Freelancing might be on the rise among this generation. However, to many (especially in Asia), freelancing is either something that you do after you retire, or as a last resort when you are unable to secure a full-time job. Hardly would anyone aspire to become a full-time freelancer – not a chance!

Some state perceived instability as a reason not to freelance – CPF contributions, insurance, promotions, free coffee are seen as part of the stability that a full-time job offers. Others fear being looked down upon – being a freelancer seems to lack a certain prestige in our circles.

All these being said, the question remains: Why on earth would anyone (read: 7 million on still want to be a freelancer?! Adding to that point, why would anyone in his or her right mind even start a site like that creates a marketplace for freelance jobs, knowing well that freelancing is a dead end?!

The short answer: Perhaps freelancing isn’t all cracked up as people make it out to be. 

After an interview with the International Director of, Adam Byrnes, it occurred to me that the real picture of the freelancing world is far from what we perceive it to be. Here’s what you should know about freelancing before taking the plunge. (italics are mine)


adam byrnes 

1) How did come about?

Actually, was started by our CEO Matt Barrie, when he bought and rebranded the website in 2009. Matt had just left his previous startup, and was looking for The Next Big Thing. While attempting to get some basic tasks done online, he realised that one day, buying services on the internet would be just as big as buying goods on the internet – that is, he realised that very soon, there will be an Amazon or eBay of services – a multi-billion-dollar marketplace for jobs. Matt wanted to be the guy that built it.


2) What are the demographics of the current freelancing scene like?’s 7 million users come from a huge variety of places – we have users in 240 countries and regions, including the Antarctic and Vatican! Our most popular project types are website design and development, and graphic design, but we’ve seen projects in literally anything – from astrophysics to chinese rap songs.

Our typical employer comes from an economically stable country, and is an entrepreneur or SME looking for a cost-effective way to get their business off the ground. Our typical freelancer comes from a second or third-world country, and uses Freelancer to make a living. This is in no way exclusive though – we have numerous full-time freelancers in the US, and our second biggest source of employers is India!


3) Do you think that there is any stigma attached to the concept of freelancing today?

I don’t believe so, no. Entrepreneurship, freelancing and innovation go hand-in-hand, and are increasingly being celebrated around the world, from Silicon Valley to Dhaka. The startup movement is transcending borders and revolutionising the economies of many countries – people are getting out and creating wealth, rather than consuming it. Freelancing, and hiring freelancers, is the epitome of this global shift.

Also, as the world embraces globalisation, companies in the USA are becoming increasingly comfortable with hiring freelancers from abroad in countries they’ve never visited. A company owner in Australia can get their logo developed by a designer in Buenos Aires, their website from a developer in Islamabad, and their content from a copywriter in Prague – all in a safe and affordable manner.


4) In your opinion, what are the greatest/worst points for/against freelancing?

The best part of freelancing is the independence. You are no longer tied down in a restrictive and boring day job. You make your own destiny. You work wherever you like, whenever you like, on your terms. You sail your own ship. There’s endless possibilities for wealth and success in freelancing.

However, therein lies the issue. Freelancing is not always easy. It requires work – lots of it, and an ability to be self-motivated. Not everyone has these qualities, but for those who do, a revolutionary lifestyle awaits as a freelancer.


5) Give some advice to a freelancer who is just starting out on his career.

Reputation is king. It is the single most important quantity for any freelancer. Always go above and beyond for the customer – they will reward you by hiring you again or telling their friends about you.

Finally, stay motivated. Freelancing isn’t an easy ride – it requires hard work and lots of it – and there will almost certainly be setbacks. But, if you continue to go above and beyond the call of duty for your employers, the rewards will come.


6) Any predictions about the future for freelancers?

As of today, roughly 2.3 billion people have internet access around the world. That means there’s another 5 billion people who have never connected. Most of these people are located in emerging markets. When someone from these countries first connects to the internet, the first thing they do is look for an education. Today, they can find a quality education, online, for free. Coursera, Udacity, Khan Academy – its never been easier to learn a trade or skill.

The next thing they do is find a job. Many of these people are not lucky enough to live in a place where jobs are common, and those that do exist pay on average $1/day. So they do the only thing left to them – become a freelancer. At the same time, employers in first world countries are facing rising costs and barriers-to-entry to creating a business. They need a source of quality, cost-effective and flexible labor – and nobody suits this description better than a freelancer.

