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Freelancer account: what you need to know

Where it’s easiest for a “free agent” to find himself and what’s the most convenient way for his employer to pay him.

In Europe, the freelance services market, including the Russian-speaking segment, is rapidly developing. Every day, more and more people are getting involved – both those who are offering their services and the individuals and organizations that are ready to cooperate on a freelance basis with representatives of various professions and, as a rule, completely remotely.

Clients of fintech companies are on the winning side

Working as a freelancer is attracting more and more people – both from Russia and all over the world. It’s understandable why; the first and main argument for choosing a freelance arrangement is that it’s you who plans the work schedule, choosing what is worth devoting your efforts toward. But, of course, there are also questions and complexities – for example, with receiving payments from customers who are often located thousands of kilometers away from the freelancer.

As an example, European customers often offer payments to Russian freelancers via PayPal, Western Union and Google Checkout. However, this doesn’t suit everyone. If we’re talking about payment through Western Union, the interest rates charged for money transfers are very high and PayPal is often arbitrarily strict and sometimes blocks financial transactions without understanding the situation. There have been cases where Russian journalists and photographers completed projects for European and American customers, and afterwards they could not receive their fee or lost most of it due to the high interest rates.

Recently, more and more freelancers prefer to work with fintech companies and open their own account with one. For example, Bilderlings offers “an account for a freelancer abroad.” It can be opened quickly and without unnecessary paperwork, and the system of transfer and receiving of payments is extremely clear.

International employers cooperating with freelancers are more willing to cooperate with payment companies than with traditional banks.

First, it is not so easy or fast to open an account in a regular bank for a person who decides to earn money as a freelancer. Second, money transfers, when it comes to transactions between countries that are distant from each other (and even more so if one of the parties is outside the SWIFT system), take a lot of time. Third, traditional banks charge a hefty commission fee. Finally, not all employers and freelancers want to cooperate with traditional banks, as they are under close scrutiny from various regulatory agencies.

Freelance for each and everyone

The freelance system is especially widespread in areas such as journalism (and other forms of activity related to writing and editing text, and even fiction) and photo art, various types of computer programming, design in all forms and manifestations (web, advertising, interior design, and so on almost to infinity – as long as you can carry out work orders remotely), translations, legal and any other expert advice (up to culinary and fitness classes – when teacher and student are at a distance of thousands of kilometers from each other and they are connected, say, via tablet), and so on.

By the way, do you know where the term “freelancer” comes from? It is believed that it was coined by Walter Scott, and appeared in the novel “Ivanhoe” for the first time to describe the medieval “free spearman” (freelancer – lance – “knight’s spear”). And today even in the army they often resort to the help of freelancers. Of course, the latter don’t carry “spears”, but – develop web design or advertising for various army institutions or develop the design for military uniforms.

Money is just one click away

Where is the easiest place for a freelancer to look for projects? The network is full of freelance exchanges; often they are meant for Russian-speaking people from the post-Soviet space, and even more for people from Russia.

Yes, when a Russian freelancer enters the European market, he has to take into account a fairly high level of competition, the time difference, and, of course, he needs an excellent knowledge of English. But the income from remote cooperation with numerous Western customers can be really impressive. It is easy to find freelancers’ stories on the internet, as initially they had been offered a maximum of five euros for their work, and over time, while getting more and more involved in the process of remote cooperation, it is becoming easier to earn even two or three thousand a month.

There are, for example, such virtual message boards like authenticjobs.com. A good place to look for orders for designers, programmers and, in general, members of various creative professions. It is easy to navigate their site; the “Wi-Fi” icon next to an ad means “remote employment”. The site dribbble.com is for digital artists, game designers and interface developers.

But guru.com is much more popular. This “exchange” has already paid freelancers over $200 million. They give nice offers to web developers, site administrators, translators, even to engineers (to remotely develop manufacturing projects) and architects who are capable of doing everything up to city planning. And photographers more often choose sites such as: shutterstock.com, depositphotos.com and istockphoto.com.

Where you can always find work

Three platforms are most popular among virtual “exchanges”. The first is upwork.com. Coordination of work and payment is carried out with the help of the site software. Projects and offers on the website are in abundance, and in diverse areas. Potential customers can post their projects for free, while freelancers create personal profiles and evaluate projects. The site has the Upwork Team App system: customers can see the work of a freelancer when they are in “paid time” mode. There are more orders on this “stock exchange” than on many others, their price is higher, and customers are technically savvy.

The second in the ranking is fiverr.com. More than 25 million users are registered on this internet resource, and over 12 million projects have already been completed. This site is considered one of the fastest for freelancers. Also, it is easy and convenient to work on the platform, there is a rating and feedback system by which you can find the most popular freelancers in various fields, as well as the most reliable employers.

Third place, of course, is taken by freelancer.com. No commission is charged here, users only pay for a monthly subscription. There is only one limitation: freelancers can submit no more than eight applications for projects per month. But, since almost 10,000 employers place their orders on the “stock exchange” every day, the freelancer has the widest selection of work.

As you can see, the job search system on the internet is simple, and opportunities for freelancers are numerous; the main thing is not to be afraid to take the first step.

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