The traditional concept of a stable, full-time job is gradually transforming as the concept of freelancing gains popularity worldwide. The impact of the transformation has reached Bhutan as many skilled Bhutanese are embracing the flexibility and opportunities presented by the gig economy.
The gig economy is a work arrangement where people take flexible local and international jobs instead of working in traditional, long-term employment. In the gig economy, people often work independently and are hired on a project-by-project basis. They may find these jobs through online platforms that connect them with clients or companies in need of their services.
The freelancing economy is estimated at USD 1.2 trillion with a workforce of 1.56 billion globally.
Tandin, a participant from the 4th batch of Digital Skill-up freelance training under the DHI BizAP business acceleration program, has found his calling in digital freelancing. Recognizing it as a stepping stone towards the future he envisions, Tandin highlights the immense potential and opportunities this field presents. However, he acknowledges the hurdles that accompany this path, particularly the need for consistent upskilling to keep up with the rapid advancements in sophisticated technology.
Dorji Singye, a trained and ambitious freelancer, has quickly made a name for himself in the world of freelancing. After facing competition for a limited job opportunity with his BSc in Animal Science from the College of Natural Science, Dorji decided to explore alternative paths. Inspired by his cousin, who was already a successful freelancer, and the information he gathered from social networking sites, Dorji embarked on a freelancing journey that has brought him freedom and success.
One of the main attractions of freelancing, according to Dorji, is the ability to have complete control over the work. Without any limitations on the type or volume of work he can take on, Dorji can pursue projects that align with his interests and passions. Additionally, the opportunity to connect with diverse clients through social networking sites has allowed him to broaden his professional network and gain exposure to different industries and cultures.
However, freelancing also comes with its fair share of challenges. Dorji highlighted issues such as the complexities of payment exchanges and lengthy transactions through banks, as well as the lack of a fixed earning rate. Freelancers’ income is directly linked to the amount of effort and work they put in, making self-motivation and time management crucial for success. Moreover, there is a trust issue that freelancers often face, as clients may hesitate to rely on individuals rather than established companies, leading to a sense of job insecurity.
Undeterred by these challenges, Dorji took positive steps to establish himself as a skilled professional. He dedicated two months to skill development, focusing on web designing and building an impressive portfolio with work samples. Under the guidance and training from DHI BizAP, Dorji tuned his abilities and enhanced his freelancing skills.
His efforts paid off, as Dorji has already earned over $1000 and has several upcoming projects in the pipeline. He primarily operates on popular freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, leveraging their vast user base and reputation to attract clients from all around the world.
Kelzang Dorji, a 27-year-old freelancer, discovered the world of freelancing while pursuing his BSc in Animation and Multimedia in Punjab. Equipped with numerous skills gained during his studies, Kelzang ventured into freelancing and found success on platforms like Clickworker and also catering to national clients. Additionally, he has established a strong presence on his Facebook page, where he attracts local clients for graphic designing and logo creation.
One of the challenges Kelzang faces in freelancing is the barrier to direct payment methods when working with international clients. However, he has been able to overcome this hurdle by focusing on serving national clients, which has proven fruitful for his freelancing journey.
Kelzang considers freelancing a valuable side hustle as it offers flexibility and allows him to work during his free time. This arrangement has provided him with an additional source of income while accommodating his other commitments and responsibilities.
DHI BizAP, established under the royal charter to promote the private sector, has been making significant steps in nurturing and supporting the growth of freelancers in Bhutan. Since its inception on March 4, 2021, the program has aimed to create a global impact while addressing the challenges faced by freelancers worldwide.
Thukten Sherab, the coordinator of DHI BizAP, emphasized the global scope of freelancing and acknowledged the shared challenges experienced by freelancers around the world. However, he also highlighted that DHI BizAP is positioned to support Bhutanese freelancers by providing them with comprehensive training and a dedicated Aftercare program.
The batch of the DHI BizAP Business Acceleration Program is trained in content including web design using WordPress, app development, digital marketing, and UI/UX designing. As a testimony to the program’s success, trained freelancers from DHI BizAP are given opportunities to work as interns for esteemed companies such as CLOUD and Refruit, enabling them to gain real-world experience and further refine their skills.