In 10 years time, my prediction is that hiring freelancers will be commonplace. If I have an idea tomorrow, and think I can make a business out of it, I know what I’ll be doing. The first thing I’ll need is a logo – and why pay thousands of dollars for a logo, when I can crowdsource 300 unique, quality designs using a contest, for just a few hundred dollars? I’ll also need a website (after all, its 2013 – every business is a software business) – and rather than get into tens of thousands of dollars of debt getting a website built locally, I’ll jump online to and post a project, and get it done for a tenth of the cost. Ditto copy, SEO, marketing, etc. provides that essential edge for entrepreneurs who want to get their business started without millions of dollars of VC investment.


7) What are some resources you would highly recommend for new freelancers?

There’s a number of great freelancing blogs out there. Take a look at our guide for new freelancers on our website, and check out our blog too. Up-skill through free, online education. And above all else, use our platform to start your career. With over 4500 new projects posted every day, its easy to get started, and once you’ve built up your reputation, you’ll be well on your way to freelancing success.


Still think that freelancing is for the dogs? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

so what are you going to do with that
taken from

So I recently wrote about following your heart when pursuing education. I mentioned that we should not let the fear of practicality paralyze us, but follow our hearts where it would take us. It certainly sounds all good and ideal, but I’d bet that you read that, nodded furiously in agreement… And went back to pursuing the most practical course in your institution (or at least, two-thirds of you would).

I recently found an article that would, IMO, be far more convincing. The author’s argument goes as such: Liberal Arts degrees are useless (but not in the way most people think they are), and the people who pursue them are better off precisely because they are useless

It’s a strange statement to make, but hear him out – I think he’s on to something big. Here is the article: Liberal Arts, and the Advantages of Being Useless.

Now, I know that the title might seem very like one of those over-the-top defensive pieces that try a bit too hard to defend the Liberal Arts degree. Here are some quotes I picked out from the article that blew my mind – and hopefully they will convince you to take at least take a look, and give it some serious thought. (the bolds are mine)

This, I think, is why a Liberal Arts degree is useless: it requires some creativity and unguided exploration after you get it in order for you to figure out what you want to do with it. And it requires these things because you can’t read the name of a good paying job off of a Liberal Arts degree. If someone asks a Liberal Arts major what she is going to do with her degree, the best she can say is, “I’m not quite sure, but I’m pretty certain that I have roughly the same chance as any other major for getting a job and that by the middle of my career I’ll have an income that is just as good, if not better, than people with those other degrees.” Not the best sound bite. But it has the virtue of being true.

How can you get very far, If you don’t know Who You Are? How can you do what you ought, If you don’t know What You’ve Got? And if you don’t know Which To Do Of all the things in front of you, Then what you’ll have when you are through Is just a mess without a clue Of all the best that can come true If you know What and Which and Who. – Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh, “Cottleston Pie” (1982)

In the coming decades, success will be defined by the ability to understand the complex problems that customers face, and the ability to solve these problems elegantly. Technology development is important, as is finance, manufacturing,and distribution. But these areas are not core competencies for the industry leaders. The next billion-dollar company will be run by history majors who are skilled in wading through a massive jumble of facts and who have the ability to distill these facts down to a clear set of objectives that a global team can fulfill. – Tom Gillis, Forbes Magazine

“So let me leave you with a fairer question. This a question to which all majors, from any college, can give a decent answer. It is a question that does not stack the deck against Liberal Arts majors. And the answer to this question is an answer you might give when people ask the more conventional “What are you going to do with your degree?” question. The question is this:“What kind of person is your degree going to help you be?” If you’re a Liberal Arts major, you have a quick and ready answer: “I am going to be a more reflective and engaged individual, and an active, responsible contributor to my community capable of succeeding in leadership positions.”

What do you think – yay or nay for the Arts? Share your thoughts below!

Looking for the best content on Writing and Content Marketing? Let me save you the trouble. I will be curating the top posts on Writing and Content Marketing at the end of each week,  for your reading convenience. For more freelance resources, check out my Resources for Freelancers page.



The 7 Deadly Sins of Blogging on Smart Boy Designs

Joy Williams’s Daily Writing Routine on Brain Pickings

How to Use Evernote Correctly on Lifehacker (I included this because I think it is a fabulously handy tool for writers/bloggers/freelancers to organize all their stuff)

12 Tips on Writing Content for Your Blog on

Quote-worthy Quotes from Richard Branson about Blogging on Internet Dreams


Content Marketing

How Not to Freak Out about Content Marketing on Marketing Tech Blog

Three Content Marketing Tips from Linkedin on Econsultancy

21 Social Media and Content Marketing Tips Tailored for Small Businesses on Heidi Cohen

Winning Creative Content Marketing on Top Rank Online Marketing

5 Content Marketing Mistakes Even the Pros Make on Quick Sprout

I know I’m definitely biased when I say that I adore writing. Writing is my instrument of both creation and destruction, the source and projection of my power, and so on. Clearly biased, right? But I mean every word that I say (and write). However, I think that the words from the top bloggers and writers in Singapore would definitely lend greater weight to the best and worst parts of writing (certainly more objectivity than me). So I set out to get some opinions from them – here is what they have to say about the best and worst parts of writing.

