Freelancing is an emerging sector in economy of Bangladesh. Today, it is like a buzzword in this developing country. The journey started few years ago, and Bangladesh is now considered one of the best places for clients. Freelancing really experienced an exponential growth at global level in the last few years. Chances are very high that Bangladesh will be in a very strong position in the near future, but it is not going to be an easy task for this country as the competition is very high these days.
This article talks about the problems those Bangladeshi freelancers are facing and their solutions, progress in freelancing in Bangladesh, stats and prospects of freelance Bangladesh. It also adds a list of do’s and don’t s for potential freelancer which is like a must read for future freelancers.
Problems and Solutions
Slow, Unreliable, and Expensive Internet
Though Bangladeshis have proved to be good at freelancing, it has some serious problems which needs to be solved as early as possible. First of all, internet is extremely slow, unreliable, and very expensive in Bangladesh compared with other countries. Very few companies provide fast, reliable connection, but they are very expensive. Also, the coverage is another critical problem. Mobile companies have more coverage than other companies, but those are slow, expensive. Bad Internet connection gives a freelancer numerous problems, uploading a file turns into a nightmare to them. It takes hours to upload a 100MB file! But this problem should be fixed as early as possible to save this promising sector. Government should take necessary steps to help freelancers who try to work extremely hard to earn foreign currencies.
This is another major problem Bangladeshi freelancers have been facing over the years. Electricity is awful in the summer season. Some areas experience 10-12 hours load shedding every day. Surely, this minimizes the productivity of the skilled freelancers. None but the freelancers can understand the pain of working in a hot temperature ceaselessly.
Blocking of social media channels
Bangladesh freelancers were unable access most popular video sharing website youtube for eight months. The ban was hurting thousands of freelancers who use Youtube for good purpose. The ban was lifted in June 2013 after eight months.
Not having Paypal
Bangladeshis don’t have PayPal. It sounds weird, but it is true. Bangladeshi freelancers have been working without the most popular online payment method for long time. The most popular marketplaces allow few payment methods, but they are not suitable for all freelancers. Sometimes, they charge very high and take about one week or more time to transfer money. Every day, lots of work are going out of Bangladeshi freelancers reach because they don’t have PayPal. Only government might be able to help solve this problem.
Misleading advice and training
Online earning is getting very popular in Bangladesh, and some dishonest people have already started exploiting this idea. They launched fake PTC websites, bogus MLM business, etc. This type of incident could create a bad image. Today, there are many so-called freelancing training centers which charge high, but teach very little to nothing. Our youths should be aware of these situations and remain alert. They must be careful in selecting a freelance training agency or a freelance trainer.
Lack of English skill
It is true that in addition to technical skill, one needs to have minimum English skill to make effective communication and win a contract. If you cannot communicate with clients effectively, you will have little chance to make success in freelancing.
Progress in Freelance Bangladesh
Despite the fact that freelancers in Bangladesh constantly facing lots of problems, the solution of which are beyond their reach, Bangladesh is now in a good position in all online marketplaces. In 2009, only 2% of freelancers were from Bangladesh, but in 2012, it increased to 12% which is really inspiring. Bangladesh ranks 3rd on oDesk.com and is in a good position in other marketplaces like Freelancer.com, Elance.com, etc. According to Matt Cooper, Vice President of International and Enterprise of oDesk, Bangladeshi freelancers worked 2.8 million hours in 2012. oDesk is very happy with the Bangladeshi freelancers. It organizes events in Bangladesh regularly to inspire them.
Freelancer.com is another great online marketplace, and Bangladesh has proven its skills by winning many competitions. DevsTeam won “SEO and Writing” competition in 2012; There are some top rated freelancers in Bangladesh on Freelancer.com. Freelancer.com launched www.freelancer.com.bd exclusively for Bangladeshi people. Bangla training materials, local currency conversion, etc. might be launched in the near future.
Elance is a high-profile marketplace, and Bangladesh has shown its skills on this marketplace as well. To get more Bangladeshi freelancers on Elance, it appointed a country manager in Bangladesh. Like oDesk and Freelancer.com, Elance also started doing many events, campaigns in Bangladesh.
