Published 2022-11-20Blog Poster

Be your own boss: a guide to kickstart your freelancing career in Iraq.

Ahmed Aldazdi

If you're looking for a way to escape the traditional workplace and get the freedom you've always wanted in your career, freelancing is the way to go. In this article, we'll outline some tips on how to get started with freelancing in Iraq so you can start enjoying all the benefits that come with it. One of the great things about freelancing is that it allows you to be your own boss and set your own hours and choose whether or not you want to work for some clients. You don't have to answer to anyone but yourself, which can be a huge relief for many people who are used to working under someone else's thumb. You can also take on as much or as little work as you want, meaning that if you only want to freelance part-time so you have more time for other things (like family or travel), then you can do that too!

Discover your passion

As a freelancer, your skills are your product. Before ever thinking of quitting your day job or day dreaming about how successful your freelancing career is going to be, think about how does your skills fit in the market and what value can you bring to the clients that makes them willing to employ your freelancing services.

First of all, you need to discover your passion find out what is it that makes you excited and how much you enjoy making that your full-time job. freelancing is not an easy path as many might imagine, freelancers tend to go through a lot of stress and work overload and not only by working on projects but to also promote themselves, negotiate with clients all the while balancing that with their daily lives. so, it is really important to be doing something that you actually enjoy to keep you moving forward in both your career and life.

Turn your passion to skills

There's no one answer for what skills you need to develop in order to pursue your passion. However, if you're passionate about writing, a good place to start is by consuming as much writing as you can and experimenting in different genres. This will help you figure out what type of writing you're most interested in and what topics you enjoy writing about the most. Once you have a better understanding of your strengths and interests, it will be easier to focus your efforts on developing the specific skills needed to succeed in that area. With hard work and dedication, anything is possible - so go after your dreams and see where they take

Turn your skill into a business

Now that you have your passion and skill aligned, the next step is to turn it into a freelancing business. this step is the most critical step that if not done properly can change the most brilliant ideas into failed businesses but don’t be scared with proper guidance and determination you will most likely succeed.

First Step is to do a proper market analysis, find out the size of the market that you want to target, who are the biggest players, what are the services being provided and who are your main competitors a good resource to start is this article by business news daily

Next step is to do S.W.O.T (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, A SWOT analysis is a framework to help assess and understand the internal and external forces that may create opportunities or risks for an organization, companies and freelancers.

(Image by gstudioimagen on Freepik)

A SWOT analysis is a great way to get a handle on your business. By looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you can develop a clear plan for moving forward. This can help you determine which areas you need to work on and which areas you need to promote.

Please note that when trying to determine your strength try to leave lower costs to the end of the list as most companies are worried about the quality of the service as much as the cost.

And finally check the financial requirement for your business, how much funding you need to start your freelancing business if you are a writer then your costs are a simple laptop and an internet connection but if you are a photographer of a filmmaker then your costs are higher, check what are your business margins and how much profit can you make while still being competitive if you are not good at crunching the number seek help from your network or ask for advice from consultancies in Iraq or abroad.

There are many more analyses to do and insights to get you more ready for the market and the more you do the better but keep in mind do not wait for the perfect time to start your business it may never come start at a good enough point for you and work your way out of the challenges

Find the right outlet to start

As a freelancer, you're already under some speculation because you don't have the binding force of a company behind you. so, there's the case that many companies refrain from hiring freelancers for projects even if they're more suited to it because they're not sure what they'll get in return.

This issue has been mitigated globally by freelancing marketplaces Like fiver, freelancer and Upwork that host a large number of freelancers and built-in checks and balances ensuring a high quality of delivery and satisfaction of both freelancers and employers.

In Iraq, we have been struggling with a lack of such services that forced freelancers to turn to their personal network or social media to advertise their skills and business. This has proven to be an inefficient way and has created an unclear market where businesses rely on personal recommendations and hope the end result is up to the quality.

but things are changing to the better with Job Studio (an Iraqi startup based in Sulaymaniyah) budling an advanced freelancing marketplace that brings the benefits of professional freelancing to Iraq. It uses a world standard checks and balances system to ensure quality delivery of projects, and it also solves the main issue of payments that freelancers are suffering from in Iraq by utilizing a variety of payment solutions, including mobile payment systems. This is a great opportunity for Iraqi freelancers to get access to quality work opportunities and earn good compensation for their efforts.

Establish your network

(Image by storyset on Freepik)

The key to success as a freelancer is to put yourself out there and market yourself well. There are lots of ways you can do this, such as social media, online portfolios, and cold-pitching potential clients. It takes a bit of effort at first but once you start getting gigs it will become easier and more fun. Plus, the financial rewards are definitely worth it!

As a freelancer, you have to be very aware of the competition that you face you are not only competing with other freelancers but also competing with deep rooted companies that offer similar services to your and may have better business connections. Iraqi business environment is rooted in sentiment and decisions are often made by how well you are known by the client and how many referrals you got from his/her network so start budling your network both online and offline do this by networking with other freelancers and getting yourself known in the industry.

You can also join relevant online communities and forums so that potential clients can see what you have to offer. LinkedIn is a great resource that companies use to scout for freelancers and check quality of their work as such having a professional LinkedIn profile is a must, it is important that you create a strong portfolio which showcases your skills and experience in a positive light.

Conclusion

As a freelancer, you will face many struggles from society. People may not understand what you do and the value you bring to their businesses. You will also face the work culture of companies that have an almost comical level of distrust in outsourcing and hiring freelancers. However, if you are willing to face these challenges, then being a freelancer can be a very rewarding experience. You get to set your own hours, work from home, and be your own boss. With hard work and dedication, you can make a great living as a freelancer.