“Worse: Trolls.
Best: Fans.”

– Alvin Lim from (one of the top blogs and social media influencers in Singapore)


“Best when everyone likes your post, worse when you don’t even get one comment even though you thought you wrote the best post of your life.”

– Dr. Leslie Tay (author of The End of Char Kway Teow and Other Hawker Mysteries) from


“The best part about being a writer and blogger is when readers tell you that your writing has empowered them to make changes in their lives and to pursue excellence.

The most challenging part is when you don’t feel motivated to write, but you know that you simply must. It takes discipline and commitment to write regularly!”

-Daniel Wong (author of The Happy Student: 5 Steps to Academic Fulfillment and Success) from


“Best Part: Sometimes, you get to keep those review items.

Worst Part: You get swarm with review items (even those you cannot keep) and unfortunately you can pick a few to review on.”

– Lester Chan from (ranked #1 on


“The best part of being a writer is that writing gets you out of your comfort zone and gives you the opportunity to articulate these experiences for posterity. 

I really couldn’t find a “worst” part of being a writer because I like this work too much!”

– Melanie Lee, Freelance Writer from


“The best parts of being a full-time freelance writer:

When every pitch is accepted by editors and I see my stories in print.

The worst parts: 

Chasing after payments and having an irregular income.”

– Anthony Koh, Freelance Writer from


I certainly agree with most of the opinions offered by these high profile writers (especially with Melanie – writing is my life). At the end of the day, as writers we choose to pursue this track because the best parts about writing far outweigh the worst parts – though they can certainly be incredibly annoying and discouraging at times.

How about you? Does this encourage or discourage you from being a writer? Or are there any other good or bad parts about writing that we missed out? Or are there any other things you would like to learn about writing? Do leave your comments below – we’d love to hear your opinions too!


Image Credit:

Blogs are popular in many domains of life, and they even have their place in the business world. However, not all businesses realize the value that blogs can bring to them. Here are 5 reasons why businesses should blog.

A Casual Voice

When people think of businesses, they often think of individuals wearing formal clothes and speaking in lots of jargon. Blogs give companies the opportunity to connect with people in a language that they understand. Many audiences expect blogs to be a little bit more casual. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every blog should use foul language or be nasty, but they can have a bit more artistic freedom.

Blogs can also serve as a promotional tool for a business, since they are generally updated on a fairly regular basis. When a company has a special offer or a new product coming onto the market soon, bloggers can easily track the development and success of these ventures. Additionally, they can let people know what the benefits are of participating in the event or coming down to the store on a specific day. The goal is to build an audience that is going to keep reading the blog and seeing these happenings.

The Networking Angle

In a lot of blogging communities, bloggers will link to other blogs that they like to read or that might contain helpful information for their audience. Although it’s not the typical networking event that people attend at their old colleges, building a community online is so important. Not only does it help to bring your own blog more exposure, but it also allows you to build a connection with other professionals in the field and to establish relationships that can really help your business in the long-term. In other words, you have the opportunity to create a real identity here.

Branding Purposes
As a business owner or manager, you probably know how important branding is in the world of advertising, and your blog provides you with another method for doing so. In each of the blogs, a slogan, logo or company cartoon can be used to imprint the brand into the minds of the audience. People will likely be really excited when they recognize a branding image or words from their favorite blog when they are out and about. It’s truly a tool for drawing people to better utilize what the business has to provide.

Creating Jobs
At this point, so many people are struggling to find jobs, and businesses can do something about it. It’s really important to have a professional writer in charge of the blogging, so that it is written properly and effectively. By creating a space for a blogger or a team of bloggers in your business, you are helping some of the writers out there to find jobs in a place that they love. 

Businesses absolutely should start blogs, and the reasons are pretty clear. In the 21st century, having a blog has really become a staple of a top business, so if you haven’t started this yet, get on it!

Angelo Jimenez writes about business and social media. She has recently highlighted the Top 30 Business Blogs of 2012.