Though the accurate number is very difficult to know, it is estimated that about 30,000 freelancers are working in Bangladesh, and they add 20-25 million dollars each year to its economy. USA, Canada, UK, and Australia are main markets for Bangladeshi freelancers.
According to stats, the scenario of Bangladeshi freelancers is: IT and Programming 43%, Design 24%, Sales and Marketing 16%, Administrative Support 10%, Writing and Translation 5%, and Miscellaneous Jobs 2%.
Prospects of Freelance Bangladesh
Future could be very bright for Bangladesh. Bangladesh has already proven its great skills. There are some important advantages of Bangladesh over other countries. Unlike other countries, Bangladesh has lots of young, educated people. According to stats, in 2012, Bangladesh had 40% of people aged below 18. So, it is very obvious that this country has millions of people aged between 18 and 30. Earlier China had this advantage. This huge number of people could make a huge difference in the future. All they need is proper direction, training.
It is estimated that 443 billion dollars will be spent online in 2015. If Bangladesh can grab only 5% of it, then it can earn 23 billion dollars which almost equals to the foreign currency earned by ready -made garment industry of Bangladesh.
Women can play a great role to achieve more success. Women are about 50% of total population in Bangladesh, so it is believed that if only 5 million women are trained up properly, then they can earn more than 15 million dollars every day even if they work only at 1 dollar/hour. So, it is obvious that the sky is the limit for Bangladesh.
How to Become A Successful Freelancer
Though Bangladesh has lots of problems, it is still possible for someone to become a successful freelancer in Bangladesh. Freelancing is a smart profession, so you could give it a try. Some Dos and Don’ts if followed can make anyone a successful freelancer in Bangladesh.
Select your field and develop your skills.
Select your field of freelancing. What you are good at, identify your passion. If you are passionate about graphic design, web design & development, writing, or anything else, then go for it. Don’t even think about earning lots of money by becoming a web designer if your passion is graphic design. Browse through “Job Categories.” Read “Job Descriptions” carefully to get more ideas about certain category. Then you should start learning. Google is the best option to learn. You will find numerous high-profile websites to learn. W3shools is a good source to learn web design. Also, don’t forget to use YouTube. YouTube is loaded with thousands of videos.
Improve your English
If you find it difficult to learn from videos and websites, then you must improve your English. Remember, English is of paramount importance. You must have decent English skills. Use Google and YouTube to improve your English. BBC Janala, Engvid, Rachel English, and English Forums are excellent sources to learn English properly.
Be patient and be dedicated
One of the most important things to become a successful freelancer is that you must remember that you can’t earn money overnight. Don’t forget lots of graduates don’t get a decent job after completing 16 years of education. Eventually, some of them give bribes to get a job while others do low-profile jobs which provide 100-150 dollars per month. So, you should give some time to learn something to earn money online. You must have an enormous level of patience. Success has no shortcut. If you are desperate, dedicated enough to become a successful freelancer, then you can do it. Chances are high that you will not be able to earn even one dollar in the first few months, but don’t get disappointed. At first, you need to develop your skills; then think about earning money. If you have skills, then earning money will be very easy for you.
Read other freelancer’s success stories
You can learn lots of things reading the success stories of other freelancers.
Don’t change your field often
Remember, you shouldn’t change your track often. If you start learning web design, then stay in it until you are successful. Don’t try to change your track. You have to Focus: Follow One Course Until Successful.
Don’t plan to freelance full time at the start.
When you are new and just started working as freelancer, you should start part time.
If you can become a successful freelancer, then your focus should be on how to become an entrepreneur. If you are focused, then you can become a successful entrepreneur in the future.
To conclude, we have to admit that Bangladeshi freelancers have been working extremely hard bearing lots of critical problems to earn money online. They do deserve more. They have not got any significant help from Government yet; They only received lots of promises. If the existing problems like internet, electricity, payment methods, misconceptions, etc. can be fixed, then Bangladesh could be the #1 choice for clients in the future. We wish all the success for Bangladeshi freelancers. Working hard and acting smart and being focused are the keys to become a successful freelancer. Happy freelancing!
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