I remember first signing up for freelancing on Upwork then oDesk.com somewhere in the year 2008. So, a friend had recommended a couple of freelancing sites but out of the list, it was love at first glance upon sighting Upwork. Simple design and straight to the point. I did not know a thing about freelancing or what being an independent contractor entails…
Here I was, a bilingual and freshly out of a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certification I pursued over a three years stretch in search of any opportunity to land a foot in the door. I was that young, energetic but thirsty and a highly curious adult…
During the sign up, I had tons of questions without answers. “How does this thing work? You mean, I can sit right here and work for someone living somewhere else on the surface the globe? Okay, fine but how do they send me jobs? Is this even legal? How will I get paid? What if I don’t deliver? Do I ask questions ? Won’t they think I am incompetent? Look, these people barely know me… Is this even a thing?”
Just Start Freelancing
I sure had even a lot more on my mind. Although all I had was just a profile, no real work experience, no referrals and a blank portfolio, I didn’t really have to worry. The onboarding process was simply smooth and Upwork did very well in that aspect.
Fast-forward, I landed my very first client. I worked 40 hours a week at a 1 USD hourly rate. 40 dollars a week? Yes, you read that right. Later, I got a 60 cents pay raise but that story will just have to wait. On the real, that amount seemed insignificant but sure it was enough for someone like me who was already getting used to earning a solid zero dollars.
I knew I was getting somewhere. Moreover, my consolation was that I felt lucky getting paid to learn. And oh yes, I did learn on the job. A lot. By the way, don’t you also think that all learning should attract a remuneration? That’s a petition we should sign someday and I hope you all rally behind after I launch that campaign.
Don’t worry, you will learn
Till date, that very first gig, the 1 dollar gig though taught me almost everything I know. You just name it, from the very basics to writing standard mails, WordPress, blog posts, the heartbreaks, the rejected proposals, translation, writing the winning ones, the discipline, chasing deadlines, missing some of course (hey, I am still a human and mishaps are just as real as “dumsor“), learning time management, learning how to communicate with the client and striving to be as transparent as possible… I honestly couldn’t have asked for more.
It was just like a dream. Truly, truly all I ever wanted was to sit from the “comfort” of my home and getting things done right here and all the way from Africa. Little did I know that 12 years down the line, I was signing up to one of the most sought-after switch especially in this COVID era, having scored a 100% job success on Upwork and still be out here doing just what I do best: serving!
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, let me know in the comments what will push you to make the switch to remote working and will your current field of work allow you do that? Kindly share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you!