in Business

Going solo in Pakistan

Freelancing in Pakistan is something that is very much underrated because it is very much misunderstood.

As per definition of the word itself, a ‘freelancer’ is one who:

… sells services to employers without a long-term commitment to any of them

To be a freelancer, you don’t need a degree. Starting from the PKR 300 per day mazdoor to PKR 15,000 per day consultant, a lot of people are making some serious amounts of money with freelancing.

But how many of us want to go the freelancing route but just don’t?

Life-changing stuff, this is.

When I was in college, I think I did two things that changed my life forever. No exaggeration here, these changed my life forever and I feel the effect even today. Thankfully though.

The first thing I did, was ask. And the second was that I was, surprisingly enough, patient.

Asking to Learn Vs. Learning to Ask

You have to first learn to ask important questions. That is basically one way of saying that don’t ask the stupid ones.

Stupid questions are only of one type: if you can find the answer for that question with relative ease, then asking that question is a stupid thing to do.

If I am asking someone like, say, a successful business person, that what is the difference between debt and credit, then that is a stupid question. Disguising stupid questions is easy though, and you can ask “In you opinion, what is the difference between debt and credit?” and get away with it. But really, you should ask with honesty.

I asked with honesty. That means that you first have to convince yourself that you really don’t know much. I did not know which is the best route for me; should I try to earn money by doing one or the other freelancing gigs, or should I prime myself for a good job. And truth be told, I thought I knew the answer back then, but now I know that really, I didn’t show shit.

Anyways, I started gathering information over a period of time from my friends at first. Most of the college-going friends I asked gave an answer somewhere in the lines of  “We want to do a job because that is what everyone thinks is the right thing to do”. But when asked, “did you guys actually asked them as to why are they recommending a job to you?”, they said “No, we did not even ask”. Well that was the gist of their answers and it seemed like a pretty lame answer to something that these guys were planning to do possibly for the rest of their lives. Yes, there were exceptions to this of course. One friend said he wanted to do a job at a multinational and aim to get to C-level within 15 years.. This kind of clarity was and still is hard to find (that friend is working at a good position in Wateen right now – I think he should change from Wateen though :/ ).

Some friends were doing what they loved and told me that they would do that as long as it is feasible. Although this was not the sort of clarity in the answer I was looking for, I think that that was a very good answer. Think about this now:

Having an approach that ‘Doing what you love till you can not do it anymore‘ beats the approach of ‘I am doing X because everyone else thinks this is the best for me‘ any given day! Two of those friends who kept on doing what they loved is now known to quite a few actually, both of them still do what they really enjoy and have earned both fame and fortune. So yeah, doing what you love is a good thing to ‘get into’. But if you are reading this, you are probably thinking, “well, that is rare and I won’t be able to do what I love for the rest of my life. There are bills to pay and stomachs to feed…”. Well, you are right that it is rare, doing what one loves. And you won’t be able to do it BECAUSE you never tried hard enough, or you gave in just before you were about to break out. Needless to say, this kind of a situation is something you definitely should try for. And that is reason in fact, most people choose freelancing, because they get to do whatever tickles their fancy.

more on “going solo in Pakistan” in subsequent posts. You can subscribe to my blog to stay up to date.

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