses this path with the goal of living on a financial knife edge. And by the way, it’s ok to be scared, in fact if you’re not, it’s a doubt! So keep your eyes open, know your limits, and plan accordingly.
8. Pay Attention to Competition
Whether it is by hours scanning social media, reading blog posts like this one, offering your services to friends, or just generally building a network, however you could, absorb as much information as possible.
Sure, it’s overwhelming; anyone who has spent a 4 hour stint on a single topic online knows that the rabbit hole is deep, and easy to get sucked into. At the end of the day, you have to pick and choose what’s important for you, but what you should look out for is taking a real good look at what your competitors are doing. And there is always a competition.
Looking closely at what others are doing, you would found out 3 things that will help:
- local competition, and I mean local.
- People who are looking for someone of your expertise but have no central data bank to find you, or other freelancers like you.
- you could easily differentiate yourself from your competition by having an attractive personality, and a digital presence.
Leif Kendall likes to tell people to:
“Deliver work that is better than anything your competitors are doing.”
But how do you know what your competitors are actually doing?
Remember that old adage “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? This is one way of looking at it, but in a world of freelancing where your network is everything, you can’t afford to have enemies at all. So try this instead:
“Keep your friends close, and make friends with your enemies.”
Don’t be guarded, don’t be defensive. Share, trade, and exchange what you can from your own knowledge and then keep doing it better, and better, and better, and better, and better, and better.
In the end, you’ll find that some people have big egos, but a lot of people are happy to have a friend. Freelancing can be a bit lonely sometimes as by its definition you often lack those daily colleagues who understand the work you do. A lot of people out there are just like you, and happy to have someone they can relate to about work, and even share a bit of knowledge and experience.
9. Get yourself A Mentor and Land A Real Client
“Don’t burn any bridges.”
If you’re a freelancer, this quote should be read in all capslock and underlined, because you can’t afford to. Every contact counts , and on behalf of your reputation and livelihood, although it’s very tempting to give your boss the finger as you storm out the door, it’s not something you can afford to do, ever.
No one likes “kissing ass” and I don’t really recommend it, but now that you’re leaving you need your employer more than ever before, because face it: your current employer is your strongest link to your first job as a freelancer. If your job is at all related to what you plan to do, they may themselves be your first client.
Whether it’s a boss, mentor, professor, uncle, slave driver, or homeless dude with good advice, the people you see daily are most likely to have the biggest impact on your transition. So be accommodating, be thankful and be willing to work your ass off for an opportunity to do what you love.